Summer is here, and with it comes a scorching hot new feature in Report Toaster.
Calculated Fields are here!
("Yes, finally!" I hear some of you saying. Quite literally in fact - a few of you even emailed to tell us!)
Not only has this been one of the largest and most requested features on our roadmap, but it's also (arguably) one of the most important due to the sheer range of possibilities it unlocks.
Let's dive in!
What are Calculated Fields?
In their simplest form, a calculated field takes data from one area of Report Toaster, runs some custom calculation, and outputs the data somewhere else.
Think formulas in Excel, and you won't be far off.
But for those of you who aren't so familiar with excel, let's do a super-quick example (feel free to skip this if you know Excel like the back of your hand).
I promise - I'll make this as minimally boring as possible!
Suppose I wanted something to take whatever was in column B of a report and multiply it by 15%.
Maybe it's for tax purposes, perhaps, or to calculate a commission or a tip?
To do this, I might make a formula like so:
All this is really doing is saying hey, take whatever is in column B (in this case, cell B2), multiply it by 0.15 (15%) and display it in this column.
Done. 15% calculated.
Of course, Excel can do more than simple addition, subtraction, and other basic math.
For instance, you can use things like vlookup and other lookup formulas to say things like "Hey, if this column contains this thing, put it here".
This can be very useful to lookup names, dates, times, or whatever you want really.
Calculated Fields can do the exact same thing.
Using a Calculated Field, I can lookup the data from one field (e.g. the order total, or the person's state, or even the notes attached to an order), run a certain function (e.g. if X is here, do Y) and put the output in my own custom column.
So let's take a look at how this works in practice and go through some examples that we've already created for some of our merchants.
Example 1 - Simple Math(s)
One Report Toaster customer was looking at a way to create a simple field for a 30% commission based on the Net Profit for their orders.
Much like our example above then, we can see how such a calculation looks in Report Toaster.
Here we can see how we created a brand new column, called Affiliate Fee 30%, that shows you what 30% of the Net Sales looks like for that particular day.
Note that Net Profit wouldn't even have to be a column on this report to work correctly.
So if you wanted to share say, a report that works out what you owe a particular affiliate without having to give away your totals, well, you can absolutely do that.
Example 2 - Translating Staff/Location/Device ID's
Shopify has a ton of fields that are really little more than a string of numbers.
From a data processing standpoint, this is perfectly serviceable, but not much use to your average merchant who's trying to run their store.
After all, do you remember offhand who Staff ID 77524601 refers to?
One merchant provided us with a list of which Staff Names corresponded to which ID's, and we were able to map those out for them accordingly.
Here's something similar we shipped up on our demo store:
We only have 2 staff members in our demo store, but can you imagine if you were looking at close to 100? Yeah...
We've come up with numerous examples of how calculated fields can be used. In fact, you can already see a number of these in action over on our blog
But in the interests of keeping this article short and sweet, let's just highlight a couple of the key possibilities:
- Taking custom information out of the Note Attributes and Line Item Properties and displaying it in its own columns. (e.g. Monograms, additional variant product options, delivery details, and so on. Especially great for Variant Product Options users!)
- Categorizing data based on tags (e.g. taking date tags and calculating the day of the week for a daily fulfillment report. Especially great for Zapiet and Order Tagger users!)
- Working out and displaying fixed shipping rates or costs. (e.g. mark anything with UPS in the Delivery Method as a $7.00 shipping cost)
- Determining % calculations for taxes, commissions, tips, and more. (e.g. show me 30% of my net sales)
- Displaying the age of an order in days. (e.g. a running day counter that starts when the order is submitted and ends when it's been fulfilled).
The possibilities are truly limitless. We can take just about any data field in the app, run some calculations, and put it all together to display in a custom column/filter accordingly.
Setting up Calculated Fields
So speaking of putting this together - how do you go about and set up Calculated Fields for your store?
Honestly, Calculated Fields are a relatively new addition to Report Toaster, and in some cases, they can be quite difficult to create.
There's a lot of code, a lot of complex formulas, and a lot of error-checking to make sure no mistakes are made.
That's why we decided to simply make things easy - and set them up for our merchants directly (upon request).
Eventually, we plan in the future to make it so that merchants can create their own calculated fields without our help.
But for now, understanding how they interact with our data and how to implement something without creating errors requires a certain level of technical expertise.
Therefore, all you have to do is tell us what you're looking for, and we'll do our best to make it work!
We've already implemented dozens of these across several merchant accounts, so if you would like us to create some custom calculated fields for your account, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time!