This article will briefly discuss
- the importance of retail audits;
- what is the difference between retail store audit and visual merchandising audit?;
- tips to effectively perform retail store audits;
- elements of a retail audit checklist;
- retail app that can help you conduct more convenient retail store audits;
- case study: why retailer Coles uses iAuditor; and
- downloadable retail store audit checklists you can customize and use for free.
A retail audit (or store audit) is a process of gathering information to assess and analyze store performance over time. Retail industries are advised to perform retail store audits to avoid the following:
- Selling of product that is beyond expiration dates which can cause your store hefty fines from regulators;
- Inappropriate marketing campaigns and strategy that can lead to lawsuits and public criticism;
- Non-compliance with safety requirements that can injure buyers and prompt government recalls;
- Inconsistent customer service that can damage your store reputation; and
- Unmanaged retail store performance that may lead to bankruptcy and store closure.
While there is a regional difference in term usage between ‘store’ audit and ‘shop’ audit (both are essentially the same), retail audits and visual merchandising audits are functionally different, primarily in scope. A retail audit usually encompasses general aspects of store operations such as inventory, productivity, safety, and merchandising. Meanwhile, a visual merchandising audit focuses on evaluating product location and displays, shelf space, and pricing and promotions.
Retail audits are essential tasks to monitor your retail store operations. They are usually performed to evaluate retail store products, identify improvement needs, and monitor advertising impact to your customers including promotion and marketing trends. In order to conduct retail store audits efficiently, you can follow these useful tips:
State the Objective of the Retail Audit
Retail businesses should be clear in identifying their goals. Retail audits should determine the things you would like to accomplish as well as the areas you would like to improve. Stating your business objective helps in analyzing the focus of your audit.
Standardize the Process
A scheduled audit helps ensure business compliance with regulatory standards. Allocate enough time to perform a retail audit without interrupting business operations and customer experience. It is recommended to conduct regular store audits before opening and after closing the retail stores.
Thoroughly Inspect Facilities and Equipment
It is important to inspect electronic devices such as Point-of-Sale (POS) system, cash registers, printers, and phones before store operation starts. It helps ensure functionality and working condition of equipment to avoid any unnecessary delays and customer attrition.
Monitor Retail Display
Retail stores have to ensure all perishable products are within sell-by dates to prevent customer complaints and legal issues. They have to check, evaluate, and monitor display products if replacement or replenishment is needed to guarantee its availability to the customers.
Ensure a Safe and Secure environment
According to Gary Bonnett, QHSE Director from BOS Solutions “Everything has risk. It is our job as business professionals to control and minimize risks to an acceptable level. Uncontrolled risk can negatively affect businesses in many different ways. None of which lead to safe and happy work environments, productive and efficient process, and optimal profitability.”
With a retail compliance audit, you can ensure a safe and secure environment for not only your customers but also your employees. It helps avoid accidents, musculoskeletal injuries, health issues, and even fatalities.
Observe Employee Performance and Productivity
Retail audits should not only focus on the retail store and its environment but should also consider evaluating employees and their performances. Observe how they interact with customers and follow safety regulations and protocols. Evaluate how store managers perform their duties on handling staff to achieve the business goals.
Communicate Improvement Measures
Retail audit reports are necessary to allow business owners to analyze and assess store performances including net loss, profit, and Return of Investments (ROI). The analytics dashboard is helpful to easily identify the changes needed to maximize product sales.
Use a Retail Audit Checklist
Through a compliance audit software, retail audit checklists can be made and used as an effective, step-by-step guide in performing store inspections. It helps in gathering comprehensive data to easily identify in-store working conditions, frequently failed items, and improvement needs, which can be abridged in a professional retail store visit report.
A retail audit can help improve the quality of service of a branch or a retail store. It is performed by supervisors or store managers to assess the improvement needs of the business. A retail audit checklist is a tool used to assess the safe working conditions of the business that help protect both employees and customers. It usually covers the following:
A retail audit helps assess the goal and strategy of the business. Assessing customer satisfaction is an important element to ensure engagement with the product or services offered by the business. It is a way to organize and validate the effectiveness of the layout, promotional material, and product display of the retail stores.
Employees are important elements to achieve a common business goal. It is vital to ensure they have attended training on different processes including product knowledge, emergency procedures, and security protocols. Observe if they are following personal hygiene practices and customer service etiquette.
Maintaining the cleanliness of a retail facility can ensure workplace safety and establish an appealing facade to encourage customers to enter the store. It can help improve a healthy environment, employee productivity, and efficiency. Any potential hazards that can be overlooked can cause unforeseen incidents. Staff must diligently sanitize the high touch surfaces as often as possible especially in this time of COVID 19 pandemic.
The iAuditor Retail Audit Software & App allows you to transform mobile devices into powerful auditing tools and perform efficient store audits (e.g. retail compliance audits, general retail store operations reviews, visual merchandising audits).
Get started by browsing our collection of retail store audit templates and modifying them according to your retail needs. iAuditor by SafetyCulture enables you to do the following:
- Perform real-time data collection;
- Monitor daily retail operations including cleanliness and safety;
- Capture unlimited photos of merchandise and highlight defects by annotating the images;
- Assign corrective actions for non-compliance;
- Generate comprehensive and real-time reports on your mobile and share it with your organization;
- Save reports securely in a cloud;
- Schedule your retail audits easily; and
- Monitor trends and frequently failed items via the Analytics dashboard of the iAuditor Retail Audit Software.
How iAuditor by SafetyCulture help Coles find the profound impact of using smartphones with their processes
“iAuditor empowers us to give the customers a shop that they can trust. It also gives us the ease and simplicity to let stores really get ahead of the game to deliver on opportunities to improve.” – Simon McBurney, Senior Delivery Analyst
Retail Store Audit Checklist Templates
Retail Store Operations Checklist
This Retail Store Operations Checklist can be used to evaluate the following: employees’ product knowledge, facility cleanliness, merchandise and window display’s appeal to customers, and safety of item storage. You can download this retail store operations checklist and customize it to meet your store’s standards.
Retail Store Daily Checklist - Opening
Use this Retail Store Daily Checklist to confirm retail opening tasks which may include conducting toolbox talk meetings, and ensuring all merchandise on display are clean, undamaged, and up to date. This retail store manager daily checklist can also help outline guidelines on checking electronic devices (e.g. the POS system, cash registers, printers, and phones) if they are functioning properly. Use this retail store daily checklist with the iAuditor Retail Audit App to easily document photo evidence of defective items and generate reports on-the-go.
Retail Store Daily Checklist - Closing
Before locking the doors after the hours of operation, it is important to ensure that all items are secured and inspected. You can use this Retail Store Daily Closing Checklist to confirm if store facilities are clean and in good working condition, product inventory was updated, store equipment were shut down, and surveillance cameras and alarm systems are working. Use iAuditor to utilize this digital retail store manager daily checklist on any mobile device and automatically save all store audit reports via cloud-based storage.
Retail Store Checklist Template
Use this Retail Store Checklist Template converted using iAuditor to conduct regular retail audits, quality assurance checks, and safety inspections. With the iAuditor retail audit software, you can easily generate a comprehensive retail store visit report that summarizes your comprehensive evaluation of the retail store. You can also use insights from store visit reports to identify areas for improvement by using iAuditor Analytics to look for frequently failed items.
An inventory template is used to create a basic list of your assets. It can be used in different industries such as manufacturing, office, construction, etc. It is used by auditors to update the business’ inventory list. This template has been built to performing the following:
- Add an item to your inventory list;
- Record labels or product numbers;
- Capture photos of the products;
- List the quantity and net value;
- Complete the audit by confirming the total number of inventory items and its value; and
- Affix a digital signature to validate your audit.
Retail 6S Lean Safety Checklist
This Retail 6S Lean Safety Checklist includes safety in addition to the existing 5S program (sort out, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain). Use this template for retail audits to identify hazards or potential risks while performing tasks in the retail store and provide risk rating and hazard control measures to be implemented. Use iAuditor to generate on-site reports and capture photos of red tagged items
Retail Customer Satisfaction Survey
This Retail Customer Satisfaction Survey can be used to collect feedback from customers who visit your retail shop. This retail audits survey will ask the customers about the shop’s appearance, products and services offered, pricing, staff, and the overall customer purchasing experience. Set up this satisfaction survey via kiosk and use iAuditor to gather data and determine what areas need to be improved using Analytics.
Visual Merchandising Audit Checklist
Use this visual merchandising audit checklist template to perform compliance checks of your visual merchandising program across retail locations. After the retail store audit, a merchandising audit report is instantly generated and immediately shared to stakeholders for faster decision-making.
Bonus! Retail Mystery Shopper Checklist
This Retail Mystery Shopper Checklist can be used to ensure that retail staff follows the standard processes of the company. Use iAuditor the world’s most powerful digital inspection app to assess staff’s attitude and behavior when assisting and acknowledging a customer. Record your observations and recommendations and generate reports on areas for improvement.