7 Must-Haves for Using Daily Sales Flash Reports
Consumers’ reactions to the uncertain economic news surrounding them has made measuring your daily sales a must. A daily flash report tells you how sales are running compared to your budget plan and how your business is trending. The daily flash report is typically the first report everyone checks each day.
What decisions are driven by your daily sales flash report? First, ask yourself the following:
- How are your sales holding up in the midst of the recession?
- Will you meet budget for the month? If not, what actions can you take to increase sales? More e-mails? Deeper discounts or promotions? Cut expenses?
- Revise your merchandise orders based on sales patterns to reduce out-of-stocks and avoid ending up with too much inventory.
Key Data Points
As for what information should be on your flash report, here are seven must-have data points. (Click on the image below for a sample template.)
1. The date, day of the week and a weekly summary, which are the first three columns of your report.
2. Invoiced revenue for the day this year is the magic number. What sales were yesterday is the question everyone needs to know.
3. Cumulative sales for the year, because this tells you how you're doing for the quarter, month and week.
4. List the revenue plan for the year (i.e., the cumulative revenue plan).
5. Show the variance from the plan by day and cumulative.
6. Show revenue by day and cumulative revenue compared to last year. The variance of this year to last year shows how you're doing vs. last year’s sales.
7. Show your percentage margin by day. Then show your cumulative margin for this year vs. your cumulative margin for last year.
A second part of the report should roll up your data by month and quarter to see how you're doing compared to plan and last year. (Click on the image below to see an example of this.)
Knowing how sales are in the current season is the best predictor of how they'll be next season. Time spent reviewing daily sales flash reports compared to your plan and last year will pay big dividends in accurately predicting future response.
Everyone's asking how this economic roller coaster will affect next quarter’s investment in catalog circulation. The very best intelligence on how you'll do next season is how you're doing this season. Study current results with care because they're the best predictor of next season.
Jim Coogan is president of Catalog Marketing Economics, a Santa Fe, N.M.-based consulting firm focused on catalog circulation planning. You can reach him at (505) 986-9902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.