How to Conduct a Retail Store Evaulation

The Benefits of Regular Assessments and Mystery Shopper Programs

Mother and daughter paying at grocery store checkout
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A retailer's goal of providing the right products, at the right price, to the right people may not always be executed as planned. While intentions are good, daily objectives can be overwhelming and may cloud the overall view of your store.

In order to meet your customers' needs, it is important to conduct regular retail store evaluations. An objective assessment of the store can help you measure whether or not your customers' expectations are being fulfilled.

The Benefits of Regular Assessments

Why should you conduct a retail store evaluation? The most obvious answer is so you can view the store through the eyes of your customers.

Other reasons to conduct regular retail store evaluations are to:

  • Identify areas that are working well.
  • Locate overlooked problems.
  • Learn how the store compares to similar retail stores.
  • Examine consumer buying behaviors.
  • Increase sales and margins.

When creating a list of questions for store evaluations, objectivity and neutrality are most important. Evaluations can be performed by a mystery shopper service or retailers can conduct their own store assessment. Consider encouraging staff to participate and be sure to solicit customer feedback in the form of store opinion surveys.

Sample: Mystery Shopper Questions

Retailers can use all of the following questions for a thorough and comprehensive store analysis or choose certain areas that may need investigation.

 

General

Store Appearance – Exterior

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

    Store Appearance - Interior

    • Is the store's atmosphere and décor appealing to the consumer?
    • 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 in font and color?
    • 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 with uniform or name tags?
    • Does the staff seem knowledgeable about the products they sell?
    • Do the employees of this store handle customer complaints, returns and other customer service issues directly and promptly?
    • Does the staff consistently treat customers with respect?

    Product Offering

    • Are products well signed, labeled with prices and 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 to navigate?
    • Is each department within the store clearly defined?
    • Are the aisles wide enough? Are they free of boxes and clutter?