If you run a retail store, you probably know on some level that your software is based on Microsoft Excel, or something very similar to it. What you might not know is just how many of your everyday activities are Excel-based — or could be. The Basics
These are the things that you would expect Excel to be doing around your store already. Nothing jaw-dropping, but the solid basic functionality of the spreadsheet program is worth mentioning. Accounting It’s almost a given that your basic accounting program utilizes Excel to track, manipulate, and examine numbers. It’s simply the best tool for the job, given it’s ability to perform calculations, display graphs, and compile information form a wide variety of sources. Point of Sale Many POS systems around the world use an Excel-based program — essentially a ‘mask’ that goes over an Excel spreadsheet — to generate everything from accurate sales tax calculations to printable receipts. Inventory Excel is also perfect for tracking the inventory of all of your store’s items. With Excel’s ability to send an automated Email any time a particular item gets low, it’s easy to ensure that you have adequate stocks of all items at all times. Invoicing With a little templating, Excel can produce very professional invoices for your various secondary services like carpet cleaning and other maintenance. Scheduling Excel’s graph-making capacity makes it easy to put in employee’s hours and get an immediate visual representation that will show any gaps or overages in your coverage. More Interesting Purposes Here are some things Excel could be doing for you that it’s probably not already involved in — but if you think a little outside the box, you’ll see how they could improve your business. Customer Tracking If your business is small, or the kind that brings frequent repeat visits, it might be worth your while to set up a customer tracking system that gives your employees the ability to take notes about your customers — the more they feel like you know them, the stronger the loyalty they’ll feel! Employee Performance Whether you track it by the tips they bring in, by how well they meet the goals of specific promotional drives (see below), or simply by how much money you bring in while they’re working, Excel gives you the power to recognize which employees are the most valuable to your business. Promotional Tracking Speaking of promotional drives, Excel can easily be set up to track specific goals and how close your employees — as individuals, groups, or as a whole — have gotten to meeting those goals. Projections Excel’s ability to extrapolate on data and project likely future numbers can help you to plan for special events or just regular seasonal changes. Given more and more details, Excel’s ability to create accurate projects gets better and better.
Sales Creating sales — discounting your merchandise — is always a risky business. It can bring in enough extra customers to net you an overall profit, or it might just drain away what profits you are making. Excel’s ability to craft and test scenarios can show you exactly what you need to do to make a sale successful — or when to pull the plug if it’s not working. Excel has such a wide range of capacities, from the mundane mathematical functions to beautiful templates to advanced extrapolations and scenario-testing software, that it’s ability to assist in almost every aspect of retail sales is unparalleled. If you’re not using Excel in your retail store, perhaps you should look into what it can do for you.