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When talking about audits, most people might think about financial audits. However, when it comes to retail there are multiple other audits that a company should conduct on a regular basis. Sometimes referred as store walks or store inspections, retail audits are a useful tool for all businesses in the sector. 

This blog post looks at what a retail audit entails and what it can do for your retail business.

The Framework


A retail audit is essentially a store audit. It’s an accurate analysis of a number of operational factors based on a store checklist. It consists of best practices that stores need to follow in order to ensure they are up to standard, and track any problems they face. As such, they help stores to maintain compliance with any pre-established aspects such as product placement, promotions and pricing.

In addition, checklists allow retailers to address shortcomings and enable head offices to provide feedback. This allows stores to better measure their success and implement strategies for improvement. 

It is a learning opportunity for all involved as head office representatives also gain an insight into daily store operations. By tracking these insights, managers can compare data over time and discover ways to reduce inefficiencies in store operations.

 

Advantages Of A Retail Audit

 

Relying upon third parties for information can be helpful in saving time. But, it may not offer much insight into how your business is doing specifically. A store audit allows you to research your own stores and how they perform. 

In contrast to financial audits, store audits allow you to consider a wider range of factors concerning your business. Instead of simply seeing where money is being lost, you can potentially see the reasons why it is being lost. This allows you to address issues before they severely impact the bottom line.

The biggest event to impact the business world in 2020 was, of course, the global pandemic. COVID-19 protocols have put a strain on retailers due to social distancing and the rapid growth of online shopping. 

Storefronts now have to work harder than ever to ensure that their stores continue attracting customers and audits can help retailers to do this. They help to make sure that stores uphold certain standards and allow businesses to get creative with new strategies. 

Retail audits can also help businesses to optimise customer experience. 86% of customers say they will spend more money on a product or service if it comes with a good customer experience. With retail audits, you can analyse your customers’ experience during the whole in-store journey. For example, you can determine how long it takes them to find items they need and how helpful your staff are, to name a few. 

Store audits consist of a checklist that covers everything from store layouts to customer experience. A lot of hard work goes into planning out what a store should look like. But a lack of compliance with visual merchandising and other pre-established agreements can lead to completely different outcomes and an audit is a simple way of checking up on this.

 

Retail Audit Checklist Tips

 

Store audits consist of a few main categories which make up a retail checklist. The four categories are:

  • Location
  • Demographics
  • In-store
  • Competitive intelligence data

Each of these categories can and should have more specific checklists for auditors to follow. These will include the data points important in assessing each of these categories. 

Some checklists can be used for quarterly audits while others could be daily checklists to follow in-store to ensure compliance. All of these can be compiled and analysed to find strengths and weaknesses at different levels of the business. 

It is important for audits to be organised so that they take up as little time as possible of everyday work. It is also essential that these audits have goals. This could mean that audits focus on specific areas such as visual merchandising, competitor analysis or marketing strategies as a whole. 

Whatever the need, a checklist helps to keep information clear and organised. It ensures that you can collect all the information you need to monitor store performance and make improvements.

 

Final Thoughts

 

A store audit can involve a lot of different elements. It could focus on marketing aspects, visual merchandising, stock or the customer journey. Some companies may want to focus on a particular area and some may want to figure out how to find balance and excel in all of these areas. Regardless, conducting audits is a useful tool for all retailers. 

If you're looking to implement a mobile tool for your retail audits, we've got you covered. Audits.io is easy-to-use, fast to set up, has customisable workflows, vast integration possibilities and more. Contact us for more information or start your FREE trial:

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We're a tech company with a passion for helping our customers adapt to the fast changing VUCA world. We're doing that by developing easy-to-use SaaS products that make gathering, managing and analysing field information as easy as possible for the end users. Remove gatekeepers, go horizontal and learn from your mistakes before they actually happen. More info at planbrothers.io

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