Fun and Profit From Your Square Inch Analysis Report
Planning your spring catalog? Your "sqinch" (aka square inch analysis) report is one of your most important tools. And more enjoyable than most reports, too. Even your creative team will like it, as it will help guide pagination, space allotment and product placement decisions.
Sqinch works best from a marketer's perspective if it summarizes data into "depictions." So what's a depiction? It's one graphically distinct product space that sells single or multiple SKUs. Here are some examples:
- A single photo of a chocolate cake with a single copy block.
- A tea sampler photo plus inset photos of each flavor, as well as a copy block explaining all flavors and the sampler, plus SKU lines for the sampler AND each flavor (all sold separately).
- A single photo of an outfit with adjacent copy and SKUs for the jacket, blouse and skirt, all in multiple sizes and colors.
A depiction-related report differs from a strictly SKU-related report in that it shows your sales by designed product area regardless of how many or few SKUs reside inside that depiction.
Sqinch also shows how many square inches per depiction, marketing costs per depiction, cost of buying and fulfilling each depiction's products, and therefore if each depiction was above or below breakeven — important to know!
A sqinch report is more complex to put together than a standard SKU-level product sales report, but is rich in information that helps your marketing team to allocate space and position for each product as well as create building blocks for design.
Let's look at how to put a sqinch report together. Here are the steps:
1. Measure. Nowadays the easiest way is to use Adobe Acrobat's measure tool on a PDF of the mirrored catalog (that is, to work on your upcoming spring catalog, measure last year's spring catalog). You can also use old-fashioned manual measuring. Rule a blank sheet of paper in 1/2" squares, then copy it onto a transparent acetate sheet. Lay that acetate over your depiction and count how many 1/2" squares you see. Don't worry about being exact, "close" is fine.
Susan J. McIntyre is Founder and Chief Strategist of McIntyre Direct, a catalog agency and consultancy in Portland, Oregon offering complete creative, strategic, circulation and production services since 1991. Susan's broad experience with cataloging in multi-channel environments, plus her common-sense, bottom-line approach, have won clients from Vermont Country Store to Nautilus to C.C. Filson. A three-time ECHO award winner, McIntyre has addressed marketers in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, has written and been quoted in publications worldwide, and is a regular columnist for Retail Online Integration magazine and ACMA. She can be reached at 503-286-1400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.