Store Audit

Efficiently standardize retail outlets and guarantee store compliance with a retail audit software

store manager inspection

Published 14 Sep 2021

What is a Retail Store Audit Checklist?

A retail store audit checklist is a useful tool that can effectively control and monitor the status, branding, processes, and standardization of retail outlets. Retail audit checklists are used by store managers or auditors to evaluate the effectiveness of store displays, keep track of product inventory, observe store employee performance and productivity, and ensure cleanliness and safety of the store.

This article will briefly discuss

Why is Retail Audit Important?

A retail audit (or store audit) is a process of gathering information to assess and analyze store performance over time. Retail industries are advised to perform retail store audits to avoid the following:

  • Selling of product that is beyond expiration dates which can cause your store hefty fines from regulators;
  • Inappropriate marketing campaigns and strategy that can lead to lawsuits and public criticism;
  • Non-compliance with safety requirements that can injure buyers and prompt government recalls;
  • Inconsistent customer service that can damage your store reputation; and
  • Unmanaged retail store performance that may lead to bankruptcy and store closure.

Retail Store Audit vs Visual Merchandising Audit

While there is a regional difference in term usage between ‘store’ audit and ‘shop’ audit (both are essentially the same), retail audits and visual merchandising audits are functionally different, primarily in scope. A retail audit usually encompasses general aspects of store operations such as inventory, productivity, safety, and merchandising. Meanwhile, a visual merchandising audit focuses on evaluating product location and displays, shelf space, and pricing and promotions.

Retail Audit: Tips to Perform Effectively

Retail audits are essential tasks to monitor your retail store operations. They are usually performed to evaluate retail store products, identify improvement needs, and monitor advertising impact to your customers including promotion and marketing trends. In order to conduct retail store audits efficiently, you can follow these useful tips:

State the Objective of the Retail Audit

Retail businesses should be clear in identifying their goals. Retail audits should determine the things you would like to accomplish as well as the areas you would like to improve. Stating your business objective helps in analyzing the focus of your audit.

Standardize the Process

A scheduled audit helps ensure business compliance with regulatory standards. Allocate enough time to perform a retail audit without interrupting business operations and customer experience. It is recommended to conduct regular store audits before opening and after closing the retail stores.

Thoroughly Inspect Facilities and Equipment

It is important to inspect electronic devices such as Point-of-Sale (POS) system, cash registers, printers, and phones before store operation starts. It helps ensure functionality and working condition of equipment to avoid any unnecessary delays and customer attrition.

Monitor Retail Display

Retail stores have to ensure all perishable products are within sell-by dates to prevent customer complaints and legal issues. They have to check, evaluate, and monitor display products if replacement or replenishment is needed to guarantee its availability to the customers.

Ensure a Safe and Secure environment

According to Gary Bonnett, QHSE Director from BOS Solutions “Everything has risk. It is our job as business professionals to control and minimize risks to an acceptable level. Uncontrolled risk can negatively affect businesses in many different ways. None of which lead to safe and happy work environments, productive and efficient process, and optimal profitability.”

With a retail compliance audit, you can ensure a safe and secure environment for not only your customers but also your employees. It helps avoid accidents, musculoskeletal injuries, health issues, and even fatalities.

Observe Employee Performance and Productivity

Retail audits should not only focus on the retail store and its environment but should also consider evaluating employees and their performances. Observe how they interact with customers and follow safety regulations and protocols. Evaluate how store managers perform their duties on handling staff to achieve the business goals.

Communicate Improvement Measures

Retail audit reports are necessary to allow business owners to analyze and assess store performances including net loss, profit, and Return of Investments (ROI). The analytics dashboard is helpful to easily identify the changes needed to maximize product sales.

Use a Retail Audit Checklist

Through a compliance audit software, retail audit checklists can be made and used as an effective, step-by-step guide in performing store inspections. It helps in gathering comprehensive data to easily identify in-store working conditions, frequently failed items, and improvement needs, which can be abridged in a professional retail store visit report.

Elements of a Retail Audit Checklist

A retail audit can help improve the quality of service of a branch or a retail store. It is performed by supervisors or store managers to assess the improvement needs of the business. A retail audit checklist is a tool used to assess the safe working conditions of the business that help protect both employees and customers. It usually covers the following:


A retail audit helps assess the goal and strategy of the business. Assessing customer satisfaction is an important element to ensure engagement with the product or services offered by the business. It is a way to organize and validate the effectiveness of the layout, promotional material, and product display of the retail stores.


Employees are important elements to achieve a common business goal. It is vital to ensure they have attended training on different processes including product knowledge, emergency procedures, and security protocols. Observe if they are following personal hygiene practices and customer service etiquette.


Maintaining the cleanliness of a retail facility can ensure workplace safety and establish an appealing facade to encourage customers to enter the store. It can help improve a healthy environment, employee productivity, and efficiency. Any potential hazards that can be overlooked can cause unforeseen incidents. Staff must diligently sanitize the high touch surfaces as often as possible especially in this time of COVID 19 pandemic.

Easy-to-use Retail Audit Software

The iAuditor Retail Audit Software & App allows you to transform mobile devices into powerful auditing tools and perform efficient store audits (e.g. retail compliance audits, general retail store operations reviews, visual merchandising audits).

Get started by browsing our collection of retail store audit templates and modifying them according to your retail needs. iAuditor by SafetyCulture enables you to do the following:

  • Perform real-time data collection;
  • Monitor daily retail operations including cleanliness and safety;
  • Capture unlimited photos of merchandise and highlight defects by annotating the images;
  • Assign corrective actions for non-compliance;
  • Generate comprehensive and real-time reports on your mobile and share it with your organization;
  • Save reports securely in a cloud;
  • Schedule your retail audits easily; and
  • Monitor trends and frequently failed items via the Analytics dashboard of the iAuditor Retail Audit Software

Retail Case Study

How iAuditor by SafetyCulture help Coles find the profound impact of using smartphones with their processes

“iAuditor empowers us to give the customers a shop that they can trust. It also gives us the ease and simplicity to let stores really get ahead of the game to deliver on opportunities to improve.” – Simon McBurney, Senior Delivery Analyst

Jona Tarlengco - SafetyCulture Staff Writer

SafetyCulture Content Specialist

Jona Tarlengco

Jona Tarlengco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. She usually writes about safety and quality topics, contributing to the creation of well-researched articles. Her 5-year experience in one of the world’s leading business news organisations helps enrich the quality of the information in her work.

Jona Tarlengco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. She usually writes about safety and quality topics, contributing to the creation of well-researched articles. Her 5-year experience in one of the world’s leading business news organisations helps enrich the quality of the information in her work.