If you work in administration or finance, then the chances are that you’ll be familiar with the term ‘audit’.Even if you’re not, you’ll probably have an idea of what an audit entails, namely sitting in an office for hours on end wrestling with reams of data about a business’s finances, before trying to come up with ways to improve those finances.
A retail audit seeks a similar objective, but instead of focusing on financial matters, it’s focus on what brings all of that money into the business – the shops themselves.By hiring an outside field marketing agency to perform a retail audit, you’ll allow them to examine your stores in detail, and suggest ways in which they might be improved.
But such agencies won’t work for free – so why exactly would a retailed with limited resources spend money on a retail audit, rather than simply using someone who’s already within the company to do it?There are several reasons; let’s take a look at them.
If you perform the same task regularly, it follows that you’ll develop a certain level of proficiency in it.If you devote every working hour to analysing that same task, uncovering ways of improving the way you perform it, and implementing those improvements, it follows that you’ll become truly proficient in that task.
Specialist retail auditors are extremely good at retail audits.They’ll be able to perform them that much more quickly and effectively, because they’re well-practiced in doing so.They’ll be able to anticipate any pitfalls that might be encountered along the way.The information they deliver at the end of the audit will therefore be a much better way to inform business decision-making.
Not all retailers are the same.Each of them operates in different ways, and many of these differences can be very subtle.A ‘one size fits all’ approach, then, is unlikely to be effective.Instead, it’s better to tailor the audit to suit the makeup of the retailer.
A quality, specialist field marketing agency will be able to offer a tailored service that takes into account how easy it will be to implement the proposed changes, rather than prescribing the same solutions for every retailer, regardless of how it’s constituted.
A specialist auditor will not only be much better at auditing, but they’ll have access to technology that’ll make the job much easier.These technologies might include sophisticated database software, and special tablet hardware.They’ll be able to appraise you of their findings in a detailed and precise way, via email.Such technologies are, suffice to say, expensive; non-specialist companies will be unable to make them viable.
Technology allows us to record and display enormous amounts of data very quickly.If management are able to see this data displayed in a series of graphs, they’ll be better informed about the makeup of the company – and therefore better equipped to make decisions about its future.
A retail auditor will have no vested interest in the company they’re auditing, and no reason to lie or exaggerate in their findings.This is especially important, as internal auditors might suffer such temptations, and – knowingly or unknowingly – succumb to them.
An outside auditor will have no such problem, and will be able to offer recommendations that are untouched by workplace politics.This will be especially useful when you come to implement those recommendations, as there will be no suggestion of bias or poor judgement from your workforce.If you’re looking to avoid disagreements about the conclusion of an audit among your staff, then it’s best to hire an outsider.
When considering the views of others – whether it’s about the quality of a film or restaurant, or the impact of a major political decision – you’ll want to know whether that person has a vested interest in the topic at hand.If they do, then their view can’t be held in the same light.The same thing happens when you’re describing how wonderful your stores are to those outside the business – who will think, not unreasonably, that you would say that, wouldn’t you?
When you come to deal with outside companies, whether they’re your suppliers, clients, or prospective participants in a merger or takeover, you’ll want to demonstrate that your stores are working properly.A retail audit will provide you with a way of doing this – they’re disinterested and therefore their word carries weight – or, at least, far more weight than your own would.