Excel and Email vs. Specialized Software

Time Savings Graph

Most customers come to a retail audit vendor like Compliant IA with an existing retail audit “system” developed in house.  It usually involves Excel™, email, more follow-up emails and phone calls and a large investment in human sweat equity for compiling and summarizing the data.  Anyone who has ever experienced the pain of collecting, distributing and compiling data in this manner will invariably and eventually ask: Is there a better way?

Rather than give a self-serving answer to this question, let us tell the tale of retail execution, throughout the life cycle of the audit, before and after software automation.

Step 1: Schedule the audit


The auditor schedules the audit using the company’s group calendar application.  But watch out! Some audits are unannounced and should not be disclosed to the store’s management ahead of time. So schedule and notify recipients carefully!

AFTER AUTOMATION: Retail Audit Software

Log-in to Compliant IA.  Schedule a audit with the built-in calendar.  Check-off whether the audit is announced or not.  Let Compliant IA do the rest: handle all the messaging, send reminders and control visibility by user role.

Step 2: Prepare for the audit


Dig up these old reports! Check your emails and notes.  Look, compare and analyze past audits.  Manually compile and look for trends, repeat unacceptables and location to district averages.  If you have any notes, prepare them ahead of time and save them to the Excel™ spreadsheet.

AFTER AUTOMATION: Retail Audit Software

Log-in to Compliant IA.  Look up the store and past audits, pull ready-made reports and look at the trends, repeat unacceptables and location to district averages.  Add your notes to the scheduled audit (notes will be automatically rolled into the audit when it starts).

Step 3: Conduct the audit


Using your laptop, open the Excel™ spreadsheet for the audit.  Include the information about the store, information about you and the current date and time.  Now fill-out the form. Be careful not to drop your laptop as you walk around and remember to click save often not to lose any data!

AFTER AUTOMATION: Retail Audit Software

Log-in to Compliant IA using a smartphone, tablet or laptop.  Click “Start audit”.  Geolocation selects the location you are in, all location details and dates are pre-set.  Walk around the location and fill-out the form (one hand operation can be used on the mobile).  Don’t worry if your device loses battery, or if you want to use a different device, you can switch device at any time and pick up where you left off!

District manager retail audit in a store with a tablet

Step 4:  Action plan and post-audit follow-up


Finalize the audit spreadsheet and create an action plan.  Email this audit and action plan to the store and perhaps copy your director.  Remember to follow up with the store in a week to make sure that deficiencies are being addressed.   If you manage multiple stores, you will need a process to manage audits, follow-ups and reminders.

AFTER AUTOMATION: Retail Audit Software

Assign deficiencies to individuals using the built-in action plan.  Let the system contact the individuals responsible and let the system indicate what has or hasn’t been done, by whom, where and when.  You can get an up-to-the-minute report, for one store or all stores, at any time.

Step 5: Reporting


Want to know your best/worst locations, items, regions and programs?  It’s data-crunching time with Excel™!  You will soon experience a syndrome known as “Excel Induced Headache”.  Excel™ is a powerful business tool but it was never designed for complex data analytics (of course, you already know this, you have just spent 4 hours trying to compile data across a dozen spreadsheets).

AFTER AUTOMATION: Retail Audit Software

Log-in to Compliant IA.  Chose one of the 25 canned reports.  Best and worst locations, items, programs, etc… Look at trends, repeat unacceptables…  No calculations, no formulas, no linked spreadsheets to deal with. Just press “click” and have your data summarized and compiled.  And yes, you can still use Excel™!  All Compliant IA reports are exportable to Excel™ or PDF.

Choose a vendor in six steps

Let us help you choose a retail audit software vendor, in six steps.

Compliantia - Audit Guide-02

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