To remain competitive in the retail world, knowing how to operate a successful retail auditisn’t only beneficial, it’s absolutely necessary.

The following 10 steps will help you achieve a successful retail audit every time.

As brands fight for market share, visibility, and positioning, doing a retail audit can keep your business on track to remain at the forefront of your industry.

1. Select the Right Survey Questions

To maximize the efficiency of your retail audit, make sure that the auditors are answering the right questions. Don’t waste their time with unimportant questions, and don’t forget to ask for enough detail to ensure that you can act on the data collected.

Things worth tracking may include product positioning, the percentage of passerby’s that enter the store, etc. Find ways to focus on the right KPI’s and you’ll track the data that can actually improve your bottom line.

2. Select the Right Answer Types

Generally speaking, the most effect answer type is closed answers, such as scales from 1-5. These allow the respondents to provide a degree of detail while still being easy to measure and analyze. Include an option for notes or additional feedback and your respondents can provide further detail when necessary.

3. Gather the Appropriate Data

When developing your questions and answers, make sure that you hit on all of the critical data points necessary for your retail audit.

Some common categories to include when collecting data are:

  • Coupons and promotions
  • Presentation and merchandising
  • The condition of the store
  • Staff behavior
  • Availability and display of products
  • Quality and speed of service
  • Inventory
  • Equipment
  • Customer behavior
  • Safety

4. Include Images

A picture is worth a thousand words. This holds particularly true when doing a retail audit. By allowing the respondents to take and log pictures, it becomes easier for them to explain exactly what is going on – allowing your management team to take appropriate action.

By having your own employees do the audits, you are able to train them appropriately and it becomes easier

 5. Consider Adding Video and Sound

While images are a must. Video and sound can also be helpful. By observing the actions of staff and customers, and hearing the sounds and noises in the area, you can catch intricate details that might not be available through text or images.

6. Choose the right stores to sample

Make sure that you spend your time auditing the right stores. You may want to look at locations based on region, size, category, etc… Once the store format is select, make your samples as random as possible to ensure that you receive a healthy data set that can be further analyzed later on.

7. Determine who will collect the data

There are three types of people who can run these retail audits for you: employees, a professional service, or hired freelancers. There are pros and cons to each.

By having your own employees do the audits, you are able to train them appropriately and it becomes easier for the knowledge gained to be implemented. However, the cost of taking your team away from their regular jobs (and training them) can be expensive and inconvenient.

When hiring experts to collect the data, you know that you will receive the best possible responses possible. However, the cost associated with this can make it unreasonable for many businesses.

Finally, using mystery shoppers or other independent contractors may be the least expensive option. However, the drawback with freelancers is that the quality of data may be lacking substantially.

In short, the decision you make will be based on the level of detail you need and amount of money you are willing to invest.

8. Choose the Right Tools

The two crucial elements of a successful retail audit are to select the right software and device for gathering, aggregating, and reporting your information.

Make sure that the software you choose makes it easy to collect multiple types of data in one place. Allow for notes, images, and bar code scanning. The more details that can be collected, the better.

Meanwhile, you’re best off using a tablet as opposed to a smartphone for collecting the data. Although phones are convenient, tablets make it easier to collect information and answer necessary questions.

9. Evaluate and Present Reporting Data and Analytics

Once you have the survey responses collected, you want to aggregate and visualize the data so that it’s easy to present to top executives and those responsible for implementing the change.

Hopefully the software you use already comes with high quality reporting and analytics features. If not, you can always consider using Excel or Tableau to visualize your reports.

10. Repeat

While doing one round of retail audits will show you areas of strength and weakness, it isn’t until you begin doing retail audits on a consistent basis that you can track progress. Once changes and improvements are made, another retail audit can reveal the effectiveness of the implementation process.

In short, running a successful retail audit doesn’t have to be overly challenging. By following the steps listed above, you can begin increasing productivity, placement, and sales in the very near future.

If you’re looking for a retail audit software to assist you with the process, consider using Simplifield. We’ve been helping retailers around the world improve monitor and improve their placement, merchandising, and retail audits.

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Join the discussion One Comment

  • Fred says:

    Thanks for sharing the steps to achieve a successful retail audit. Some of them are really essential like choosing the right survey questions, answer types, etc. But, you know enabling timely operational improvements is also necessary. Moreover, you should know how retail audits can help you own customer experience, then should proceed with these steps. I came to learn about the consequences of retail audit at a recent blog post I am mentioning the link for your reference.

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