The in-store experience is more important than ever, as retailers increasingly battle for space in a crowded marketplace. First impressions are everything, and improper store-level execution can be the difference between a customer for life and the loss of business to a competitor forever.
Consequently, conducting store audits is integral to the success of today’s brands. As the last line of defense between brand vision and brand experience, store audits help businesses ensure their products are being displayed and stocked exactly the way they were intended.
Sadly, many retailers and brands still monitor store compliance and company standards the old-fashioned way: with pen and paper forms, or spreadsheets sent over email. Not only are those processes time-consuming and labor-intensive, but tend to be prone to error. Because of that, it can be difficult to get up-to-date data on and photos of what’s happening in stores.
That’s why retail audit software like Foko Field is important if you want to stay on top of your field team’s reporting and ensure brand consistency at every location, especially as your sales channels continue to grow. Retail audit apps give you access to real-time data (and the mobile capabilities to do so), two-way communication to fix displays faster, and peace of mind through added accountability and visibility amongst field reps.
Here’s How a Retail Audit App Can Speed Up Your Store Audits
As any field rep will tell you, store audits—especially when conducted by pen and paper—are cumbersome and restrictive. Not only do they create a large amount of paperwork that needs to be transcribed and edited (so it can be analyzed at a later date), but often text entry fields are conditional (and don’t apply to every district or store), and it can take a long time to relay information back to HQ or regional managers.
Retail audit apps speed up the process significantly. Forms are completely customizable, allowing field reps to capture crucial data while ignoring the information that isn’t relevant to them or their visits. And results are sent to superiors directly, doing away with the cost of data entry and distribution, and allowing admins to gain immediate insights to help them make adjustments to their in-store execution strategies.
On top of that, retail audit apps are downloaded to any phone or mobile device of your choosing, as long as an approved company username or email is used at login. By enabling users to bring their device, companies can save thousands on the cost of technology and distribution.
As the saying goes: a picture is worth a thousand words.
Including photos in your store audits allows supervisors to find out exactly how their stores are looking at any given time.
Retail audit apps help facilitate the process, allowing users to upload photos to the cloud for inspection and approval. And images are easily searched for and acquired later on, simplifying data retrieval and performance history reviews for individual stores and districts.
Store Audit Scheduling
Depending on the type of audits your field reps are conducting, store audit frequency can range from every few weeks to every quarter.
Whatever option your company chooses, a retail audit platform allows you to automate scheduling to help guarantee consistent data collection. Push notifications and calendars can be programmed to advise field reps of upcoming visits they must complete, and by visiting stores at regular intervals field reps can build a stronger rapport with store management to better improve brand consistency and product placement.
Automatically Share Information, Track Audit Completion, and Review Results Instantly
Unlike paper forms, retail audit apps allow for real-time audit reporting: information is relayed to supervisors immediately once surveys are submitted, allowing your company to track the progress of each audit, interpret results, and make decisions that could have a big impact on sales and brand consistency. That’s because the faster data is analyzed, the quicker changes get implemented.
By synchronizing the transfer of data from anywhere in the field, managers can spot trends, replenish stock, and update their merchandising strategy quicker and more accurately.
The Resources Your Field Team Needs, At Their Fingertips
For field reps, dragging physical reference materials from location to location isn’t an option, and digging through tons of emails for a single document isn’t efficient when you’re busy conducting a store audit.
That’s why retail audit apps like Foko Field centralize all your documents and reference materials on a single platform for quick and easy reference whenever you need it. And it’s mobile, so no matter where your field teams are located they can access information at a moment’s notice.
Create an Action Plan
Store audit software often allows senior-level users to create action plans that schedule follow-ups with non-compliant locations and managers to better distill information about best practices, company priorities, and brand standards.
By sending a field rep into a store for a checkup, you’re sending a message to store associates and managers that you care about the way your company’s products are presented and pitched to the public. Action plans allow you to fix problem areas and reinforce your brand identity through frequent follow-ups and visits.
And Finally, Repeat
Companies need to create exceptional customer experiences if they want to stand apart from the competition. The easiest way to do that is by guaranteeing that your customers are seeing visually attractive, well-stocked displays, clear and timely signage, and promotions.
Regular store visits help promote head office standards, improve visual merchandising execution, and enhance store-level operations. But you have to do it frequently if you want to see consistent improvements.
Perfection is unattainable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get close to it.
Retail audit apps like Foko Field allow brands to monitor merchandising efforts and correct problems related to brand consistency through improved communication, insights, and store audit scheduling. To learn more, set up a demo with our Customer Success team by getting in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or book a walkthrough by clicking on the demo request button below.