Retail audits engage owners/franchisees by continually reinforcing organizational standards and best practices. An audit is not a passive activity. It actively engages the store owner or franchisee to continually improve the store according to best practices. Describe each standard, attach a photo, assign each deficiency to somebody for resolution and engage your audience by showing them what success looks like.
Make standards accessible and widely available! Standards are of little value unless they are disseminated and reviewed frequently by store, operations and head office personnel alike. An old dusty standards binder does not help you achieve compliance; a living and actionable retail audit does.
Get store managers and assistant managers to participate in the review of the audit. Get their input and feedback. Most operators are keen to drive their business forward, their participation is absolutely critical to the success of their business and the brand.
Use the action plan as a vehicle for improvement. Retail is all about execution. An electronic checklist and action plan are means to an end. The action plan is an opportunity to apply corrective actions to problem areas. Generating the action plan should be a) automated and b) weaved into the workflow of the district manager’s audit. If each problem area is an ailment, the action plan is the cure. Don’t leave the store without one!
Treat each and every audit as an opportunity to dispense “continuous training”. Learning and training, particularly textbook learning, can be abstract, a store audit isn’t. A store audit is measurable, actionable, field training and a unique opportunity for store and district management to observe, correct and train.
This post is part of the “Retail Audit Best Practice” series.