Friday 20 February 2015

Why Traders Should Divulge Their Sales Figures

Imagine you are a premier sporting body like the AFL but you don't keep track of team scores. You measure crowd numbers because that is a primary source of income. But how your teams are going, which are the weak, which are the strong, how they perform on the field, and the state of their finances doesn't really get measured. As ridiculous as that might sound, it is pretty much what goes on at QVM.

Measuring what we do at QVM is essential to our success as traders. The retail world is cut-throat, margins are shrinking, and it is small percentages that count if we are to control our future. Successful decisions require good information and yet a critical piece of information is usually missing when decisions are made at QVM. That missing information is trader sales.

Traders of course have the ability to track their own performance although there are many different ways of doing it. After a particularly strong trading weekend I asked one trader how he had performed and he said "terribly". It turned out that he measured his sales performance by the number of bills still sitting on his desk at the end of the week. I am sure he was half joking but we do need to be a bit more sophisticated than that in measuring our sales performance. 

One area where the measuring of sales is critical is when we evaluate the performance of events or marketing programs. QVM can measure crowd numbers and customer feedback data but in a retail environment it is all about getting sales. Knowing the level of sales and the variation between different market segments tells us a lot about events and promotions and how to fine tune them for maximum impact.

Another area where sales data would be very useful is in rent discussions. That is of course a double edged sword but over recent years our cries of "we can't afford to pay more rent" pretty much fall on deaf ears because we are not prepared to back up our claims with real data.

Retail giants like Westfield would not think of making key decisions about things like product mix and promotional campaigns without knowing sales data. The health of their retailers is critical to the health of their property investments. At QVM, neither traders nor management show much interest in giving or gathering sales data and that really needs to be corrected.