Management by Walking

Management by walking is a style of management that favors barrier-free chance encounters and face-to-face interactions. Nowhere is this more effective than in brick-and-mortar retail where the only outcome that ultimately matters, the end result of every other initiative and program, is whether the customer experience in the store is conducive to sales. Are your … Continue reading Management by Walking

Managing Retail Audit Expectations and Dealing With a Low Score

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 action plan suggest?  It … Continue reading Managing Retail Audit Expectations and Dealing With a Low Score

Retail Audit Calibration – Purpose and Best Practices

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 Calibration – Purpose and Best Practices

People vs. Forms – Retail Performance Requires Both

Structured form data and the district manager's own experience and personal touch (aka heuristics) are sometimes presented as alternative methodologies for the purpose of retail audits.  Structured data consists of largely yes/no answers to mostly static questions on a form.  When a district manager fill-out a form that rates the store against the brand's standards and … Continue reading People vs. Forms – Retail Performance Requires Both

Who Benefits from Retail Audits?

On this blog, we often argue that retail audits drive sales, increase customer satisfaction and mitigate risks in multi-unit retail.  But how exactly will retail audits benefit you?  Here are some of the benefits you might expect from retail audits, grouped by role. Head Office Lower total cost of ownership than Excel™ and paper-based visits. … Continue reading Who Benefits from Retail Audits?

How Much do Retail Audits Cost?

Did you know there are highly efficient, largely automated systems for conducting retail audits today?  Some organizations devise their own system, one or more "checklists", usually in Excel. Is it cost-effective?  Let us compare how much retail audits cost, with and without retail audit software. Excel and Paper Audits Audit Preparation Audit preparation consists of scheduling the … Continue reading How Much do Retail Audits Cost?

Do You Need Retail Audit Software?

Asking a retail audit software vendor whether you need retail audit software may be like asking a shoe salesman whether you really need shoes. And yet the answer may surprise you. If your retail chain is small, primarily corporate-owned and you don't serve or prepare food, you may not need the software at all. The economics of … Continue reading Do You Need Retail Audit Software?

Why do Quick Service Restaurants Need Retail Audits?

A retail audit system helps multi-unit retailers achieve store-level compliance with operational, service and merchandising standards. How can retail audits help Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) and why do QSRs need retail audits? Here are 10 years why QSRs industry needs retail audits. 1. Health and safety When preparing and serving food, compliance with standards and … Continue reading Why do Quick Service Restaurants Need Retail Audits?

Are you Still Doing Retail Audits on Paper?

Paper is arguably an easy target. We are still waiting for the paper-less office that was promised decades ago. In the last 20 years, technology has enabled an exponential growth in communications and with it, the amount of information that eventually gets printed. Realizing it's an easy target, we do not want to attack paper … Continue reading Are you Still Doing Retail Audits on Paper?

Mystery Shopping vs. Retail Audit

District manager-led audits focus on the process A mystery shopping program and district manager audits ultimately address different needs and have vastly different outcomes. A district manager audit essentially amounts to “quality assurance”.  Using retail audit software, the district manager follows a compliance process that is regular and actionable.  The visit is meant to be … Continue reading Mystery Shopping vs. Retail Audit

The Cost of Merchandising Non-Compliance

It is often said that success in retail boils down to execution.  How well do retailers execute today and what is the cost of merchandising execution non-compliance? We had the opportunity to discuss the current state of in-store execution with James Tenser, Director at the In-Store Implementation Network.  Below are some of the key findings … Continue reading The Cost of Merchandising Non-Compliance

The Compliant IA Workflow

Compliant IA implements an end-to-end, closed-loop retail audit and store execution workflow.  This workflow allows the organization to find, address and follow-up on problem areas.  It works as follows: Step 1: Create forms/checklists at head-office. Build forms using our web-based Form Builder (forms may also be built in Excel and uploaded). Target specific stores, formats … Continue reading The Compliant IA Workflow

staff high-fiving

6 Reasons Why You Need to Measure Brand Standards

Most organisations publish internal standards for customer service, merchandising and health & safety. But publishing standards is not enough, here are 6 reasons why you should go beyond publishing and actually measure compliance with standards. Measurement breeds compliance You can publish standards and train your staff but only when you measure compliance do you achieve … Continue reading 6 Reasons Why You Need to Measure Brand Standards

Retail Audit Misconceptions

A survey by In-Store Implementation Network asked "How do you measure performance of in-store merchandising?" Twenty-eight percent of respondents "make assumption that the job got done" and 23% "do not measure in-store execution" at all.  And yet, the same research estimates that non-compliance costs the industry 1% of sales annually. While most retailers know of the … Continue reading Retail Audit Misconceptions