Retail worker holding a tablet while conducting a store audit

How to Write and Conduct a Store Visit Report

We’ve compiled some tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your store visits

  • By Sarah Murphy

Store visits and audits are necessary for assessing the effectiveness and performance of your stores and campaigns, but they aren’t always conducted the most efficiently. Having a store visit report that’s easy to create, share between teams, and analyze at the corporate level can save retailers a lot of time, resources, and energy.

By creating a checklist that includes all the information that needs to be found during an audit and included in a store visit report, retailers and brands are better able to understand stores’ strengths and weaknesses—and, more importantly, turn those findings into action items that lead to better in-store execution and results.

Perfecting the art of a store visit report can streamline the audit process and help your teams find and fix problems faster. That’s why we’ve compiled some tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your store visit reports.

But before getting into how to write a store visit report, let’s go over why store visit reports are so crucial to a store’s success.

 

Why Are Store Visit Reports Important?

Store visit reports are crucial for auditing stores and detailing next steps and necessary actions. The store visit report should highlight any issues found during an audit and what needs to be done to correct or improve them.

Basically, store visit reports summarize problem areas and offer advice on how to boost productivity, increase compliance, cut costs, and improve communication—all of which contribute to creating a better customer experience.

 

What to Include in a Store Visit Report

What to include in your store visit report will ultimately depend on the type of audit you are conducting. For example, a merchandising audit would focus on product arrangement, promotional signage, and store layouts, while an operations-related audit would focus more on cleanliness, safety, and staff compliance with policies and procedures.

Nevertheless, there are some key elements that should be included in most store visit reports.

A Rating System: Reports should include either an option to check “yes” or “no,” or a ranking from 1-10 to describe if or how correctly certain tasks are being carried out.

An Explanation of Expectations: Reports should clearly lay out a description of what the store should be doing, so that what the store is actually doing can be properly assessed.

Constructive Feedback: Instead of just checking off “no” or giving a low number ranking, the report should also give clear instructions for areas of improvement.

Visuals: Reports should ideally include photos of the store’s problem areas (that are clearly highlighted, marked-up, or explained), as well as examples of what the problem area should actually look like.

A Concise Summary: The report should open and close with a quick summary of the main issues and steps that need to be taken immediately. This allows employees at all levels to quickly scan the reports and get an overview of store performance, even if they are not required to go through the full report in detail. (Today’s retail audit software can help streamline the process, allowing field team members to follow up with store teams directly.)

 

How to Write a Store Visit Report

First, you need to decide what data your field team managers are collecting and assessing with their store visits.

For example, a store visit report that focuses on merchandising, as previously discussed, will assess whether displays are set up correctly (and in the right place in your stores), campaigns are current, and products are in stock.

Meanwhile, a store visit report that’s more operations-focused may look into whether COVID-19 cleaning checklists or store opening and closing procedures are being followed, staff are up-to-date with the most recent training, and assess a store’s general appearance. 

Traditionally, retailers create store visit report templates and have field team members collect and input the data manually, either through a spreadsheet online or with old-fashioned pen and paper, and collate multiple store visit reports to find common problems and areas of improvement. But retailers and brands are increasingly going digital to speed up and simplify store audits

 

Let Us Help Streamline Your Store Audit Process

Foko Retail streamlines your retail audit process by letting your field team or store associates conduct audits on mobile devices in real time. 

It makes ticking off standardized checklists easy, while also allowing for photos and feedback to be shared instantaneously—you can even mark up photos to highlight issues or circle spots where something’s missing or needs changing.

To find out more about how we can help you manage store audits, book a demo with one of our reps.

 

About the Author

Sarah Murphy is a content marketing specialist with a background in journalism. She lives in Hamilton, ON, where she is mom to a 13-year-old wiener dog named Penny. When not watching bad reality TV, she’s probably chasing squirrels out of her garden or baking cookies.