Retail audits are a way for business not only to increase compliance with visual, corporate, and safety standards, but also to keep a tight grip on issues that might hurt the bottom-line, such as out-of-stocks.
However, traditionally retail audits process was quite inefficient and cumbersome, since they involve paperwork and data transcription. Retail audit software allows field reps and store personnel to perform audits on personal or shared smartphones and tablets. With retail audit software, executives can plan audits to gain insight into all aspects of their business, as well as schedule them at the appropriate intervals.
Today one can start performing retail store audits with ease using just your tablet or smartphone. Most field representatives who perform retail audits already have one of these devices, so you don’ t need to spend money on hardware or on a software license. In the traditional ways, the audits were conducted using manual methods like pen and paper but now technology has replaced all these manual methods. There are many factors that are challenging in conducting a retail audit. Technology has helped the retail auditing companies to manage the colossal amount of data associated with conducting a store audit.
Following are the points which give us a better idea in understanding the retail audits conducted in traditional era against the audits conducted using a retail audit software:
- Data Capture: Earlier the data was captured on pen and paper. The mystery shoppers use to go to the fields with data forms and capture information on the piece of paper. Such methods were clumsy, wasteful and flat-out inefficient. The data capturing was limited to what fits on a form. With the introduction of retail audit software, the business inspectors can capture photographs, record videos and audios, and capture bar codes etc. The retail audit software enables the business inspector to fill the entire questionnaire and sync it simultaneously, giving immediate visibility to the manager who can review the report.
- Geo Tagging: In the traditional era, the managers had no idea where the business inspectors are and whether they are submitting the reports or not. But with the retail audit software the managers can monitor all the field activities in real time. Managers will have complete information whether the audits will be performed on time or not. An audit conducting app allows the manager to track the shopper to verify whether the audit was genuinely conducted at the audit location or not. These apps provide a feature to capture the GPS for every response made by the business inspectors.
- Notifications: Earlier on the notifications were inexistent. The business inspectors must call or situation might linger or until someone notices it on a report. As the all the processes were manual hence most of the communication took place over phones as the managers gave the instructions to the business inspectors. With the advent of retail audit software, the managers had the provision to set up automatic notifications of events related to certain tasks assigned to the business inspectors. It is important for a mystery shopping company to keep their business inspectors informed if they want to keep them engaged.
- Reporting: Only after all the individual store reports were submitted then only the managers could cumulate the data and generate insights from the data. Such kind of reporting process effected the decision-making process and slowed down the executions. But those were the traditional ways of reporting, with the help of retail audit software the managers can generate up-to-the-minute reports with detailed information which also resulted in speeding up the process of decision making. The auditing app enabled the business inspector to fill the entire report with image and video proofs and sync it simultaneously. This also helped the managers to track in real time how the project is progressing and if it according to the defined plan or not.