PrestaShop is a lesser-known open source ecommerce solution. The core product is completely free to download and install on the hoster of your choice. Prestashop also offers a hosted solution that is provided by its partner Ionos.
PrestaShop started in 2007 in France. As it is free to download and open source, every merchant can adapt and change the code to suit their needs. Another advantage of being open source is that PrestaShop has a large international community – this is similar to WordPress and other open source content management systems. You also have the choice to expand and enhance your store with extensions. PrestaShop has a comprehensive marketplace for plugins (also called extensions or apps).
The software is developed by a private company and it’s is headquartered in Paris, France, but has offices around the world. The software is multi-lingual ready. You can have your store can be translated into 75 languages (at the time of this review).
- Pros and cons of PrestaShop
- Who is PrestaShop for?
- How easy is PrestaShop to use?
- PrestaShop design and templates
- How easy is managing your ecommerce store with PrestaShop?
- PrestaShop integrations
- What marketing tools does PrestaShop provide?
- Payment options
- PrestaShop security
- Legal aspects
- PrestaShop customer support
- PrestaShop pricing
- Is PrestaShop the right ecommerce solution for you?
Pros and cons of PrestaShop
TL;DR PrestaShop is one of the smaller ecommerce platforms at the time of writing. It’s a freemium open source ecommerce platform that allows you to create a very capable website.
- PrestaShop is highly flexible, scalable and customisable
- It’s free to download and use
- It has an abundant marketplace for plugins
- It has a simple and self-explanatory dashboard
- Tech-savvy users can set up PrestaShop in just a day
- It has advanced marketing tools built in such as abandoned carts, promo codes, coupons, and discounts
- Some hosters offer one-click setup
- Customer support is expensive
- You have to take care of everything, it is open source after all
- Some themes are outdated
- Modules don’t always work with each other
- Updates don’t always go smoothly
Who is PrestaShop for?
In general, mid-size to large businesses are more suited, since they have the resources to run PrestaShop. It offers high flexibility and scalability. If you want to operate a global store that is localised in many different languages, PrestaShop.
If you are a smaller business and your tech expertise is limited, PrestaShop is a less apt choice. It can get expensive quickly since you might need the advice of a web developer and or extensions. In this case, it’s more advisable to choose a fully-hosted solution like Squarespace or Shopify.
Still, if you are an SMB owner with tech skills, or you can afford to hire a designer and or a developer, PrestaShop is an affordable and highly customisable solution. Also, if you know WordPress already, you should be able to find your way around quickly.
How easy is PrestaShop to use?
As mentioned, if you know WordPress, the setup will feel familiar. In both cases, it takes a bit of your time. Before you start, you need hosting and a domain to install the software. You need to download the software PrestaShop, create a database, upload the software to your server via an FTP client, and lastly install.
The dashboard is your control centre for building, extending, and managing your store. Integrations, design, modules, and daily operations are quite easy to understand and the dashboard is self-explanatory.
PrestaShop design and templates
The range of themes is very wide and can be filtered by several criteria like product language, style, colour or reviews. The odd thing though is that even at the time of writing, there is a criterium for responsive themes which should be the norm by now.
All themes are designed with displaying an online store in mind. Even though all themes need to be purchased, they are somewhat sketchy. The only free theme is the default one which also is very basic and not geared towards those who value design.
Since the software is open source, you or your web developer team can change the code and get everything to look like you want. If you don’t code yourself, you can adapt the theme with the help of the What You See Is What You Get (WYSISYG) editor. This editor looks a bit like the word processor MS Word. With it, you can add images, social media links, and change the page layouts. The editor is also for you to change or update content on your pages.
How easy is managing your ecommerce store with PrestaShop?
Inventory and order management each have their own sections. In its product creation area, you can add as many products as you plan to sell. You can easily add and manage variations.
You can send notifications, handle refunds, and carry out other essential tasks for your store under the section Orders.
PrestaShop has a thriving ecosystem of modules, plugins, and extensions to enhance your site. The plugin price The plugin pricing ranges from free to a low 3 figures but are one-off purchases. The extensions will enhance your store from integrating accounting to shipping, and warehousing.
Note that the plugins are developed by a variety of third-parties, and as such may not always be compatible with each other. These can lead to glitches, low performance, and in the worst case break your store.
What marketing tools does PrestaShop provide?
You can edit easily metadata for your products and pages. But to track the metrics, you need to Google Analytics or other monitoring tools yourself. If you need more SEO functionalities, you need to add it via plugins.
You need to extend the core functionality with add-ons to do email marketing in PrestaShop.
You can configure in the Modules section in the dashboard your desired social media. You can install add-ons so that you can sell on Facebook or do other cross channel promotions.
The core installation does not include a blog, so you have to install an extension that will add full blogging functionality to your website.
Customer relationship management
Out of the box, PrestaShop has advanced marketing functionality that makes it stand out.
- Abandoned cart notification: To improve your conversion, you can remind your customers of products they left behind
- Automated emails: Send automated mails after each transaction
- Customise promotions: Create promotions to target specific customer groups
PrestaShop offers an abundance of payment options ranging from pay via check or wire to accepting credit cards. No matter where you’re located, you can find an add-on that will cater to your needs.
As always, when you use a payment gateway like Stripe or Paypal, depending on your country, they will slap on a transaction fee of around 2.9% plus 30 cents.
PrestaShop is PCI compliance-ready, but you have to do the process yourself. To ensure full PCI compliance, you need to buy and install an SSL certificate, follow a maintenance regimen where you apply security and other updates regularly.
Managing a successful store requires you to comply with local laws. The built-in shopping cart and checkout tools will help make your shop compliant with the law. You can also set up different tax configuration for each country.
PrestaShop customer support
Since PrestaShop has a large community, you most likely will find someone who has answered your question in the forum. On the flip-side, no one fully understands all of Prestashop with its multitude of themes, modules, and add-ons.
There is also the possibility to buy PrestaShop’s paid support that has different levels and also prices. The different tiers will give you different levels of support.
As an open-source online store management system, it is free to download. But you still need to expect costs for hosting, your domain name, themes, extensions, and your time if you do it yourself. It will get more expensive if you hire a designer and or a developer.
Is PrestaShop the right ecommerce solution for you?
PrestaShop with its vibrant ecosystem of themes and plugins allows you to set up an ecommerce store fully customised to your needs and wishes. It’s a solid choice if you are a seasoned ecommerce expert and don’t shy away from technical issues.
Open source solutions however are less advisable for beginners or don’t have the technical skills. If you’re new to ecommerce, you want to concentrate on getting your store up and running instead of concentrating on things like privacy, PCI-compliancy, or hosting.
There’s no free trial, after all, PrestaShop is free and open source. You can have a go at its demo and see for yourself if it’s suitable for your next project.