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Gross Profit

Gross profit is one of the best ways to measure the overarching financial success of your business. By definition, gross profit is “the profit a company makes after deducting the costs associated with making and selling its products and/or providing its services” (thanks, Investopedia!). You might already know gross profit from your accounting reports as it typically appears on an income statement. Beyond the technical explanation, we like gross profit because it gives valuable insights into areas of improvement for pricing and costs. We'll take you through how to calculate this metric, how to understand it in the context of your industry, and how to apply it to the platforms you're using now.

How to Calculate Gross Profit and Gross Profit Margin

You can calculate gross profit by taking your revenue minus cost of goods sold (COGS). Gross profit can be assessed for various time-periods (i.e. day, week, month, year), and, for sales and costs tied to certain products or campaigns, you can find a specific gross profit for each. 

If you’re confused about how to define revenue and COGS, we’ve included some nifty definitions and examples below:

  • Revenue is how much you make from selling your products. A simple way to calculate revenue is sales price times number of units sold. It also usually includes discounts and deductions for customer returns.
  • COGS is, inversely, how much you pay to create and sell your products. Examples of these costs include direct labor, direct materials packaging, etc.

gross profit margin equation = [(revenue - cost of good sold)/revenue] with corresponding icons

Gross profit gives you a dollar amount, but sometimes it’s important to use percentages and fractions to better compare your profitability across time and business units. For instance, a $100 in gross profit means different things for firm A that generates $500 in revenue versus firm B that generates $1,000 in revenue. To fix this issue, we can calculate gross profit margin, which is gross profit divided by total revenue. From the previous example, it’s now easier to see firm A, at a gross profit margin of 20%, performs better than firm B, at a gross profit margin of 10%.

When choosing what to include in your calculations, remember: consistency is key! Having consistent metrics will allow you to better identify the causes of good or bad performance.

Connecting Gross Profit to Your Business

Again, as you begin (consistently) monitoring gross profit and gross profit margin, you’ll be able to find insights specific to your strategy. Of course, it’s also important to understand these metrics in relation to your broader industry. To help you know what to expect, we’ve included a list of average gross profit margin per industry (check out page 4 of this interactive dashboard for more stats):

  • Industry/Business Field - Average Gross Profit Margin
  • Restaurant - 30%
  • Business & Consumer Services - 32%
  • Publishing & Newspapers - 39%
  • Online Retail - 44%
  • Household Products - 51%
  • Software (Systems & Apps) - 67%
  • Software (Internet) - 67%
  • Financial Services - 82%

Further, while you can find gross profit from many channels, we’ve identified popular platforms that are particularly relevant to gross profit. These may be good places to begin if you’re getting started with this metric:

  • Shopify: If you own a Shopify storefront, gross profit data is readily-available in your Reports under the “Profit margin” section. The platform offers gross profit margin calculations for each product, point of sale location, and more. Click here for more information on how to access this data.
  • Stripe: If this platform handles your company’s billing and subscription information, you’ll have easy access to gross profit data. Depending on how else you receive payments and pay expenses, Stripe can offer partial (or full) information on your revenue and COGS. Simply visit Balance > Statements to create a financial report. The platform will list your balance summary via customer charges and refunds (which contribute to revenue) and payouts (which may contribute to COGS).

Tracking Gross Profit with Lido

While both gross profit and gross profit margin are easy to calculate, it’s important to keep in mind that they are two of many valuable metrics to track your performance. If you don’t want to spend hours at the end of the month juggling numbers from your Shopify and Stripe accounts, consider trying Lido. Lido can help you build a dashboard to monitor your data and give a look into how your key metrics (such as gross profit margin) change over time.

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