Retail News | 10.04.2018


Steps in The Audit Process

After realizing the inherent value of retail audits, how can your company guarantee that it’s executing them properly? Consider the following procedure to help your team make the most of every store visit.

1. Articulate your goals.

Determine the main objectives of your retail audit. Are you primarily concerned with monitoring competitor activity? Or do you care about how quickly your products are moving off the shelf? Put in writing exactly what you are trying to measure through the audit and assign numeric or qualitative values to each goal as a parameter for success.

2. Design audit criteria.

Select the exact questions you will be asking in the audit and the acceptable answer types. Will you use “yes/no” questions, have reps write-in responses, or use a scale such as 1-5? Avoid frivolous questions; only ask for information that can help your business improve (i.e. brand performance, competitor activity, retailer compliance, etc.) 

3. Schedule appointments.

Once you know what you’re trying to gain from the retail audit, it’s time to make it happen. Aim for consistency in terms of who you send to which accounts. This way, individual reps can become extremely knowledgeable about their stores and build a rapport with store management. Recognize that some retailers might want to be notified before reps will be visiting their store. Also be mindful to schedule reps for an appropriate number of audits as determined by their assigned territory.

4. Gather data and photos.

Make sure reps collect data that directly corresponds to the goals and criteria you’ve laid out. It might make sense to have some retail survey questions be marked as “mandatory” if they’re extremely significant to company objectives. Including photos in audits is a great way to depict exactly what’s happening in a store at any given time, and promotes accountability and compliance. Review the mediums reps are using to collect data and consider how to optimize them, ideally using software.

5. Evaluate results.

Once audits are completed, organize your data in an easily digestible format. Numerical values can be depicted graphically, whereas notes could be tagged by a select quality. Check to see how the results you’ve achieved stack up against your pre-determined KPIs. 

6. Implement changes.

After analyzing the findings, execute on what needs to be done in the short term. For example, perhaps you discover that a particular SKU is performing significantly worse than others across several locations and you decide to pull it from shelves immediately. Alternatively, long-term business decisions can be made after you’ve amassed data over a lengthier time period.

7. Repeat the process.

After conducting several retail audits, you’ll be able to make adjustments to your retail audit process as needed to tailor it to your company’s unique needs. Regularly conducting audits will allow your business to be as agile and rapidly adjust to the ever changing retail landscape.

Reference source: Repsly

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