Staying on top of inventory is critical to any size business. Inventory reports keep your shelves full while leaving your capital liquid enough to launch new products, invest in marketing and keep your business running. An inventory report needs to clearly and comprehensively represent the availability of your physical products, as well as what they’re costing you to hold, when they’re like to go out of stock and more. But, inventory reports can range in form from short to long, and can include anything from tables to visual representations.
Different inventory reports for different insights
Optimizing your business requires accurate, consistent data insights. Because your business needs to address its needs both today and in the future, what you include in each inventory report will differ depending on the end use. Segmenting inventory data allows retail brands and ecommerce owners to use product analytics to creatively forecast opportunities, solve problems and grow their bottom lines. To effectively build out and leverage your organization’s inventory reporting, keep in mind how you’ll use the data. What are the goals of your operation? To get to those, you’ll need to be familiar with the most common inventory reporting metrics:
- Quantity available: the number of units left in stock
- Quantity sold: the number of units sold in a given period
- Sell through rate: the number of goods sold out of the total on-hand in a given period (generally shown as a percentage)
- Inventory velocity: the rate at which items are cycled in a period - or, how fast you’re selling a given product
- Depletion days: the number of days left until an item is out of stock (quantity available / inventory velocity = depletion days)
- Out of stock date: the date at which an item is likely to be depleted
- Holding cost: the cost to store inventory
- Retail value: the value of an item at the current retail price
Common inventory metrics to track
Below are four common inventory reports, what to include in them, and how to leverage them for growth.
Bottlenecks can happen in production, but you don’t want inventory depletion blocking sales. To prevent customers from placing an order that you can't fulfill – and, employees from having to monitor shelves with a clipboard in hand – set up a continuously updating inventory-on-hand report. Inventory on hand can be calculated as (“previous stock” + “added stock”) - (“sales” + “stock loss”). That breaks down as follows:
- Using your previous inventory on hand report if you have one, your calculations begin with previous inventory levels you last reported.
- Then, factor in additional inventory sourced since the last report.
- Now, subtract all sales and other stock losses from that base number.
- Your result should equal your current inventory on hand.
An analytics platform with inventory and merchandising features, like Glew, can help you create and schedule this report automatically. An inventory-on-hand report can help identify your inventory velocity, sell-through rate, and depletion days. It tells your team what you're running low of and when you need to re-order - and what's remaining on the shelves and might need to be discounted to help it move more quickly.
Four inventory and sales reports we recommend creating
A product performance report can help you drill down into individual products and help you understand what products are selling (and where), how profitable they are, and what you need to do to optimize sales. When assessing product performance, be sure to segment by sales channel, including your ecommerce platform, your retail point of sale, if you have one, and any other marketplaces you sell on, like Amazon. You can also segment by marketing channel to see which of your products sell better in each of your channels, like Facebook, Instagram, Google, or email. Consider metrics like:
- Number of orders
- Quantity sold
- Profit and margin
- Cost of goods sold (COGS)
Linking product performance reports to your big-picture analytics helps you invest in products that sell, and avoid those that can slow or possibly stagnate movement. It can also help you determine which products to market through which channels, spending your advertising and marketing budgets more wisely.
Sales by customer group
Just as it helps to segment your product performance by sales and marketing channels, identifying customer groups and evaluating their purchasing habits and product preferences can be extremely useful. Customer groups can be broken down by:
- Perceived income level
- Platform or channel of origin
- Relationship length with your store
- Total number of orders with your store
- Total amount of money spent with you
- Average order value
- Revenue generated for your store
- Whether they purchase full-price or discount products
- Discounts used or refunds processed
Once you've created the relevant customer groups, you can easily see things like which products are purchased most frequently within those groups - which helps you identify your highest-value products, understand which products are most useful for customer acquisition or upselling, and helps you promote the right products to the right customers.
While segmenting your data by product and customer groups is incredibly useful when it comes to granular reporting, it always helps to get a macro view of what's happening in your business, too. Create a sales summary report to give you a high-level overview of your business performance regularly. Sales summary reports should include:
- Total number of orders
- Highest-selling products
- Lowest-selling products
- Total sales revenue
- Gross profit
With a sales summary report, you can analyze how your business is doing weekly, monthly and yearly. Paying attention to the trends, you can tell how healthy your business is, and more easily decide on your next moves when it comes to inventory purchases, pricing strategy, resource investment and more.
Inventory reports in Glew
You can create all of these reports manually - but an analytics platform that takes in data from your sales and marketing channels, inventory or warehouse management platform and other tools and allows you to automatically create and refresh reports will be a lot simpler (and more accurate). Glew’s multichannel reporting functionality makes it easy to gain visibility into key inventory and product performance insights, build and deliver custom inventory reports and share them with all your business's stakeholders.
Inventory reporting in Glew
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Getting results from inventory reports
It’s critical to both develop and maintain inventory reports over time. Optimizing your business through inventory reporting isn’t a one-off item on your to-do list, but a daily practice. Continually analyzing and tweaking your inventory reports will help you optimize results and ensure you’re pricing products profitably, moving inventory at the right pace, promoting the right products to the right customers and taking the right steps to grow your business.