Know Where You Stand: Conduct Your Own Retail Audit

I never thought I’d be excited by something involving the word “audit.”

We all know that a tax audit is a legendarily painful experience.┬áThe word “audit” conjures up the idea of tedium, and auditors have the image of being, well, boring people.

However, if you are involved in the world of retail, the decision to conduct a retail audit can be one of the best decisions you ever make for your business.

The exciting part of a retail audit to me is that with changes in technology, it’s become an extremely powerful way for companies to take charge of the information that affects their business.

You see, previously, companies had to rely on third-parties to conduct a retail audit for them.

Third-party retail audits have a few drawbacks:

  • They are expensive
  • They are not customized for your company’s information needs
  • They often collect information meant to be sold to multiple businesses, including your competitors

But now we have entered the age of the do-it-yourself, or DIY Retail Audit. Companies can tailor their audits to the specific information they need, often at a fraction of the cost.

What’s changed about technology to bring about the age of the DIY Retail Audit?

It’s that device sitting on your desk, or in your purse, or in your pocket, or in your briefcase. It’s the nearly ubiquitous mobile touch-screen device – a tablet or a smartphone.

Mobile technology has allowed the creation of apps including the combination of barcode scanning technology with interactive questionnaires and the ability to take photos and video.

Most of your team members already have one of these devices. Simply have them upload an app with a pre-programmed questionnaire, and the can start collecting a multitude of real-time, highly accurate information about what products are at what stores, and laid out in what configuration.

Talk about having an information advantage!

If you are a distributor, your representatives can help you monitor the placement of your and your competitors’ products at different retailers.

If you are a product manufacturer, you can collect information directly from the source rather than relying on the stores themselves or third-party firms.

If you are a retailer, you can collect comprehensive information about your own stores as well as competitors’ stores.

If you want to learn more about how to conduct a DIY retail audit, I will be hosting a webinar sponsored by Survey Analytics, the makers of the SurveyPocket app, which can be used to conduct retail audits.

Here is a link to the webinar:

About Dana Stanley

Dana is the Editor-in-Chief of Research Access.

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