When a company hires an independent retail auditor provider to conduct an unbiased third party examination of their retail locations, their focus is measuring what the consumers buy and how effective the retail environment is for improving sales. A third party retail audit provider will offer a unique set of skills that will allow them to examine the key components of the business, including products, marketing, displays and much more.
This information is very valuable, as it allows the company to figure out why certain stores are performing better than others – or how retail locations can be improved. The retail auditor offers a powerful combination of data and insights and the tools that they have to offer will be very beneficial to the client.
So how does a retail audit work and what does it involve? Let’s take a look athow this process is carried out:
How a Retail Audit Works
The retail audit begins with hiring a third party auditor who can take a close look at each retail location and make important observations. There are many companies out there who offer this service and conduct retail audits on your behalf as part of an ongoing strategy. They can also monitor your brands and those of your closest competitors in order to see how you could improve your edge against the competition.
There is a major advantage in hiring a third party company, as the audit will not be taking up the precious time and energy of your employees. Also, the third party company has a lot of experience in the industry and they will be able to offer insights and advice that is highly valuable. The audit will allow you to see what is happening in the store right now, so that you can take action immediately.
Once you have chosen the field sales company for your retail audit, you will be able to get started on the process. One of the main things that the retail auditor will do when they enter the business premises is take digital photographs, so that the client will be able to see the presentation and displays of the store.
The service for the retail audit will also include an analysis of fixtures within the store, checking whether the store is complying with promotions, a maintenance evaluation, store profiling and measurement, space assessment and more. The company will be able to obtain detailed information about its stores, so that it can develop new strategies and improve compliance.
There is a lot for the auditor to consider when they are walking through the store and then completing the write-up. They will have likely met with a representative from the company in order to determine which variables they want to measure – including those that are related to safety, adherence to company policy and operations. This meeting will identify the important variables that the retail audit will then measure.
Some of the questions that might be asked during retail audits:
- Is the exterior and interior of the store clean and inviting?
- How quickly did the cashiers serve their customers?
- Did the customer service department answer questions in a helpful way?
- Where the shelves stocked?
- Was the merchandise on display in a pleasing way?
- Were the shelf tags accurate with respect to the specific items?
Often the retail audit form will be divided into various sections, such as front-of-store operations, exterior, backroom management and other categories, in order to organise the information and make it easier to read. The auditor might also quiz employees on various aspects of safety standards, such as how to lift and move things properly and how to deal with dangerous substances.
Also before the audit the client might set a performance goal – such as an overall goal of compliance. This might be the standard by which a retail store fails or passes the audit. The auditor will then present the information to the client in a finalised report. The auditor might also offer some advice and suggestions on how the retail outlet could improve their sales. This advice is based on the experience of the auditor and it is often very valuable as they are an expert in their industry.
This is simply a summary of how a retail audit works – each audit will work differently depending on the client and the situation. Perhaps a retail audit might be a valuable asset for improving the performance of your business?