KPIs for retail: which ones should you measure?

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

This phrase pops up a lot in writing on KPIs. And is usually misattributed, but that’s another story. Despite its uncertain origins, those nine words perfectly capture the essence of KPIs.

It’s why KPIs have become transformative for data-driven growth strategies – in theory anyway. Because identifying the right KPIs, and then measuring them effectively, is easier said than done.

At tamigo, KPIs have been a part of our solution since we started back in 2006. And we’ve helped a lot of businesses leverage theirs successfully. That includes enterprise retailers, looking to edge ahead in a fiercely competitive sector.

In this article, we’ll take a look at relevant KPIs for retail businesses. And how a solution like tamigo can help you measure them.

What are KPIs exactly?

It’s worth defining KPIs because they’re so often confused with goals.

Goal: A high-level business objective, typically set by management. For example: ‘Grow overall revenue by 10% this year’.

KPI (Key Performance Indicator): A measurable value that tracks progress towards your goal. It needs to be quantifiable and objective. For example: ‘Sales per Hour’.

Every department or employee within a company can have their own set of KPIs. It’s then their responsibility to own them — monitoring and taking action to improve their quality if needed.

It’s worth noting that KPIs are useful for all kinds of businesses processes — sales is far from the only one. Within our solution, we have numerous categories for KPIs. These include efficiency and optimisation, cost control, and HR management.

KPIs on a screen

Why are KPIs important?

When used correctly, KPIs have so much to give. Here's why:
  • They keep your business on track. As opposed to gut feeling, KPIs are hard numbers that get to the heart of your company’s performance. You can see where you’re succeeding, and where you’re falling short.

  • They let you be proactive. The whole point of KPIs is that they’re measurable — on an hourly, daily and monthly basis. You won’t reach the end of the year only to discover that you’re way off your goals. They give you the real-time insights to make adjustments along the way.

  • They give your staff a new focus. Annual business targets can seem disconnected from day-to-day work. KPIs draws the line towards those bigger goals, demonstrating more concretely the ways in which everyone’s contributing.

What are KPIs for the retail industry?

Supermarkets, clothes shops, department stores. Retail is far from homogenous, and each business will have its own way of measuring success. But there are some core KPIs which always prove useful.

We’ve worked with enterprise-size retailers across Europe, helping them optimise their workforce management. Here are the KPIs we recommend that retailers focus on.


Sales generated per productive hour.

This KPI gives a clear view of staff performance during those times when they’re actively generating sales (e.g. serving customers as opposed to stocking shelves). Training, better communication and good employee engagement all help to make productive hours even more productive.

Off-floor Percentage

The number of unproductive hours compared to total hours.

Unproductive hours includes things like administrative time for managers. Or when staff are restocking shelves or cleaning. Having employees tied up in these tasks can lead to your stores feeling understaffed. To learn how data and communication can help, check out our How to deal with understaffing in retail article.

Sales per Total Hours

Sales generated per all hours (both productive & unproductive).

This grants you an overview of stores’ peak hours. It helps managers schedule staff more efficiently to cover your busiest (and slowest) periods.

Staff Turnover

Number of leavers compared to working employees.

If employee turnover is higher in one of your stores than another, then it could be the manager needs more support or training. Or it’s time to turn a critical eye to your onboarding and development programs.

Labour Costs

Staff costs based on hours and wage rates.

This is always a significant chunk of retail operating budgets. Especially when overtime comes in to play. A smarter, automated way solution for shift planning could be an option. Learn how design brand Bolia tackled their labour costs using tamigo. 

Wage Percentage

Amount of labour costs compared to revenue.

A wage percentage that’s trending upwards signals a decrease in staff productivity. Boosting employee engagement is one of the first actions to consider.

Absence Percentage

Number of absence hours compared to all hours.

Retail workforces recording a lot of no-shows are likely burnt-out or de-motivated. It might also be caused by inefficient timekeeping (e.g. staff forgetting to clock in).

Two retail workers looking at a tablet

The challenges of tracking KPIs

Once you’ve settled on your KPIs of choice, there’s a few more hurdles to clear. Here's some frustrations you can face:

  • Siloed information. The numbers informing KPIs are drawn from a lot of different places: timeclocks, POS systems, spreadsheets. Bringing all this data together is both time consuming and complex. Especially for enterprise retailers, whose many store managers have their own preferred ways of recording data.

  • Lack of visibility. Do your sales assistants or managers know what their KPIs are? If KPIs aren’t a part of their 9 to 5 — viewable in the systems they use — they’re going to forget about them.

  • Incorrect data. As anyone who’s ever filled out a spreadsheet knows, errors always creep in. Manual methods of data entry and calculations are also open to abuse – staff can report working more hours than they have. Measuring KPIs is pointless if your data is wrong to begin with.

Measuring KPIs in tamigo

Overcoming the challenges of KPIs begins with the systems you use. A workforce management solution like tamigo brings KPIs into sharper focus.

In tamigo, KPIs are:

  • Transparent and collaborative. tamigo is an all-in-one solution, accessible by all departments and employees. Instead of being spread between five different systems, the numbers that Finance, HR and Operations need are in tamigo, ready to analyse and benchmark.

  • Actionable. Every stakeholder in your company can view the KPIs relevant to them — on the pages in tamigo where they matter. For example, when managers are planning shifts, a ‘Budget hours’ KPI can be shown next to the schedule. And it will update as changes are made.

  • Accurate. With its automations and user-friendly interface, tamigo helps cut down on data-entry mistakes. And its timeclock feature – tamigo Touch – ensures more accurate reporting of employee worked hours.

  • Fully customizable. tamigo comes with in-built KPIs. These are ones that we’ve seen clients use again and again. But if you’re interested in other numbers, adding custom KPIs is easy and can be done directly in the solution. You can choose how to define, calculate and display them. And, through tamigo's integrations, add a wealth of external data to the mix.

If you’re already a tamigo user, you can learn more about KPIs for retail in our Help Centre.

Not a tamigo user yet? A free demo is a great way to get started. One of our specialists will guide you through the platform and discuss which KPIs are most relevant for your retail business. Book your free demo here.



Back to Blog

Related Articles

How to deal with understaffing in retail

If you’ve ever worked the shop floor, you’ll know the pain of being understaffed. Long queues...

Cheers to that! How Scotch & Soda keeps everyone updated with tamigo

When you hear their name, you can see their clothes. Classic. Simple. Timeless. Headquartered in...

How to choose your workforce management solution

Welcome to our Upgrade your workforce management series. It’s where we explore switching to a...