Monday, 26 January 2015

Re. Reporting

SFK Frou-Frou Super Deluxe Camera Strap $95, Cos Melange Knit Hit £13 (down from £25), & Other Stories Short Leather Gloves £23 (down from £45), Surface to Air Le Baron Boots £105 (down from £350) at Avenue, Christopher Raeburn Arctic Print Rucksac £250 (down from £499) at

I have been looking with fresh eyes at some of our reporting since the start of the year.

Before Christmas, I began adding some formulas to a spreadsheet we use each week - reducing the number of vlookups and original entries we have to insert. Since week one, I've been testing it and last week showed it to some colleagues. Luckily, they were enthusiastic and we will atttempt to integrate it into our weekly routine. All going well, it'll save a lot of trouble identifying products that are missing from our pages.

Another thing I really want to look at, is how I determine whether a product/category has done as well as it should have in any given week.

Just asking if product/category sales are better than in the previous week is too simplistic, so I started comparing to average sales over the past few weeks.
But sales are always going to go up and down. If stylish underwear sells well in the weeks before Valentine's day and the less well again toward the end of February, I need to be aware when I'm looking at my figures. I don't want to be attributing the trend erroneously, and I don't want to be thinking it will last longer than it will.
So some historic data should be taken into account, but then a direct comparison may not be valid either - everything might be selling better/worse than last year.

My instincst say that looking at percentage share of sales would be good (the product's percentage share of its category, the category's percentage share of total sales).
I could compare percentage share this year to percentage share last year - but then I'm not taking into account range changes. We might have invested more in, say, sports underwear this year, and so share of sales might naturally be higher.

Ideally, I think I would be comparing the difference between this week and last week's share to the difference between this week last year and last week last year's share.
This should tell me if a product/category is improving or not, and help me decide where to work next. I think the only thing that would skew these figures would be very recent launches of new products/ranges. 

I'm mulling all this over, because - on a SKU by SKU level at least - it's a lot of work. Fun project though!

On a different note, I am - excitingly and excitedly - about to go to Berlin. So above you have some chilly city site-seeing gear.

Have a great week.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

New Resolutions 2

Sweaty Betty - Om Yoga Vest £45, Virasana Yoga Bra £38, Dynamic Yoga Leggings £65; Marks and Spencer - Reflective Jacket £55, Gym Slim Sports Bra £28, Graphic Print Leggings £25; Ballet Beautiful Wrap Top £ 145, Live the Process Sports Bra £60 and Paneled Printed Leggings £105 all at Net-A-Porter

Just after Christmas, I discussed my resolutions for the next year at work. New beginnings seem to be top of everyone's mind right now. All the retailers are talking about detox diets and exercise regimes, kicking bad habits and picking up new skills, purging and enriching...

I've been revisiting all my pages and finding lots to improve upon. What felt right in the autumn just doesn't now (circumstances change of course, and the changes you make, bring about the need for more changes). New opportunities have opened up. And, while some pages have less potential at the moment, they can still be tidied up and put to bed for a while.
Lots to be getting on with!

I wanted to see if I could spot any other merchandising that was starting a-fresh this spring -

First, a book-seller: I compared their current homepage to their homepage in early December. Certain things remained the same, certain things had changed.
They led with the same four categories - Children's, Fiction, Crime, and Food and Drink - and the same images represented these categories. After this however, 4 'New & Bestselling' volumes replaced 8 'Christmas & Best-sellers'.
Both pages ended with 4 'Favourite' books and 8 Category links (to Gifts and some non-book departments), but since December, 3 Books of the Month have been inserted before the 'Favorites'.

At the moment, several of the featured books have a healthy-eating focus. There's also a noticeable presence of film-related books - because it's Awards Season, no doubt. This was not the case before Christmas.

Currently, a carousel sends you to a page dedicated to New Year's New Starts - with some recent releases at the top and then links to healthy eating, money and DIY, travel guides, language tutorials, even juicing and non-alcoholic beverage books!
The first product on the Food & Drink page is about 'The Art of Eating Well'; on the Home & Gardening page it's 'The Life-changing Magic of Tidying'!

Second, a supermarket: when I looked at their site at the start of December side-by-side with their site now, I saw similar categories but different images - spring flowers instead of wreaths and red bouquets, glasses of rose instead of flutes of champagne. Healthy-eating tips, ways to save money on food and nutritious recipes replaced links to Christmas products, decoration inspiration, gift guides and festive recipes.The carousel contained deals, deals on healthier ready-meals and even a month weight-loss regime.
Products you could consider 'healthy' - ingredients, snacks and meals - are pretty prominent throughout the site. Links to Muesli & Granola and Couscous have the same level of focus as Flour and Oils & Vinegar. Subcategories such as Specialist & Health Food appear much higher up drop-downs than I would have expected.

I also considered some sports brands - which presented new collections, particularly winter running ranges, along with ways to get fit and platforms for sharing exercise-experiences.

Department stores featured links to and content on fitness; while health and beauty stores had offers and rewards on health products.

In the collage above, you can see what I would pick, if I could splurge on some new kit to support my get-fit resolution!