Ecommerce

Reports and Automated Workflows to Manage Shopify Sales, Payouts, Taxes, and Fees

March 19, 2024

Manage your Shopify Store with reports and automated workflows for payouts, taxes, fees, sales, and more.

Are you tired of making Shopify decisions based on gut feelings and outdated reports? Do questions like "Where should I invest my marketing budget?" or "Are my discounts cannibalizing my profit?" keep you awake at night? If this sounds familiar, it's probably time to upgrade your Shopify reporting and analytics stack.

Reporting gaps hide insights needed to optimize promotions, payouts, taxes, and fees. Shopify makes basic financial tracking seem easy…until it's not. More sales channels, expanding inventory, cross-border transactions, fluctuating tax laws – keeping up with it all turns into a time-consuming nightmare that can lead to expensive mistakes.

In this article, we’ll uncover:

  • Critical blindspots hindering financial oversight at scale
  • Advanced templates to recapture visibility
  • Automations to manage expenses and cash flow
  • How you can level up your financial operations with one-click reports & real-time alerts.

Read on.

How good are Shopify’s existing Reports?

Shopify seller analytics screen

Out-of-the-box, Shopify provides basic tools to manage the core financial aspects of your store. These include:

  • Sales Analytics: Get insights into gross sales, fees, and net revenue. You can filter this data by product line, location, sales channel, promotions, and other parameters. While useful for a surface-level view, customization can be limited.
  • Payment Tracking: Shopify logs payout dates and lets you track the settlement process via your preferred method (EFT, wire, etc.). You'll see details on collections, disbursements, and your account balance. This is essential for basic cash flow management.
  • Tax Engine: Shopify has built-in tax rates that automatically calculate regional and product-specific taxes at checkout. Reporting features help you reconcile figures with the necessary tax filings. Keep in mind, that the complexity increases rapidly with multi-jurisdiction sales and changing regulations.
  • SaaS Billing: Shopify provides a transparent breakdown of your subscription fees and any usage-based charges. Invoice portals simplify the reconciliation process, especially if you're managing multiple stores.

These features are adequate for many early-stage stores. However, as your volume grows, inventory expands, and you sell across multiple jurisdictions, managing it all within Shopify becomes frustrating and prone to error.

Where Shopify Financial Intelligence Falls Short

Shopify delivers an ample baseline - until suddenly it doesn’t. Growth exposes vulnerable gaps that many merchants tend to ignore. Some common limitations include:

Strict Data Access

"Pre-defined metrics" limit you to Shopify's idea of what's important. Want to track profitability by customer segment? Analyze the true cost of returns. You're out of luck without raw data access.

Export Nightmares

Needing full transaction data shouldn't be a battle. Timeouts, errors, and file size limits turn analysis into an exercise in frustration.

No Room for Customization

Forget about predictive forecasting, complex "what-if" scenarios, or leveraging your data for statistical modeling. Shopify isn't built for those financial deep dives.

Poor Exceptions Handling

One-size-fits-all rules break down quickly. A unique refund scenario, a new payment gateway, or a change in tax laws can throw Shopify's systems for a loop, leaving you to pick up the pieces.

Data Silos

What if 40% of revenue comes from Amazon? When you sell on multiple platforms, Shopify insights exist in a vacuum. Get ready for manual patchwork instead.

Inability to Integrate Financial Data with other FunctionsThe expectation that you'll build custom integrations to sync sales data with your warehouse, accounting, alerting, or ticketing software is unrealistic for most merchants.

These aren't minor inconveniences; they're barriers to the streamlined, profitable, and scalable business you deserve to build.

This is where advanced sales reports can be life-saving. Let’s look at a few must-have advanced sales reports every Shopify owner must explore.

10 Must-Have Advanced Custom Sales Reports for Shopify Owners

To make truly informed inventory decisions, you need access to more robust and timely financial reporting. Here's a collection of must-have advanced report templates that tackle these challenges head-on:

1. Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) Report

Goes beyond single-sale metrics, revealing the true long-term worth of each customer. Helps focus marketing efforts and retention strategies.

Excel sheet example of Customer Lifetime Value Report (LTV)

Focus: Unlocks the long-term profitability of your customer base, shifting your perspective beyond single-purchase metrics. This is essential for making savvy customer acquisition and retention decisions.

Helps You Monitor: Customer identifiers, order history, total revenue per customer, and periods.

Sample Report

2. Cohort Analysis Report

Segment customers into groups (e.g., acquisition month) to track their behavior over time. Pinpoints customer churn risks and identifies your most valuable customer segments.

Focus: Track the behavior and spending patterns of customer groups over time (segmented by acquisition date). Pinpoint periods of high churn risk and spot your most loyal customer segments.

Helps You Monitor: Cohort groups (e.g., grouped by month of first purchase), purchase frequency, average spend per cohort, and retention rates.

Cohort Analysis Report - Visualizes customer retention and spending over time for different cohorts.

3. Cross-Channel Sales Attribution Report

See which marketing channels are driving the most valuable conversions. Allocates your marketing budget more effectively for maximum ROI.

Screen showing cross channel users, traffic, and revenue

Focus: Demystify your marketing efforts by attributing sales to specific channels (social, ads, email, etc.). Optimize your budget and understand the entire customer journey.

Helps You Monitor:  Sales revenue by channel, conversion rates by channel, customer touchpoints, and cost per acquisition by channel.

Sample Report

4. Product Performance Analysis (Beyond Basic Sales)

Includes profitability per product, stock-turn rate, and contribution margin. Drives smarter inventory decisions and spotlights underperforming SKUs.

Focus: Dive deeper than raw sales numbers to understand true product profitability. Make informed inventory decisions, spot underperforming SKUs, and optimize pricing strategies.

Helps You Monitor:  Sales volume, revenue, profit margin per product, stock-turn rate, and customer returns per product.

Product Performance Analysis - Breaks down profitability by product, factoring in landed costs and expenses.

5. Refund and Return Analysis

Identifies patterns in reasons for refunds, pointing to product quality issues, misleading descriptions, or areas to improve the customer experience.

Shopify return in progress screen

Focus: Uncover patterns in why customers return items.  Improve product quality, reduce misleading descriptions, and enhance your overall customer experience.

Helps You Monitor:  Product IDs, quantities returned, return reasons (defective, wrong size, etc.), periods, and costs associated with returns.

Sample Report

6. Sales Forecasting Report:

Leverages historical data, seasonality, and possibly external factors to predict future sales. Informs inventory, production planning, and cash flow management.

Focus: Predict future sales confidently using historical data, seasonality, and external factors. Make informed stocking decisions, optimize cash flow, and plan production.

Helps You Monitor: Historical sales, seasonality trends, market research, promotional plans, and forecast projections.

Sample Report:

Katana Smart Forecasting: Leverages historical data, incorporating factors like lead times, for accurate forecasting.

7.  Abandoned Cart Analysis

Reveals where customers drop out of the purchase process. Allows for recovery strategies (emails, targeted promotions) to recapture lost sales.

Shopify abandoned checkouts screen

Focus:  Pinpoint where customers abandon their purchases. Implement recovery strategies (retargeting emails, discounts) to recapture lost revenue.

Helps You Monitor: Items in abandoned carts, cart abandonment rate, point of abandonment in checkout, and reasons for abandonment (if data is collected).

Abandoned Cart Analysis

8. Sales Distribution Report

Visualizes where orders come from (regions, cities). Helps with targeted marketing, shipping logistics, and potential expansion into new territories.

Focus: Visualize where your sales are coming from (country, region, city). Optimize targeted marketing, explore new markets, and plan shipping logistics.

Helps You Monitor: Shipping addresses, sales volume by location, and conversion rates per location.

Sales Distribution Report

9.  Discount and Promotion Effectiveness Report

Measures true ROI of discounts beyond raw sales during a promotion. Helps determine if discounts attract profitable long-term customers.

Focus: Measure the true ROI of promotions, going beyond just sales volume. Determine if discounts bring in profitable customers or erode your margins.

Helps You Monitor: Sales during promotion, discount codes used, customer acquisition costs, LTV of customers acquired via discount.

Sample report link

10. Time-Based Sales Analysis

This report helps you uncover the ebb and flow of sales throughout the day, week, and even seasonally. This intel is crucial for making data-driven decisions about staffing, promotions, and even your store hours.

Screenshot of Shopify screen showing time based sales data

Focus: Break down sales by hour, day of week, etc. Optimize staffing needs, pinpoint peak traffic for promotions, and refine operating hours.

Helps You Monitor: Time stamps of orders, sales volume by time.

Time Based Sales Alert

11. Sales Tax Report

Provides a clear breakdown of sales tax collected and owed by jurisdiction. Minimize errors, identify potential exemptions, and ensure you're always prepared for tax filings.

Helps You Monitor: Tax jurisdiction (state, county, etc.), applicable tax rates, taxable sales, sales tax collected, sales tax owed, and exempt sales (if relevant).

Sales Tax Report

12. Transaction Fees Report

Goes beyond basic payout reporting to dissect the fees associated with every transaction. Negotiate better rates, streamline payment options, and uncover unexpected charges.

Helps You Monitor: Transaction ID, date, transaction amount, payment gateway, detailed fee breakdown (processing, chargebacks, etc.), and total fees per transaction.

Transaction Fees Report

What if we told you that you could reclaim hours wasted on manual report creation and updates? Discover a way to automate your inventory insights. Say hello to Locale.ai

Reporting doesn’t have to be this hard. Try the Locale way.

Current way of managing an operations team vs the Locale way of easily managing thingsa

As a Shopify merchant, you have two options for advanced financial reporting and workflows:

  • The Old Way: Manually create reports, hunt down online templates, and piece together alerts and workflows across multiple tools.
  • Try Locale’s One Click Reporting Templates: Access 50+ pre-built, Shopify-specific reports. Get real-time sales analytics with one-click integrations with Shopify. Automate alerts directly to Slack, email, or via webhooks for custom actions.

With Locale, you don’t have to settle for one-size-fits-all financial management. Locale shifts with you as business models evolve.

With Locale, you can:

  • Consolidate cross-channel data into a 360-degree command center - every product, promo, segment
  • Configure reports tailored to your key levers, not accounting tools - like LTV, channel ROI, and margin drivers
  • Develop enterprise-grade forecasting leveraging historical data to efficiently plan stock levels, transfers, and payment disputes.

Conclusion

Locale takes away the pain of fragmentation and everyday manual busywork involved in running a Shopify business. Experience the power of effortless reporting and automation with:

  • One-click advanced reporting for immediate insights — No Coding Skills Needed
  • Real-time data to react quickly to inventory changes.
  • Automated alerts to Slack, email, or custom webhooks, keeping you informed on the go.
  • Streamlined workflows for proactive inventory management.
1 click reports from 50+ built-in report templates

Take control of your Shopify inventory today. Sign up now with a free account and discover how Locale revolutionizes your operations.

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