How to Conduct a Retail Store Evaulation

The Benefits of Regular Assessments and What Questions to Ask

Mother and daughter paying at grocery store checkout
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As a retailer, your goal of providing the right products, at the right price, to the right people may not always be executed as you planned. While you may have the best intentions, your long list of daily activities can be overwhelming and may cloud your overall plan.

In order to meet your customers' needs, it is important to conduct regular retail store evaluations. An objective assessment of your retail outlet can help you measure whether or not your customers' expectations are being met and whether or not you need to make changes to your operation.

The Benefits of Regular Assessments

As a business owner, it's easy to get mired down in the details and not "see the forest for the trees." The primary reason you need to conduct a retail store evaluation is that you need to view the store through the eyes of your customers.

Other reasons to conduct regular retail store evaluations include:

  • Identify areas that are not working as well as you envisioned.
  • Pinpointing overlooked problems.
  • Learning how your store compares to other similar retail stops.
  • Being able to examine consumer buying behaviors.
  • Increasing your sales volume and margins.

How to Conduct an Assessment

When creating a list of questions for store evaluations, objectivity and neutrality are the key points to keep in mind. Evaluations can be performed by a mystery shopper service or you can conduct your own store assessment, or you can do both. You should also consider encouraging staff to participate in the assessment and be sure to solicit customer feedback in the form of store opinion surveys, which can be posted online.

Appropriate Questions to Ask Mystery Shopper Questions

Feel free to use all of the following questions to conduct a thorough and comprehensive store analysis or you can choose those areas that you think need investigation.

General

    Exterior Store Appearance 

    • Is the parking lot and sidewalk clean and well-lit?
    • Are the windows clean?
    • Are there miscellaneous fliers posted on the storefront?
    • Do signs convey the correct image?
    • Can the business be easily identified from the road?

    Interior Store Appearance 

    • Is the store atmosphere and décor appealing to consumers?
    • Is the floor free of debris and does it appear clean?
    • Are all light fixtures working properly?
    • Does the store appear well-lit?
    • Are interior signs consistent with the font and color on the outside of the store?
    • Does the store look like it's full of inventory?

    Customer Service

    • Are customers greeted by a member of the staff upon entering the store?
    • Are employees easily identifiable by either uniforms or name tags?
    • Do employees seem knowledgeable about the products they're selling?
    • Do employees handle customer complaints, returns, and other customer service issues directly and promptly without incident?
    • Do employees consistently treat customers with courtesy and respect?

    Product Offering

    • Are products well identified and labeled with prices?
    • Is merchandise neatly displayed?
    • Is there a good variety and selection of products?
    • Are the prices competitive with other retailers in the area?
    • Is the quality of merchandise the highest available for the price?

    Traffic Flow

    • Does the store layout make it easy for customers to navigate?
    • Is each department in the store clearly defined?
    • Are the aisles wide enough and free of boxes and clutter?