Community Resources & Economic Development

Independent Retail Assessment Program
Helping Small Businesses Stay Competitive

How many times have you avoided shopping downtown because it was inconvenient? ...or been “turned off” or even left a store vowing never to return because of the attitude or indifference of a store employee?

IRAP In today’s competitive retail environment, maintaining customer satisfaction and providing quality service are key factors in the success of small businesses. Specifically, small businesses need to evaluate strengths and weaknesses to remain viable and meet long-range business goals. If you are working with retail business owners interested in constructive feedback about their business, the Independent Retail Assessment Program (IRAP) is for you. If you are concerned about the viability of your downtown or about the future of the independent retail businesses in your area, the IRAP will help you to better understand the factors affecting small, independent retail businesses and how retailers in your area can do a better job of competing in today’s market.

How does the program work?

Like the mystery shopper programs conducted by consulting firms for large retailers, restaurants, and hotels, the Independent Retail Assessment Program (IRAP) applies a customer-centered approach to assessing the strengths and weaknesses of small retail enterprises by providing information about their shoppers’ impressions and experiences. A team of anonymous shoppers visits participating businesses and records their impressions. Selling skills, visual displays, pricing, product offerings, and the location and surrounding areas are just a few of the characteristics the shoppers evaluate. Observations are recorded and then compiled into a summary report for each participating business, including recommendations and strategies for improvement.

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Daniel Eades

For more information about the IRAP program, contact Daniel Eades.