PrestaShop Review: Is It The Best Open Source Ecommerce Platform?

Are you looking for a free open source ecommerce platform to launch your online store? If that’s the case, then PrestaShop might be the solution for you. In this PrestaShop review, we’ll look at its features and answer the burning questions you have about this solution.

Sounds good? Let’s get started.

PrestaShop Review:  Overview

prestashop review - homepage

PrestaShop is an ecommerce platform that uses the self-hosted or open source option. This means that you can download it and modify it anyway you want. The solution was launched back in 2007 with its headquarters in France.

PrestaShop recently introduced the PrestaShop Ready version, which is their Software as a Service (SaaS) or hosted option. However, unlike the open source version, this option limits your access to the code needed for customization but it’s more user-friendly. 

PrestaShop Review: Key Features

Here is a list of the best features that PrestaShop has to offer.

Ease of use

Setting up PrestaShop can take a bit of time because its backend is more technical. However, PrestaShop provides a demo to take you through the whole process.

After the setup process is complete, the next step is to decide which modules you need for your online store. If your tech expertise is limited, it’s wise to seek a web developer to take care of the integrations for you.

Luckily, once you’re done with the setup, integrations, and modules, daily operations such as product creation, order management, and inventory are simple.

Store customization

Fact is- open source is the way to go if you want your website to have a unique feel. In the highly competitive world of ecommerce, building a memorable brand is key to your long-term success.

To customize an online store, you will need two modules. One that’s easy to make quick edits and an advanced module for changing the code to customize your store to your liking. This is why you will need access to CSS, HTML and JavaScript files.

The customization tools in PrestaShop will help you to complete product organization, create an internal search engine tool to help customers easily navigate your store or set up different payment methods.

You will also find over 1500 templates and a vast collection of customizable themes in the PrestaShop official marketplace. Third parties develop most of these templates and that’s why you can end up paying from around $60 for a high standard template from PrestaShop certified partners.

Product creation

PrestaShop features an intuitive product creation area where you can list as many products as you’d like to sell. You can also configure features to display expiry dates for time-sensitive products. You can also sell downloadable products using PrestaShop.

Apart from this, you can also manage your inventory and set restocking alerts whenever a product goes out of stock. It also includes an SEO section where you can enter a Meta title and a Meta description.

Google rich snippets

The sheer number of people searching for products on Google shows that ranking on SERPs is crucial. Rich snippets are codes that make it easy for search engines to organize information.

This offers shoppers the ability to see products that they search for and compare prices. This is why you should add Google Rich Snippets to your product links and give an immediate boost to your SEO efforts.

The Google Rich snippets are in the PrestaShop add-ons marketplace. Leverage it to improve your reach and the shopping experience for customers.

Marketing

Even though you have to go the extra mile to find custom features, PrestaShop boasts an extensive list of built-in marketing tools. Some of these options include:

  • Special offers
  • Discount mode
  • Coupon codes
  • Free shipping
  • Email marketing
  • Gift wrapping
  • Affiliate programs

Payment processing

To make your site fully functional to accept payments, you need to setup a payment gateway.

PrestaShop supports a wide range of payment gateways including PayPal, Bambora, Discover Global Network, Amazon Pay, Worldpay, First Data and Authorize.Net. It also has over 250 payment providers as add-ons.

In contrast, PrestaShop Ready has only four payment options. These include Stripe, PayPal, bank transfers and check payments.

Customer relationship management

To keep in touch with your customers, PrestaShop allows you to send automated emails after a transaction to give them a sense of security.

You can also set promotions targeted to specific products, orders or customer groups.

To reduce abandoned cart rate, PrestaShop lets you email customers to remind them about the products they have left in their carts.

Legal support

The ability to comply with laws is an essential part of running an online store. PrestaShop comes with shopping cart tools that make your shop compliant with the laws of a specific country. For instance, Germany has placed some specific shopping cart rules for online stores.

This is a huge plus as you don’t usually see legal support through ecommerce solutions. With PrestaShop, you even get design tools for creating quick pages that explain some legal information to your customers.

Security

The open source version of PrestaShop is PCI Compliance ready. This means that you’ll have to do this process yourself. Therefore, you’ll have to buy an SSL certificate and regularly check in on security patches.

On the other hand, the PrestaShop Ready version has its security accounts already updated for you. This is because it’s hosted on the Google Cloud platform that includes a free SSL certificate.

Integrations and add-ons

PrestaShop has many integrations available in their marketplace. Some modules are free while others are available as one-time purchases.

It’s true that adding integrations to boost your site using PrestaShop can end up being more expensive than the SaaS alternatives like Shopify. However, once you sell high volume, you come out on top with PrestaShop. So it all depends.

Besides this caveat, the second one is usually the deal breaker for most merchants. The modules are created by different developers and may not be compatible with each other. This may lead to a glitch site and PrestaShop cannot always help out on this issue.

The PrestaShop version limits access to the entire marketplace. This way, users only get to use the module's built-in to the platform. At the time of this review, there are 100 modules built-in to PrestaShop Ready.

PrestaShop Review: Customer Support

PrestaShop has a community of fellow users who come together to solve issues through forums. Further PrestaShop also offers paid support to get in touch with a representative.

Different plans provide different levels of support. The least expensive plan costs $250 per month for three hours of support. PrestaShop offers a one-year subscription that costs $399 each year for six hours of support per year.

prestashop review - customer support

PrestaShop Review: Pricing

As an open source ecommerce solution, PrestaShop is free to download. However, that doesn’t mean that the shopping cart solution is zero-expense. You’ll end up paying hosting charges from its hosting partner 1&1 ranging from $8 to $15. In addition, you will also buy several paid modules for an efficient and good-looking store.

PrestaShop Review: Top Competitors

How does PrestaShop stack up against other open source ecommerce platforms? Here’s the showdown.

Open Cart vs PrestaShop

prestashop alternative - opencart

Both platforms have a lot in common, for instance, both Open Cart and PrestaShop are open sources, support multiple stores, support multiple languages, have large communities and are easy to use.

Open Cart is a champion at managing inventory. It offers a large catalog functionality for different colors, sizes, height as product options. While open Cart is a great platform, it doesn’t come close to the customization that PrestaShop offers.

Zen Cart vs PrestaShop

Zen Cart’s customization game is on point and it’s a more user-friendly open source ecommerce platform. This makes it an ideal option for merchants who don’t have advanced developer skills and the resources to get one.

In contrast, its templates are not that impressive (you can buy some made by third parties).  The major downside that makes solutions such as PrestaShop give it a knock out is that it has limited add-ons. To make matters worse, you can run multiple modules only to find that they are incompatible with each other.

Magento Open Source vs PrestaShop

prestashop alternative Magento Open Source

Magento is without a doubt the best in the game but PrestaShop is no slacker. In this case, Magento provides a richer feature set of sitemaps, coupons, order tracking and one-page checkout.

When it comes to performance and ease of use, PrestaShop takes the lead. This is mostly because it doesn’t suffer being a heavy duty CMS like Magento, the result, PrestaShop won’t slow your site down. This translates to a seamless experience to both store owners and customers alike.

PrestaShop Review: Benefits

Let's find out what advantages give PrestaShop an edge over its competitors.

Highly customizable

Customizability is the unique selling point of PrestaShop. You have the advantage to scale up your functionality according to your changing needs. It gives you the ability to edit and create a store that suits your style. This makes PrestaShop a decent option if you have very customizable products to sell.

Easy to use

PrestaShop takes into consideration the non-tech users to make setting up an online store a breeze. The software is easier to understand as it does away with the complexities of web development. This makes it easier to maintain the activities of your ecommerce store.

Strong user community

PrestaShop has a community that allows you to find the right tools for your ecommerce store. You don’t have to pay for customer support when you can present your queries to this community. You are likely to find a bunch of people who experienced similar issues and how they were able to solve it.

PrestaShop Review: Drawbacks

Below are the not so good features that dull its shine.

Expensive customer support

It’s inevitable that you’ll encounter some issues that will inevitably make you seek the support of the PrestaShop team. However, the number of hours you get for the support you pay for is unreasonably expensive. For only three hours of support, you end up paying $250 every month. Similarly, you’ll part with $399 every year for only six hours of support.

Developer skills needed

Open source platforms are created with developers in mind that’s why the backend interface is usually technical in nature. This means that if you have no developer experience up your sleeve, you’ll have to hire one. On the bright side, this will help you forego paying hefty amounts of limited customer support. SaaS platforms continue to dominate because they try to eliminate the need for developers. For a business owner, this translates to cutting down on costs.

Who Should Consider Using PrestaShop

If you have a very customizable product that you need to sell or you’re familiar with CSS, PHP, and HTML (or can afford to hire a developer) you’ll find that PrestaShop is a great fit for your business needs. It’s not only free but also has an amazing feature set with an expanding collection of modules to select.

PrestaShop works best for small and medium enterprises but Magento Open Source offers a more feature rich platform with advanced functionality for large enterprises.

If the thought of not having a support team scares you or you’re looking for a solution that’s a bit more handoff, then a SaaS ecommerce platform could be the right solution for you.

Our Verdict

If you are starting out and you don't have enough money you can consider Prestashop. As an Open source, you can easily download it. The many features make PrestaShop a good option to consider. It's easy to use the setup procedure can be learned from their demo. You don't have to be a tech survey to set up but follow the setup guide.

In product creation, you can sell both physical and downloadable products. You have more than 1500 theme to choose from. Making your shop look lovely. You can also include meta description to your product that will improve your SEO ranking.

Not forgetting that you can incorporate marketing options: Discount mode, coupon codes, free shipping, email marketing, affiliate programs, and gift wrapping. All these geared toward boosting your sale.

Not bad you can give it a shot.If you have used PrestaShop or any other open source e-commerce platform. Please share your experience in the comment section below.

 

PrestaShop Rating: 4.0 - Review by

Belinda Kendi

Belinda Kendi is a freelance writer, ghostwriter, and Copywriter who develops high-quality and engaging blog content for e-commerce businesses.