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How to use Sales Analytics reports
As Sales Analytics has reached v1.5, handling 246 sales report types, and its popularity as a VirtueMart reporting tool has been increasing since its first release in October 2010, with more and more people relying on it to build and analyze their sales reports, we believe it's time to write an article explaining how Sales Analytic works, how it builds sales reports, and how to use the data it displays.
We hope this article is useful and helps you improve the way you manage and grow your online store.
Sales Analytics reports are based on VirtueMart (VM) orders data saved on the database. This data is processed and analyzed in a user-friendly manner to display reports to help manage the online store. To start using the tool, all that is required is setting, in the VM parameters, what's the VM order status that identifies successful transactions on the online store.
To help understand how Sales Analytics reports are built and how data should be interpreted, users should take into account the following considerations:
These are the most accurate sales reports, and display the main data for online sales evolution and quantification. If you need to retrieve sales information, this is the data to use.
Product reports (Product, Product Categories & Product Attributes)
VM makes use of discount coupons that can be introduced by customers during checkout to get order discounts. These discounts apply to the order total amounts, not to individual products. Because of that, order discounts are not taken into consideration in Product reports. Product reports display the sales distribution by products, how your product portfolio looks like.
Ignoring order discounts keeps the product distribution reports 100% accurate (in terms of proportion between products) butit can display slightly higher total amounts because order discounts are ignored. Besides, different products can be included in the same order, so the sum of orders by products can be slightly higher that the total orders in the period.
Reports data is built using the VM successful order status set in the Sales Analytics parameters. But also knowing what orders have been canceled, refunded or are still pending confirmation is also very useful. These reports serve this purpose and display additional information besides of sales, to help you understand how the online store is performing.
Manufacturer reports & Vendor reports
Manufacturer and vendor reports are based on products data, and it happens the same as in product reports: order discount coupons are ignored, and they can display slightly higher total amounts than sales reports.
Top Lists, Truncated Lists
Some reports display top lists, for example, to show the best-seller products, or the top customers. These lists are truncated to a given number that can be set in the Sales Analytics parameters to show the top 10, 15 or 20 customers.
In these reports, the detailed data displayed is limited to the number of elements set in the truncated list parameter, but the global data displayed in the header buttons takes into consideration the whole online store (all products, all customers, and so on) so you can analyze the top lists data with the big picture in sight.
Map reports take into account the customer location to display georeferenced reports. In many VM store configurations, it is not mandatory for users to provide their location (it can be optional for them, or not required at all). This can be the case for online stores that only sell digital goods via online downloads.
Map reports can only take into account those customers that have provided their location during registration, and when this is not mandatory, map reports can display lower total amounts than those of the sales reports, although the location data they display is still 100% accurate for the customers that have provided their location.