Presta shop 1.5 beginner's guide
PrestaShop presents a comprehensive, intuitive user administration panel, and gives you hundreds of standard functions that can be adapted or personalized in order to respond to all of your needs. This user guide will help you familiarize yourself with all of PrestaShop’s features. You will also be able to efficiently manage your PrestaShop site. While the majority of it is aimed at shop owners, the first chapter serves as an introduction to the front-office interface, which can be helpful to everyone. -------------
PrestaMonster.com is a provider of small and intermediate modules for PrestaShop users as well as other ecommerce platform. Its products are fun and effective at the same time.
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Presta shop 1.5 beginner's guide
PrestaShop 1.5 Beginner's Guide
Build your own attractive online store with this fast and
flexible e-commerce solution
Jose A. Tizon
BIRMINGHAM - MUMBAI
PrestaShop 1.5 Beginner's Guide
Copyright © 2013 Packt Publishing
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system,
or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the
publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embedded in critical articles or reviews.
Every effort has been made in the preparation of this book to ensure the accuracy of the
information presented. However, the information contained in this book is sold without
warranty, either express or implied. Neither the author, nor Packt Publishing, and its dealers
and distributors will be held liable for any damages caused or alleged to be caused directly or
indirectly by this book.
Packt Publishing has endeavored to provide trademark information about all of the
companies and products mentioned in this book by the appropriate use of capitals. However,
Packt Publishing cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information.
First published: June 2010
Second Edition: April 2013
Production Reference: 1120413
Published by Packt Publishing Ltd.
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Birmingham B3 2PB, UK.
Cover Image by Asher Wishkerman (email@example.com)
Jose A. Tizon
Lead Technical Editor
Tejal R. Soni
About the Authors
Jose A. Tizon studied computer engineering at the University of Huelva and Czech
Technical University in Prague.
He started developing websites as a hobby in the year 2000. It then became a profession, as
he is now a Software Development Engineer at Amazon.
In this way, he has developed e-commerce websites for small and big companies in Spain,
Czech Republic, and the UK, finding a new experience in every single one.
Jose spends his spare time with his love, Yolanda, and in developing new ideas.
Yolanda, for standing me every day and not getting angry when I spend so
much time developing some of my ideas. I love you! Mua.
My parents Antonio and Paqui; brother, Francisco; and my dog, Simba who
give me all the support in the world and inspire me.
Ivan (Kaly), for being himself, and friends from Huelva and Prague, who
were with me in every significant moment of my life.
Cesar Mariel, for pushing me in the startup world.
The open source community, because without them, this world would be
And of course, you, for reading this!
John Horton is a fan of most things digital and particularly enjoys the growing mobile
industry. He has published books, apps, and websites.
He spends his working hours helping people make a success out of their web/ e-commerce
enterprises through his design business, www.HadronWebDesign.com.
He is encouraging the pursuit of mathematics through the free Android app, MathLegends.
In his spare time, he likes shooting Zombies with his two sons.
To the other author, who must take the credit for this book!
About the Reviewers
Bart Sallé is a web developer from the Netherlands specializing in HTML5, CSS3, PHP,
He loves open source software and works with TYPO3, WordPress, Joomla!, PrestaShop,
WooCommerce, osCommerce, and VirtueMart.
Bart Sallé was one of the first people in the Netherlands who started building his webshops
using PrestaShop as a base.
He is still as excited about PrestaShop now as he was back when the first stable version of
PrestaShop was released.
His company website can be found at www.os-evolution.com.
His personal website can be found at www.bartsalle.nl.
I would like to acknowledge Jolanda, my wife, and my beautiful kids, Noa
I would also like to acknowledge my mother Lies, and my father Theo, who
passed away in January this year.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Getting Started 7
Know your business 7
Downloading PrestaShop 8
Technical requirements 8
Time for action – transferring files to your web host 9
Making a database 10
Time for action – creating a database 10
How to install PrestaShop 12
Time for action – the PrestaShop auto-installer 12
Post-install security 18
Deleting the install folder 18
Time for action – how to delete the install folder 18
Renaming the admin folder 19
Time for action – renaming the admin folder 19
Your shop front explained 20
Your shop-back explained 22
Time for action – logging in to your PrestaShop control panel 23
Control panel guided tour 24
Before we continue 25
Chapter 2: Back Office 29
Price rules 31
Shipping and localization 31
Table of Contents
[ ii ]
Arranging key modules 31
Cart block 33
Time for action – installing the shopping cart module 33
What goes on your home page? 34
Unique Selling Proposition (USP) 34
Time for action – how to add your content to your home page 35
Secure payment 38
Time for action – using the content management system 38
Moving modules around 39
Time for action – moving modules 39
Time for action – changing the default image size 41
PrestaShop themes 41
Finding themes 42
Choosing a great theme 42
Installing the themes 43
Time for action – installing a PrestaShop theme 43
Customizing your template 44
Important preliminary point 44
Time for action – creating a new template 45
Editing your CSS file 45
Background color 47
Font size 47
Themes summary 47
Time for action – uploading your company/store logo 48
Advanced parameters and administration 49
Time for action – making a customer account 50
Permanent links block 51
Creating the “must have” pages 51
Legal notice 52
Terms and conditions 52
About us 52
Contacting your store 52
Time for action – creating departments to contact 53
Multistore feature 53
Downloadable products 54
Table of Contents
[ iii ]
Are you an existing user of osCommerce? Let’s import it to PrestaShop 54
Chapter 3: Merchandising for Success 55
Shop categories 55
Planning your category structure 56
Creating your categories 57
Time for action – how to create product categories 57
Creating content for your categories and subcategories 60
Time for action – adding category descriptions 60
Adding products 61
Product descriptions that sell 61
Actually selling the product 62
Ask for the sale 63
Create some images with GIMP 63
Time for action – how to add a product to PrestaShop 63
Highlighting products 66
New products 67
Time for action – how to highlight your newest products 67
Time for action – creating a special offer 67
Recently viewed 69
Best sellers 69
Time for action – creating an accessory 70
Time for action – using PrestaShop's features 72
Time for action – an attributes example 74
Time for action – allowing your customers to customize 77
Product mania! 77
Chapter 4: Getting More Customers 79
SEO: Search Engine Optimization 80
Which keywords should we use? 80
Discovering the value of keywords 81
Meta tags 81
Types of meta tags 81
Time for action – PrestaShop meta tags 82
Tag clouds 83
Table of Contents
[ iv ]
Time for action – creating a tag cloud 84
Friendly URLs 84
Time for action – how to get search-friendly URLs 84
Canonical URLs 85
Time for action – choosing your canonical URL 86
Writing and displaying articles 86
Good ideas when writing articles 86
Make your articles easy to read 86
Think about your audience 87
Sell, but sell subtly 87
Page formatting and keyword density 87
How many times should the keywords/phrases be used? 88
Quick tips 89
Writing the summary 89
Using the CMS 89
Time for action – creating the article 90
Time for action – creating robots.txt 92
Helping Google with sitemaps 93
Time for action – Google sitemaps tutorial 93
PrestaShop search weightings 93
Switching languages 96
Time for action – enabling a second language 96
Creating translations 97
Time for action – translating product descriptions 98
Time for action – translating your whole website 99
Languages conclusion 99
Chapter 5: Tools, Newsletters, Extra Income, and Statistics 101
Exploring the Preferences tab 102
Useful preferences 102
Cart redisplay at login 102
Store contacts 102
Time for action – customizing your tabs 104
Quick access 105
Table of Contents
[ v ]
Time for action – creating a Quick access 106
E-mail marketing with newsletters 107
Most people don't buy! 108
The stages of e-mail marketing 109
Setting up the newsletter module 109
Time for action – the newsletter module 109
Switching on product notifications 110
Time for action – product notifications 110
Powerful newsletter modules 111
Building a big list of subscribers 111
Understanding what a newsletter is 111
Offering more via e-mail 112
Creating newsletters 112
Product information 112
Genuine news 112
Designing your newsletters 112
Sending newsletters 113
A quick word about spam 113
Using a PrestaShop module to send newsletters 113
Using your web host to send newsletters 114
A dedicated e-mail service provider to send newsletters 114
A free e-mail system to send newsletters 114
Getting your subscriber list 114
Time for action – accessing your e-mail list 115
Setting up Google AdSense in PrestaShop 116
Time for action – installing Google AdSense 116
Setting up PrestaShop statistics 117
Graph and grid engines 118
Statistics modules 118
Time for action – setting up statistics engines and modules 118
Exploring the statistics options 119
Installing Google Analytics 120
Getting a Google Analytics account 120
Time for action – installing Google Analytics 120
Using Google Analytics 121
Chapter 6: Security and Disaster Recovery 123
Types of attacks 124
Common sense issues 124
Brute force 124
SQL injection attack 124
Table of Contents
[ vi ]
Cross-site scripting 124
User error 124
Employees and user security 125
Time for action – creating users 126
Time for action – creating profiles 127
Permissions and their levels 128
Time for action – configuring permissions to profiles 128
SSL – Secure Sockets Layer 130
Shared SSL, dedicated SSL, or no SSL 131
Setting up SSL in PrestaShop 132
Time for action – setting up SSL in PrestaShop 132
Making a copy of your store 132
Introducing the backup process 133
Backing up your database 133
Time for action – backing up your database 133
Backing up your files 134
Time for action – backing up your files 134
Using your copy 135
Restoring the database 135
Time for action – how to restore the database 135
Restoring the files 136
Time for action – restoring your files 136
Assessing what went wrong 137
Upgrading PrestaShop 138
Time for action – how to upgrade PrestaShop 138
This chapter in a nutshell 140
Chapter 7: Checkouts and Shipping 141
Handling payments 141
Which payment provider should I use? 142
Merchant accounts 142
PayPal, Google Checkout, bank wire, or cash on delivery? 142
SSL requirements 143
Getting your money 143
Table of Contents
[ vii ]
Using PayPal 145
PayPal account 145
Setting up your PayPal checkout 145
Time for action – installing the PayPal module 146
Using Google Checkout 147
Installing the checkout 147
Time for action – how to set up Google Checkout payments 147
Cash on delivery 149
Bank wire 150
Sales taxes 150
Time for action – setting up PrestaShop to handle sales tax 150
One page checkout 151
Guest checkout 152
Adding a currency 152
Time for action – adding a currency 152
Setting currency rates 154
Time for action – setting a currency rate 154
Auto exchange rate updates 155
Creating a voucher 155
Time for action – creating a voucher 156
Giving the vouchers to your customer 157
Shipping options 158
Super-simple shipping configuration options 159
Common shipping scenarios 159
Shipping calculated by sale value 160
Time for action – configuring shipping by sale value 160
Configuring shipping by weight 161
Time for action – how to configure shipping by weight 161
Shipping configuration in depth 162
Gift wrapping and recycled packaging 164
Time for action – setting up gift wrapping and recycled packaging options 164
Your PrestaShop so far 165
Chapter 8: Ready to Sell 167
Creating an account and placing an order 168
Time for action – creating an account and placing an order 168
Repeat business with a customer loyalty scheme 170
Time for action – setting up your loyalty scheme 170
Table of Contents
[ viii ]
Getting some product comments 172
All about comments 172
How to get some product comments 172
Time for action – getting some feedback for your products 173
Putting up a discount voucher on the front page 175
Creating the voucher (reminder) 175
Showcasing the voucher 176
Time for action – putting your voucher on the home page 176
Registering with the search engines 177
Time for action – registering with the search engines 177
Marketing your site 177
How to write good posts 178
Write at your skill level 178
Social share buttons 178
Don't shamelessly promote yourself 178
Promoting your store using social media 179
Branding your profile 179
Following others 180
A lightning guide to tweeting 180
Twitter summary 182
Avoid spamming 183
Start a group 183
Start an event 184
Start a page 184
Social media conclusion 184
Handling orders and checking payments 184
Creating order messages 184
Time for action – creating messages 185
Time for action – statuses 186
Checking payments 187
Processing an order 188
Time for action – how to process an order 188
More about the Customers and Orders tabs 189
Time for action – creating and using groups 190
Table of Contents
[ ix ]
Time for action – Invoices 191
Merchandise returns 191
Chapter 9: Go… to the Future 193
Why are we here? 193
The power of e-commerce and a passive income 194
The busy billionaire 194
Learning from competitors 195
Perpetual analysis, improvement, and marketing 195
Analyzing statistics 195
PrestaShop statistics 196
Google Analytics 201
Optimizing your articles, product descriptions, and category descriptions 204
Adding new articles 204
Devising a routine and sticking to it 205
Time for action – making a plan 205
The big secret 206
High street retail 206
Look at it like this 208
An analogy to explain 208
What about all these corner shops? 209
Technical duplication tips 210
Varying your payment provider 210
Varying your web host 210
Varying your content 210
Varying your cart software 211
Try something totally new 211
The future of e-commerce and PrestaShop 212
Picture this 213
Appendix A: Control Panel Quick Reference 215
Attributes and Values 215
Image Mapping 216
Price Rules 218
Cart Rules 218
Catalog Price Rules 218
Modules & Themes Catalog 219
Advanced Parameters 220
Appendix B: Web Resources 223
PrestaShop related resources 223
Sales and marketing 223
Other shopping carts and content management systems 225
Pop Quiz Answers 227
If you want to start your e-commerce business but are not so much of a technical person,
then PrestaShop could be your solution because it is an easy, open source, and free-for-use
software that helps sell your products over the Internet.
PrestaShop is a live software, due for an open source license; there is a big community
developing new features and fixing bugs very fast.
This book is called a "beginner's guide" only because that is where it starts! Using both
realistic and unusual case studies throughout, PrestaShop 1.5 Beginner's Guide will take
you on a click-by-click, yet whirlwind journey to the realization of a fully featured, highly
professional e-commerce business.
What this book covers
Chapter 1, Getting Started, covers how to download and prepare the PrestaShop files, make
a database, install PrestaShop, and implement post-installation security.
Chapter 2, Back Office, helps you with setting the shape of your store, including the logo.
We will set up your home page, make some more key pages such as "Contact us" and
"Conditions of use", and change and customize themes.
Chapter 3, Merchandising for Success, discusses and implements an efficient category
structure. We will add high quality product descriptions that sell and take a look at all the
different ways in which you can use PrestaShop to highlight products. We will also take a look
at product features, attributes, accessories, and customization.
Chapter 4, Getting More Customers, provides information on how to choose the best
keywords and provide food for the search engines. We will refine PrestaShop search. We will
also cover tag clouds, how to use the PrestaShop CMS, URLs in PrestaShop, robots and site
maps, and how to use PrestaShop language features.
[ 2 ]
Chapter 5, Tools, Newsletters, Extra Income, and Statistics, looks at all of the most useful
things on the Preferences tab. We will set up a newsletter and notifications system, talk
about running an e-mail marketing campaign, set up PrestaShop statistics, and also set up
Chapter 6, Security and Disaster Recovery, looks at the ways in which your shop can be
damaged. We will add users, profiles, and permissions to increase security. We will talk
about and optionally implement SSL to protect your customers' private information. We will
learn how to back up and restore your shop in case everything else fails. We will also talk
about upgrading PrestaShop and how this helps keep your business secure.
Chapter 7, Checkouts and Shipping, helps us choose and set up a payment provider. We
will take a look at alternative payment methods, sales taxes, discuss and implement gift
vouchers, and learn how to accept foreign currencies. We will look at the multitude of ways
in which to set up shipping options for your customers to choose from, and make sure that
they get charged correctly.
Chapter 8, Ready to Sell, shows us how to create a customer account and place an order.
We will look at the PrestaShop customer loyalty scheme and at how to get some feedback
on your products using the PrestaShop Product Comments module. We will tell the search
engines about your cool new shop. We will also look at a multi-pronged marketing campaign
that includes vouchers and social media. The last thing we will do is cover some functionality
of the Customers and Orders tabs that we haven't covered already.
Chapter 9, Go... to the Future, we will cover analyzing, optimizing, and adding to your
PrestaShop site. We will see "the big secret" and also the future of e-commerce and
Appendix A, Control Panel Quick Reference, briefs you about the tabs and subtabs available in
Appendix B, Web Resources, lists down the web resources to help you build your
What you need for this book
Before you get down to building your PrestaShop store, you will need a localhost or a hosting
provider to install your own PrestaShop site.
[ 3 ]
If you already have a web host, here are the system requirements for installing and using
PrestaShop. Give your host a call if you are unsure; change if they can't accommodate you.
Most good hosts will be fine, as the requirements are very "normal":
Linux, Unix, or Windows operating system
Apache web server
PHP 5.1 or later versions
MySQL 5.0 or later versions
Some PHP 5 versions are bugged (like 1&1) and prevent PrestaShop from working correctly.
The following is a list of PHP versions that you should avoid installing for PrestaShop:
PHP 5.2.1 (authentication is impossible)
PHP 5.2.6 (authentication is impossible under 64-bit servers)
PHP 5.2.9 (image management/upload broken)
PHP < 5.2 (invalid date-time zone)
Who this book is for
This book is for anybody who wants to build a fully functional, real e-commerce store using
PrestaShop. You do not have to have any previous knowledge of PrestaShop or any aspect
of e-commerce or business in general. If you do, then you will probably find this guide really
valuable as well. The book covers all you need to know, but you must just bring the desire to
have your own e-commerce business.
In this book, you will find several headings appearing frequently.
To give clear instructions of how to complete a procedure or task, we use:
Time for action – heading
1. Action 1
2. Action 2
3. Action 3
Instructions often need some extra explanation so that they make sense, so they are
[ 4 ]
What just happened?
This heading explains the working of tasks or instructions that you have just completed.
You will also find some other learning aids in the book, including:
Pop quiz – heading
These are short multiple-choice questions intended to help you test your own
Have a go hero – heading
These are practical challenges that give you ideas for experimenting with what you
You will also find a number of styles of text that distinguish between different kinds of
information. Here are some examples of these styles and an explanation of their meaning.
Code words in text, database table names, folder names, filenames, file extensions,
pathnames, dummy URLs, user input, and Twitter handles are shown as follows: "The file
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New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, in
menus or dialog boxes for example, appear in the text like this: "On the Select Destination
Location screen, click on Next to accept the default destination.".
Warnings or important notes appear in a box like this.
Tips and tricks appear like this.
Feedback from our readers is always welcome. Let us know what you think about this
book—what you liked or may have disliked. Reader feedback is important for us to
develop titles that you really get the most out of.
[ 5 ]
To send us general feedback, simply send an e-mail to email@example.com, and
mention the book title through the subject of your message.
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Although we have taken every care to ensure the accuracy of our content, mistakes do
happen. If you find a mistake in one of our books—maybe a mistake in the text or the
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aspect of the book, and we will do our best to address it.
With this book you will be able to set up an e-commerce solution within a week!
So are you ready to sell your ideas with PrestaShop?
In this chapter we will:
Download and prepare the PrestaShop files
Make a database
Implement post-install security
Have a look at your shop from a customer’s viewpoint
Have a look around your new admin control panel
Here we go...
Know your business
Before you start a business, you have to know the product you are selling. If you are not
convinced, the buyer themselves may think twice before buying it. Be focused on your
chosen market and on your target customers. An example of a great e-commerce solution
is www.amazon.com. Amazon, the biggest e-commerce solution in the world, began selling
books from a garage with a singular focus on a chosen market and target customer.
[ 8 ]
Visit www.prestashop.com to get your free copy of PrestaShop. Click on the Download
option. Select your favorite language and click on the big green button Download Now. It
is optional whether you fill in the very brief registration information. When you click on the
download button you should have a zipped file called prestashop_1.5.x.x.zip, where
x.x is the version of PrestaShop you have downloaded. The version number you have
doesn’t matter. As long as you follow the download link from the PrestaShop home page,
you will have the latest stable version.
In the next tutorial, we will upload all the loose unzipped files to your web server. It is
worth pointing out that you might save some time by uploading the zipped file and using
your web host’s file manager to do the unzipping. As most web hosts use a slightly different
system, I will guide you through unzipping first. But if you know how to use your web host’s file
manager to do this, you could save some time while uploading. You decide. Unzip it
now to prepare for the next guide and you will be left with a folder called prestashop.
To install PrestaShop on a computer, you will need a prepared package. WAMP for Windows,
which you can download from www.wampserver.com, or if you are Mac user you could use
MAMP, which can be downloaded from www.mamp.info. You can also use XAMPP to install
PrestaShop in a different OS and you can download it from www.apachefriends.org/en/
To install PrestaShop on the Internet you will need a domain name, a web server like Apache,
Nginx, or Microsoft IIS with PHP 5.1 or higher installed and enabled, and MySQL 5.0 or higher
installed with a database created and FTP access.
Now that you have downloaded and unzipped the PrestaShop files, it’s time to put them
onto your website ready to install. If you are hosting at home, this is a simple matter of
putting them in the Apache home folder (see my downloadable guide if you’re unsure where
If you are developing on a live server, then you need to transfer the files via FTP. Let’s do that
[ 9 ]
Time for action – transferring files to your web host
To make this as quick and easy as it can be, I will use a few Windows shortcuts in this short
click-by-click guide. Just before you dive in, you will need your FTP username and password.
If you don’t know it already, you can usually find this quite easily by looking in your account
details in your web host’s control panel. Any doubts, give them a ring or send an them an
email – after all, that’s what you pay them for!
1. Press the Windows key and tap the E key twice. You will have two Explorer windows
pop up. Arrange them neatly one above the other. Alternatively, you can grab a copy
of a dedicated FTP program such as FileZilla from www.sourceforge.net. There
is a small learning curve doing this, but once you’re used to it, you will have more
options when using FTP. This guide assumes you do not have FileZilla, but if you do,
it won’t be a problem to interpret the guide.
2. Browse to the unzipped prestashop folder at the bottom of the window and click
on it. We do not need the folder itself, just the contents.
3. At the top window, you need to log into your website via FTP. In the address bar
at the top of the screen, type ftp://yourdomain.xxx and press Enter. When a
pop-up window appears, enter your FTP username and password that you obtained
4. Now at the bottom of the window, left-click on the very first file. Press the Shift
key and then, using the down arrow key while still pressing Shift, scroll to the very
bottom of the screen so that every single file and folder is highlighted.
5. Now let go of all the keys on the keyboard. Left-click and hold the left mouse button.
You can now drag all the files from the prestashop folder on your PC up to your
website in the top window.
6. Wait for the files to upload. The time will vary according to the speed of your
What just happened?
What you have done is put all of the files and folders containing the entire computer
code, data, images, and other resources into your web host’s server, ready for the next
phase of installation.
So let’s move on.
[ 10 ]
Making a database
PrestaShop needs a MySQL database to function. The files we have just uploaded are the
web pages that will become your store and the PHP programming code that performs the
actions required by your store.
For example, when a customer creates an account in your new shop, the programming
code contained in the files that we uploaded will fill out and store the information in a
completely separate computer program. This program is called a database server and the
type of database server that PrestaShop uses is called MySQL. Usually, when you are
pro-hosting, this server will be an entirely different physical computer to the one holding
your files (the web server). As with many servers/computer programs, you need a username
and password to access its functions. You also need a unique name for a database for your
shop on that server, and you need to know the address locating the server. As an example,
this could be mysql.yourdomain.xxx. Or it could be something completely different.
Now many web hosts will have already allocated database server details to your hosting
account. If this is the case, then you only need to find them and make a note of them for
the next phase of the installation.
Most likely your web hosts have a simple two-or three-click process for creating a database.
You can then access the details of this newly created database in order to proceed.
Precise details will vary from host to host and also the order in which the options are
presented (if at all). The database creation process goes like this.
If you already have a created database, that is okay. PrestaShop can function on a database
used by other applications. However, to make sure that they do not conflict, or worse,
damage each other, pay close attention to the How to install PrestaShop section to be sure of
how to create a table prefix!
Time for action – creating a database
First of all, you need to log in to your hosting control panel. You are looking for an option
called MySQL, MySQL databases, phpMyAdmin, or perhaps just Databases.
1. Click on MySQL databases or something named as Databases.
2. Now we need to make another database. Look for the option Create new, Make a
database, or perhaps just Add. Click on it to see the options presented. The following
is a screenshot of the database creation page on the DreamHost.com control panel.
It serves as a good example because it has more options than most. If your screen has
fewer options, that is okay. Just follow the guide for the bits you need.
[ 11 ]
Database Name is an important detail that needs to be remembered. It is case
sensitive, so upper and lower case must be accurately recorded. Choose a name;
again, it is arbitrary, but use something appropriate and not easily guessable, like
mydomainsomesecretnumber. There will be a maximum number of characters, so
you might need to use a shortened version. Write it down or copy and paste it into
Windows Notepad or on a similar application. It is possible that you do not have a
field for a name or it has already been filled out automatically. That’s fine. Just write
3. Enter a memorable but unguessable password. Again this might be decided for you
and it might not have this option at all. Re-enter the password if required. Write it
down or copy and paste it in the Notepad or something similar.
4. If you get the choice to select versions for MySQL, tick/check the option for 5 or
5. If you get the option to Allow Direct Database Access, this is a definite No. We don’t
want people to fiddle with our database from far away.
6. When you’re done, click to create the database— OK, Finish, Create, Add new
database now, or whatever your web host decides to label their button with.
7. Now you should be able to see a summary of the database you created. Complete
with the values you chose and the values chosen for you. As usual, write it all down
or copy and paste it into Notepad or some similar application.
[ 12 ]
What just happened?
Now we have a fresh database just itching to be filled up and manipulated. We also have the
database information we need to do so. Now we go to the most interesting part of the process
and get our very first glimpse of PrestaShop in action. We’ll set up the program right away.
How to install PrestaShop
Now for the fun part, when you get to see some results. What we are going to do is run the
PrestaShop auto-installer. This will be a series of web pages where you will enter information
to allow the auto-installer to configure your store.
The sort of information that we will be entering is business information such as your shop
name, personal details, and of course the database information gathered previously.
Time for action – the PrestaShop auto-installer
To get started, type your shop domain name into your web browser. It will automatically
redirect you to the default start of the PrestaShop installation program. You should then
perform the following steps:
1. First, just choose your language and tick on the licenses agreement. Then click
on Next to move to the System Compatibility screen as shown in the following
[ 13 ]
2. Check that you have all green ticks in PHP parameters and Write permissions on files,
as in the preceding screenshot. On the Optional set-up you can have some crosses,
but they are not obligatory. If you do, then click on Next to proceed and jump to the
next step. If you see some scary red crosses, don’t panic because there are some
simple solutions here. If you have all green ticks move on to step number 6.
[ 14 ]
3. If you have any red crosses under the PHP settings, then you need to contact your
web host and ask them to make some changes for you. If your hosting package has
the system requirements discussed earlier, it is most unlikely you have any crosses
here. Also, if you have installed hosting on your own PC, they will all be ticks. If you
have crosses and need to contact your web host, then read the next point first.
4. The next is Write permissions on files. This is the most likely area to have some
crosses and also has the easiest remedy. In order for PrestaShop to install itself, it
needs to modify (write to) various files and folders. A red cross indicates that the
folder cannot be written to. Changing this is nice and easy. Log in to your website
with FTP just as we did when we transferred the PrestaShop folders there. Locate
any folders with a red cross, right-click on them, and select Properties. Then put
a tick in the top two checkboxes under the Write column. Done! It is possible that
you might need to use your web host’s file manager to do this step. Also, if you
extracted the files on your web server, then the file permissions will probably not
need amending at all. The last optional settings are just that, entirely optional. And
again if you are pro-hosting, your web host will need to resolve this for you, but
PrestaShop will still be functional without them.
5. Click on the Refresh these settings button to check if you have solved the
problem(s) and then click on Next and read on.
6. The next is the System Configuration screen:
[ 15 ]
[ 16 ]
7. You might have probably guessed that this is where you will fill in all the database
information that we collected earlier. I will go through each setting one at a time
because some of the fields are described differently from host to host and by
PrestaShop. I feel the need for a small table of explanations. Here it is:
PrestaShop field Explanation/alternative name
This is the address of computer (server) with your database on it:
Sometimes called “address”, “host name”, or just “database server”.
Type this in here exactly as it appears in your web hosting control
panel. It could be something like mysql.yourdomain.xxx.
Database name This is simply a name given to the database on the database server:
On shared hosting environments, this is often the same thing as the
username (or login as PrestaShop calls it).
Enter exactly as it appears in your hosting control panel.
Login Your MySQL username: On shared hosting environments, this is often
the same as database name.
Enter exactly as it appears in your hosting control panel.
Password Your top secret sequence of letters and numbers (Shhh…).
Database Engine This is the way to store your data in your database. You will see a
drop-down menu with two options: InnoDB and MyISAM.
InnoDB is the default storage engine for MySQL and MyISAM was the
default storage engine for MySQL.
Here select InnoDB, but if your hosting does not have this option,
then you will need to use MyISAM.
Tables prefix: This is a short series of letters placed before all the tables (sections)
of your soon-to-be-created database. When an e-commerce shop
of any type is created, there are dozens of tables created to store all
the necessary information. If you think about it, all stores are likely to
have similar table names (perhaps “customers” or “products”). When
this occurs, adding a unique prefix prevents the new table destroying
A prefix is a good idea at any time, a very good idea if you have any
other uses for your database and essential one if you have more than
one PrestaShop on your database.
If this is your first PrestaShop, I suggest leaving the prefix as it is, that
is ps_. But if this is your second or third, I suggest changing it to
ps2_ or ps3_.
[ 17 ]
Now click on the button Verify now! If everything goes smoothly you will see the following
message: Database is connected. If not, please review all the fields and check it with your
1. Leave the Configure SMTP manually box unchecked. This is unnecessary for a pro-
hosted environment. Then click on Next.
2. Enter your preferred e-mail address on your shop’s domain that you would
like PrestaShop to use. PrestaShop will send e-mails to customers to thank them
for orders, notify them of dispatch, and more. PrestaShop will also contact you to
let you know about important events such as when people spend money!
3. Click on Next and your shop database will be made. You will see the following
[ 18 ]
4. This page is really simple but with a little twist. Just fill in your Shop name and
select the Main Activity as you like. As a piece of advice select Yes for Install demo
products. Now select the country where your shop is based and its time zone. You
can upload your Shop logo later, but if you want to do it now, you have to upload
a 209 x 52 pixel graphic logo from your PC. To log in to your admin control panel
use first and the last names along with the email and password. Do not select the
Receive this information by e-mail checkbox, as we will enable this later. Click on
Next and rejoice.
What just happened?
You have just made your first PrestaShop. Cool! A few more bits and pieces to fiddle with
and you’re done. Was that difficult? In my opinion, if there is a technical side to running a
PrestaShop e-commerce business, then that was probably about as geeky and technical as it
gets! If you are reading this, you are heading for success.
Just a few, very quick modifications to your PrestaShop files and it’s done.
Deleting the install folder
What we need to do is delete the entire folder called install from your web server. The
reason for this is that it contains the PHP code that configured your store. So it might be
very easy for anybody who knows it is there to rerun the install process with erroneous
information and mess up your store.
Time for action – how to delete the install folder
This is probably the quickest and easiest way to do it:
1. Press the Windows key and hit E once. This will bring up a new Explorer window.
2. In the address bar, type ftp://yourdomain.com and hit Enter/Return.
3. Enter your FTP username and password.
4. Find the install folder. It is nice and prominent, near the top, under the
5. Right-click on it and select Delete. That’s it. Don’t close the FTP window, and
[ 19 ]
What just happened?
Without the PrestaShop installation files, nobody can run the installation process again. So we
just prevented anyone with a little bit of knowledge from reinstalling over our PrestaShop and
causing us to have a bad day. Next we will take another precaution to protect our new shop.
Renaming the admin folder
The admin folder holds all the web pages and PHP code that allows you to manage your
shop. Almost any customization or configuration that you will make using your control panel,
including the ability to log in, relies on this folder and the knowledge of its location. So you
obviously you don’t want any Tom, Dick, and Harry sitting on their PC at www.yourdomain.
com/admin trying to guess your password. And anybody who knows anything about
e-commerce software knows that the default folder name for such functions is often admin.
So we will now name it something more secret and personal.
Time for action – renaming the admin folder
You should already have an FTP window to perform these steps. If not, repeat steps 1 to 3 in
the previous Time for action section and then come back here:
1. Find the admin folder.
2. Right-click on it and select Rename.
3. Rename it something that is easy to remember but difficult to guess.
I suggest treating your admin folder name like a password. Perhaps,
admintrickypassword. Make sure to leave the admin folder bit at the start. Then
it would be safe from prying eyes and tampering fingers, but you and the PrestaShop
system will know where it is.
4. Close your FTP window.
What just happened?
You just made your store’s control panel practically inaccessible to anybody except you.
[ 20 ]
Your shop front explained
Now, at last, it is time to see your shop! Visit www.yourdomain.com. It should look like the
If you haven’t already done this, then go and have a look at a PrestaShop that has some
content. This will help you visualize approximately how your own store will take shape.
You can do this at http://demo-store.prestashop.com/en/.
[ 21 ]
Now you can see the logo of your shop, a search bar, useful links such as contact, sitemap,
or bookmark, select the Currency option, a Log in link, and the main menu in the top area
of a website.
The following screenshot is the header. The header is the top area in a website:
On both sides of the web we have columns. On the left side, we have the main navigation.
On the right column, we have specials offers, latest products, and some information about
In the middle of the website, we have the products. On the homepage there are featured
products and one carousel, but when we surf along the categories, we see a list of products
that belong to that category. When we click on a product, we have all the information about
that product in this area.
The latest part of this area is called the footer. We have useful links and contact details in this
area, as shown in the following screenshot:
[ 22 ]
Your shop-back explained
Now log in to your store control panel. This is where 90 percent of this book will take place,
because here, you will add all your products, check your sales, change the design of your
store, and so on. This is what you will see:
[ 23 ]
But if you see the following screenshot, you need to go back the Post-install security section.
Time for action – logging in to your PrestaShop control panel
Here is how to get there:
1. In your web browser type www.yourdomain.com/youradminfoldername, where
youradminfoldername is the same name that you chose for your admin folder
2. Enter the e-mail address you registered with and the password you gave on the last
configuration page, when you installed PrestaShop.
[ 24 ]
3. Hit enter and you’re in.
4. Why don’t you have a look at the PrestaShop live feed? This contains topical news
and information about PrestaShop direct from the creators. If there is an update
available for PrestaShop, you will hear about it here.
What just happened?
You took your first look inside your store control panel. Now let’s click some buttons.
Control panel guided tour
Here I will quickly run through some of the general functions contained within each tab and
drop-down box. I shall also mention the chapters in which we will cover them in more detail.
Why not explore as we run through them? A full control panel reference is contained in
Appendix 1, Control Panel Quick Reference. From left to right, we have:
Catalog: On this tab we have everything we need to manage our product range
and all related aspects. For example, as well as creating the products themselves
(Chapter 3, Merchandising for Success), we can also give our customers
manufacturer and supplier information to aid their buying decision (Chapter 2, The
Back Office). We can assign advanced features to our catalog such as attributes,
features, customizations, and attachments (Chapter 3, Merchandising for Success).
We can also assign product tags to help customers and search engines easily find
what they want (Chapter 4, Getting More Customers).
Orders: Here we can manage every aspect of post-purchase communication such as
notifying customers of dispatch or a problem, making invoices available, and printing
packing slips. All of this will be covered in Chapter 8, Ready to Sell.
Customers: The Customers tab allows us to view and edit our list of customers as
well as creating groups of different types of customers. This, as we know, can be
very useful (Chapter 8, Ready to Sell).
Price Rules: This tab lets us customize your customers experience. Here we can
create discounts for specific carriers, products, suppliers, categories, manufacturers,
combinations, or offer free shipping. It also lets us create and manage gift vouchers
that can be purchased (Chapter 7, Checkouts and Shipping) or given away as a
promotion (Chapter 8, Ready to Sell).
Shipping: Unfortunately, this tab can’t actually deliver stuff for you. It does
everything that is related to delivering your customers’ orders. You can configure
shipping types, costs, and durations in any combination to suit your business
(Chapter 7, Checkouts and Shipping).
Localization: Here we can set up our shop for different languages, zones, countries
that we deliver, states, currencies, taxes and tax rules, and translations. We will also
go into depth in Chapter 7, Checkouts and Shipping.
[ 25 ]
Modules: Everything in PrestaShop is about module. If you put a shopping basket
here, it’s a module; if you put a menu there, it’s a module. We will be in and out
of the Modules tab all the time. We will also go into greater depth about modules
in (Chapter 2, The Back Office and Chapter 5, Tools, Newsletters, Extra Income,
Preferences: This is the second most varied tab in the whole of PrestaShop. There
are many things you can do here. We will be popping in here from time to time and
then covering everything we missed (Chapter 5, Tools, Newsletters, Extra Income,
Advanced Parameters: Here we can check and set up different performances for
our shop such as, cache, database backups, and logs (Chapter 5, Tools, Newsletters,
Extra Income, and Statistics and Chapter 6, Security and Disaster Recovery).
Administration: We manage our preferences, add, edit or delete employees, set up
profiles, and permissions (Chapter 6, Security and Disaster Recovery).
Stats: This topic is crucial. It is a very significant area where PrestaShop stands head
and shoulders above its competitors. Capturing and using statistics (Chapter 5, Tools,
Newsletters, Extra Income, and Statistics) will allow you to measure success and
decide how to change and improve your shop (Chapter 9, Go… To the Future).
Have a go hero – hunt the PrestaShop thimble
Here is a little challenge for you. Nothing very technical but a sort of PrestaShop “hunt the
thimble”. What if you wanted to temporarily disable your shop? Maybe you wanted to close
it for maintenance. Perhaps you want to close it down during development when you’re not
actually viewing it. Can you find where to do it?
I promise you the solution is simple. But can you find out where is it hiding?
Solution: Click on the Preferences tab. Scroll down to Maintenance and select No. The
Maintenance IP box even enables you to enter your unique Internet (IP) address so that only
you can see the shop. This is a perfect, secure manner to develop your store. To get your IP
address visit http://www.whatsmyip.org/. Enter it in the box on your Preferences tab
and click on Save.
Before we continue
It is not important to know where everything is and how it works at this stage. As I
mentioned before, we will approach each topic in the likely order of setting up a new
business and not in a left-to-right manner. I just thought it might be nice to have a look
under the hood before we get stuck in! This will hopefully help you to master PrestaShop
more logically and to achieve my 7-day challenge.
[ 26 ]
Pop quiz – a few questions about Chapter 1
Q1. Many web hosts charge per database or have a limit before forcing you to upgrade your
package. How would you create almost unlimited PrestaShop installations on the same
domain name and same database without overwriting the original?
1. Upgrading your web host package
2. Enable multistore
3. Contract different web hosts
4. Contract different web hosts and domains
Q2. Once configured, which tab would you most likely use to know how many visitors have
visited your website?
Q3. What do you think would be the fastest way (least clicks) to begin the process of creating
a new product?
1. Click on Catalog and then click on Product
2. Click on Catalog and then click on Categories
3. Click on Administration and then click on Menu, then add Product to the menu
4. Click on Preferences and click on Product
[ 27 ]
We learned a lot in this chapter about PrestaShop.
Specifically, we covered the following:
Obtaining PrestaShop: Where to download it from and how to prepare the files,
including how to transfer them via FTP to your website.
MySQL databases: How PrestaShop uses the database, how to create a MySQL
database, and how the different terms are used to refer to the database location.
PrestaShop installer: How to complete each step of the installer and filling out the
slightly trickier pages like the database configuration page, and how to get around
an intermittent bug in the installer.
The shop front: How to refer to different parts of the shop front.
The shop back: A brief look at where the different functions and tasks can be
We’re now ready to fit your shop with a visually pleasing, unique, and sales-efficient design.
This is the topic of the next chapter. So let’s get stuck in!
Your shop front, as it stands, is quite bland. But in about 20 pages time it will
be bristling with modules, search boxes, navigation boxes, a smart header, and
In this chapter, we will:
Set the shape of your store including the logo
Build your home page
Populate key website pages such as the contact us and conditions of use pages
Configure manufacturer and supplier information
Change and customize themes
Add a few more touches to your shop’s configuration
So let’s get on with it...
[ 30 ]
Dashboard is the landing page you get to when you log in to your back office. Here, you
can take a quick look about your shop activity, customer services, statistics, configuration
checklist, PrestaShop news and links, and quick links to different sections on the Web such
as Products sold recently, new orders, or new products.
This section contains all the content that you want to sell to your customer. The Products
subsection contains all the items that are in your store. The Categories subsection is the
easiest way to keep a tidy store; to make it easier for our customers to find our products, we
split our products into different categories. In the Monitoring section, we can track multiple
issues of concern in your product inventory. Attributes and Values is the area where you can
set up new attributes for your products, such as color, size, and so on. Features can relate
to physical dimensions or other characteristics of the product. Manufacturers is the section
where we add the companies that make a particular product. The Suppliers section contains
the information that can help us get more products. Image Mapping is used to create a
hotspot on an image. The Tags section is used for assigning short descriptions (tags) to the
products. Sometimes, you may need to provide a file (such as a manual or software) as part
of the product; this can be done in the Attachments section.
[ 31 ]
This is the best part of an e-commerce shop; you will be able to see all the orders and
everything that you sold. Also, this section will contain invoices, merchandise returns,
delivery slips, credit slips, statuses, and order messages.
Every customer or person that signed up will be shown in this section. Here you can check all
the information about our clients. You may also split your customers in different groups, such
as a VIP group, to offer different discounts or different products.
If any of your customers did not check out, you can see what they have in their shopping cart.
In this section, we will set up and detail the information on customer services and contacts.
This is very important because if you take care of your clients, the clients speak well about
your store, and that is the best publicity you can get for your shop.
This section could be one of our clients’ favorites because this is where the vouchers and
discounts for your clients are listed.
Shipping and localization
If the products that you are selling are digital, then this section is not for you. In this section,
we will set up the pricing, rules, and carriers to deliver your products.
Under localization, you can set up the different languages that you would like to offer on
your website, all the countries that you want to sell your products to, taxes, and currencies.
This is one of the most important sections on your site because this is where all the
functionality and design is. For that, we will cover this section in detail.
Arranging key modules
What is a module? A module is an independent widget that you can add to your e-commerce
website. The best way of demonstrating this is to get on and do something.
[ 32 ]
First, I will list the key PrestaShop modules and their uses. I will then go through them step
by step, enabling, configuring (whenever necessary), and positioning them. I will also suggest
positions for the modules and give reasons for my suggestions.
It is important to remember that everyone’s shop has varying objectives and it is perfectly
reasonable, maybe even likely, that you would want to discard some of my suggestions. This
is good, and if you feel like you know best after having read my suggestions and reasons,
then you probably do know best. It’s your shop, and that is the whole point of the flexibility
of PrestaShop; every shop should be unique. There is no better option.
The following screenshot shows the Modules tab in your control panel:
Take a look at the screenshot or click on the Modules tab in your PrestaShop control panel.
On the left, we have a list of modules divided into categories; on the right, we have a list with
the description and status of all the modules (installed or not installed) in our shop.
[ 33 ]
There are dozens of modules. We are just going to look at the most common or key examples.
There are some key modules, such as payment modules (quite important for a shop), which we
will skip now and deal with later in a specific section that deals with payment.
I will go into click-by-click detail in the Time for action section for the first module. I will
go into the same level of detail whenever there is anything new or different, like when
configuration options are required. But if the setup of a module is closely identical to a
previous one, I will just point this out. You can then refer to a previous Time for action
tutorial or set it up from memory. So let’s get on with it.
Every self-respecting shop has a shopping cart. It is a part of the web page that summarizes
the customer’s current situation with regard to product choices. It will show an abbreviated
list of all the items selected for possible purchase as well as the total amount of money due
so far. I had said that I would make suggestions about the likely use of the different modules
and I cannot think of any good reason why a shop would not display this particular module.
I would also suggest that it should be made highly prominent. Its very presence alerts visitors
to the fact that you are a shop and not just an information website. Its effect is very similar
to the physiological effect of a “real” shopping cart. If you haven’t got one, you can’t put
anything in it!
Why not check a few of the major online retailers and see what they do with their shopping
cart? Many, if not most, have it in the top or right-hand side column near the top. This is how
I will show you how to position yours.
Time for action – installing the shopping cart module
We are now going to create a shopping cart module:
1. Log in to your PrestaShop control panel and click on the Modules tab. You should
see the same window that you saw in the previous screenshot.
2. When you scroll down the list of modules, you will see the Cart block module. Just
to the right of the description, click on the Install button (it is installed by default).
3. Now scroll back to the Cart block module. Notice the word in green. Click on
4. Here you have the option to select an Ajax cart. AJAX is a suite of technologies that
enables some really cool and smooth web effects. Sounds like a good idea? Thought
so. The reason you have the option to switch AJAX off is that some older templates
that we will look at later in this chapter do not get along with AJAX, so you will need to
switch it off. For now at least, I suggest leaving it on. Click on Save when you’re ready.
[ 34 ]
5. Go and have a look at your shop front. You should see a page similar to the one
shown in the following screenshot. Why not click on the Cart and Check out buttons
to see the effect? It is a good idea to understand the experience that your customers
What just happened?
Congratulations! The first of your many modules has been enabled.
What goes on your home page?
First let’s discuss what goes on the home page and then it’s time for action to actually add
your new content to the home page.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Every business should have a USP, that is, a reason in the form of a statement that compels
customers to stick around and spend money at your shop. It is this USP that is a viable option
to be displayed right at the top of your home page. So how do you decide on one?
You need to think about your business and your products. What makes you different and
unique? What is your “thing” that people can buy, which is so brilliant that they would
want to find out more? By “thing” I don’t mean a product, I mean a benefit that a key
product or range from your shop gives your customers (selling) and how you present it to
them (the proposition).
Let’s look at an example. How many shops sell teddy bears? There is probably a multitude
of shops selling teddies. So a half-hearted “Welcome to my shop. We sell teddy bears, and
we really look after our customers”, although sincere, won’t sell much fluff!
But if I think about what is unique and will benefit my customers, I will start making some
progress. I sell teddies, and they are fluffy. So how fluffy are they? I happen to know that
they are really fluffy. In fact, I can’t remember ever hugging a teddy that was fluffier. But is
fluffiness really a benefit to my customer? Who shops on my site? It is not three-year olds
with Visa and American Express. No, they are mums and dads. So what benefit do mums
and dads get from my products? They want a happy, secure, and safe little toddler who has
a teddy bear that he/she really loves that didn’t break the bank.
[ 35 ]
How about this: “At Fluffyteddies.com, all our bears are made from the perfect mix of
natural and man-made fibers to guarantee that your special little one feels snuggled and
loved by their new bear. And because we specialize only in bears and the like, we are never
beaten on price.”
A good USP is often made from a mixture of key facts, emotive reassurances, and a
guarantee. Your USP could be much shorter: “The crumbliest, flakiest milk chocolate in the
world” or “The softest, most huggable teddy bear at the picnic!”; it could also be much
longer. What’s important is that it is not just a greeting or a statement with facts, and it
specifically reveals certain benefits to the purchaser.
Time for action – how to add your content to your home page
PrestaShop has a really easy-to-use CMS. CMS is an acronym for Content Management System.
It will allow you to create and label content and then enable links to it. We will see more of this
when we create your “must have” pages, in a minute, and when we look at the CMS in more
depth in Chapter 4, Getting More Customers. PrestaShop deals with home page content in a
slightly different way. It uses another module called the Home text editor. Here goes:
1. Click on the Modules tab and scroll down, find the Image slider for your homepage
module, and click on Install (by default, it is installed).
2. Now come back to it again and click on Configure. I have divided the page that you will
see into two screenshots, one for the back office and the other for the home page.
[ 36 ]
The following is a screenshot of your home page with a new slider:
3. Now visit your store’s home page. This will show you what the default content in the
Image slider for your homepage module is. This will make it much easier to follow
when we change it all next.
4. Click on Slides configuration and then click on Add Slide.
[ 37 ]
5. Select the image that you want to display on your home page. Give it a title using
the Title field, a link in the URL field, and a small brief in the Legend field. If you
want to write something longer, then you can do this using the Description field.
The last option here is, whether you want it to be active or not. This is very helpful
when you are doing the campaign of a product and you do not want to show any
more in the homepage. Remember, the fields file, title, URL and legend are required.
6. Click on Save and you will have a nice image in the home page slider.
7. Now we know how to add a new image to the slider, but to know everything about
the Image slider for your homepage module, I am going to dig deeper into the slider
configuration. This section is used to set the size of the images on our homepage.
By default, the size is perfect for the default theme, but if you change your theme in
the future (we will see how to do this in this chapter), you might need to change the
size to fit the new design. Also, we can change the transition speed between images
and the duration of time for which they will be paused. For that we have the fields,
Speed and Pause; both numbers have to be in milliseconds. The last field in this area
is Loop. If the loop option is on, all the images will show automatically, but if it is off,
the customer will need to use slider navigation.
[ 38 ]
8. When you are happy with the configuration, click on Save and check whether your
home page looks the way you want it to. Make corrections to this (if any) and then
repeat this step until you are satisfied.
What just happened?
You now have the most prominent page of your website. Take a look at your home page. It’s
coming together nicely, I think. Remember that you can and should update this page as and
when it is relevant to do so.
With PrestaShop CMS, you can create your “must have” pages, such as the About us, Terms
and conditions of use, or Secure payment pages.
Secure payment is a guarantee for your clients that everything that they buy in your shop
is safe to be paid for online. For that, it is essential for your shop to have secure payment
modes and to display them on the website.
Time for action – using the content management system
Having decided upon the text for all of your pages, it is time to actually create them.
1. Hover over the Preferences tab, and then click on CMS.
2. From the list of pages, click on the first one that you would like to edit. The Edit
button is the one with the little pencil and paper picture in the middle of the three
icons to the right.
3. Type in or copy and paste your content. Click on the Save button when done. One
tip, if you decide to copy and paste from Microsoft Word or similar software, is to
first paste the content in Notepad to clear Word formatting tags.
4. Repeat this procedure for each page. Notice that there is a little bin icon next to the
edit icon. You can delete a page if you feel you do not need it. For example, many
stores combine their terms and conditions with their legal notice.
5. Visit all your new pages to make sure that they are formatted as you want them
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What just happened?
The “must have” pages are hardly the most exciting pages of your shop to be created.
However, they are really important. And once they are done, you can usually leave them
alone and get on to more exciting things! Next we will learn how to move modules around
our store. Read on.
Moving modules around
No technical jiggery-pokery required here. PrestaShop allows you to move modules around
at will and decides whether there are any pages on which a module should not appear. Here
is a lightning guide for doing just that.
Time for action – moving modules
Make sure that you are logged into your PrestaShop control panel and then follow these
1. Hover over the Modules tab and then click on the Positions subtab.
2. Click on the Transplant a module link.
[ 40 ]
3. Select the module that you would like to move in the first drop-down box at the top
of the page, and then select the location you would like to move it to in the second
4. Now specify a list of any pages that you don’t want the module to appear on (if any).
5. Click on Save.
6. Notice that the module appears twice, in the original position and the new one. If
this is not the effect you desire, simply go back to your module positions page and
click on the bin icon next to the one you don’t want anymore.
7. Now you are back to the main Positions page. You can scroll down to the position
you just moved a module to, and using the up and down arrow keys, raise or lower
the position it appears in. You can also drag-and-drop the modules.
What just happened?
Almost any module can go anywhere now. As usual, my recommendation is to do one
change at a time because everything all at once might not work or look good together.
The Preferences tab has everything you need to customize your shop in different ways. You
will find the following subsections under the Preferences tab:
In the General subsection, we can set up security specifications such as the option
to use the HTTPS protocol.
The Orders preferences subsection can be used to set up a minimum purchase
amount, enable guest checkout, and offer a gift-wrapping, among others.
In the Products preferences subsection, you can choose to make certain products
in your shop unavailable for sale. This is very useful when you need to do some
restocking of your products or if you need to do maintenance. Also, here you can set
up the number of products that you would like to show per page.
Under the Customers preferences subsection, you can choose to show the last
shopping cart to your customers or to regenerate password to have a security
The next subsection under the Preferences tab is Themes; we will dig deeper into
this section later.
In the SEO & URLs subsection, we can check for and set up search-friendly URLs and
titles for our main pages.
[ 41 ]
The sizes of default images such as categories, products, scenes, and more can be defined by
you. This is a really easy way to add more uniqueness to your shop. Also, you can create some
great layouts and enhance your chosen template with just a few well-chosen dimensions.
Time for action – changing the default image size
This is really easy to do. The trick to achieving something unique here is to experiment. Try
some really big sizes and consider decreasing the number of products per page at the same
time, especially if you have a small niche range or sell products with interesting or detailed
images. Here is how:
1. Hover over the Preferences tab and then click on the Images subtab. Notice that
you can change the size of just about any image. This is really flexible and useful. Try
experimenting with different image types.
2. Click on the Edit button next to whichever image you are going to mess with and
enter your new size. Be daring, you can always change it back. Click on Save when
you are done.
3. Now scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Regenerate thumbnails. Go and
have a look at your products. Some of the images might need to be edited in your
CSS file, and for some you will see the change right away.
4. Now, we can also reduce the number of products per page (if necessary). Hover
over the Preferences tab and then click on the Products subtab. Scroll down to the
Products per page field and enter the number you want.
5. Go and have a look at the result. Repeat the steps and tweak it until you feel it
What just happened?
You can now vary the image sizes in your store. If doing so improves the look of your shop,
make sure you use images that look good in their new size.
Now we can go on to explore and discuss key aspects of PrestaShop.
Themes are what distinguish one PrestaShop-powered store from another. They define
the color, graphics, and even the actual ambience of your store. For example, if you are
running a shop selling guns, you will want a very different theme compared to the one
selling teddy bears.
[ 42 ]
Themes are readily available for PrestaShop—many are free and many are not. What follows
is a low down on where and how to find a theme for your shop. In my view, getting the right
theme is only the beginning of creating the perfect look for your e-commerce establishment.
I strongly recommend hunting high and low for the theme that most closely suits your
purposes and then installing it. All this is covered here and now. I also suggest, once you
are up and running, that you embark on a process of further customization. This will truly
separate your store from everyone else’s and, along with all the other elements discussed in
this book, leave you with an absolutely unique store.
The process of template customization is a bit more advanced than simply choosing and
installing a ready-made template; we will explore the basics in a bit. It has to be said,
however, that you might be completely happy without customizing. I have a real shop with
the regular PrestaShop theme and it does just fine.
Let’s get on with finding and installing a great template.
First of all, you need to have plenty of great themes to choose from. Visit http://addons.
prestashop.com/en/3-templates-prestashop to find a list of great resources.
Choosing a great theme
Now here is how to pick a great one. If you visit one of the theme (template) resources
listed on http://addons.prestashop.com/en/3-templates-prestashop, you
can find some really sleek-looking templates. Very often, these will require an additional
configuration change (as well as uploading files), which will all be covered in a bit.
Here is a quick word of warning when you’re choosing a new template, especially when
you’re paying for it. Look at the substance of the layout and not just the images used for
display in the template. Remember that, most probably, every single image that you see
on the demo site will need replacing! Think about how cool it will look with your images
instead. Is the template you are thinking of buying truly beautiful, or is it just the images
that look good?
Installing a template takes only a couple of minutes, so try as many free ones as you like,
and consider the advice I’ve given you carefully before getting your wallet out.
When you have found a truly beautiful theme and you are ready to try it out, read on. Also,
remember that these days, a lot of people use their mobile and tablet to check a website,
for that you will need to decide if you want your store to be deployable on more devices.
[ 43 ]
Installing the themes
As I had mentioned before, installing a theme is nice and easy. It’s choosing a theme that is
the hard part.
Time for action – installing a PrestaShop theme
Here’s how to do it:
1. Download the template to your PC.
2. Hold down the Windows key and tap the E key twice. In one window, browse to your
downloaded theme. In the other window, log in to your website via FTP.
3. On your website, browse to the themes folder.
4. Drag the new themes folder onto your website.
5. Now log in to your PrestaShop admin panel.
6. Click on the Preferences tab, and then on Appearance. Scroll to the bottom of the
page, select your new template, and click on Save. How quick was that?
What just happened?
You can now switch themes at will. After this quick pop quiz, we will look at making your
theme completely unique.
Pop quiz – themes and things
So how do you customize the theme? Maybe you like the general layout but want to change
Q1. How do you think you can change the elements of the actual template itself? (Here’s a
clue: it’s not in your control panel.)
1. By going to the Modules section and then clicking on Featured Products on the
3. By going to the Modules section, then selecting Modules & Themes Catalog.
Q2. How do you change the background color?
1. By editing the CSS file of the theme.
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Q3. How do you change the default images of your new template?
1. By clicking on the Themes subtab under Preferences and then selecting your logo.
2. By editing the CSS file of the theme.
3. By downloading an external module for it.
Customizing your template
Here, as the heading suggests, we will look at customizing our chosen template. Creating a
template from scratch is too in-depth for the space we have here and involves a skill I am
not qualified to teach. The skill I am referring to is design. “Click here”, “Click there” type
of instructions don’t help when trying to design something. If you really want to start from
scratch, I would recommend you to get two kinds of books: the first on CSS, and another on
design and layout principles.
The beauty of customizing an existing template is that all the tricky coding has been done
for us; all we need to do is identify key elements of somebody else’s work and make
amendments to it. We can then choose a template whose overall shape and style we like,
and use it as a starting point; we can change it in subtle or not so subtle ways to better suit
our business and to make sure that our website is unique.
Now we will look at some “quick wins” for simple customization, then the PrestaShop
template, and then discuss changing the CSS code that defines a template.
To do all this, I will be working with the default PrestaShop template, but everything I talk
about should be just as relevant, regardless of your chosen template. So let’s get on with it.
Important preliminary point
Throughout this part of the chapter, I will be making suggestions for you to change this and
that, delete this, add that. It is very possible that it could all go horribly wrong. Therefore,
you could be left with a template and a shop that doesn’t work. Make sure you have a
current backup of every file you alter and only make one change at a time, check the effect,
and then move on. You have been warned!
[ 45 ]
Time for action – creating a new template
It’s really easy to create a new template. The trick to achieving something unique here
is to experiment. Try some really big sizes and perhaps consider decreasing the number
of products per page at the same time, especially if you have a small niche range or sell
products with interesting or detailed images. Here’s how:
1. Open an FTP window on your web host.
2. Click on the themes directory in the main prestashop folder. Drag a copy of
the folder you want to copy onto your desktop. If you’re working with the default
theme, the folder is called prestashop.
3. Now right-click on the folder on your desktop and select Rename. Rename the
folder to whatever you want your new theme to be called (no spaces and all lower
case is the best convention).
4. Drag the new folder onto your web server. You now have a new theme. You can use
FileZilla to connect to your host; it is an open source software like PrestaShop.
5. In your PrestaShop control panel, click on the Preferences tab and then click on
6. Scroll to the bottom of the section and change to your new theme. Visit your shop,
it will look no different. But now we can start to play with things.
What just happened?
We now have a canvas, so to speak, which we can start to do wonderful things with. So let’s
Editing your CSS file
The file that we are going to play with is called global.css. It is in the CSS folder inside
our main template folder. A good way of working with it is to open it using a program like
Notepad++ or something similar. Notepad++ is good because it does not add any extra
formatting to a document, which is important. You can get a free copy of Notepad++ from
We can make one change at a time, upload it to the live folder on the web server, and then
go view the changes. Like it? Great! Don’t like it? Change it back and rethink the changes you
would like to see.
[ 46 ]
First, I will point out a few parts of the CSS file that you can make interesting changes to,
then I will guide you through a quick tutorial to show you how to implement the changes. I
will discuss several potential changes all at once, but remember to do it one at a time and to
make a backup at regular intervals. Why not open up global.css now and have a look.
If you don’t understand CSS, it will look very confusing. A complete explanation, as you might
guess, is way beyond the scope of this book. The good news is that, generally speaking, the
code is quite easy to interpret and it uses English words to help identify the purpose of each
part of the code. So we can scan through it and pick out the parts we’d like to change. The
screenshot shows a couple of examples to get you started:
[ 47 ]
On line number 56 in the previous screenshot, you can change the entire background color
in a stroke. Just change the word white to any CSS-recognized color. A few examples are
aqua, black, blue, fuchsia, gray, green, lime, maroon, and navy. A full list can be
found at www.w3schools.com/css/css_colors.asp.
You can easily guess that this element determines the size of the font. Scroll through your
global.css file. You can see dozens of references to font size; they will all change the size
of the font at different places.
Scroll down to line number 54 (shown in the preceding screenshot) and change the value
of 11px/14px to 14px/14px. From the context, can you guess where the font size will be
changed? Try it out and then check the total amount for your shopping cart. Press F5 to
refresh your browser.
You have probably guessed that the key to making your chosen template unique and stylish
at the same time is a combination of all the things we have discussed, along with a bit
of extra research into the CSS elements. As usual, don’t put off further development or
expansion of your business until you have achieved the perfect template because that day
might never come.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this section, CSS and template design is a huge topic. If
it is a topic that you want to find out about in detail, further reading is essential. If you just
want a smart, unique template in a hurry, move on to the next phase of building your shop.
Hopefully I have provided enough information here.
The other key factor in building a great template has got to be planning. I didn’t mention this
until the end because it definitely helps to experiment a bit. Until you know what is possible,
it is hard to imagine what you would like to achieve. When you look at a template, try and
envision how you could change it to make it yours.
For more information about templates, visit the PrestaShop forum. There is a whole section
devoted to the subject at www.prestashop.com/forums.
[ 48 ]
Time for action – uploading your company/store logo
So you now have your logo graphic. Here is how to add it to your shop:
1. Click on the Preferences tab.
2. Click on Themes. The next screenshot shows what you will see:
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3. Click on the Choose File button underneath the YourLogoHere logo and browse to
your new logo.
4. While on this screen, you can also upload a new favicon. This is a tiny graphic that
is displayed in your visitors’ web browser. Just make a 16 x 16 pixels image in GIMP
and save it with the .ico extension.
5. When you’re done, save the changes by clicking on Save.
What just happened?
You now have a neat, well-optimized logo. It is starting to look like your very own PrestaShop.
Advanced parameters and administration
In this section, we can check how our server is working and set up new backups for our
database, among others.
The Configuration Information subsection is where we get to see all the configuration
information that our server is giving us and whether it is in accordance with our PrestaShop
store, and also whether there are some missing files.
The Performance tab is important to set up a cache for our site. Caching is a technique to
save documents (HTML pages, images, and so on) temporarily to reduce bandwidth and
connections to our database, we then get a faster service.
The E-mail tab lists the e-mail to which customers send messages from the orders page.
The DB Backup tab can be used to do a backup of our database. It is very important to keep
in mind that we need to do backups very often because if something goes wrong with our
hosting, we could lose all our information. This in turn would mean that we would not be
able to sell any of our products, especially in cases where we have deadlines. To avoid such a
situation, please do a backup of your database and files at regular intervals of time.
Logs are bits of information about what’s happening in our shop. Here we can check whether
there are any issues in our system. There are four levels to categorize this information. The
first level, level 1, is just informative; levels 2 and 3 are warnings and errors in the system;
if you have a level 4, then your shop is crashing and you need to fix it as soon as possible to
keep it up and running.
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Time for action – making a customer account
Now it is time to create an account for yourself in your own shop. This will be useful now,
and later as well. It is especially useful because the My Account module is only visible to
customers who have logged in. Follow these steps to create your own account:
1. Click on Your Account at the top-right corner of your store’s front end. In the
CREATE YOUR ACCOUNT box, enter your e-mail ID and click on the Create your
2. The form is self-explanatory. Fill it out and click on the green Register button at
the bottom of the screen. You are now on the My Account page, as shown in the
[ 51 ]
What just happened?
Now you have a customer account, which as we saw is useful for testing. You have also
checked out the My Account block, which should help you decide whether you want one in
your PrestaShop store.
Just in case you are not sure whether you want this module, consider your customers and
your future store. Will your store be a place that is regularly visited by repeat purchase
customers? For example, my website Bikes4U.com sells bikes and bicycle parts. I don’t
think the average Bikes4U customer would need a permanent link to their orders, credit
slips, delivery addresses, and so on. The home page could be used to highlight special offers
or new products like new arrivals or bestsellers.
However, FluffyTeddies.com also sells a huge range of build-it-yourself dolls, houses,
and furniture. I expect enthusiasts to be constantly adding to their collections, checking on
the progress of their orders, and buying vouchers for friends and family. They would also
probably be interested in ordering gift items to be sent to alternate shipping addresses.
A My Account module will definitely be useful in the teddy shop.
Permanent links block
This block can be found in roughly the same place as all the modules so far. Install it and visit
your shop front. Notice that you now have three key links added to the top of your store.
They are: contact, sitemap, and bookmark. Why not try them all now? See what they do.
Your sitemap page has been very cleverly created for you. As you add products and other
pages, PrestaShop updates your site map. The contact page consists of a contact form for
your customers or soon-to-be customers to be able to quickly and easily contact you. Notice
the Subject Heading drop-down box? We will talk more about that later in the chapter. And
the bookmark button enables visitors to bookmark your site just a little bit quicker than by
clicking on the button in their web browser.
Here we can see how our customers use our website, what items are bestsellers, and the
time and date at which you have a peak hour.
All of this information is very important and comes in handy when a particular area is not
working fine for the customer or when you need to work on a new campaign to focus on
Creating the “must have” pages
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What follows here, is a discussion of the pages you would probably expect to find on any
e-commerce website. I will go through each in turn, discuss their purpose, and make some
suggestions about creating your own version of the page.
This should contain everything a customer, future or current, needs to know about the
delivery times, return, and refund policies. Depending upon the complexity of your offering,
this whole page might amount to a couple of paragraphs or more.
This page attempts to disclaim any unreasonable liabilities that you might encounter. Even if
your content and products are not controversial, you might want to get proper legal advice
Obviously, however, if you sell something that could leave you open to legal action, then you
should definitely get proper legal advice and probably insurance as well.
This is one of the few areas where it might be worth getting your wallet out!
Terms and conditions
They are many rules and regulations that you might have to draft for your customers
and visitors. Often, this can be incorporated into the legal notice. The default template
mentioned before has sample terms and conditions for you to amend, leave, or get legal
advice on as you see fit.
This is the place to put the non-sales, non-product-specific stuff that so many new
e-commerce sites make the mistake of putting on their home page. You can write this much
better than I can.
What are your values? How long have you been in the business? Have you got an interesting
startup story? How big is your business?
Your aim is to not sell anything other than YOU. Build trust and familiarity so that when your
visitors find a product they want, they feel all warm and friendly towards you. Only then will
they get their wallets out.
Contacting your store
What if someone needs to contact you? Perhaps they need to ask a question, complain, or
[ 53 ]
just say hello.
You need to have relevant contacts for the different types of messages that people could
send. Don’t panic, you don’t need to employ staff. All you need to do is tell PrestaShop
that certain types of message go to different e-mail addresses. This makes you look more
professional and ensures that your customers don’t feel like their message is not going into
an empty black hole to be ignored.
Time for action – creating departments to contact
We are going to divide your shop into departments to give it a more professional feel and to
create confidence in the customers that send you messages. Remember that when we create
these contacts and assign e-mail addresses, you will need to have previously created them
through your hosting account.
1. Hover over the Preferences tab and then click on Store Contacts.
2. Click on Add new and enter the details of the new department/contact. Make sure
you enter something informative in the Note box, because this is displayed to the
customer. Then save the information.
3. Repeat the preceding steps for each department/e-mail address combination you
4. Visit your contact page and send test messages to each department to make sure
everything is working as expected.
What just happened?
You just made your shop seem much more professional.
The multistore feature is a new functionality in PrestaShop 1.5. With this functionality, you
can easily manage several stores at once with only one back office, which means that it will
make your life easier.
Every store is independent, but you could share categories, products pages, and so on. This
functionality is very useful if you’re working with different markets.
[ 54 ]
A downloadable product is an item that we do not need to ship. These kinds of items are
usually songs in the .mp3 format, books in the .pdf format, or software.
When we are selling an item like this, and we choose to add a new product, we have to
choose the type of item on the main page; in this case, it will be Virtual Product. After this
is done, PrestaShop will ask whether this product has an associated file; we need to click on
Yes and we can then upload the file to sell.
Are you an existing user of osCommerce?
Let’s import it to PrestaShop
If you have been working with osCommerce, welcome to PrestaShop. Importing all your
information is very easy. The first thing that you have to do it is to go to Modules, then scroll
down to Importer osCommerce on the modules list and click on the Install button. Once
you have this module installed, you will need to follow the same process as the one detailed
before, but with the module Shop Importer.
When you have both modules installed and active, click on Configure link under Shop
Importer. You will then see a drop-down menu. Select Importer osCommerce and click on
Choose. Fill in all the fields and click on Import to start the process.
We achieved quite a lot in this chapter. Specifically, we covered:
Setting up the key PrestaShop modules: With a few clicks, we can add or remove
some very significant features to or from our store.
Creating content for our home page: The home page is vital and should be updated
frequently. It is controlled by a module.
Creating our “must have” pages: PrestaShop has an easy-to-use Content
Management System (CMS). This makes the creation and management of unique
pages really fast and easy. There’s more on the CMS in Chapter 4, Getting More
Switching themes: It is not difficult to use a ready-made theme to customize our
Learning how to make basic but significant customizations to our chosen theme.
Now that you have got a shop with essential pages, features, and content, it is time to give
our customers some products to buy. That is the subject of the next chapter.
3Merchandising for Success
Every successful e-commerce business needs to be customer-centric because
without customers, our business would fail miserably. So always try to make
your store easy, enjoyable and as fun as possible.
In this chapter, we shall cover everything to display our products, and we will:
Discuss and implement an efficient UX
Discuss and implement an efficient category structure
Add high quality product descriptions that sell
Take a look at all the different ways you can use PrestaShop to highlight products
Look at product features, attributes, accessories, and customization
So let's get on with it…
Creating product categories, like most things in PrestaShop, is easy and we will cover that
soon. First we need to plan the ideal category structure, and this demands a little thought.