Let's now explore the content of the Dashboard itself. It can feel crowded to a first-time user, but you will find that it gives an excellent summary of your shop's daily activities at a glance.
The Dashboard is divided into 4 main areas: a horizontal bar, and three columns.
By default, the Dashboard uses fake data so that you can better visualize what the various stats are for.
When using PrestaShop for a real online store, you must disable this fake data so that your real data is used: deactivate the "Demo mode" option at the top right of the screen.
The horizontal bar
At the top of the Dashboard is a single bar which helps you choose the period of time for the currently displayed dashboard statistics.
Three sets of options are available:
- Current day, month or year.
- Previous day, month or year.
- Precise date selection (the button on the right, which opens a date selector).
Choosing an option updates all the blocks of content that are on the Dashboard so that they display data for the chosen period of time only. Blocks that are not stats-based do not change.
In order to choose a period of time, you can either click the first and last date of that period in the calendar (the clicking order does not matter), or you can type the dates in the YYYY-MM-DD format in the text boxes. Click "Apply" to see the Dashboard change according to your settings.
You can also compare two periods of time together by checking the "Compare To" box. Select the second period as you would do for the first one (the two can even overlap), then click on the "Apply" button.
When comparing two periods, some of the content blocks will update to indicate the evolution of the data (see for instance the main "Dashboard" block, which presents data from the Dashboard Trends module).
By default, this column presents you with data from the Dashboard Activity module, which gives the main figures from your database at a glance:
- Online visitors in the last 30 minutes.
- Active shopping carts in the last 30 minutes.
- Currently pending orders, return/exchange inquiries, abandoned carts and out of stock products.
- Notifications of new messages, order inquiries and product reviews.
- New customers and new newsletter subscriptions.
- Traffic statistics: visits, unique visitors, traffic sources and direct links.
The central column
The central column is where the term "dashboard" takes its importance: this area of the Dashboard presents you with the most important numbers pertaining to your shop's daily activities, along with a graph of sales and a list of the latest orders. Every time you log into your shop's administration area, you will be first and foremost looking at the evolution that these numbers take. This is where you see your shop live and breathe.
By default, there are three blocks of content in this column, which are handled by modules:
Dashboard (Dashboard Trends module). This is the main block of information on the dashboard. With its various graphs, it really helps you see if your shop is headed in the right direction or not. Click on one of the graph types to display it. Additionally, when comparing two time periods, it displays the evolution of each figure in percentages. Hover over the graph with your mouse to see the details.
Clicking on its configuration icon (top right) opens a new page where you can set various expenses that your shop has (bank wire fee, average shipping fee, hosting expenses, etc.), in order to better indicate your trends.
Your Forecast (Dashboard Goals module). This block presents you with the goals you have for the coming months, and how your shop is doing compared to them. Hover over the graph with your mouse to see the details.
Depending on your monthly results, you should update your forthcoming goals. You can set your goals in the block's configuration form (top right of the block), and fill in your expectations month by month in terms of traffic, conversion rate, and average cart value. The "Sales" column will be updated according to the goals set in the other columns (for instance, for 1,000 visitors with a 2% conversion rate and a $10 average cart, you would get 1,000*(2/100)*10 = $200). You can change the currency in the "Currencies" page under the “International” than "Localization" menu.
Products and sales (Dashboard Products module). This block presents you with a table of your latest orders and a ranking of your products: best sellers, most viewed and top searches (as searched in your shop's search form, not from search engines).
You can set the number of items to display in each by clicking on the block's configuration icon (gear icon in the top right).
The right column
This last column is an informational one: it gives you the latest news from PrestaShop.com, notifications about new PrestaShop versions, and useful links.
It also features the "Demo mode" block, from which you can disable the fake data used by default on the Dashboard and use your own data (as gathered by PrestaShop's statistics system).