Analysing your shop’s sales: hints and tips
As soon as your shop starts to generate turnover, it’s important to analyse your sales on a regular basis.
The first stage in a company’s commercial development involves analysing the company’s results.
In this article, we’ll see why it’s important to analyse your sales and how you can perform this analysis in a structured and efficient way.
Enjoy the article :)
Why should you analyse your shop’s sales?
Defining sales analysis
Firstly, let’s define what I want to talk about today.
Analysis of your shop’s sales involves looking at the sales figures achieved during a given period, based on different analysis criteria:
- overall sales (this will be referred to as overall turnover),
- sales per department or product category,
- sales of separate products,
- sales by the various salespeople within your team,
- sales depending on the day and the shop’s opening times,
- average baskets,
- customers: new customers vs regular customers, for example.
This analysis provides you with an overview of your business and helps you to better manage your company when it comes to HR (managing your sales team), your product offering (items which sell well) and marketing.
The first tangible result of analysing your sales is to identify opportunities, which may be unexpected.
For example, you may find that products which you didn’t expect to sell very often are actually in demand. Or you may find that product A is often associated with the purchase of product B; consequently, you can group these products to encourage customers to purchase both of them.
Remember: this type of analysis may encourage you to choose your suppliers who make the ordering process easy. Kami Store offers a number of benefits, which you can read about here.
Analysing your sales will also help you to identify risks for your shop.
Perhaps some perishable products aren’t selling quickly enough, resulting in significant losses. This is often the case for food shops, such as organic grocery shops which sell fresh produce (fruit and vegetables, dairy products). Analysing your sales will highlight this issue.
Perhaps other products remain unsold, resulting in lost opportunities because of the space they take up on the shelves? If this is the case, you need to update your product offering, reducing the amount of stock which fails to sell.
Measuring and optimising sales and marketing
In-store sales are often the result of digital marketing.
Analysing your sales will help you to compare your marketing campaigns with the associated sales they generate.
At regular intervals (every month, for example), you can then analyse what worked and what didn’t work in your marketing and adapt accordingly.
Motivate your team
Are your salespeople financially incentivised when it comes to sales? Are they eligible for a bonus, based on the turnover they generate?
If they are, you need to analyse your sales to work out the bonuses they are due, ensuring that they remain motivated (luckily, money isn’t the only source of motivation for employees!).
Build customer loyalty
And yes, although it can be seen as rather “theoretical” and unexciting by some people, analysing your sales can have a tangible impact on customer loyalty.
How? A number of insights will help you to build customer loyalty:
- based on the purchases made by a given customer over the last few months, you may, for example, notice an interest in a particular product category: you can then offer this customer a discount to encourage him or her to try other products,
- based on your analysis of your turnover on each day of the week, you may find that Thursday is a slow day: in this event, you can launch a promotional operation to encourage customers to come to the shop on Thursday,
- lastly, if you have a customer tracking system, you can cross-reference purchasing behaviour with other criteria, such as the day of their visit, to launch relevant campaigns to promote sales.
What do you need to do to analyse your shop’s sales?
Here are some practical tips on the best way to analyse your sales.
Use the right tools
It’s impossible to analyse your sales with paper, a pen and a calculator: it would take days :)
Most cash register systems have sales analysis functions, with a wide range of analysis criteria, and allow exports in Excel format or even visual and graphic representations of the data.
I recommend that you start by working out which tools are available to you, probably via your cash register software, and learning about their features so that you can make full use of them.
Understanding your tool and its features will save you time and provide new opportunities for your analysis.
Spend time analysing your sales
Let’s be honest, most people don’t want to spend 2 or 3 hours looking at their figures for the past month or quarter.
If you need to find the motivation to spend time on this important activity, it’s helpful to focus on the various benefits of analysing your sales (which we’ve gone through above); on a purely practical level, it’s a good idea to block out time in your schedule on a regular basis to analyse your sales.
For example, you could commit (by announcing it to your team, or simply promising yourself) to setting aside half a day for this activity on the first Monday of every month.
Set precise objectives
You can start analysing your sales without a specific objective, if you’re open-minded and curious, and you’ll probably find interesting insights by doing so.
However, I would suggest that you set some objectives prior to your analysis.
Sometimes these objectives will be self-evident, as in the following two examples:
- “turnover is down, I need to understand why”,
- "I have the impression that one of my salespeople isn’t as productive as before, I need to check this”.
In any case, when you know where you’re going, it’s easier to get there :)
Training in Excel
In my experience, the tool provided by your cash register software or your accountant can be a bit limited when it comes to some aspects of your analysis.
In this event, a little training in Excel can be very useful. This incredibly powerful tool can be used to manage your analysis: with pivot tables, impressive graphs and its ability to manage large lists of data (list of products, sales, etc.), it can do (almost) anything!
You can find good tutorials on YouTube or take a training course with an expert.
Choose your analysis periods carefully
You should be careful not to jump to conclusions based on overly short or long periods.
Sales of a product over a few days may not be representative: they should be analysed over several weeks or months.
Conversely, average sales of a product over a full year can hide significant seasonal disparities (products for couples have peak sales around 14 February and during the summer months, for example) :)
Moving from analysis to action
I’ve saved this piece of advice for last, since it’s probably the most important: analysis on its own is useless. It should help you to find answers and take action.
Let’s take a specific example: following your analysis of the past month’s sales, you realise that one product category has seen a drop in sales.
Your explanation is that this seems to be linked to an increase in price of some of these products, discouraging some of your customers from making purchases across the entire product category.
A strategic action plan to address this could include:
- communicating with your customers about the reasons for the price increase (has the supplier increased its prices?),
- a reduction in price, if possible (in the form of a temporary promotion),
- or other corrective action.
Here are some other practical steps you can take after analysing your sales:
- follow the latest trends or the best-selling products so that you can adapt to your customers’ changing preferences,
- consider abandoning a particular product or, on the contrary, choosing one product over another; this may generate a better return on investment,
- build customer loyalty by providing a product offering which evolves constantly (this will encourage them to come back to your shop regularly).
The conclusion of this article is simple: analysing your sales may not be a fun exercise, but it will provide you with plenty of insights and can help you to make high-impact changes to develop your shop.
Post written by Mathieu Maréchal.