Retail audit refers to the process of going to selected retail stores to gauge the customer sentiment, the health of the brand and determine the visibility of a brand’s products. This is a primary audit process, and trained auditors visit these stores to determine all of the above-mentioned factors for a brand.
Importance of retail store audits –
- Consumer sentiments captured are accurate by doing consumer activation as auditors directly interact with the customers at brick-and-mortar retail outlets.
- It also determines the cleanliness and layout of the whole store.
- It determines whether the location of the store is conducive to sales and traffic
- A brand’s competitive qualitative and quantitative information is also covered under the survey.
- Information regarding any emerging or existing dominant brands in the category.
Process for a retail Audit –
Like any other retail store centric activity; this requires ascertaining the objectives as well. As a brand, be sure of what you wish to achieve from the exercise. A brand cannot conduct an examination on every aspect of a business through a retail store audit. The objective, therefore, has to be singular and focused.
In order for the audit to be successful, it also has to be short so that information can be easily obtained and submitted to the higher management. Determining objectives, being brief and concise are a few things you need to ensure while designing a store audit for your brand.
1. Organise store audit
It is essential to determine the time of conducting the audit. The ideal time to conduct a retail audit is when the business is slow, and the retail store employees can easily pitch-in to make the process smooth.
Depending upon the objectives of a retail audit, if it does not require talking to customers coming in a retail store, an audit can also take place before the business hours commence. This way, there will be less disturbance, and an audit can be completed faster without disturbing customers.
2. Consider results
Store audits should not be merely conducted as a formality. The results and information from a store audit should be curated and studied thoroughly. Every information collected by the workforce in-field will definitely have a significant impact on the brand as a whole.
Therefore, results should be studied and communicated to the higher management to bring about relevant changes for the greater good of the organisation.
3. Store data for future use
Once you have all the information and it has been sent to the right channels for improving the brand, as a marketer you should draw out relevant conclusions from it.
Be it the first retail store audit or fiftieth; an organisation always learns something new about the market or its customers.
As a result, the information gathered should be preserved and used for other campaigns or future retail store audits as well.
Retail store audit is a massive effort once taken up by a brand. It involves taking care of so many stakeholders. As a brand, if you decide to conduct a retail store audit on your own, you might need to hire a field workforce, get an app, customise it, get the data and then quantify the results. It can take up a lot of time to do that. This is why it is recommended to consider experts for the job as it leads to faster and more accurate results.