Retail stores aren’t going anywhere, and they’re emerging from the pandemic stronger than before. Nothing can replace the ability to feel, touch, and try new products before buying them. Roughly 20% of consumers say they exclusively shop in retail stores, while only 5% exclusively shop online.
Conducting a store audit allows business owners and partners to examine the real-world status of brick-and-mortar locations. While online stores generate a treasure trove of data, gaining deeper insights into retail locations can be challenging.
A retail audit helps you verify existing data, such as stock levels and sales volume, but it also provides other important information, such as:
- Assessing visual merchandising
- Planogram compliance (such as number of SKUs present, shelf tag accuracy, and shelf locations)
- Damaged products
- Competitor activities
- Pricing accuracy
Retail audit software has empowered stores to conduct these critical audits more frequently and efficiently by replacing paper processes with digital checklists. In addition, digital audits enable advanced capabilities that weren’t possible before, such as uploading pictures of problem areas and automatically analyzing collected data.
Read on to learn why retail audits are essential and how upgrading to digital processes further enhances their benefits.
What is a Retail Audit?
Audits take many forms, such as safety audits, operational audits, or financial audits. The goal of any type of audit is to determine the real-world status of the chosen area by gathering and analyzing data.
Retail audits aim to discover the present state of brick-and-mortar stores. These specialized audits gather information from retail locations to help businesses understand the state of their stores that can be leveraged to create or update processes, re-evaluate visual merchandising programs, or alter marketing strategies.
These audits may be conducted by the store itself, district management, or even third-party vendors to determine if their products are displayed.
Types of Store Audits
Retail audits come in many forms, each with specific goals and objectives. A few common types of store audits include:
- Merchandising Report: These reports focus on the products to fully understand how they’re displayed and handled by the store. A merchandising report has vital objectives, such as:
- Units ordered
- Shelf appearance
- Product condition
- Market Audit: How do your customers feel about your store and products? A market audit aims to find out by surveying customers, getting a feel of the mood of people browsing, and checking out the competition.
- Loss Prevention Audit: These necessary audits aim to understand how many products are stolen, which ones are stolen the most, and where they are stocked. The goal is to understand how to improve processes to decrease loss prevention.
Top Benefits of Regular Store Audits
Why should you conduct frequent store audits? Fortunately, digital audit software has made them more efficient and effective so your team can regularly carry out audits. Some key benefits of store audits are:
- Identifying and solving visual merchandising issues: Displaying or pricing products incorrectly can reduce sales volume. Retail audits identify and correct these issues before they make a more significant impact.
- Gather real-world data about brick-and-mortar locations: Data-driven insights can help your business in several ways, but it can be challenging to gain non-sales data from retail locations. Audits solve this problem by gathering information to help management make informed decisions.
- Finding maintenance or operational issues: Loss prevention and poor maintenance can significantly affect your business. Retail audits help examine these issues closely so that corrective action can be taken to minimize their impact.
- Implementing new in-store processes: A store audit helps you ensure your on-site team follows any new in-store processes, such as updating to new planograms or loss prevention strategies.
- Building relationships with store managers and staff: Having auditors regularly visit stores throughout your district helps build bonds with the manager and staff. These bonds help them feel more included in the organization, which may improve work satisfaction and productivity.
Potent Benefits of Using Retail Audit Software
Retail audits have conventionally been done with pen-and-paper checklists and written descriptions of problems. Upgrading to retail audit software provides several meaningful improvements, including:
- Easily collect and analyze collected data: You might have five auditors in different locations, but you won’t have to wait for them to return to receive their data. Instead, digital audit software automatically sends it to your dashboard for immediate review.
- Enable auditors to take and upload media directly: Pictures, audio, and video can be captured on the auditor’s mobile device and uploaded directly to your audit software platform. This entirely eliminates the need for lengthy descriptions of problems and improves efficiency and accuracy.
- Eliminate the transcription process: Companies have been digitizing audit data for years, but it’s been processed afterward by transcribers who input the data from paper checklists. Not only is this tedious and time-consuming, but it’s also error-prone. Audit software eliminates this process entirely.
- Geo-tagging and time-stamping data: Understanding when and where a task was completed can be helpful, and audit software empowers companies to capture this data automatically.
- Capture signatures electronically: You may have processes requiring staff or managers’ signatures. Instead of relying on paper signatures for these as well, you can digitally capture signatures that can be processed immediately.
Partner with monitorQA for Leading-Edge Retail Audits
Retail audits are vital to helping decision makers understand the real-world status of every store in their district. However, paper processes significantly slow down these audits and leave room for human error.
It’s time to upgrade your retail audit process for faster and more accurate audits. Ready to get started? Contact us today to talk to an audit software expert to see how monitorQA can transform your processes.