Vendor Central Metrics – De-constructing InsightLeap Reports

This post leverages thoughts and insights from Aviral Gupta an ex-Amazon Product & Vendor Manager. He spent 6 years at Amazon in various product and vendor manager growth roles. He’s passionate about the world of eCommerce and what it takes for Brands and Agencies to be successful on Amazon. Read below on his thoughts and how Insight Leap makes it a reality.

We pack-in a lot of meaningful data in our Dashboards and reporting engine, so it’s worth highlighting key metrics and insights you can glean out of the data.

Dashboard: This view always provides you the most recent month and week view based on snapshot data available from Vendor central.

Monthly Reports – We provide you top sales metrics at a monthly grain along with YTD metrics.

Shipped COGS – This is the total sales generated by Amazon based on the cost price of the product (ASINs) in the account. This metric is tied most closely to the pulse of the buying customer, since more sales by the buying customer leads to more Shipped COGS and as a result more POs to you, the vendor.

We provide you the YTD number, along with comparison to last year including +/- % to give you an indication on YoY growth. You should always check if the YoY trend aligns with you sales targets and course-correct as needed.

Next, is the Shipped COGS for the month along with MoM (month over month) trend. This is a quick indication, if this month sales are better or worse than the last month. Based on the product mix and seasonality impact of the product, the MoM could be positive or negative, but overall make sure it’s aligned to YoY trend and any variance is understood. For example, most products will have a big Q4, especially Nov and December sales due to Holidays. Hence, the MoM metric for January will most probably be a negative MoM, but instead of being alarmed check if that was the same trend last year, and if YoY Jan metric is better than last year or not.

Shipped Units – Similar to Shipped COGS, provides you a monthly number and growth %. Most of the time, shipped units will have a similar story to Shipped COGS since Shipped COGS = Units sold * cost per unit, but it’s worth keeping a pulse on ‘cost per unit’ using the above equation. If your COGS and Units sold are not trending in the same direction that would mean the ‘cost per unit’ is impacted. For example, if you sold $1MM in Shipped COGS from 100K units, the cost per unit is $10. If $10 is your average cost per unit for the brand in question, no worries. But, if $10 is not your average cost per unit, you might want to dig into the ASIN level sales to understand which ASIN is mixing heavily in your sales mix to create that effect. It could be that couple of ASINs are very popular on Amazon and leading to a different sales mix vs. your other channels. You could be ok with that fact but based on overall profitability and procurability, you might want to create bundles, promote a different set of ASINs etc.

Sellable On Hand Units – These are the inventory units available at Amazon for buyer orders. Amazon has a very robust weekly ordering system which takes into account customer demand, sales velocity to continue ordering for the optimal weeks of cover. As a vendor, you cannot influence order patterns other than fuel more customer demand (spin the flywheel) but it’s worth auditing On-hand units and weekly ordering to make sure there are no flags, especially any due to Replenishment code changes. For example, if you see that on-hand units are increasing, maybe you lost buy box on a key ASIN.

Open PO Quantity – From a vendor perspective, Purchase Orders (PO) is the real sales metrics, that’s top line on your P&L. So, this metric should be very close to heart. Since majority of ordering is weekly, including vendor lead time, hopefully the ‘open’ part of the PO quantity is just the last week’s open order and nothing more than that. It’s worth highlighting that catalog changes play heavily on POs. Amazon most of the time prefers to order single units per child ASINs as they want to avoid ordering unnecessary quantities that is not supported by customer demand. For example, if you have a case-pack of 12 units, and Amazon ordering only has a demand for 4 units, they will keep holding the PO till the time they can justify 12 units, hence overall hurting sales momentum and ordering. If you can break the case-pack or better yet create unique units to cater to Amazon customer ordering patterns, that would be ideal.

YoY Shipped COGS: This is closest ‘apples to apples’ comparison sales metric since it’s taking the same time period last year to this year and provides you how are sales faring in those two time periods. Hence, it accounts for any recurring seasonality (holidays, events etc.) When you look at this metric, you should layer in any manual events (promotions, Out of stock on key ASINs etc.) you need to address to make sure the data points are sanitized. For example, if you see a negative YoY trend, you should dig into ASIN level data to see which ASINs are contributing to the negative trend and what was different this year vs. last. Maybe, you ran some deals, promotions etc. that you did not comp this year. Overarching, the goal should be that Shipped COGS YoY growth aligns with your sales target and give you an opportunity to course-correct based on unique events this year vs. last.

We will continue digging into other metrics / reports in future blog posts. In the interim, provide us your feedback on the content and what additional data points you construct from our reports, so that we can share the knowledge and build default views to continue saving you time!