How to build an analytical dashboard for retail activities

With the current digitalization of retail, data management has become a priority for companies in the sector. However, many of these companies struggle to properly manage the vast amounts of data they collect on their customers, products, and stores on a daily basis. To exploit their full potential, these companies must build an analytical dashboard using a Business Intelligence (BI) solution.

This is because business intelligence can centralize a large volume of scattered data from various sources and analyse it in-depth. This is a real asset for retail companies, which have seen their sales channels multiply over recent years with the emergence of online sales, click and collect, and the digitalization of stores.

But integrating a dynamic dashboard software is only the start; designing an analytical dashboard requires deep thinking during the initial stages, especially when choosing which KPIs and graphs to use.

The importance of choosing KPIs

Retail companies must juggle between many key performance indicators (KPIs) on a daily basis. They can be tricky to manage within a chain of several hundred or thousands of stores.

You must therefore have a clear picture of these indicators, both as a whole and at the local level. This is where the interest lies in dashboard software by allowing you to consult data on a national (or even international) scale, as well as a more specific geographical area, by store, product, channel, etc.

Dashboards allow you to measure a company’s performance over time and compare it against its objectives and forecasts. It is also possible to compare the performance of several points of sale over the same period.

A wide range of KPIs

In order to exploit the full potential of your digital dashboard, you must choose your indicators very carefully. There are many KPIs, such as:

  • Turnover, by looking at pre-tax turnover, or changes in turnover, by comparing the growth in turnover compared to the previous year, i.e. the difference between the current year’s pre-tax turnover and the previous year’s pre-tax turnover
  • Profits and cash flows.
  • The number of visitors in store, peak hours, the number of customers present in a store during a given period (footfall).

But you can also use more specific indicators:

  • Sales: average market basket value in €, sales index (average number of items in the basket), conversion rate, etc.
  • E-commerce: number of online sales, website traffic, etc.
  • Marketing: changes in sales following a promotional campaign, number of people signed up to the loyalty program, etc.
  • Performance of the various channels: Store value, Click and collect value, Online value
  • Product performance: Market share of all brands, market share of individual brands, market share by product group, etc.

As you can see, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to KPIs, but you must select meaningful indicators, i.e. ones that allow you to accurately manage your activities in the short and long term.

KPIs adapted to each profile

To make things even more complicated, the KPIs used on your dashboard may vary depending on the user’s profile.

For example, executives and senior managers generally require summarized and aggregated information. They are mainly interested in the turnover or margin generated at the national level, by point of sale or product category.

Meanwhile, local managers and sales representatives will look for more concise, but also more abundant and accurate data, such as the list of customers in a point of sale and the items sold to each of these customers.

Our customers’ testimonials

So the indicators we use are of a wide variety, since they have to meet different needs:
● Purely ‘retail’ indicators, such as tracking sales, margin, etc.
● Monitoring purchases and stocks, which is very important for calculating our efficiency.
● Financial reports.
● Indicators of accounting.

Damien Thomas, Manager of the business intelligence system at First Stop Ayme.

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Some example of retail indicators

As a general rule, the retail indicators used on an analytical dashboard are based on three axes:

  • The market: in-depth knowledge of products, sales channels and competitors is essential.
  • The customer: using customer data is essential to personalize the offer and improve targeting.
  • Performance: refers to anything that can help the company increase its profitability and sales figures, or reduce its costs and losses.

The main purpose of a retail company’s dashboard is to provide an overview of its activities, with the possibility to ‘zoom in’ on different markets, customers or geographical areas. Sales, margin, and cash flows can be easily consulted with the desired level of accuracy.

Dashboards must also allow you to visualize more specific KPIs. Here are some examples:

Performance by product category

In the retail sector, it is worth comparing the different types of products sold by a company by measuring the turnover or profit they generate. You can also visualize changes in their respective performance by the time of year. You should also check whether the performance recorded for each product is in line with the objectives set.

Activity of the various points of sale

Dashboard software provide an overview of a company’s different stores, classifying them based on their performance: number of sales, turnover generated, etc. The same principle can be used to compare different regions in which the company is located.

Store mapping

Mapping can be used to quickly locate the brand’s points of sale and analyse their distribution within a specific country. You can even go further by displaying the place of origin of the customers of each store. Different types of data on the points of sale can also be viewed with a single click: number of employees, turnover, profitability, etc.

A dashboard with adapted graphics

A good analytical dashboard will also have clear and readable aesthetic graphics, allowing you to transmit information efficiently. That’s why you must choose them wisely, based on the KPIs you wish to display.

Customer-related KPIs

Whether you wish to present the percentage of new customers or the proportion of repeat customers within your overall customer base, a pie chart is highly recommended, being a very popular way to illustrate percentages and trends.

Changes in sales

The best way to track the sales of a company or a point of sale over time is to use a line chart, which allows you to immediately identify an increase or decrease in performance.

Sales by product type

To compare the performance of several product (or service) categories, we would recommend using a histogram or stacked bar chart. Comprising many colours, they will allow you to easily visualize the sales of each product, while also highlighting their progression.

Store profitability

To monitor the state of your points of sale and, most importantly, their profitability, it is worth using gauge charts. Thanks to their colour code, you will be able to instantly identify their situation: if the needle is in the green, then everything is fine. If it is in the red, you must do something quickly!

The analytical dashboard: an essential tool for retail

Business Intelligence and data visualization have now become essential tools for retail companies, which carefully asses their overall performance while also trying to accurately manage their KPIs at the level of a point of sale or a specific geographical area.

Dashboard software are therefore essential to centralize a vast amount of data coming from various sources, as well as to consult them in a clear, summarized form. This means that retail professionals have all the tools at their disposal to make informed decisions, and thus, to optimize their sales channels, stocks and customer relations, while also calmly developing their business.

But building an analytical dashboard for the retail sector requires a lot of thought in order to choose relevant KPIs. Turnover, sales, profitability, performance by store and product type, etc. There are many possibilities! Designing suitable graphics will also allow you to best represent the various performance indicators selected.


A French specialist in Business Intelligence, DigDash offers you an analytical dashboard solution specially designed for the retail sector. This valuable tool centralizes large volumes of data from multiple sources and helps you manage all your essential KPIs on a daily basis. All this comes with flexible and scalable pricing suitable for large-scale deployments up to several thousand points of sale.