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Take a Tour of the New Sales & Returns Sample Report

Headshot of article author Tessa Hurr

We’re excited to introduce a new Power BI sample report for you to play around with. This report includes new features, shows designs factors you should take into consideration when building a report, and has been optimized Power BI Desktop, service, and mobile. You can see how visuals from AppSource can be added to your reports, how they work well with other Power BI visuals, and learn how the Power Apps visual can be used in a report.

Click on the image below to explore the sample in the Community Data Stories Gallery, or Download the PBIX to follow along.

This report shows many powerful features of Power BI in the context of a sales and returns data story. The scenario this report is set in is a company that sells Microsoft themed skateboards and wants to quickly see the state of their sales and returns and analyze how they should modify their operations.

We want to extend a huge thank you to Miguel Myers and Chris Hamill who created this report! Miguel and Chris are members of our team who are truly gifted in bringing together data and design. If you want to follow some of Miguel’s best practices for report design, you can check out his YouTube channel. You can also follow Chris’ blog for Power BI creators, Alluring Analytics, or follow him at his Twitter.

Report Structure

The Sales & Returns report has been structured to have five main pages: Intro, Net Sales, Returns, Return Rate, Market Basket Analysis. In the following sections, we’ll go into the purpose of each of these pages and features to play around with.

The remaining pages in the report are hidden because they have been used to construct tooltips and other parts of the five main pages.

To get the full experience of the sample report in Power BI Desktop, please make sure to turn on your preview features in the report options dialog.

Intro Page

The intro page gives a description of the data story and lets people who are viewing the report know that the report is interactive. If you’re viewing the report in the Power BI service, you can even press the ‘Download PBIX’ button to get the PBIX file and play around with it in Power BI Desktop.

On the right side of this intro page, a gif shows interactive capabilities of the report. Throughout this report, you can go to the visual header tooltip icon (“?”) to see an animated tooltip that shows you different interactive elements within a visual.

If you press on the first small dot in the string of connected dots, the right side of the Intro page will show all the design factors that were taken into consideration when the report was made.

Audience is the intended report consumers. Platform is all the Power BI platforms that this report can be viewed on. UI/UX are the design considerations that the report author considered when building this report. Analysis are the features and capabilities the author included to let report consumers explore more about the data and act on the insights they’ve discovered.

Current State of the Business: Net Sales & Returns Pages

The Net Sales page is the first of two pages in the report that give the state of the business. At the top, two cards are being used to call out the most important KPI’s, which in this case is Net Sales and Units Sold.

Below the KPI’s, are three visuals: Category Breakdown, Store Breakdown, and a Q&A visual.

Category Breakdown shows the net sales of Microsoft themed skateboards, and the visual to the right of it shows net sales by store. When you hover over a data bar in Category Breakdown, a report page tooltip will show up and provide more information about that particular product.

The Category Breakdown and Store Breakdown visuals have buttons at the bottom where you can toggle between the visual and an alternate view. (In Category Breakdown, you can see a tabular view. In Store Breakdown, a map.) These alternate views have been created using bookmarks.

The map visual in this report is the Mapbox custom visual from AppSource. Visuals from AppSource work well with core Power BI visuals. You can still click on them and they will interact with other visuals to relevant cross highlighting or filtering.

The Q&A visual lets you dig deeper to find additional details in the data. It’s a useful tool for report authors to build reports and for report consumers to explore the data. You can follow this link to learn more about how to use the Q&A visual.

At the top of the page, you’ll also see a button that says Key Influencers

Clicking on it will open a view of the Key Influencers visual. In the context of this report, you can use it to analyze the demographics of customers.

There is also a button to see a Decomposition Tree visual.

You can use the Decomposition Tree to drill into any dimension to understand what is driving a key metric. The Decomposition Tree is currently in preview, so if you are viewing this report in Power BI Desktop, please turn on the Decomposition Tree preview feature.

The returns page is set up to have the same structure as the Net Sales page, but with information about returns. You can take the same actions displayed in the Net Sales page and explore the state of Returns.

The Net Sales and Returns pages were also designed for a mobile experience. When you create reports for executives or people who are always on the go, it’s important to think about how you can also optimize your report for mobile. To create a mobile view, go to the View tab in the ribbon, and press Phone layout.

Analysis: Return Rate & Market Basket Analysis Pages

As stated previously, this report can be used to find out the current state of the business and used for analysis to help you take action.


Starting from the Net Sales page, you can right-click on a data bar to find different insights.

Once you select “Find where this distribution is different”, another window will open as an analysis is being run on your data. This window lets you scroll to explore possible explanations for where the distribution is different, and the visuals in the window are interactive. You can click on data points in the suggested visuals and slice the data by pressing segment buttons.

Drill Through

Another way you can incorporate analysis into your report is to use drill through. Staying on the Net Sales page, if you right click on a data bar, you will see the option to Drill through to two other pages that have been set up for this report: Return Rate and Market Basket Analysis.

Note: In this report, you can also go to the Returns page, right-click on a data bar in “Category Breakdown” and see your drill through options.

Let’s say you want to learn more about XBOX skateboard sales. Once you drill through to the Market Basket Analysis page, on the left, you can learn more about how the XBOX skateboard is performing. On the right is a custom visual cluster map.

The cluster map shows that customers who buy XBOX skateboards are likely to buy XBOX One skateboards as well. Because this report was created for multiple audiences, someone who is in an operations role could even prepare for an influx in sales of a product by pressing “Open Power App” and ordering more skateboards.

Because Power Apps visuals can only be viewed by those who are in the same organization as you, when you press “Open Power App” we’ve embedded a video that shows an example of a Power App you could embed for your own organization.

This is just one of the ways you can use a Power App visual into your Power BI reports to bridge the gap between workflows in your organization. This report empowers its report viewers to take action based on the data in their organization.

“What if”

Going back to the drill through options, you may have noticed that there was another drill through called “Return Rate”. If you right-click and drill through on the OneNote data bar, you are taken to a page that gives information about the returns of the OneNote skateboard.

The visual on the left tell says that the return rate of OneNote skateboards is 55%. The main two other visuals on the page show “What if” analysis. You can change the slicer towards the top of the page and ask, “What if the return rate changes?”

Changing the return rate in the slicer will change the forecast numbers that are projected and the associated visuals.

With “What if”, this skateboard company can learn how their profits can be affected. The “What If” Analysis Forecast visual can also help the skateboard company decide to order more OneNote skateboards in February but decrease their stock of OneNote skateboards in April. Toggling this visual to Extra Profit shows a stacked column chart that displays how much more the company can make by decreasing their return rate.

The large amount of purple in January shows that the company should increase their focus on reducing returns of OneNote skateboards in January and that June may not be impacted by returns of OneNote skateboards very much.

What’s Coming

We hope this helps you play around with Power BI and gives you some ideas as to how you can build rich experiences in your reports. As more features are added to Power BI, our hope is to roll out more sample reports so you can see how new features can be used in context. We’ll have sample reports that are designed for accessible experiences, so stay tuned.