The RPG Countdown podcast would not be possible without sales statistics. You can’t rate products without knowing how many copies are being sold, right? Thankfully, a number of publishers and retailers voluntarily share their sales figures, giving us numbers we can compare. The comparison is imperfect – we don’t have a record of every sale at every store and on every site – but it keeps getting better and better.
If you’re a publisher or retailer, we’d love to include your stats. Email me to learn how.
Getting sales information is one thing, but combining it quickly and accurately to create a ranked list is a chore. When I started the collection process, it would take more than 25 hours to collate all stats. Every two weeks, I’d spend the better part of three days mashing spreadsheets together. In order to save my sanity, I hired a programmer to help streamline the process. Much of the data collection is now automated, though it still takes me about 6 hours to get ‘the list’ for each episode of RPG Countdown.
Development and streamlining isn’t stopping. In fact, what I’d like to do now is give publishers and retailers a way to see more information about what products are selling. I’ve hired a programmer to, in essence, make a Google Analytics for sales figures.
I’m trying to make a laundry list of what analytics to develop for the back-end, so that I can make the tools that publishers and retailers need in order to get a better understanding of how their businesses run.
Any input you could provide, no matter how small or pie-in-the-sky, would be most helpful.
I keep going back to Google Analytics and using it as a model to be adapted. It’s slick and compact, while being imminently robust. If I can make something half as useful for tracking sales as GA is for tracking website traffic, I think the analytics will be very useful for the people that make and sell the games we Gamerati love.
So I’m building a ‘Gamerati Analytics’ suite.
The graph at the top of the Google Analytics Dashboard reports Visits over a certain period of time. However, you can change it to show other metrics: Pageviews, Pages/Visit, etc.
For Gamerati Analytics, it would be nice to be able to show sales revenues, units sold, number of customers, etc. Can you think of any other metrics that would be useful?
You can also use Analytics to compare two metrics at once; Visits vs. Page Views, for instance.
For Gamerati, this would also be useful, allowing companies to compare sales revenues vs. units sold, etc.
Summary of Important Statistics
I think it’d be nice to see a summary of important statistics right off the bat: Sales Revenues, Customers, Orders, Percentage of Returning Customers or Percentage of First-Time Customers, Average Number of Products per Order, etc. What would you say are the most important questions you’d like to answer on a regular basis?
A map feature would be extremely useful, in my opinion. Wouldn’t it be great for a publisher to be able to see that it sold $9,857 world-wide last quarter, and that $1,541 of that was sold to customers in Canada?
As with the Dashboard, it would be nice to be able to change the metric on the map, so you could see Sales Revenues, or Sales Volume, etc.
The Map would also be good for drilling down to local sales data. This would allow publishers and retailers to see which states and cities their customers come from, which would allow for better outreach and community development. Looking for a convention to attend, publishers? Why not go to one near a concentration of your customers so you have a ready pool of GMs to run events?
When combined with a retailer database and sales, publishers could learn which retailers are supporting them most actively, or even discover areas where they have a solid fan base but no retailers carrying their products.
Combining sales information with census data would allow us to see:
- Areas with the highest number of customers as a percentage of population.
- Areas with the highest sales revenues as a percentage of median income.
Can you think of any other ways in which geo-targeted information would be useful for you?
Publishers, wouldn’t it be nice to know that 46% of your sales were generated by local retailers, 31% was generated by PDF eTailers, 17% came from direct sales off you website and 6% was from conventions?
Or what about being able to see which distributors generated the most sales for you, which eTailer was the most effective, etc?
This one seems simple, but there is so much a publisher (or retailer) would like to know at the granular product level, right?
- How many units of Product X have sold?
- How much revenue has Product Line Y generated?
- How does Adventure A compare to Adventure B?
What about putting in costing information so you can see your break-even point, or line up multiple like products, released at different times, so you can see what a typical sales curve looks like over the life-time of a similar product? Publishers, would that not help with budgeting?
Publishers, what else would you like to know about your products?
Retailers, what information would you like to have?