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5 Retail Reports You Need To Run Before The Holidays

5 Retail Reports You Need To Run Before The Holidays

The holidays are almost upon us. In this ever-important retail season, getting ready means doing it bigger and better every year. Without the right information, though, what are you basing your crucial decisions on? Sure, your gut feeling is important, but gut alone isn’t a reliable, fool-proof source (no offense)—your data and retail reports are. 

So what data should you be tracking during the holidays? What’s important and how do you find that information in Lightspeed Analytics? Let’s see how well you know your business: can you answer these five holiday prep questions? Don’t worry, we’re here to help!



1. Who are your holiday-only shoppers?

What portion of last year’s holiday sales came from shoppers who haven’t come back to your shop since then? Your holiday-only shoppers don’t know what you’ve been up to this past year and they don’t know what products or deals you have for this holiday season. Reaching out to them and bringing them back is a solid holiday business boost. So, how do you go about identifying those shoppers?


5 reports you need to run before the holidays


The retail report you need

In Lightspeed Analytics, the Customer Lifetime Value report will pinpoint customers who haven’t shopped with you since the last holiday season. To build the report, head to Marketing and select Reports and run the Customer Lifetime Value report.

Next, add your Days Since Last Purchase filter. Calculate the time that’s passed since your last holiday season and your current date (today) and run the report.

Note: set the date filter to be is greater than or equal. Customers who have not shopped with you since your last holiday period will be displayed.

Now what?

Once you know who your holiday-only shoppers are, it’s time to talk to them. If you have their contact information (hopefully you do), create a marketing campaign targeted toward seasonal sales and festive promotions so they know it’s time to come back. 

Communication is key, always. Make it a habit to collect emails throughout the year as you ring up customers. 


2. When will you need more staff?

When managing seasonal schedules, how do you decide when to double up on floor staff? No one can predict the future, but getting your holiday schedules as precise as possible maximizes profit and customer satisfaction during busy periods. 


5 reports you need to run before the holidays


The retail report you need

To answer this question, you need the right data to create an informed staffing plan. In Lightspeed Analytics, run the Sales by Hour of Day report, found under Employee Performance.

Set the date range for the last 30 days and make a note of the data. Then, rerun the report, but this time, adjust the filter to a range. Input the start and end dates of your last holiday season and make a note of the data.

Pro tip: For maximum accuracy in terms of what to expect, repeat this report for as many years of sales data as you have available in Lightspeed Analytics.

Now what?

Compare your current busy periods with your historical busy periods.

  1. If your best performing hours are roughly the same, simply increase the number of staff scheduled during crunch time. Once you’ve set individual sales targets, it might be a good idea to use them to determine how many more employees it will take to hit your holiday daily sales goals.
  2. If your current and historical busy periods differ, think about why that may be. Were you running promotions last year? What events were happening in and around your store? Think about what worked well and incorporate your best ideas into your current holiday strategy. 

Increase your staff on days performing well, but keep in mind that any special events or promotions could increase the need for personnel on those days. Don’t forget, you can always keep an on-call schedule if you’re not sure.


3. How are your different locations performing?

Different locations might be doing better—or worse—on different days. Are you tracking their performance? If your business operates in multiple locations, your holiday sales strategy absolutely needs to take into account how your different locations are performing.



The retail report you need

In your Lightspeed Analytics back end, head to Sales and Inventory and run the Recent Sales report. Add all your different locations as a pivot and then adjust the Sale Completed Date to the last four weeks and save the data.

Repeat the report, but extend the date range to the last 3 months. Save the data and compare the two reports. Finally, repeat the report with the Sale Completed Date filter set to the months in your last holiday season. 

What now?

Examine the data. What locations are doing well? Which ones aren’t? Has anything changed in the last few months? Do do you know why? If not, have you been making an effort to bring traffic into lower-performing locations? If you have, do you know why it’s not working?

Once you have the data for all your locations, it’ll be clear where to concentrate your efforts and resources. Well-performing stores might not need as many promotions or markdowns to have a good holiday period, which could free you up to concentrate on other locations. 


4. How much of your stock is considered “dusty”?

Dusty inventory is any stock that hasn’t sold in a fixed amount of time—the standard benchmark being 180 days.

To crush the holiday season, your inventory needs to be optimized. Buy more of what sells and liquidate what doesn’t. You don’t want to be weighed down with dusty, stagnant stock that hasn’t moved in the last three months, just taking up space in your back office. After the rush, make sure to evaluate what’s left, as well.


5 reports you need to run before the holidays


The retail report you need

Head to the Sales and Inventory reports in Lightspeed Analytics and run the Dusty Inventory report. Experiment with how you display the data according to your goals. You could add a Brands pivot to drill down what brands are selling in-store and what aren’t, for example. 

To get a more dynamic picture of your stock, check out the Recently out of Stock report under the Sales section. This report tells you which items are selling well—a useful contrast to your Dusty Inventory report, especially if you’re looking to create bundles.

What now?

Now that you know what stock isn’t moving, you can decide what to do with it. One idea: merchandise in low quantities that hasn’t moved in at least three months may be the right choice for charitable donations, bundles or markdowns. Repurpose dusty inventory for charitable donations or promotional giveaways. Are you focusing on your eCommerce customers this holiday season? You could use the dusty inventory you just identified as a gift with each purchase.

Pro tip: Keep your Recently out of Stock report in mind when planning your holiday inventory. If certain items are selling well, you’ll probably want to stock up during the shopping rush!

Don’t forget to rerun your retail reports in the new year. If new inventory has turned dusty or sold well, keep that in mind when restocking for the rest of the year. 


5. How are you handling returns?

When it comes to accepting returns this holiday season, you need to track their impact on your business. Surprisingly, a robust return policy can lead to more sales, so you should consider your options carefully.


5 reports you need to run before the holidays


The retail report you need

You can track your returns using the Returns by Employee report found under the Employee Performance section of Lightspeed Analytics. Add a Top Level Category pivot, adjust the Sale Completed date range to last year’s holiday period and run the report.

Examine your average returns and save the data. Then, run the report a second time with a different date range, say the first two months after your last holiday season, and save the data. 

Finally, run the report a third time for the last 30 days and compare your data sets.

Pro tip: Set yourself a reminder to run the report regularly during the post-holiday season so you can see if anything changes.

What now?

Use the data to determine your return policy. Compare the quantities returned and their associated costs: if the quantity is low, but the cost is high, you may decide to restrict your returns, possibly by reducing the amount of time customers have to make a return.

If returns are costing your business too much, swap out your return policy for an exchange or store credit program. 


Keeping an eye on your business is essential year-round, but it’s especially important during the holidays. Lightspeed Analytics’ retail reports help you optimize holiday sales, seasonal promotions, staff scheduling and the everyday reality of your business.


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