Magento needs a better Dashboard

Magento is an amazing eCommerce platform.

At Softag, we’ve been trying to push the state of ecommerce in Portugal to new heights for the past 5 years.

Back in 2009, our first ecommerce projects were implemented in Joomla + Virtuemart and we soon realized we needed to move to a better solution. Joomla has many great features but when we needed to push the limits, we felt tied up. But the biggest hurdle was the backoffice, especially the ecommerce part. Don’t know how Joomla+Virtuemart are doing today. We moved on a few years ago…

So we started testing other solutions…
I’ve never been a big fan of WordPress, mostly code-wise. I’ve learned to appreciate it’s amazing features and flexibility — things that Joomla made really hard, WordPress has you covered… There are great eCommerce plugins for WordPress, but I could not get passed the ideia that they are plugins. And, over the years, I learned to keep third-party plugins to a minimum.

Prestashop had been launched recently. At the time — we were testing Magento also — the admin felt more pleasing. Magento Admin takes time to sink in. Being such a massive out-of-the-box platform, getting to know where is this or that is a bit dauting. Prestashop was more friendly. 
But we never finished the project we started with Prestashop. Problems and limitations kept poping up and we decided to redo everyting in Magento. But Prestashop is really popular in some countries. Give it a try.

We hardly knew Magento back then. It was the second store we were building and most of it was still a WTF…

Slowly, after many late hours, it started to make sense. We started to improve core theme features (not touching the core) to make it easier for customers to find their way and purchase faster. The more we tweaked, the more we learned, the more we tried to improve. Over the years, I’m happy with what we have achieved, keeping with the concept of minimum amout of plugins.

The Admin of Magento is complex. Don’t think it’s a fault. The platform is really big. Don’t think any other platform gives you that much out-of-the-box. And Magento 2 goes even further. Still testing it…

Soon we tried to improve the Magento Admin. We developed an Admin Theme, for Magento 1.x, that — at least for us — makes working with the Admin a lot more pleasing. And we and our customers spend a lot of time there, right?

We never released the theme we made because it was a bit hacked and needed testing. But we used it on all the stores we made in the past years. Part of that theme improved the Magento Dashboard with a few minor features — Current Month Sales compared to Last Month Sales and Current Year Sales compared to Last Year Sales. It already was a lot more than the default: Lifetime Sales (Revenue) and Avg. Order Value (Lifetime).

I believe store managers need more. They should have more.
Managing a business should not be a guess game. You need information to know exactly how the business is going and make informed decisons.

Magento has a Reports area, that allows store managers to get detailed info about their customers and sales. But you need to go there…
There are several plugins that extend these reports: Advanced Reports on Magento Connect

The thing is people are busy/lazy. Mostly busy… We have so many things to do that time is simply not enough. So I think the Dashboard should be more useful. It should help store managers manage their business. As managers, some numbers should be instantly available for us. 
This is what we tried to achieve with PowerDash.

Of course larger companies have ERPs to give them all the KPIs they wish. But smaller merchants don’t have that “power”. Neither human, neither financial. And accounting doesn’t care who your best customer was… And it’s not just-in-time either.

Are you satisfied with the default Magento Dashboard?
Do you agree store owners need more info?

Thanks for reading!
I’m a Web Developer with over 15 years of experience and owner at Softag, an agency dedicated to Magento in Portugal. 
We’ve recently launched PowerDash, a better Magento Dashboard.