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Make Sense of Your Shop Sales Data with Bottomline

Kate England March 31, 2021 · 4 min read

6 months ago, I set up my shop to sell digital design resources on Creative Market. Cha-ching! I had my first sale and felt encouraged to continue!

As the weeks and months went by, I continued to create new products for Creative Market and my sales continued too. I had a feeling they were increasing. Could I be sure of that though? Or was it wishful thinking?

How Can I Understand My Sales Better?

I’m not a “numbers person”. Quite the opposite. Give me a spreadsheet and my eyes will glaze over. I was wondering how I could make my sales numbers more visual, so I could understand them better and make more well informed decisions on what products to create.

Since I thought it would be handy if I could use my iPhone and iPad for visualizing my sales, I started scouring the App Store for a sales tracking app. The first few apps I found were either too complicated or too pricey for my needs.

Then I found Bottomline. It looked beautiful, with a minimalist user interface, and it was described as a simple sales and customer tracking app for small businesses that generates reports and gives “glanceable” answers to questions like “What is my highest selling product this year?”.

It sounded perfect, so I decided to give it a go. I entered my data from Creative Market and took a look at the reports it automatically generated for me. It was fantastic and very motivating to see that yes, my sales had steadily increased!

Bottom Line

I could also see which types of products my best sellers are by indicating a category for each product. I sorted my products into categories for icons, illustrations, patterns, and objects. Below you can see how it panned out.

Bottom Line

The way Bottomline works, you can add any attribute you like to answer more questions around your sales. So I asked myself what kind of additional questions I’d like Bottomline to answer for me and came up with these:

  • Which style is selling best? Hand drawn, modern or watercolor?
  • How is my effort reflected in my sales? Which products sell best, is it ones that are easy, medium or hard to create?

Bottom Line

Tracking Multiple Income Streams of a Creative

If you’re a creative, it’s very likely that you make a living through a number of different venues combining hourly billable time and selling physical or digital products. In my case, I do freelance and commissioned art and design, sell my design resources at Creative Market, sell designs at print-on-demand sites like Society6 and Redbubble, and also sell my original paintings offline through galleries. A lot of people use Etsy or their own web sites to sell their physical products like paintings or crafted objects.

I was glad to discover that Bottomline lets you set up several different marketplaces, so you can easily generate a report that reflects your earnings in different spaces. In my case, the reports clearly showed that Creative Market was by far my strongest online venue, and second only to freelance and commission work. This helped me clarify where to put my efforts so that the print-on-demand sites that don’t generate much return on my efforts are now not a priority for me when I create new products. In fact, I now feel more confident in following my dream to try to make my work at Creative Market become my main income!

Take Bottomline for a Spin

Creative Market is known for its helpful and friendly community where shopowners share tips and offer support. The experience of visualizing my sales was so thrilling and felt so useful that I wanted to give back to the community by sharing my findings with you, just in case you find Bottomline as helpful as I do.


Kate England is a Swedish artist who loves to create bold and colourful work, mixing together digital and analogue processes. You can find her work on her Creative Market shop and her portfolio.


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About the Author
Author
Kate England

I'm a Scandinavian designer. Colour and I have an endless love affair! The result is a bold and expressive, vibrant and organic aesthetic. Join Club Marmalade Moon (it’s free), to receive samples, early bird offers, sneak peeks and other goodies. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/1LQMngK

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25 Comments
  • Thanks, @Kate England for the heads up on this app! I've been looking for a good way to track sales. I just downloaded it for the iPad and can't wait to give it a shot! Visual data is always a good thing. 8 years ago
  • So glad you found this article helpful, @Beth Rufener ! I feel that way too - once I can SEE it, I can understand the numbers better. 8 years ago
  • definitely going to try this out. did you have to go in and manually add all your sales or is there a way to import them in 8 years ago
  • Looks good, I currently use quickbooks for my business but would like to have more indepth data in terms of exactly which products are working visually. Right now I'm using an excel spreadsheet that gets updated monthly o.O 8 years ago
  • @Rob Brink I added my data manually, but I think you're able to import/export too. I found their support very fast friendly and responsive. 8 years ago
  • @Kate England I cant seem to figure out how to import data. It would take way too long to manually add my data. I guess ill just have to do that for now 8 years ago
  • That sounds like a great solution @Derek Stevenson ! I think Quickbooks has more features, but felt a bit too complicated for me. 8 years ago
  • @Kate England I'm in the same boat with quickbooks... lots of features but the interface is not easy to use and I just use it to keep track of my expenses and revenue for taxes. 8 years ago
  • Do you think the spreadsheet is easier and perhaps you can tailor it to your needs @Derek Stevenson ? One of the things I liked about Bottomline was that you can add your own parameters, like style or materials. 8 years ago
  • Yes perhaps you can get a feel for it by adding a few items @Rob Brink ? 8 years ago
  • @Kate England I like doing spreadsheets because you have a lot more flexibility and you can easily segment your data if you have the spreadsheet setup properly. I need to go in and do some cleanup with my current sheet because I've gotten a bit too lacks on some of the data that I've been importing and I've yet to incorporate issued refunds to my spreadsheet. In the future I want to know what my refund ratio / rates are and which products have the highest refund rates so I can find how to improve problematic files. 8 years ago
  • @Kate England Thanks for the great suggestion! It's a great resource. 8 years ago
  • Seems like an awesome app, thanks for the article @Kate England! Any suggestions for android/cross platform options? 8 years ago
  • Hello [@Pixel & Kraft](user:326260) , @Rob Brink , @Riccardo Anelli and others, I work at Bottomline, the app that is mentioned in this article. I sincerely thank [@Kate England](user:297622) for writing about the app and sharing it with other creatives in her field. Please allow me to answer a few questions that have been asked here: 1) Unfortunately we don't currently have a way to import your existing sales into the app. The reason for that is the app is used by people in many different professions (artists, photographers, used car salesmen, medical device salesmen, cake designers, Uber drivers, designers on Etsy, mom & pop boutiques, and even a couple of drug dealers!). Everyone that has switched to Bottomline came from a different system, including pen & paper, Excel, QuickBooks and many others. Trying to import from all these formats is a task that we simply haven't had time for yet. We're hoping to provide some form of import in the future, but it doesn't exist yet. While we don't allow importing your sales yet, you CAN import your customers and contacts from iOS's built-in address book. 2) Some of you asked whether such a thing exists for Android yet. We are working on Android, Web and Mac desktop versions as we speak. These are all coming soon and should be released before the end of the year. Given that we're a small team, we decided to focus on iPhone and iPad first. But since your data is stored in the cloud, there is nothing technically stopping us from supporting any platform we wish to. It's simply a matter of finding time to do it. If you have additional questions, please shoot me an email at liz@bottomlinehq.com. Also, if anyone wants to evaluate it in more detail without paying the monthly charge, I'll be happy to give you a complimentary 3-month subscription. Just email me and I'll set it up. Thanks again @Kate England ! -Liz bottomlinehq.com 8 years ago
  • @Liz Jordan Thank you for answering all the questions! I just downloaded it and got it all set up and im really liking it so far. I just bought a one month subscription to try it out can I still get a complimentary 3 month subscription? 8 years ago
  • @Rob Brink Thanks! I've extended your subscription to March 1, 2015. Happy to do this for anyone else from Creative Market as well. 8 years ago
  • @Liz Jordan Thank you very much for your explanation. Have a great day! 8 years ago
  • @Liz Jordan - Thanks for the explanation! You've got a great thing going. Keep up the good work. Do you have a Mac OS app planned? I would find it a lot easier to enter data from my laptop. Thanks again @Kate England for writing the post. It might take a while to record all my sales but I think it might be worth it to see a graphical representation of sales and trends. 8 years ago
  • Thanks for chiming into the discussion everyone! It's great to talk shop and I find it helpful to hear different approaches. @Eddy Biel , @Riccardo Anelli , [@Pixel & Kraft](user:326260) , I'm glad you found this interesting! A big thank you to @Liz Jordan for joining the conversation and explaining things! AND thanks so much for the complimentary 3-month subscription for Creative Market artists! 8 years ago
  • @Kate England This is a great idea. I often wonder about this information. Often I just look at the ratio of sales to views to figure out what products do best. This sounds like it would be way more useful. When you say you have to manually enter the data do you mean each individual transaction? 8 years ago
  • Hi @Dustin Lee ! When you enter a sale you start by picking a customer. Customers can be imported from your address book. If you don't want to add individual names, you could create a generic name like "Creative Market Customer". Next you add the items that the customer has bought, selecting from a list of items that you've created. Hope this helps? 8 years ago
  • Hi @Kate England, Thank you so much for this useful article highlighting the benefits of using Bottomline! I think its very helpful to be able to visualise income streams in order to best prioritise one's efforts, and the coloured charts depicted in your article are a lot easier to understand than spreadsheets. I must give Bottomline a try!! 8 years ago
  • I'm so glad you found this interesting [@Art, Love & Joy](user:297591) ! Yes, the ability to visual numbers can make a big difference! 8 years ago
  • thank you very much for this wonderful news 7 years ago
  • This app looks amazing, we will try soon. Thanks for sharing :) 5 years ago