How are we doing against plan?

Category: Data & Insights
How are we doing against plan?

Paul ‘Dilge’ Dilger, CEO of Ecommerce ERP provider Volo Commerce, outlines in a series of posts where you should go to answer the three biggest questions.

In this series, I’ve been answering what I believe are three most important questions you can ask about the operational side of an ecommerce business:

  • How are we doing against plan?

In this final post in series I’m going to cover the third question and how we address it for our customers.

How are we doing against plan

Why constantly tracking sales performance is important

Stuff happens really quickly in ecommerce. On the plus side, you can also measure it quickly and adjust accordingly. Here are seven reasons why you should be monitoring your sales performance early and often.

  1. Getting real-time insights. You can see revenue trends, product popularity and customer behaviour as they happen, allowing you to make quick, informed decisions.
  2. Correcting your course. Good sales monitoring gives you leading indicators of success – or lack of it – rather than lagging indicators which you can’t do anything about.
  3. Evaluating performance. Analysing the KPI data – sales, average order value, conversion rates, product bundles, order margins – helps you optimise where you’re investing time and money.
  4. Benchmarking your competitors. Identifying competitor performance in the places where you sell helps you adjust your pricing and promotions to capitalise on your insights.
  5. Getting insights into your customers. Who’s buying what, where, what are they bundling, and so on? The more you understand what’s going on, the more you can tailor your offerings.
  6. Staying agile. Staying close to sales performance means reacting quickly to trends, opportunities and challenges.
  7. Planning for success: adopting planning processes is arguably more important than making the actual plan. Analysing sales performance data helps you stay on plan, or perhaps even change your plan.

How do we approach sales performance reporting so our customers know if they’re on plan or not? Volo Vision, our reporting and analysis suite, has a dashboard and over a dozen detailed reports which cover sales, order, supplier performance and cross-border sales across your various ecommerce channels. Here’s what a typical Volo customer would do on a daily basis to stay close to their sales.

  • Start with the main Dashboard. Having imported your sales targets, you can see your actual business performance against plan for where you are in the month. You get a current daily pace, and a weighted daily pace which takes into account year-on-year performance. The dashboard also gives you at-a-glance daily sales figures, a pie chart of channel sales, annual sales graphs and top suppliers
  • Go to the Performance to Target report within Vision’s Sales Performance section and see your metrics on previous months, your daily, month-to-date and year-to-date performance against plan, together with sales projections for the year, so that you can course correct if necessary
  • Then go to the Performance Comparison report to easily compare any two periods such as month-on-month or year-on-year, either by headline figure or by channel, supplier, product sales, or product volumes to get the bigger picture on your progress

Doing this daily, rather than when the month has closed for example, means you can make changes before it’s too late. Our most successful customers are regularly looking at their performance and checking their KPI emails to make sure they’re not missing anything important.

To make sure you’re not missing anything important, now’s the time to check your sales performance or ask us for help.

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