We recently conducted a case study with Skogen’s Festival foods, and during our data collection we learned some helpful tips from the Festival team about improving store audits. One of the tips that I thought was worth sharing was to focus on keeping your head up and looking for items other than what is on your list. It can be very easy to get caught up marking things off of the list and miss potential problems that are right in front of you.
Sometimes you have to take a step back and think about why you are doing store audits in the first place. Chances are you have been doing them for years and have not given them much thought recently. The purpose of a store audit is to physically get in the stores and see for yourself what is going on so you can improve your quality metrics. Of course there are priorities that you have listed and want to check on, but that does not mean they are the only things that you need to be concerned about.
An example of the impact that keeping a broader focus than just completing the checklist can have, happened during a recent store audit we accompanied a retailer on. The manager conducting the walk noticed that the pineapple display lacked color and visual appeal. To improve, he recommended that they place a shelf above it with already cored and cut pineapple. This not only added another color to make the display more appealing and eye catching, but also added the ability for the store to sell a higher margin product in place of the regular pineapple. Several weeks later, we noticed that same change was made in a different store. It must have worked well!
The next time you go into one of your stores to do a store audit, be conscious of where you are looking and what you are finding. Is it just the items on your list or are you also catching issues and recommending ways to improve outside of the set audit checks? The reality is there is always room for improvement. By keeping your eyes up and focused on the store conditions, it is inevitable that you will find ways to improve, large or small. You may even do a better job spotting the good work your store has done and can compliment them, improving work morale.