Tuesday, 22 April 2014

I recently read an article about a high-street brand that is giving its stores access to live sales data - so that they have visibility of best-sellers elsewhere, can ask other stores who they're selling what to perhaps, and maximise their own potential.

I was thinking of ways to achieve something similar, without huge investment in IT infrastructure.

Perhaps you could calculate each store's best-sellers each week- by value and by unit, because the little, frequent, or add-on, purchases are important - and distribute to the managers. At the end of each month, you could do the month's best-sellers as well as the week's best sellers and ask managers for a comment - if they've been using any techniques in particular to achieve these sales, etc.

I think this could really stimulate sales. And hopefully the means would be its own metric - if you saw best-sellers spread from store to store, you could see it was having an effect.

The bank holiday weekend gave me a much appreciated rest. At the end of the week, I was reading about an amazing treatment in Lush Spasp - the Hard Day's Night treatment. It's a full-body ,Shaitsu-inspired massage, performed to the sound of some brilliant Beatles covers (you can have a listen, and find more details, here), while you're in really comfortable pyjamas. Afterwards, I believe you are given a cup of tea, a biscuit and a bath bomb.

I tried to recreate something similar at home - lazing around in loungewear, listening to music, having lots of tea and demanding a back rub from my boyfriend. The below paints the picture (glamorised in some aspects, of course!). Hope your weekend has been just as busy or just as relaxing as you wanted.

Equipment Lilian Silk Pyjamas £430, Zimmerli Men's Pyjama Trousers £85, Lush Strawberry Feels Forever Massage Bar £5.75, Lush Blackberry Bath Bomb £2.95, Royal Copenhagen Blue Fluted Plain Cup & Saucer 89€, Pukka Detox Tea, Pink Wafer Biscuits

Monday, 14 April 2014

A while ago, I attended a range review. I helped a little with the preparation: pulling together sales by product last year, both in total and by channel; and then ranking the products, again both by channel and overall. We also produced spreadsheets grouping products by line and category, showing the different categories each family comes in, and calculating top-line growth by category.

The discussion at the range review meeting was fascinating. In many instances, the managers weren’t really wanting to extend or reduce the range; their aim was to replace a slow-seller with a best-seller.  The replacement should therefore please both new customers and stalwarts of the old product – a hard bill to fit!

The categories to which they were wanting to add references were the those showing the highest growth, yes – but also categories comprising disproportionately few SKUS, compared to competitors, and categories where sales were strong and steady (to prevent this sort of category becoming stale, they wanted newness – exciting launches and for the products that are not pulling their weight to be discontinued).

It was really fascinating!

When I looked out of the window this morning, the cherry outside had blossomed dawn-pink. And this was set against the sunset-orange flowers of the shrub beneath. It was so striking I had to take the picture above. And in many ways, the prints in store at the moment reflect these clashing florals. I think the below are particularly beautiful:

Floral Patchwork Print Dress Markus Lupfer £315, Botanical Print Dress Warehouse £65, Shard Rose Print Dress Paul Smith £320, Wisteria & Violet Cologne Alex Monroe £82, Hand Decorated Easter Eggs Fortnum & Mason from £39.95 each

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

For various reasons, my manager recently asked me to compare this month's sales to this month last year's sales, for active SKUs alone.

First, I ran a report for each period and formatted the hellish mess out of them (our EPOS generates some pretty cluttered reports!) Then I reinserted products that have been deleted and are no longer recognised. I compiled both reports and removed the duplicates (to get one comprehensive list of all products sold). I sorted by a part of the product code, to separate out the categories. Finally I vlooked-up (or vlookuped?) status and sorted discontinued/newly-launched product to the bottom.

When it was looking a bit better, I pulled in the sales by value and by unit for 2013 and 2014. After this, I calculated the % difference (by value and by unit) for each product, the % difference by category, and the % difference by category taking into account only active products (it was the last one we were really interested in). To finish, I calculated % difference across all products and across all active products.

What I found was really useful and really positive: strong growth, particularly in active SKUs. And my manager has asked me to do this every month going forward - no small task, but I am pretty proud to have devised a report he appreciates.

Last post, I pulled together some 'botanical illustration' floral prints. I'm not branching out too much this week - I've focussed on floral pencil-drawing prints. Hope you like:

Esprit Printed Cotton Trousers £55, Uniqlo Modal Linen Blended T-Shirt £9.90, Alexander Wang Patent-Leather Loafers £565, Miller Harris Fleur du Matin from £65, Diptyque Rich Body Butter £50, Cowshed Knackered Cow Relaxing Body Lotion £18, Sanderson Anise Wallpaper from £46, Cole and Son Frontier Water Lily Wallpaper from £72