We install data collecting tools in the hope that the information they collect can help us make the right decisions to successfully run a business. Yet the technology we adopt sometimes results in significant effort to collect the data and hours spent mining the information for the critical comparisons we need.
Here are seven tips to make sales reporting more streamlined if it's taking up too much of your time.
Utilise Point of Sale Software Reports
Point of Sale or EPOS software has built in reports to let you see what you’re selling and EPOS software suites like Vend allow you to run reports on tablet computers and PCS. This is far more efficient than dumping data from a EPOS system and trying to generate reports via Excel. So, if you're not already utilising it or are using an outdated EPOS system, take advantage of an updated software model which will enable you to review reports with ease.
Set Up Automatic Report Generation
Set up your point of sale system to run a sales report at the end of the day, ideally when the system load is low. This provides an accurate summary of the day without slowing down system performance. Set up the system to run weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports automatically so that you won’t have to wait for the results when you need them.
Design Reports to Tell You What You Need to Know
Design sales reports to tell you which items you are selling the most of; if possible, set up the system to automatically flag significant deviations from the norm. Did you sell 50% more of a product than normal? Compare the sales data to inventory so that you can order more of the product.
It is easy to drown in the data. You really don’t need to know the sales volume of slow selling products unless they significantly contribute to the store’s bottom line. Prioritise reporting of products that contribute the most to the business’ profits or sales volume, the products you have to watch most carefully to ensure you don’t run out or move fast enough to break even this month.
Use the Data for Better Personnel Management
You may also want to break down the report to see what time of day sees the highest sales volume for each product, especially if you’re trying to allocate staff. If gardening sees its highest traffic at 4 PM and clothing has the highest sales after 6, plan on having more people in the gardening section ready to handle orders until 5 PM. A point of sale system cannot tell you if employees are not clocking out properly but correlated with employee scheduling it may help you identify those who are seeing an unusual rate of returns.
Compare Data to Other Stores
Compare your sales data to other stores. This is a snap if you are using the same point of sale system across all of your businesses. If one store is selling more of a particular unit than you are, you can either ship it to them or research how they successfully sell so much more of it. Either way is cheaper than marking it down.
Automate Data Clean-up
You can save resources on the server and human effort by automating data clean-up. For example, once quarterly reports are generated, delete daily sales reports that are six months old. Delete custom reports after a set time.
Use the report function in your point of sale system to streamline your business and make it more efficient.