The Ultimate Guide to In-Store Retail Audit

What Is a Retail Audit?

Retail store audits are conducted by brands to get data and know the condition of their brands in the stores. A store audit aids organisations to check a multitude of things with respect to their retail strategy. Retail store audits are conducted by representatives of the brand, going around collecting data from what is visible in the store and from the retail store staffs. Information regarding sales volumes, competitor activity, in-store display arrangement, etc. is required for following the right retail audit methodology.

What is the Importance of In-store Retail Audit?

Retail audits can serve multiple purposes for an organisation. Their most important use has been in making a brand realise the customer reactions and sentiments towards the brand and its products. In the end, the objective of retail audits is to gather information; it tells a lot about how the brand is performing.

Importance of in-store retail audit

  1. Information on Availability, OOS and brand sales and visibility
  2. Knowledge regarding retail store following promotion and display guidelines
  3. Throws light on customer perceptions about the brand
  4. Measure retail success

Types of In-Store Retail Audits

There are numerous different ways brand representatives conduct these store audits. There are different marketing audit types in the form of questionnaires – some require uploading photographs and some are done with an interview or by checking excel sheet data. The list is vast and never-ending. Here are a few common types of retail audits customers usually ask for –

  1. Merchandising Audits
  2. Health & Safety Audits
  3. Competitive Analysis Audits
  4. Loss Prevention Audits

Retail Market Questionnaire

Some retail audits require representatives to capture how well received the product is. They also need information on the placement of their products in stores. At times, there is a need for a retail questionnaire is to be answered. A few questions that can be asked are –

  • Store Location and Appearance
  • Store Hygiene and Product Hygiene
  • Product Availability and Placement
  • Consumer Sentiments and Interactions With Products

Merchandising Reports for In-Store Audit

Merchandising retail store report is only concerned with a brand’s product performance. Store audit reports are required to report the following things while on a merchandising audit –

  • Inventory
  • Stockouts
  • Condition
  • Amount of Shelf Space (SOS)
  • Units Ordered
  • Display Presentation
  • Retail Price

Promotional Report for Retail Store

A promotional report for a retail store is required if the brand has recently pushed a product promotion. The retail store inventory report determines the correct metrics of an increase in sales or engagement during the current campaign. The audit might also help the brand realise loopholes to improve on for the next promotion. The following information is recorded during these kinds of retail audits –

  • Duration of The Promotion
  • Type of Promotion
  • Promotion Report for The Retail Store
  • Retail Store Inventory Report
  • Featured Product SKU
  • In-Store Position
  • Sales Results
  • General Effectiveness of Promotion

Competitor Survey

The competitive retail analysis provides an idea of how the brand is faring against its competition. The retail competition model is such that a business should always keep evaluating themselves by conducting store audits and then a derive a complete retail industry analysis from it. These are the parameters identified with this survey –

  • Direct and Indirect Competitors
  • Competitor Pricing Strategy
  • Competitor on Product Placement Shelves
  • Competitor Product Store Location
  • Promotions Run by Competitors

Steps in the In-Store Retail Audit Process

Retail audits have become an essential tool to analyse brand health and performance. Store audit procedures have proved helpful in determining customer tastes and preferences, competitor analysis and even brand reputation judgement. Therefore, these retail store audit processes must be conducted properly.

Set Goal for Your Retail

No activity can be done without carefully determining the reason and focus on it. So, define and document what you want from a retail audit activity.

  • Are you looking to analyse competitor products?
  • Is evaluating consumer reaction your retail objective?
  • Is this an audit to check brand reputation or a store audit activity?

Put it all in writing and assign numeric values to it.

Create Audit Principles

Deciding a retail objective is vital to the retail audit principle. Select the questions you have to ask in audit and avoid repetition and redundancies. It is okay if a questionnaire is short and result-oriented; it tends to produce better results. Also important is to decide the criteria you should use in the questionnaire. Decide if –

  • It is a yes or no questionnaire
  • A write-in response
  • A simple tick the boxes

These intricacies of a retail audit should be determined well in advance.

Evaluate results

Once the retail audit is over, it is advised to gather all data and represent it in an easily understandable format. Numerals should be represented on graphs, notes can be tagged, and numbers should evaluate the information for a better understanding.

Check the results to see whether or not you have achieved the retail objectives set and the outcome of the store audits.

Apply the Changes

Once the evaluation is done, and the results are prepared, the brand needs to implement the retail objective. If the audits indicate that the new product is not received very well, the brand needs to pull it back from the shelves. Similarly, if the retail audit reflects a fall in the reputation of the brand or a product, it should be improved to provide better value to customers.

Repeat the Audit Process

After conducting a few audits, brands usually devise their own manageable format to the processes mentioned above. The retail store audits will also become easier to evaluate and analyse.

The results from the retail audit process can often leave brands and experts surprised and might lead to some changes in the retail format. With regular audits, the business will soon become agile and perform well, especially to reflect the results from various audits.

Advantages of In-Store Retail Audit App

There are a lot of problems that can plague a retail audit happening offline. It is a field job. What if data collected gets destroyed in rain or transit? In the same way, offline data collection is also prone to many errors. These flaws in offline retail audits can only be overcome by using store audit apps. Apps store data once collected, is secured and cannot be destroyed. Therefore, retail apps provide many more benefits than conducting retail audits without one.

Similarly, at PPMS, our field audit apps can provide the function of information landing to a cloud wherein all the data is saved securely. On the app, data is even more manageable and more comfortable to compile. Choose PPMS retail audit app for accurate retail store audit data and a carefree audit!


In the end, a retail audit is as useful for your business as the quality of audits done. Before devising a retail audit strategy, ensure that enough measures are taken to record the information accurately.

Retail audit apps provide the right resources and ensure mistakes are at a minimum. They also ensure quick delivery of data and ease of gathering, managing, compiling. and evaluating it.

Scroll to Top