Schoolbooks.ie is not only one of our largest Report Toaster customers, but they were also one of our first. As an online textbook supplier located in Ireland, Schoolbooks.ie sells everything from classroom supplies and stationery items to thousands of students every month.
Managing a BUNCH of products
As with any large retailer, managing the large inventory and catalogue of products is a big part of managing a successful business. As Paul McCann, Managing Director at Schoolbooks explains, the big challenge for them is that many of their products are seasonal or span multiple editions. As a result, both their collections and their inventory need continual review to ensure that everything is kept up to date.
Custom Reports for Inventory Management
While Shopify has inherent functionality for saving filters on a report, what Paul really needed was custom reports that could narrow down a particular subset of products for easy viewing.
Shopify is great for creating and making changes to your products, but in other ways, it can be quite limited. For example, there are few options for adding columns (e.g., no tags, product costs, profit margins etc.). And while you can create filters based on tags, this only applies when you are searching for where a tag does exist (rather than filtering for products without the tag) and only works for one tag at a time.
For the reports they needed, Report Toaster had these capabilities (and so much more).
Each report was designed with its own columns, filters, and date ranges to suit their needs, and each report would update automatically to display the latest data.
Most important of all was the presentation – the large subsets of data had to be condensed into an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand format that could optimize their inventory management process.
While Schoolbooks have created an extensive range of over 20 custom reports, here is a quick sample of a few that caught our eye:
Empty Collections (Collections with 0 Products)
Products tagged as Discontinued but Stock > 0
Products tagged as Discontinued AND Discounted
Products tagged as Temporarily Out-of-Stock with Supplier (so they can be re-ordered
Products tagged as Out-of-Print AND In Stock AND NOT Last Remaining Stock
As you can see, these reports are designed to make keeping track of and updating products a much easier process. With over 9,000 product variants in their catalog, being able to filter them like this is vital to keep track of inventory and drive future sales.
Oh, and speaking of sales...
Custom Reports for Sales
As well as developing custom reports to help manage their inventory, Schoolbooks also utilizes several that look at trends among certain customers or products to drive future sales efforts.
For example, they have custom reports set up for:
Sales by Product Variant (similar to Shopify’s, but with the ability to measure profits and use their custom filters to check for certain tag combos and/or filter products by weight).
Potential Department of Education (DoE)/School Customers (reports for a subset of high-value customers to focus future sales efforts).
Other reports have been built by them to focus directly on order fulfillment, with things like:
Shipping Status (a subset of orders that require shipping, have not been delivered/can- celled, and were ordered between a certain range).
Orders marked as fulfilled with no tracking numbers.
Weight-based reports (filtering reports where the product weight has yet to be verified - a key consideration in managing shipping costs).
Reports like these are clear time-savers for anybody running a larger Shopify storefront, as they get the vast quantity of information filtered down to an exact subset of orders that need further attention.
Once Schoolbooks had the data they needed, the next step was to get it to the right part of the business...
Report Toaster enables merchants to schedule any report to be delivered via Email/SMS to a chosen recipient(s). These reports can be setup to deliver at regular intervals (chosen by the merchant) and can deliver the data via PDF, CSV, or JSON file formats.
This is not only a time-saver in getting the right people the data they need whenever they need it but is also important for information security. By using a scheduled report, you can reduce the number of people who need access to the account or could accidentally modify any of the settings.
You can read more about our Scheduled Reports feature here.
Several of Schoolbooks.ie’s inventory reports are scheduled for monthly delivery via email. One such example is their Inventory Value report, which gives them a sense of their current stock levels/stock value with the relevant SKU related information.
This is a significant improvement over tracking inventory in Shopify. Shopify’s inherent limitation on inventory is limited to an end-of-month view, so not only does this provide snapshots over a more flexible time period, but they can have their key staff members sent CSV reports on a regular basis with no manual effort required.
Report Toaster Can Handle A LOT
With how customizable and responsive Report Toaster is for larger data sets, it makes the perfect companion to anybody running a larger Shopify Plus store. Using our 80+ pre-built templates and customizing more than 20 of their own, Schoolbooks.ie has been able to create reports that manage their products, keep track of their inventory, and drive future sales growth.
Narrow down your datasets – Most merchants with large collections and huge product variation need to work off smaller sets of data. Create separate reports and have each focus on a specific subset of your data.
Automate where possible – Having reports that update in real time and automatically get sent to staff is a big boost in efficiency and limits potential human error.
Monitor both what’s working...and what isn’t - Many merchants know to monitor their sales, but keeping an eye on empty collections, dead stock, and product costs/shipping costs is critical to anticipate issues and drive future growth.
Are you looking to set up something similar for your business? We love doing these case studies and any opportunities to do a deeper dive on the data, so if you’d like us to do something like this for your store, please let us know.