Audits are often a source of anxiety for many people, but a retail audit should not be one for companies. It is crucial to review the processes and structures in place in any business. The retail industry, especially, is fast-paced so it is important that companies are able to tailor their strategies to the market.
Retail audits are essentially checklists for companies to complete. These help to ensure that retailers meet their standards and so that they can highlight and deal with any issues. Instead of having one long checklist, these can be broken down into 8 simple types of audits.
1. Daily opening checklists
Opening and closing procedures are often associated with the restaurant industry. However, they are incredibly useful for retail stores as well.
By having a store checklist of procedures to follow each day, employees can avoid problems related to these mundane tasks. This frees up more time to attend to customers and deal with novel issues. In turn, this ensures a great customer experience, which, of course, is great for your bottom line.
2. Store manager self-assessments
These are simply put store audits conducted by store managers. They are often more cost-effective than traditional methods.
These assessments also offer a unique insight as the managers work in the store on a daily basis. By filling in their own retail checklist, store managers can play a chief role in improving anything from layout to employee productivity.
3. Area manager operations inspections
These are particularly important when a company has multiple branches. The more branches a company has, the more difficult it can become to maintain standards across them all.
It is therefore important to have retail checklists that area managers can complete to keep in line with the relevant standards. After all, consistency is key in brand maintenance.
4. Concept and customer journey audits
In order for companies to tailor their brand to their customers, they need to evaluate their customer’s current experience. Once companies know what this journey looks like, they can audit it and improve it.
That is where concept and customer journey audits come in. The findings from these audits help improve strategy and share actionable best practices between different locations.
5. Campaign audits
Companies need to audit their marketing practices. It is important to make sure that store checklists are conducted, but it is also important to know if a company is successfully attracting new customers.
It’s best to conduct campaign audits at least on a quarterly basis, but this can be shorter depending on your marketing strategies.
6. Visual Merchandising audits
An aesthetically pleasing storefront is sure to attract customers. It is no surprise, then, that you need to continually evaluate and update elements such as floor layouts and product displays.
These audits help companies keep track that their visual merchandising principles are carried out accordingly in each and every location of their business.
7. Mystery Shopping audits
Another way to measure customer experience is to conduct mystery shopper audits. These are a type of retail audit where companies employ independent contractors to pose as shoppers and then give a report on their experience.
This is a great way to find out what an outsider’s experience of the company is as opposed to relying only on reports from staff and customers.
8. Competitor benchmark audits
Companies need to make sure that they stand out or their competitors will quickly overshadow them. It is important to complete a competitor analysis in order to identify and resolve any shortcomings that a company may have in the market.
Companies need to strike a balance between standing out but also staying relevant.
A retail audit can be a complex thing but breaking it down into parts can help make it more manageable. It is vital that businesses operate optimally and regular, effective and efficient audits can have a major impact on this. Besides the content and context of audits, the platform where they are conducted plays a big role in succeeding or not.
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