Many retail store owners, franchisors, and grocers deploy specialised teams to conduct store audits regularly in all of their stores. There’s a saying that a retail audit is just essential for a brand’s health, as regular check-ups are for a human’s health. So, what makes retail audits so crucial to businesses? Let’s understand.
CPG companies get retail audits conducted to analyse display and product placement to increase sales. Often reduced to an exercise aimed at checking the inventory of products in stock and on shelves and to ensure product availability for customers, retail auditing is much more than that as it gives valuable insights to the consumer behaviour, effectiveness of promotions, and marketing trends. But that’s not all. Several more reasons underline the importance of store audits.
To improve the in-store experience.
The implementation of omnichannel retail strategies and rapid expansion of the online market ecosystem means that the in-store experience has to be top-notch to catch and retain consumers’ interests. Further, a consumer must be made to engage with as many touchpoints as possible when he/she visits a store. It helps create a holistic and seamless shopping experience that fulfills the expectations of the brand. While browsing through the product catalogue, reading the labels of products, and collecting an item in-store, each step of the customers’ in-store journey should be made easy and effortless. It is possible only when each store meets standards set by the brand(s), time after time. When field teams conduct retail audit, they ensure that the store is all prepared to make customers’ shopping journey convenient.
To make stores visually appealing.
Visual appeal is no more limited to the systematic placement of products and grouping them according to categories and sub-categories. It has now expanded to identifying inconsistencies in overall store presentation (lighting, space management, etc.), visual merchandising, and brand compliance. It also means that from the colour of shelves to the colour of walls, from hoarding at the entrance to the information on discount/sales in the store, every small detail matters to capture the attention of the customer. Given the fact that attention spans of humans have been shrinking, visual cues for customers to choose your brand play a significant role in increasing customer engagement.
To identify and solve operational issues.
Regular store audits also help understand what’s working best at the operational level. Maintenance and storage of products in stock, cleanliness and hygiene practices at the store, the efficacy of discount schemes, the behaviour of retail staff towards customers, etc., a retail audit provides detailed information on all such aspects. Besides, it also lets brand owners identify and close gaps in task management, employee productivity, and brand/venue compliance.
Organising regular retail audits requires concentrated and streamlined efforts by an experienced team. Therefore, more and more companies are adopting advanced technologies to make their retail audits easier, quicker, and more relevant. By choosing to work with a skilled retail audit team that utilises hi-tech retail audit software, brand owners can now receive highly accurate retail audit data in real-time. Easier to read, interpret, and analyse, this visually presented retail audit data helps them make informed and data-driven decisions.
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