Why Today’s Retail Audits Are Broken

It all starts with the technology, many CPG teams are using standard data collection applications that work great for short, concise surveys but when it comes to the complex world of CPG retail execution they fall short and to be honest it’s not their fault. There is just too much data, too many accounts, and too many moving parts for these systems to account for. When comparing data collection

The lack of innovative time-saving features

In the 1990s the overall audit process was very basic and included pens, paper and some type of data entry process, and although the concept behind retail audits is still very similar, the technology is not. There is a multitude of features available but organizations still view the audit with the same lens from the 90’s. They are asking the same questions without taking advantage of all the time-saving features like Bluetooth scanners or collecting various data points including geo-coded photos or collecting in-store customer surveys. These features and data points provide new insights and allow Consumer Goods organizations to improve their partnership with tangible data and examples. What has a greater impact when conducting an annual review, a scorecard that shows a few checked boxes and a signature or a geo-coded time-stamped photo that is linked to a specific store call depicting compliance of a new promotion but incorrect pricing?

The lack of data integration

Point of sale (POS) and syndicated data is becoming readily available and if used correctly can be one of your most valuable assets but to often organizations stay away from the data due to it’s complexity or their current method just can not effectively utilize it. Data can highlight which accounts have just been merchandised or help even generate the audit form or store survey. Data can guide reps and help turn mediocre store calls into efficient value-added activities.

The lack of a follow-up & closing the loop

The last step is arguably the most important in closing the loop of the audit and not easily done with the old method. Once the audit or store survey has been conducted, too often the data is kept on a desktop or stuck in an email. By the time the results are published and utilized the opportunity to correct the in-store issues has passed. Being equipped with a field solution that sends alerts to a third party broker allows you to close the loop and ensure action is taken through visual, easy-to-read reports.

There are solutions available to the industry but CPG organizations must adapt their sales strategy to be successful. This industry has evolved more in the past 5 years than in the previous 20, be sure your retail audit and store survey strategy has evolved with it.


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Bruce is the founder and CEO of RW3 Technologies. Having spent more than 35 years in the consumer goods and grocer space Bruce has experienced the industry disruption first hand and understands how artificial intelligence, POS data, and mobile technology can transform a good organization into a great one.

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