Improving Your In-Store Data Collection Process

By Rick Patsos

How much have cell phones changed in the last 5 years? Are you still driving the same car you drove 15 years ago? Then why do you still rely on the same, old fashioned methods for your in-store audits? By discovering how to improve the in-store data collection process, you can save time and money for your corporate team, while also providing a tangible boost to sales.

An effective retail audit program can save hours of time, energy, and money spent on field teams. If you add up travel costs, employee costs, and time investment, it ends up costing hundreds of dollars per each individual visit for a merchandiser or mystery shop company.

If you are able to reduce the data cycle, you will be able to react more quickly to market conditions.  There are many pit stops on the way from a merchandiser’s clip board to your inbox. Once you do get the data, there are even more road bumps to deal with such as inconsistency of data format from store to store, data integrity validation, and integration from multiple sources to your internal systems.

Data programs should be automated and systematic. You should not be taking every data point and analyzing it yourself. It is better to have a steady feed of in-store data, into a dashboard that does the analysis for you. If your in-store audit program is standardized across all of your channels and regions, you will be able to visualize trends, and seek out problematic areas.

By utilizing a more streamlined store audit program using today’s technology, it is now possible to receive your data in near real time.  Mobile crowdsourcing allows your teams to receive more audit data, from more stores, more quickly and cost effectively than with traditional means. Instead of spending time waiting for your field teams to report back to you, you can spend your time and money making improvements.