Retail Compliance Tips: Sending Store Questionnaires
We discuss how sending questionnaires to store teams can help your retail auditing and compliance
In this article we're talking about what compliance questionnaires are, and how sending them to audit your stores can dramatically improve your retail compliance and create a better customer experience.
Compliance is increasingly becoming a hot-button topic for retailers this year. The focus on ensuring the look and feel of stores is kept to a consistently high level can often be neglected in pursuit of chasing other KPIs - damaging your overall brand impression and so your in-store customer experience may suffer as a result. Sending questionnaires are one of the most effective ways of ensuring your customer experience remains the best it can be.
When someone mentions a questionnaire to store managers and field teams, the first things that come to mind are the likes of visit reports and "mystery shopper" feedback. Whilst these are important for measuring other parts of the customer experience, these aren't the kinds of questionnaires we're referring to in this article.
So what kinds of questionnaires are we referring to?
The store questionnaires we're referring to in this article are designed to ensure your stores are functioning properly and provide the best possible customer experience.
They include questions such as:
- 'Are all mannequins oriented properly in key lines of sight?'
- 'Are all store light fixtures working?' '
- Are gondolas and end tables free from dust?'
- 'Are there any wires on the floor?'
These questionnaires can be sent on a regular basis to store teams from regional or head office. Usually the process is done manually, by printing them out or filling in answers on a spreadsheet.
Such a method seems quite primitive compared to the other sorts of technology retailers are now using to power their stores, so looking into simpler, more efficient tools (such as ShopShape) can be a great way of making this process lean.
These kinds of tools allow store teams to fill in questionnaires on the fly and move around the store - without having to sit at a desktop and fill in a spreadsheet manually.
Why are these questionnaires important?
Compliance can be seen a rather dull topic, especially when modern retail is all about finding ways to excite shoppers and create a more memorable experience. However, these memories need to be overwhelmingly positive to incite brand loyalty. Consider a store that has several broken light fixtures, for example. It will be looked upon poorly by consumers and create a negative impression of your brand. It's a simple concept, but many retailers can lose sight of this importance.
Your store is the first tangible impression of your brand, and your brand is the most important thing that adds value to your products. So when it comes to a retailer that has several stores (ranging from tens to thousands) all of different sizes, that brand impression is hard to keep consistent.
To keep this consistency, your questionnaires should ensure all signage, PoS materials and more are regularly updated. By keeping compliance at a high level, each store your customer walks into will emphasise that same positive connection to your brand.
Next to this, there's a lot more areas that need to be checked upon in your stores, such as health and safety regulations and loss prevention guidelines - but let's talk about how you can actually use questionnaires to improve your retail compliance.
How can you use questionnaires to improve your compliance?
The concept is simple: getting a store to audit itself is more efficient than sending the likes of a Regional Manager to check that everything is in order. But what about the execution of these questionnaires? For a lot of retailers, this leaves a lot to be desired.
A typical questionnaire should be sent on a regular basis - every two weeks for example. They can cover a wide range of topics.
Examples of important topics to include in your questionnaires are:
- Health and safety issues (ensuring no tripping hazards are present etc)
- Loss prevention (checking that items have been security tagged properly)
- Branding and marketing (is the latest signage and PoS present?)
- Merchandising (have brand guidelines been followed?)
By getting store teams to answer these questions and check your stores in minute detail, you gain a complete overview of your retail compliance - and can look to rectify any recurring issues.
Once you have collected the answers from your store teams, you can use a predetermined formula to aggregate a percentage level of compliance for each store.
How can you use this data effectively? For one, many retailers have begun using bonuses for stores that achieve a consistently high level of compliance, incentivising store teams to make their stores look even better.