When someone mentions the word ‘audit’, the majority of people want to run for the hills. The word itself has become negative over time and for good reason. An audit is an investigation into how you are doing. It’s not a traditional audit in the sense that your finances are being investigated however; a retail audit is purely an investigation to see how your store is doing and what improvements can be made.
Although it may not seem like it, a retail audit can be very beneficial, as it may pick up on things that you are unaware of. Did you know that retail audits can vastly increase sales, as well as increase customer satisfaction? But how exactly will retail audits benefit you? Here are some of the benefits you might expect from retail audits, grouped by role.
A retail audit is a study of a selected sample of shops, which is usually provided by a field marketing services agency. The audit is a service that provides information about how well a brand or product is selling, whether stock is being used efficiently, effectiveness of store displays and whether the shop is doing everything it can to maximise sales, from promotions to free samples.
Retail audits have substantial, benefits for both the company and the customer. They help maximise the effectiveness of in-store execution, protect the brand and the best thing is the full cost of the audit will be fully regained, with extra profits created by the improvements the audit suggests.
Pretty much everyone associated with the company will see some kind of benefit in retail auditing. From head office, to the customer even. Here is what everyone should expect to gain from the audit:
- Head Office- the people at the top of the retail chain will be able to lower the cost of ownership. Whilst they can do this using spreadsheets, their own ideas and improvements can be lacking and having an external source view the situation can offer some new light on the situation. As a result the money saved can be passed down onto the consumer.
The head office can also track and measure the stores performance in real time, instead of reading a report submitted either monthly, quarterly or sometimes even yearly! In addition to this, they can also track staff members to see if they are doing everything they can to maximise profits, or if they need help in certain areas like customer service.
- Retail Mangers– will be able to Increase in-store merchandising without spending more money. The audit will ensure that the seasonal and merchandising programs you already pay for are effective at maximising sales.
The audit will also alert the manager to any safety concerns and methods to improve.
If your management is part of a chain, then the retail audit can increase sales across all branches. Whatever changes are made in one store, will be made in all.
They can also gain consistent access to previous performance data at all the branches and single out any past problems to see if improvements have been carried out.
- The customer- this will Increase customer satisfaction. If your store is run perfectly, then people are more likely to shop there. If the store is well run then they are more likely to be a returning customer. Not only this, but they will also recommend you to other people and word of mouth is a surprising powerful way to advertise.
Checking out the health & safety standards and making room for improvement if necessary will also improve the customer experience. If the customer is happy then they are less likely to complain. A reduction in customer complaints means sales increase.
Each retail audit is unique. You will never get the same experience as another company or even the same experience each time you choose to use the service. Each time you do decide to retail audit, something new will come up. With each audit programme being tailored to your specific needs, you will save lots of money that would be wasted on improvement programs that simply won’t be as effective. If you feel like standards are slipping and are not really sure where to look to improve things an audit will set you on the right track, while you can concentrate on more important things.
You can always refer back to this data in the future and apply it to other brands and products that you think would benefit.