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How to Conduct an Effective Retail Compliance Audit


In retail settings, business leaders decide how shops should operate and which products get sold in the store. Frontline workers, such as shop assistants, work hard to bring this vision to life. Field teams follow up to make sure that instructions are being followed correctly.

It can often be quite difficult to keep everyone on the same page, particularly if there are numerous stores to coordinate. That is why retail compliance audits are crucial to keep everyone working towards the same goal.

An audit is a detailed inspection that is designed to determine which practices, policies and procedures are working well and which ones need to be altered, but how do you conduct an effective retail audit? Below are some of our top tips to help you:

1.     Arrange a Time for the Audit to Take Place

When choosing a time for the compliance audit to take place, it is a good idea to pick a time when the store will be quiet, or when the store is closed. You need to make sure you have enough uninterrupted time to complete the audit properly. Unfortunately, many business owners struggle to find the time to complete their own compliance audits. The good news is that there are lots of companies that can help you with this. C J Retail Solutions provide retail compliance audits for any retail estate. They not only deliver enhanced brand impact, but they can also help you to maximise your ROI on display investment.

2.     Set Realistic and Clear Goals

The next step is to decide which type of audit you are going to complete first (merchandising, general store operations or health and safety). You can then create a list of which things you will look at and what you hope to find. With a health and safety audit, for example, you will want to test fire alarms and look for any potential hazards such as dangerous equipment in the workplace. You will also want to make COVID-19 specific checks, such as social distancing markers, ventilation, PPE for employees and hand sanitisation stations. In this example, the goal of the audit is to make the environment safe for both employees and customers, but each audit will have different goals and results.

3.     Make a List of What Needs to Be Changed

Whilst you are going through the items on your list, it is important to take notes of things that could be improved or need to be changed. For example, if during a marketing audit, you realise that products in the far corner of your store are not selling well, then make a note to move these items closer to the entrance and enhance the display to make these items more visible to customers.

4.     Assign Tasks to Your Employees

Once you know which issues need to be addressed, you can start delegating tasks to associates and managers. How you assign the tasks is entirely up to you.

5.     Follow Up and Provide Additional Feedback

After some time has passed, it is a good idea to check to make sure that all necessary changes have been put into place. You also need to make sure these changes are making the intended improvements. If they are not, you will need to offer your employees some additional advice.

The goal of all brick-and-mortar retailers is to sell products and deliver a memorable customer experience. To do this, stores need to be visually appealing to customers, staff need to be engaged, and the store needs to be stocked with products that customers want to buy. Compliance audits can help to ensure that these things happen. If you are completing a compliance audit in your store, make sure you follow our advice above.

Andrew Mcaffrey