Sales reporting

eCommerce Guide

The sales reporting feature of your eCommerce system gives you access to the financial details of your sales transactions, which you’ll need in order to maintain your business accounts. But not only that, it also provides insightful business intelligence about your customers and the specific purchases they make.

In other words, it comprises more than just a detailed list of financial data that helps you analyse and manage your sales – it also contains invaluable information that you can use to manage customer relationships and target your marketing efforts.

You’ll find that few eCommerce systems actually offer anything more sophisticated than a simple export of your sales data for use in an external accounting or business management system, such as Microsoft Excel, Sage, Intuit QuickBooks and Peachtree.

This is because business has been using these and other well-established and highly developed financial management systems long before eCommerce even existed, making the expense of developing such tools directly within an eCommerce system unnecessary.

Although every eCommerce web design solution offers some way of extracting your sales data, some eCommerce providers with bespoke capability will also be able to integrate your site with your own in-house or proprietary business system. This will help to improve your operating efficiency as your business grows by allowing data exchange between your different software applications.

So by exporting your sales data or feeding it directly through to another system, what exactly are you able to do with all that information?

Financial information

  • Analyse past orders and forecast future sales
  • Monitor cash flow
  • Obtain information needed for your tax return
  • Print periodical financial reports or deliver them digitally to your accountant
  • Make decisions about product pricing
  • Compare your shipping charges with actual expenditure

Marketing information

  • Identify your best-sellers and most profitable items
  • Pick out products that need more attention or promotion
  • Track sales patterns, such as seasonal and geographical trends
  • Analyse response to site changes, features and promotions
  • Build a database of customers
  • Nurture customer relationships and target product promotions

Export formats

comma-separated values (CSV) file is a very widely adopted data format for exchanging information between different computer applications, making it a common method of exporting sales information from eCommerce systems. Data is structured into individual records, whereby each field within a record is separated from another by means of a comma.

Tab-separated values (TSV) is another common file format, but instead of using a comma to separate each field it uses the tab stop character. It is considered a better format for importing and exporting text-rich information that may already contain commas within it. Since tab stops rarely crop up in text they are a far less ambiguous way of separating one field from another.

Some eCommerce systems also allow export to one or more of the various proprietary formats, such as those used by Microsoft Excel or Intuit QuickBooks.

What you can expect from a Rapid Web Services system

However, the real secret behind the success of our clients is the ability of a Rapid Web Services system to grow with them. And our sales reporting feature is no exception.

Our modular system design means that from the outset you only pay for the tools you’re actually likely to need.

But this also means that you have the flexibility to add any custom sales reporting feature, as and when you need it, without the need to start all over again with a new eCommerce system.

Some eCommerce providers also offer composite sales reporting features, such as Rapid Web Services’s own SourceTracker, that aggregate, analyze and present your sales and visitor tracking data as one.

These tools give you a better insight into the success of your online marketing campaigns as they allow you to directly monitor conversion rates and also give you a much clearer picture of shopper behaviour.