Sales Reports: Guides to Better Business

Sales reports can improve your business by identifying trends, informing buying decisions, and strengthening marketing efforts.
Photo Credit: Celerant

Author: Cassie Gasaway

Most ATA members eat, sleep and breathe their business. And to ensure they’re in tune with everything, they study sales reports to catch things that might otherwise fall through the cracks.


What’s a Sales Report?

Sales reports are detailed records of sales activity over specific time periods. They can also show gross profits, profit margins, and costs of goods sold. Other sales reports show details on customers, individual products, products by vendor, and products by category.

Sales reports are often generated weekly, monthly or quarterly using point-of-sale or inventory-management systems. These systems automatically track sales and inventory levels in real-time. Most such systems also generate stock reports, which track how much product you have in stock. That information helps you manage your inventory. Read the Vend HQ blog 6 Types of Inventory and Sales Reports to Use in Your Retail Store to learn about other valuable reports.

Business owners trust reports generated by these systems because they’re more reliable than manual systems, like Excel spreadsheets or pen and paper, which are more prone to human errors.

Your MyATA service providers offer affordable point-of-sale systems. Log into your MyATA member dashboard and click “Download Free ATA Resources” to access the ATA’s resource website. Then, click “MyATA Service Providers” from the drop-down menu to see your options.

Let’s review four reasons you should create and analyze sales reports.

Sales reports can show you product trends and when your busiest times are. Photo Credit: Celerant

Sales Reports Help Business Owners …


Identify Trends and Hot Products

Sales reports neatly display data that help verify or identify your best- or worst-selling products, as well as products that aren’t making money.

Because you can generate reports for specific times or periods, you can learn what you sold and when you sold it. Being able to review inventory sales during specific periods makes it easier to identify your customers’ buying trends.


Make Smart Business Decisions

By analyzing sales reports, you can make better buying decisions. You’ll know what to buy and when to stock it. You can also order the right amounts of products. Determining inventory needs can be tricky. You’ll lose money if you overstock, but lose customers if you don’t stock enough. Sales reports inform those judgments. Create minimum and maximum stock requirements for products. You’ll be warned when you’re short on specific products so you can reorder them before you’re out of stock.

Ordering the right quantities helps you turn inventory quickly so your money isn’t tied up in stocked products. Plus, stocking the right amounts when they’ll most likely sell helps your cashflow. Also set up a product-performance report to identify items that aren’t selling. You’ll then know when to discount them.

Knowing where your sales lie will help you know how to stock your store. Photo Credit: ATA

Improve Their Marketing Efforts

Understanding trends, and identifying hot or cold products, makes it easier to create productive marketing plans. You can strategically promote or highlight specific products at ideal times through email, social media or other digital initiatives to stimulate buying.

You’ll likely find each month or season has different top-selling products. Present products to customers when they need them and are more likely to buy them. For example, some shops feature targets during the offseason to encourage more practice. As summer unfolds, they start pushing broadheads and lighted nocks to remind customers to gear up for bow season.


Hit Their Sales Goals

No matter the season, retailers must know how much money is coming in. Sales reports help determine if you’re over- or underperforming, and if you’re on track to hit your sales goals.

Those reports also help assess staffing needs, and whether your dedicated salespeople are working and performing during your store’s busiest times. If mornings aren’t all that busy, consider scheduling your sales staff to start at noon. And if your sales peak in August and September, you might just need seasonal help. Use your reports to ensure your sales associates are working when you need them most.


Final Thoughts

“Sales reports generated by your point-of-sale system give you hard data to make informed business decisions,” said Kurt Smith, ATA’s director of industry relations. “Keeping a close eye on those reports helps business owners adjust strategies in real-time from month to month, instead year to year.”

Questions? Contact Kurt Smith at (717) 578-0736 or

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