Welcome to the table of contents for the “Retail Audit Best Practice” series. You may click on the title of a best practice below or view all retail audit best practices. 1. Training is Necessary but not Sufficient. Find out why a training program is necessary but not sufficient. #1: Training Is Necessary but not Sufficient 2. … Continue reading “Retail Audit Best Practice” Series – Table of Contents
Scoring a store’s compliance with operational, merchandising and service standards can elicit emotionally-charged reactions. Most operators/franchisees take pride in their work and can struggle with a disappointing audit score and district manager guidance. Was the district manager too harsh or unfair? Is my store really lacking in certain areas as the audit’s score, notes and … Continue reading Retail Audit Best Practice #9: Perfection is Elusive, Seize the Opportunity
At the heart of any successful retail audit program lies a well thought-out, field-tested form. A form is a collection of operating standards and best practices. What goes on the form is a reflection of what matters to the brand at a given point in time (strategic initiatives, seasonal programs, etc…), what it is required … Continue reading Retail Audit Best Practice #8: Start Small, Calibrate, Scale Fast
Mystery shopping vs. retail audits A mystery shopping program and District Manager-led store audits address different needs and have vastly different outcomes. A District Manager’s audit essentially amounts to “quality assurance”. Provided the District Manager is equipped with the right tools, she will follow a compliance process that is regular, unequivocal and actionable. The … Continue reading Retail Audit Best Practice #7: Store Execution is a Core Competency. Do not Outsource It.
Retailers who do monitor store compliance with standards sometimes rely on paper, a process that is slow, error-prone, labor-intensive, requires shipping and storage and often deprives the organization of the analytics it needs to make informed business decisions. While tracking compliance on paper is arguably better than not tracking it at all, retail audit software can … Continue reading Retail Audit Best Practice #6: Say No to Paper, Excel and Email. Automate!
What is an action plan? The action plan is an opportunity to apply corrective actions to problem areas. It designates an individual responsible for rectifying each problem (anything deemed substandard or non-compliant by the district manager during the audit) and a target date for resolution. By doing this, the action plan fosters ownership and accountability … Continue reading Retail Audit Best Practice #5: Close the Loop with the Action Plan
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 … Continue reading Retail Audit Best Practice #4: Engage the Store
Each franchisee is a brand ambassador Each franchise operator is a brand ambassador who speaks for the entire brand. A customer does not know, and does not care, whose name is on the franchise agreement. Disappoint a customer in one store and they may very well stop going to all stores! A failure to execute … Continue reading Retail Audit Best Practice #3: Treat Each Store as a Brand Ambassador
Different franchisees execute…differently Assuming your brand consists of more than a handful of stores, you cannot know how stores really execute unless you have processes and auditing software to help you with this. Operators execute differently. Franchisees may have different inclinations and priorities based on their own experience and sensibilities. There is nothing wrong with … Continue reading Retail Audit Best Practice #2: Execute Consistently While Keeping Each Location Unique
Most, if not all, multi-unit retailers have some form of store training program in place. This training is often delivered electronically through online courses. Training often supplements the operating standards and guidelines put forth by head office. Is training alone sufficient? Store staff may be trained, answer the quiz and pass the test, but are … Continue reading Retail Audit Best Practice #1: Training is Necessary but not Sufficient