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One of the greatest aspects of PrestaShop is its unrivaled power in digging up information on customer behavior. Let's see how this is done.
Contrary to the popular saying, statistics are not akin to "lies and damned lies". The numbers PrestaShop provides you with are rock-solid information which you can count on to improve your shop, change the way products are presented or adapt their prices, remove products that do not sell or simply push forward those that do. All this and more can be deduced from the data that PrestaShop automatically gathers for you, and which is presented in a dozen of entries, with graphics and data tables helping you making decisions.
The point to all this is to help you make a solid decision when you need to target your audience.
In addition to this, PrestaShop has a built-in referrer management system, which makes it possible for you to easily create affiliate campaigns.
This section presents in details the usefulness of the various available statistics. By clicking on each of the categories at your disposal in the sidebar of the "Stats" page, the main page reloads with the most current numbers.
For some of the stats, a complete explanation is given, helping you understand the data given to you so that you can use the information to improve your shop and its conversion rate.
Statistical data is gathered starting on the day you have installed PrestaShop. If you would prefer this data to be gathered starting with the opening day of you shop (and therefore, delete all your test data), you can use the "Auto-clean period" at least 24 hours before the definitive launch. See below.
By default, the page displays the Stats Dashboard, an overview of the main numbers gathered by PrestaShop stat system since you launched your online shop.
At the top of the page is a single bar which helps you choose the period of time for the currently displayed statistics. Three sets of options are available:
- Current day, month or year.
- Previous day, month or year.
- Precise date selection.
The dashboard contains 8 sections:
- Stats Dashboard. This truly is the heart of your statistics. Within a single table, PrestaShop gives an overview of the most important numbers that were gathered for the selected period of time: visitors, new registrations, new orders, number of items bought for all orders combined, percentage of registration per visitors, percentage of orders per visitors, amount of used coupons, amount of all sales combined.
You can change the granularity using the drop-down selector, at the top right of the section. The available period sizes are: daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.
The three lines at the bottom of the table are not affected by the selected period: total, average and forecast numbers enable you get a better estimate of where your shop is headed to.
- Conversion. This section gives you an idea of how much a visitor or a registered customer are worth on your shop, based the number of orders they place, basically. It is a nice indicator of how your shop is doing.
- Payment distribution. This section presents which payment methods are most often chosen by your paying customers. Based on these figures, you may wish to adapt your shop or your business in order to better cater for the most popular methods, or to push forward a specific method that you would prefer that your customers choose.
Using the "Zone" drop-down selector at top right of the section, you can limit the numbers to a specific geographical zone, and thus see which method works best or worst depending on the region.
- Category distribution. This section gives category-specific information. For each category, it presents you with useful numbers: products, sales, percentage of global for the whole shop, percentage of sales for the whole shop, average product price. If you notice that a category is way more successful than others, you might want to push your promotion efforts on it. On the other hand, you could try bolstering the numbers of disappointing category by releasing vouchers or other doing other promotional actions...
Using the "Zone" drop-down selector at top right of the section, you can limit the numbers to a specific geographical zone, and thus see which category is most successful depending on the region.
- Language distribution. You customers can choose their preferred language when registering, and you can see the language distribution with this section. Make sure to have all your products correctly translated for at least the two most popular languages.
- Zone distribution. You can filter other section by zones, and this section directly gives you a per-zone run down of your number of registered customers and placed sales (and their respective percentages).
- Currency distribution. If you accept more than one currency, this section helps you see which one is the most used by your paying customers.
Using the "Zone" drop-down selector at top right of the section, you can limit the numbers to a specific geographical zone, and thus see which currency is most successful depending on the region.
- Attribute distribution. This is more of an internal statistic, enabling you to see which attribute and attribute group is the most used within your products.
Navigating the statistics
Most of the statistics can be downloaded as CSV files, by clicking on the "CSV Export" button.
PrestaShop's stats page can be configured to have the look-and-feel that you prefer.
A graph can take several forms, depending on your preferences. With the "Graph engine" setting, you can choose with which graph engine your statistics should be presented. This does not change your statistics, only the way they are presented, so simply choose the one you prefer. You can currently choose between these four:
- Visifire. This engine relies on Microsoft technologies to display its graphs: Silverlight, WPFR, Windows Phone... You will need to install the Silverlight browser plugin to make it work. Learn more at http://www.visifire.com/.
- XML / SWF Charts. A free and complete engine, which uses Flash to display its graphs. You will need the Flash browser plugin installed. Learn more at http://www.maani.us/xml_charts/.
- Artichow. An old and public domain engine, which does the basic job for most types of graphs.
More can be added, using modules. See the Addons marketplace to find more options: http://addons.prestashop.com/en/63-analytics-stats.
You can thus make a display choice that is both aesthetically pleasing and compatible with your browser.
PrestaShop uses the free version of XML/SWF Chart. Therefore, when you click a graph made with this engine, a new browser page will open with the XML/SWF Chart official website: http://www.maani.us/xml_charts/.
The way data tables are presented can also be configured. The default installation of PrestaShop only has one engine available: "Simple HTML table display". But you can install modules to your shop that offer more feature than the default engine. See the Addons marketplace to find more options: http://addons.prestashop.com/en/63-analytics-stats.
You can also automatically select the way the statistics will be erased from your shop. Erasing data will usually make the shop more responsive, and thus improve the comfort of your visitors. You have four options, depending on your traffic and your server's performance: Never, Week, Month or Year.
This option can be very useful to clean the statistical data that was gathered during your tests of the shop, and thus only keep the data starting from the real opening of your shop.
A lot of you visitors will come from search engines. In order to know what they were looking for, and how you can improve your shop for their search queries, you need to know their queries.
This page presents a table of all the search engines that your installation of PrestaShop supports – meaning that PrestaShop is able to recognize it, and to extract the query that the visitor from that a given search engine used to find your shop.
While Google has the biggest share of search engines users, there are many other search engines that people could use to find your website. Therefore, you have to be able to retrieve their search requests too. When an unknown search engine is starting to bring regular visitors, it is high time that you add it to your database – otherwise, those visitors would be marked in your statistics as coming from "Other search engines", which is not helpful at all.
Adding a Search Engine
It is very simple to add a new search engine to your list.
Let's say you want to add DuckDuckGo, a search engine that emphasizes its respect for data privacy:
- Get the full referrer URL for the search. For instance, http://duckduckgo.com/?q=kids+shoes
- Take the domain name, which is specific to that search engine, and put it in the "Server" field. In our case, "duckduckgo".
- Find the query variable:
- Find the query string. It should be a set of letters, followed by an "=" sign, followed by the query itself, closed by a "&" or the end of the string. In our case, it is "q=kids+shoes".
- The query variable is the set of letters before the "=" sign. In our case: "q". Put that in the "$_GET variable" field.
- Click the "Save" button, and from now on, PrestaShop will be able to recognize visitors from DuckDuckGo.
A referrer means a website that brings you at least one visitor. This website features a link to your shop, and thus it helps you build an audience and eventually make more sales.
Some referrers are more important to you than others: you might have partners that have links to your shop on their own website, and both you and your partners would certainly want to know how many visitors those links brought you. You could even pay your partners to display a link to your shop, depending on how much you value your traffic.
This, in effect, is called affiliation, and the "Referrers" page helps you build a complete affiliate program, to which even your partner can connect to see the number of visits and sales their links have generated. Registered affiliates generate traffic to your shop, you want to reward them for those visitors, and the affiliate program is how both of you can access the figures the reward is based on.
PrestaShop's referrer tool can be likened to that of a statistical dashboard open to others than only your staff members. When you create an affiliate campaign for a site, you can grant that site access to all of the activity it will have made for your site, through a password-protected URL: http://URL-OF-YOUR-SHOP.com/modules/trackingfront/stats.php.
Adding a new referrer
The affiliate space enables you to create privileged access for your partners. They will have access to all statistics on the flow of visitors from their site to your online shop. To create their privileged space, you need to create their account in your affiliation program, then define how you will pay based on traffic and sales generated.
To create a new affiliate partner, click on the "Add new" button, which will take you to the affiliate creation form.
Each section is important:
- Affiliate. The account of the partner in your affiliation program.
- Name. To connect to your affiliation back-office, your partner needs a login name; you can use a simple name or an e-mail, but make sure to use something both you and your partner can remember easily.
- Password. The first time you create the account, PrestaShop saves the password along the login name. When you need to edit the account (for instance, when needing to change the commission), the password will be blank. This does not mean there is no password; if you fill the blank field when editing the account, it will change the password.
- Commission plan. This is where you indicate the fees of your affiliate – meaning the money you will owe your partner for actions of visitors from their site.
- Click fee. This defines how much you estimate a visitor from this partner's site is worth. Every time a visitor from your partner's site comes to your shop by clicking on their link, the partner earns the marked amount.
- Base fee. You can also reward your partners if visitors from their sites do buy one of your products. Note that this is only valid if the purchase is made during the browsing session that follows the click on the partner's link.
- Percent fee. In addition to the base fee, or as a replacement, you can reward partners with a percentage of the sales made during the browsing session of visitors from their sites.
- Technical information - Simple mode. This is very important, as this is what will make the system differentiate this partner from other referrer links. Once configured, you should make a couple of test in order to make sure that you are indeed tracking the affiliate correctly.
- HTTP referrer. In the "Include" field, set the partner's domain name that you want to track as your affiliate domain.
- Request URI. In the "Include" field, set the last part of the query string. The system will track referrers that use a special query string. For instance, you can track referrers that use the
?prestaff=argument in their URL. This can help you further differentiate referrers.
- Technical information - Expert mode. While the simple mode matches words using MySQL's "LIKE" function, the expert mode enable you to use MySQL regular expressions. This can prove very powerful but also very hard to maintain. Be sure to master the subject of regular expressions before putting anything in these fields.
The "Help" section gives you some precious indications on how to best configure your affiliate. Read it through.
The referrer settings are mostly tools to help you make the best of your affiliate program.
There are three possibilities:
- Save direct traffic. Direct traffic represents visitors who arrive on your shop directly, by typing your URL in their browser. While these are important because they are visitor who really know about your shop and are interested in your products (contrary to visitors with referrer, who might have simply stumble upon your shop by chance), saving this traffic can put a huge toll on your database. This is why this traffic is not saved nor analyzed by default. Only enable this option if you know what you are doing.
- Indexation. The "Refresh index" button is necessary when you add a new referrer and you want to analyze your past traffic for this new referrer.
- Cache. PrestaShop caches the data it gathers. You can use this button to regularly refresh your data cache.