Pros and Cons of Using PrestaShop for eCommerce

by on June 27, 2014

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So you want to start an online store, and you want to make sure it has the best features and design for your product?

The design and features of your store are the key elements, which will determine the success of your store. However, the options available to you are greatly dependent on the eCommerce platform you choose to setup your shopping cart website.

PrestaShop is one of the popular shopping cart software out there and one we have experience with here at Supercell Media. It is one of the few eCommerce platforms that we believe has great potential. It is designed to help people build a functioning online store. It’s open source which means it’s free, so it gives businesses flexibility and a low entry barrier to build an eCommerce store.

logo-prestashop

Prestashop is based in Paris, France and we see it as a European ‘answer’ to Magento.

The company backing the software expects international expansion after recently securing $9.3 million in venture capital from Private Equity, XAnge, Seventure Partners and Serena Capital.

Revenue for the 2013 was above $11.7 million, with 165,000 active online stores in 163 countries. The figures are amazing. If there is any shopping cart that could give Magento (the leading eCommerce software solution) a run for its money, PrestaShop is that shopping cart indeed. Particularly if you consider that PrestaShop has only been around about half of the time Magento has.

PrestaShop also boasts AJAX-rich features and other web 2.0 innovations. Despite this advanced functionality, the platform is lightweight, speedy and easy to use.

PrestaShop users can also add a personal touch to their online stores by adding modules such as,

  • New products
  • Translation
  • Notifications for new orders
  • Special deals including gift coupons and discounts.

HOWEVER, adding several modules can be pricey – they aren’t cheap!

The Tug of War

So what are the pros and cons of this particular software you ask? There is a disputable issue among PrestaShop opponents and advocates. Therefore it is important to weigh in both to help merchants make a rational decision.

Pros of PrestaShop

Out of the box features: PrestaShop boasts some impressive features straight out of the box, such as:

  • Email follow-up automation
  • Search engine optimisation
  • Catalogue and site management
  • Recently viewed products feature
  • Promotional tools such as vouchers and coupons
  • Responsive (mobile themes)
  • International shipping (multiple shipments, multiple addresses, etc.)
  • Payments (payment extensions, card options etc.)

Lightweight and flexible: PrestaShop can be easily customised according to the preferences of the store owner. The administrator can add or delete any of the integrated functionality through the admin panel. Also, it is very light at 5.5 MB, so even users with a slow internet connection will enjoy deploying PrestaShop.

Official marketplace: PrestaShop has an official marketplace for themes and commercial modules. It’s kinda like MagentoConnect for Magento users. You can choose from over 3,500 modules and themes to enhance your PrestaShop eCommerce store experience.

Interface: PrestaShop’s interface is highly appealing; not only it is innovative, but it gives you the ability to operate through every bit and bob of your online storefront, effortlessly. Technical jargon is kept to a minimum with most of the emphasis on ease of use and clarity.

Cost: One of the best parts of using PrestaShop is that it is free to use with no transaction or monthly fees. Being an open source software, it can be utilised by tight and even non-existent budgets (with some coding skills).

Community and support: PrestaShop has cultivated an active user community. You can check out FAQs and online user guide. PrestaShop’s active community is reachable in the forum and issues can be reported to a bug tracker. You can contact PrestaShop from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST, and submit a message via a contact form after hours. Additionally, PrestaShop is quite active on its Twitter and Facebook pages.

Currency and languages: PrestaShop supports multiple currencies, giving your customers the option to buy products with their national currency. PrestaShop cart is also multilingual and is available in 41 languages, and counting.

Cons of PrestaShop

Expensive modules: Most modules required for a fully functional shopping cart website are highly priced. Though buying modules isn’t mandatory for setting up the store. A few more built-ins would definitely be a welcome. Customers also face upgrading issues that reflect negatively on the software itself.

Minimum scalability: PrestaShop is suitable for small to medium sized businesses, but creates doubt when it comes to a full scale shopping store. Also, it doesn’t have a multi-store feature, which is a major handicap for full-scale projects.

Poor design attributes: The default skin and product catalogue needs improvement: they are not as professionally designed as compared with a solution like Magento, which in our taste is more robust and intuitive. The statistics system for PrestaShop, compared to Magento, is unfavourable, as well.

Needs more focus on marketing: No opportunity to input attributes and cross sell products – options which are typically available in other eCommerce platforms.

Roundup

In short, PrestaShop is proving itself to be a notable adversary in the eCommerce arena. Of course, it’s not perfect, and PrestaShop attributes, modules and scalability will be developed further. Nevertheless, it offers a lot of beneficial features along with low startup costs, enabling you to take any business online. You can find the latest release of the software at the PrestaShop official webpage.

Now it’s your turn

Do you use Prestashop? What do you think? Share your thoughts and experience and we will see you in the comments below.

Andrew Whannell

Andrew Whannell

Director of Sales and Marketing at Supercell Media
As the director of sales and marketing at Supercell Media, a huge part of my everyday life is in creating tailored solutions for online store owners and marketers. I get the opportunity work with all types of online stores from online retail giants, such as Cheapsheds.com.au to exciting startups across dozens of niches. On a daily basis, I have the privilege of working with business owners refining, redeveloping, marketing or launching their online stores.
Andrew Whannell

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