Reporting and analytics are essential to any retailer because they tell you exactly what’s going on in your business (and probably more advance on what you should do). The right set of data enables you to make the right decisions around things like stock ordering, promotions, and staffing, among other things.
However, having too much data can lead to overwhelm, and a lot of business headaches. That’s why it’s important to run the right reports for your retail stores.
In this article we put together the essential reports that retailers should have. Let’s have a look!
1. Sales Summary
Sales are of course, essential to any retailers. It is how you make money. A quick snap of sales data is every retailer’s wish first thing in the morning and probably the last thing before they go to bed. Your sales report should include your cost of goods sold, gross profit, margins, and tax, so you can have a better idea of how much money is actually going back to your business.
The sales summary report provides a more macro view of your retail sales. How much did you make last month or the previous month? What about your year-to-date sales compared to last year? These numbers offer some general insights around the health of your business, and they can inform your medium to long-term decisions.
2. Sales Report Per Product and Product Type
Having an overview of sales is great, but to get even more meaningful insights, you also need to be even closer to your analytics. This is where sales per product reports come in.
This type of report makes it easy to identify your best (and worst) selling products, so you can determine the right course of action. If a particular product is selling well, for example, you could consider ordering more of it. On the flip side, if a product isn’t performing, then you’d want to know sooner rather than later so you can run promotions before the season ends.
Sales per product type, on the other hand, helps you get a handle on your revenue from a category level. This is a great report to run if you want to identify broader trends or insights.
Let’s say you’re a footwear retailer and you notice that a particular brand or style of shoes is quickly gaining in popularity. Or, perhaps you’ve noticed that certain shoe sizes sell more quickly. You can use those insights to influence your stock ordering and marketing decisions for the rest of the season.
3. Sales Report Per Customer or Customer Group
With the best insight into how your customers is now interacting and paying for your products/services, this will allow you to identify your VIP customers as well as those who are not really engaging with your brand, so you can tailor your marketing and communications accordingly.
If you know who your top customers are, you could create special VIP events or programs to drive loyalty. On the other hand, if you’re looking to engage inactive customers, this report will help you identify them easily.
4. Inventory On Hand
You always want to know how much merchandise you have in your stores, so if there’s a report that you should run regularly, it should be this one.
Your “inventory on hand” report should show how many product units you have in each store location as well as your current stock value. Looking at your capital status on inventory can ensure you allocate your resource and make financial decisions correctly.
For example, knowing how much money you have kept in stock (i.e., current stock value), is quite handy when you’re budgeting for next season.
5. Low Stock
Pretty much customers came to us for consultancy on this retail no-no. Not only do they lead to lost sales opportunities, but more importantly, it also results in customer dissatisfaction and can turn them toward your competitors.
Keep an eye on regularly low stock reports that display items that are running low and your headache will be solved. It is recommended to set a minimum stock level point for your products and make sure that you’re notified when your stock levels reach that so you can do replenishment accordingly.
Looking at low stock reports regularly can also enable you to spot patterns around which products are constantly running low. If a particular is always showing on this report, for instance, that could indicate the need to increase your order quantities for such fast sell-through products.
6. Product Performance Report
What are your best selling items? Which ones you should put much investment in merchandising? Such questions can be answered by your product performance report.
Ideally, this report should reveal how many items you’ve sold over a specific time period. With these statistics, you should be able to easily determine which items are worth investing in and which ones shouldn’t be re-ordered.
A good product performance report should tell you the date when you first sold an item as well as the date of the last sale for that product. If the gap is wide between the first and last sale date, then that may indicate that an item selling as fast as it should.
Retail reporting best practices
The availability of these reports will depend on your POS or retail management system, but here are a few general tips and information to keep in mind:
Keep your POS and inventory management in sync – Don’t keep your data “all over the place.” See to it that your point of sale and inventory management systems are synced. The best approach is to choose a system that has POS and inventory management features available on one platform, so all your data lives in one system.
Arm yourself with a flexible retail analytics solution – Make sure your reporting system lets you slice and dice your reports to fit your needs. If you really want to get the most out of your retail analytics, you need a system that enables you to filter and view the information in different ways. For example, rather than just giving general sales reports, your analytics platform should also have the option to filter the data — i.e., by product type, customer group, category, etc.
Make sure it runs in the cloud – A cloud-based is accessible anywhere (with an Internet connection, of course). This comes especially handy if you’re running multiple stores or are constantly on-the-go because you’ll be able to check in on your stores — and make data-backed decisions — even when you’re not there physically.