Sloppy product placement, incorrect signage and promotions, and out of stock displays don’t just look bad to consumers—they can cost brands millions of dollars a year in lost sales. That’s why enforcing merchandising standards and making sure stores are brand consistent with your products is so important in retail.
But that’s not always easy to do when points of sale are scattered across cities, countries, and even continents, and conducting store audits can be costly, time-consuming, and inefficient if you’re stuck using emails, spreadsheets, or—worst of all—pen and paper, as a surprising number of retailers still do.
That’s where retail audit software comes in
With retail audit software, brands can conduct comprehensive store audits efficiently and easily from practically anywhere in the world. Results are immediately uploaded to the cloud, giving managers immediate access to insights that would previously take weeks to receive and analyze. And the two-way line of communication opened between HQ and the field allows team members to ask questions and receive clarification from superiors, no matter where they’re located.
Still, choosing the right retail audit software can be a pain, especially if you’re unsure what features to look for.
Don’t know where to start? Ask these questions when selecting your retail audit software, and you’ll head in the right direction.
7 Questions to Ask When Choosing Retail Audit Software
Is it mobile?
Forget the old days of conducting audits with pen and paper, or through countless Excel spreadsheets over email. Retail audit software is increasingly going mobile. Not only does it make it easy for field reps to conduct audits remotely, but it saves time (and money) when it comes to sharing that information with key stakeholders (i.e., no more trips to the post office for field reps, impatiently awaiting the arrival of emails, or sorting through spreadsheets in shared drives).
Look for data collection solutions that are compatible with iOS, Android, or tablet. And, if the idea of bulk ordering new mobile devices for field reps isn’t ideal, consider a service that offers bring your own device (or BYOD) implementation, which eliminates the cost of outfitting your staff with new devices and costly hardware training.
Can it capture photos?
Visual accuracy is key to a successful store audit. When field reps capture and collect images on their mobile devices, merchandising and brand managers get to see what their products displayed at each location actually look like, and can provide corrections or suggestions if need be.
Can data collected during the retail audit be synced in real time?
To deliver brand consistency at each location, managers and supervisors need immediate access to insights for critical decision making. And one of the biggest problems with conducting store audits is the time it takes to collect paper forms and checklists.
Retail audit software bypasses that, allowing field reps to upload results instantaneously and automatically once they’ve completed each survey or task.
Does the retail audit software allow managers to update, edit, and automate checklists?
Anything can happen in the world of retail, which is why the right retail audit software should provide managers with capabilities that allow complete customization regarding forms, surveys, tasks, and checklists. That way, making mid-season, or even mid-campaign, changes can be done in a flash, ensuring data collection is up-to-date and relevant to your organization.
Is it scalable?
Is business booming? Then you probably want retail audit software that’s nimble enough to grow with your company, and offers reliable data collection at a fair price. After all: if you want your product displays to appear brand consistent, you can’t ignore the way new products are positioned and stocked in the stores that carry them.
How easy is it to implement and use?
An out-of-the-box software solution should be just that: a perfect fix with minimal effort to set up.
Get your IT department involved in your initial talks with providers to ensure no specific hardware or complex installations are needed to get things running. At the same time, look for software so straightforward and intuitive even a Luddite could use it. Do both, and your deployment will go smoothly.
Can you test or demo the retail audit software ahead of time?
Every brand is unique. That’s why companies should either test or demo a retail audit software provider’s capabilities before buying it to make sure it’s the right fit.
Not all retail audit software is created equal. Go through these seven questions when choosing a service, and your products—wherever they are in the world—will appear brand consistent in no time.
Ready to start your journey? Click on the demo button below to set up a time with one of our trusted Customer Success Specialists. Or email email@example.com to book a quick walkthrough of Foko Field.