How to make the best use of EPOS data

Deborah Dowling

Senior Merchandiser & Data Analyst @The WBE

Electronic Point of Sale data is valuable in making important decisions to enhance customer experience and maximise Sales & Profitability.  

It is important to analyse EPOS historical sales data in order to make the right decisions at every stage & at every level….. whether that be where you decide to place a new product in store, what price to sell a new line at, how much of a product category to buy or what to mark an old line down to to clear the stock effectively but with the most profit.  Every decision made impacts on the overall performance of your business and on the satisfaction that the customer receives.  We want to ensure customers want to return & give positive reviews for your business that will encourage others to visit.  The analysis of Sales Data and the decisions made from it is crucial to all of this.

Here are some key factors to use to help you grow & thrive in what is such a competitive industry!

Historical Sales & profits can be analysed at various levels, including product type (i.e. tops, trousers, shorts, dresses), timescale (i.e weekly, monthly, annually), individual product level, by supplier, by store, price banding and more in order to help forecast forward sales. 

This is useful for a number of reasons:

  • Managing staff levels
  • Managing stock intake
  • Knowing how much stock is required
  • Knowing which type of stock is best to back & what mix of product types will achieve the best sales
  • Financial & Accounting purposes
  • What is driving your profit.  Your best sellers may actually have your lowest margins.
  • Managing stock clearance through price reductions
  • Improving slow sales with promotions
Sales & Profit Forecasting
Stock Control

Analysing sales & stock data can ensure that how stock is being controlled can have a huge impact on sales & profitability

-Multiple outlets

If your business has more than one store it is important to manage these at an individual basis as much as possible as there may be key differences such as size of outlet (and therefore stock capacity), different trends, demographics & shopping habits.  This can mean that a best seller in one store may not be in another, that a style needs to be marked down deeper in order to clear it through, that the mix of product types purchased should differ or that the timing of intake should be phased differently.

If there are a large number of outlets you may wish to categorise them into store sizes to make allocation of stock easier.  A distribution system can be set up to make the allocation of stock automated based on historical data.


-Quantities purchased

How much should you buy of a new trend or product, what is the intake margin going to be at anyone time, how much should you buy for each store?


-Timing of intake, Seasonality & key selling periods

When should you start to sell swimsuits & how many options should you start off with? When do customers start shopping for Christmas & when are the best times do launch sale or promotional activity?  When do you need to buy more stock, or you will not have enough?  How much extra stock can you keep in the stockroom or a warehouse? 

Sale Events, Pricing & Promotional Activity

Sales & Promotions can make a significant difference on business performance. 

Is the customer satisfied that they had good ‘value for money’?

Are products priced logically to reflect the quality, collate with other products and ensure that there are strong margins?

Do sale events clear through stock efficiently to allow space for new products, but ensure that margins do not decline too heavily?

Are there effective promotions that make the customer buy related products & have helped the customer to save money?

Are prices competitive? How do they relate to last year to ensure the business remains consistent?

Product Analysis

What are the Best & worst sellers

Price, colour, & size analysis can help to determine whether these factors are impacting on how well the product sells and ensures that you buy with these factors in mind going forward

It may well be that a product could have been a best seller, but the size mix ratio did not collate to what customers needed so they couldn’t buy it!

Is the positioning of the stock in store affecting how well it is selling? Is it hidden at the back & not being noticed or next to an unflattering product

Are there any quality issues with the products- look at returns figures & examine the stock to check

Customer Shopping habits

Basket Analysis- average transactional spend

Linked products- for example are customers buying tights to go with dresses?  This can impact product layout decisions or give ideas for multi-buy promotions

Promotional activity analysis- Is the promotion working- e.g How many customers are taking up a 3 for 2 promotion?

Loyalty information

Do you need more help with analysing this data and best using it to make strategical business decisions?  

With 10 years experience I can help you to make the most of this data with the following services

Consultancy sessions to teach you & your staff how to use the data

On a freelance basis to analyse the most relevant data on your behalf & work with you to utilise the information

Create customized reports that you can use on an ongoing basis with training on how to update & use the data

The reports we can create & analyse will depend on the system in place & may require some admin to enable us to categorise data

Please contact us for more information.

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