3 Dimensions That Are Critical To Seeing The Whole Picture

The information residing on your servers is a key to understanding your business. Marketers have known this for years. However, as fast as thing go in business today, especially in the C-Store space, it is impossible to manually analyze all you need to in order to get the big picture every day as you need it. It takes multiple reports, dashboard analytics, geographical mapping, time comparisons and a good solid knowledge of your business being pulled together. In the past, this was done by creating spreadsheets and even more reports. Having only pieces of this massive puzzle may not be helping you. Who can make sound decisions when they only see half of the picture? The fact is that many don’t know that this is all they are seeing.

When seeking reporting options, you need to find ones that relay the whole perspective. To understand the dynamics of what is going on, one has to look at where and when the normal metrics measured are occurring to gain the best perspective. Paper reports may relay where two Managers are failing in goal obtainment, and can lead one to conclude these managers are not being effective. Paper reports do not relay that road construction was preventing traffic on the road at the time or, that a competitor may have set up shop across the street at the time the decline went into play. One may be seeing pieces of the puzzle, but until they are put together and correlated into the analytics, you are only seeing individual pieces of a picture.

Quik Data provides C-Store simple business intelligence. The product is managed by BandyWorks, LLC has geographical Reporting of Key Metrics giving you the whole perspective of Metric, Time and Geography. The mapping adds a geographic business intelligence format to business intelligence dashboards for C-Stores performance and accountability.

Quik Data by BandyWorks, LLC has geographical Reporting of Key Metrics giving you the whole perspective of Metric, Time and Geography

Seek tools to give you the following:

  • Quantitative Performance Data – The data you get in reports and standard dashboards.
  • Time Perspective – The correlation of timing and when the results went into play.
  • Geographical Perspective – The correlation of what was happening around the store at the time.

C-Store entities, product lines and locations are all so diverse. Basic metrics can be impacted by competition, seasons, weather, and even construction. A good tool will take all of this into play and present the information one needs to come to more accurate conclusions. It will make this type of analysis possible on a daily basis, as you need it. It facilitates the process of setting optimal pricing, inventory levels and staffing levels for the time and environment where they reside. This type of evaluation makes better decisions all around because, once the analysis intertwines these dimensions into one clean correlated view, the puzzle you put together each day will be a true and accurate picture.

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Are You Putting Gross Margins and Gross Profits in Your Tool Belt?

Gross Profit and Gross Margin ultimately mean the same thing. How much money are you making. However, Gross Profit looks at the Revenue number, where cost are deducted from sales. Gross Margin is the percentage and comparison of cost to sales. When looking at a percentage of what you can keep from each dollar that you earn, it can allow you to help reduce your costs or increase your price. BandyWorks’ Quik Data tool for Convenience Stores can become your best friend in determining where your best margins are. It can help you decide which products you should be placing in your most expensive places of your stores, where those items should be placed and even where those stores should be.

Consider a candy called XYZ Yums. Gross Profit on this candy shows it to be parallel to the name brand candies, even though you are selling less of them and they are a lower price. When drilling down to the gross margin you find you are making $.75 per unit that you sell. Will that make you move it to the prime real estate of your stores? Probably not, if you have contracts restricting you from doing so. However, you may move it from that bottom right hand corner to a space next to or just below the prime space so candy buyers will see it more readily with a hope that they will opt for the lower price on their snack.

Let’s look at another example. Say you want to add a store. You need to decide where it should be placed. By looking at your current stores and their gross margins by category, you obviously want to place it near an area where Gross Profits are highest. BandyWork’s Quik Data Software will make finding these locations easy, because your stores and their Gross Margins can be placed on a map to show you from where the highest margins are coming.

Image showing gross margin and sales by conveniences store location on a map

Products that show your gross margin levels at each location on a map can make real estate selections easier.

Though these examples are rather simplistic, the concept can be applied to a variety of issues C-Stores face every day, from real estate selection, right down to buying the racks XYZ YUMS will sit in. With a tool that can make finding that number easy, it becomes practical and a no brainer to have it in the very front of your tool belt.

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Convenience Store Dashboard – Best Practices for Drilldown

Convenience Store operators need data to manage and optimize store sales, operations and profitability. Information is needed at the corporate level, store level as well as tiered levels according to the overall size of the operations. Larger companies often use both regions and districts while mid-size companies typically organize by supervisors. Smaller operations often want to monitor departments such as insides sales (C-Store categories) and food operations (e.g. Subway, Burger King and Taco Bell).

Managers need to see key performance indicators such as total sales and costs, cash and inventory over/short, category sales and inventory turns. One of the most challenging needs is to have a simple tool that quickly provides a view of data that is needed to understand a the overall picture of the business – whether you are in the store or viewing remotely. The views include

  1. Grouping of information – Gross profit, Sales, Operations, Department, Product Categories
  2. Time scale – Day, week, month, quarter and year
  3. Comparison – current, previous, year over year (same day/week/month versus last week, month and year)
  4. Information by region, district or supervisor
  5. Information by Store
  6. Display options – Graphs, Geography, Detail

A useful dashboard will allow quick transitions between the different views using drilldowns to shift vertically, horizontally while also offering presentation options to better show insights for clarity and action.

Convenience Store Dashboard – Horizontal Drilldown

Image of a dashboard for convenience stores showing a view with the same stores, but using a different set of data

C-Store Dashboard Best Practice – Horizontal View

Horizontal drill down shows different sets of data. For example, if you find gross profit information that is interesting, then the view of sales or operational information will explain how the profits were attained. When shifting horizontally, the view needs to remain stable with the vertical level (i.e., if you are at the C-Store department level, then remain there) while also keeping the timeframe constant. The user then can compare information quickly. Of course, the next step can be drilling further in the same direction or changing vertically, timescale or even the presentation. Changing one view item at a time provides the user with a manageable change to allow understanding and find insights. Providing enough views to analyze without require too much time makes the analytical process possible for even busy executives. Dashboards typically assume operational users that do not have time to spend hours studying details. The tool must provide views quickly so that operational action may be ascertained or identify issues that require further analysis.

Convenience Store Dashboard – Vertical Drilldown

Image of a dashboard for convenience stores showing a view of one supervisors stores, while using the same view (Sales)

 
 
As opposed to horizontal drilldowns, the vertical drilldown show the same type of information but just narrows the filter to a smaller group of stores. In the example below, the second level vertical from the C-store level is the group of stores managed by a single supervisor – while the filter changes for the stores to be analyzed, the graphical view and the time scale remain constant
 
 
 
 

Convenience Store Dashboard – Geographic Drilldown

Image of a dashboard using geographic view to show store information

C-Store Dashboard Best Practices Geographic View

The geographic drilldown shows similar data in different formats. For example, the image below shows stores overlaid to a map with roads. Different sales information can be displayed using colors and size to indicate comparative volume as well as performance compare to targets (e.g., inner circle shows relative Gross Profit and outer circle shows the relative sales compared to the stores in the drill-down filter.)

 

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