27Jan
By: Justas Markus January 27, 2017

What is PrestaShop?

PrestaShop is a free, open-source eCommerce solution that generates its revenue through a combination of strategic partnerships with eCommerce industry leaders and sales of custom add-ons and themes to their customer base. PrestaShop currently powers 250,000 online stores worldwide and is available in 60 different languages.

Mostly popular in Europe, PrestaShop is one of the leading eCommerce CMS solutions with a market share of 9% and is used by 1.3% of all websites.

PrestaShop Pros and Cons

PROS

  • Free and open-source. If you have the right skills in place, developing a high-end eCommerce website won’t cost you anything extra. As an open-source platform, it also benefits from community support and innovations.
  • Modules and extensions. PrestaShop boasts a vast library of plugins and extensions, amounting to several hundreds. They are quite easy to install and handle even for beginners, which is an advantage if you’re planning to set up your store by yourself. Being a community-backed, open-source solution, PrestaShop also enjoys a constantly growing number of new add-ons, as enthusiastic members develop and share tailored solutions for various problems.
  • SEO and mobile-friendly. With the basic SEO functionalities in place and an array of responsive layouts, PrestaShop is a viable solution for those who are just starting out and testing the market.

CONS

  • Costs can stack up. PrestaShop is not an all-in-one solution, so you must pay for hosting and buy SSL separately. When it comes to themes, the community-driven approach can be both a blessing and a curse. There is a huge number of themes available for free, however, not all of them are created by professionals and can be pretty basic. Premium themes, on the other hand, can get a little pricey. It’s very likely you will need to purchase a few extra add-ons to get all the functionality for your store, so in the long-run, costs can stack up.  

How does PrestaShop compare with other eCommerce platforms?

PrestaShop users can roughly be divided into two categories:

  1. Users with the basic technical knowledge how to set up a site and some web design know-how.
  2. Users with access to developers and financial resources to outsource the setup process and get the store off the ground.

For those with the right knowledge and resources, PrestaShop is a great option because it allows extensive customization and any tool or function can be added via a third-party integration. If you’re completely new to eCommerce, getting all the different aspects sorted can be a little overwhelming, so you should trial it before making the final decision.

The fact that PrestaShop is an open-source platform means that any developer can contribute to creating new add-ons and extensions and the community is ultimately driving the platform’s development and innovation. This also means that free software comes with a price tag, since you need to purchase third-party add-ons to get your store looking exactly the way you want it.

In terms of scalability, there are no limitations as such, but you must be prepared to find and integrate with new providers if you outgrow some of the vital features. Overall, the platform has a good reputation and a strong community support, which can be an asset if you run into technical issues.

PrestaShop vs.

Shopify. These two platforms are very different and each has its own pros and cons. Shopify is a simpler and more user-friendly, all-in-one solution that targets a much wider audience. It benefits from professionally designed themes and a large app store, however, can not offer as much customization as PrestaShop. It works out as a cheaper option in the short/mid-term, but can possibly be more expensive in the long-term.

WooCommerce. In terms of costs, SEO and design options, and speed performance the two platforms are pretty much equal. However, as a free WordPress plugin built to extend the CMS’s functionality with a shopping cart, WooCommerce doesn’t offer as much versatility and eCommerce features as PrestaShop. If you’re looking to build a serious eCommerce business, PrestaShop would be a better choice.

Magento. On many accounts, the two platforms are very similar: they’re both free and open-source, tout large developer communities and support, and provide the essential eCommerce functionality. Determining which one is better for your business will largely depend on your particular needs, plans for growth and familiarity with the platforms. Magento requires more technical knowledge, as its plugins and add-ons are a bit more difficult to handle, but offers extensive customization. And while PrestaShop is beginner-friendly, Magento is typically more popular among developers and tech-savvy merchants.