Weekly and monthly performance reviews are essential to smart retailing. A standard set of reports should be designed to best meet the needs of the intended audience. While this is considered standard practice for most retailers, it is only the beginning.
Leading companies have redesigned these reports from information to be reviewed, into actionable reports. The difference? Actionable reports eliminate content that requires little or no action on the part of the reviewer. For instance, weekly Best Seller reports are common for most larger retailers. But, what can a merchant do with this information? The entire report must be studied to identify potential lost sales, overstocks, excessive markdowns, etc. An actionable
report alternative could show the top 10 selling items with low on-hands and no on-order.
Another could be slow selling styles with excessive on-hands and additional merchandise n-order. While virtually all merchandising and financial solutions provide reporting, competitive advantage comes from having actionable reports. Newer solutions offer the ability to create or customize your own reports. Simply having needed information presented in an effective way can provide surprising productivity and improved results.
For a senior merchant an actionable report could show weekly performance by department vs. plan—but only show those areas under-performing by a defined percentage. Another example would be to track vendor sales across departments and show only those vendors whose maintained margin is falling below agreed levels.
These actionable reports enable quick response and provide immediate focus on the key business issues. Speed of response is vital to the mid-size retailer; they can often react faster than the larger chains. It’s a competitive advantage that many retailers currently exploit.