What is a Retail Audit?

A retail audit is a smart checklist. It is based on a form, has points, best-practice pictures, supporting files, conditional items, critical items and action plan recommendations. Retail audits, also called store walks or store inspections, help to check standards and to track deficiencies.

They let businesses assign corrective actions to resolve issues before they damage your reputation or bottom line. A retail audit allows head office to guarantee company standards and to deploy programs and policies in full, on time, in every location.


Retail audits promote higher overall compliance with brand standards at the store level. How? The practice of sending a district manager/CPG field representative into a franchise/store demonstrates compliance is a priority for the brand: the company is committing resources to this endeavor.

Completing the audit in store also reinforces brand standards for district managers/CPG reps. Describe the standard, attach a best practice photo or document, and weigh points or flag certain items so that auditors can easily identify company priorities.


Retail audits are not a passive activity. They offer the opportunity for members of head office to talk with store leadership and employees. Ask questions, listen, and offer resources.

Wondering more about who, when and how to conduct retail audits? Retail Audits – The Definitive Guide explains how to use retail audits to execute your operations programs and ensure merchandising and loss-prevention standards are followed.

If you need to collect or validate data in stores/geographic locations, this definitive guide to retail audits is for you!

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Retail Audit Checklists

To help you get going, the Compliant IA blog offers a number of free, industry specific retail audit checklists:

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