Do you want to set up an ecommerce to sell products or services and do not know how to choose between WooCommerce or PrestaShop? The increase in the trend and the popularity of online shopping does not stop increasing and automatically translates into an opportunity for any business. That is why having a presence on the Internet through a professional ecommerce where you can place your products and services becomes mandatory and gives you the opportunity to reach new customers and maximize the potential of your business.
WooCommerce and PrestaShop offer free and open source solutions to create online stores. While the two offer similar solutions, if you are at the crossroads of choosing one of these two ecommerce platforms, let them explain what each of them does and which one to choose depending on your situation and needs.
Choosing a correct content, platform or software manager for your ecommerce is key to success. Depending on which platform you choose, you can have different options of functionality, marketing and scalability. To start (and maintain) a successful e-commerce business, you must first select a suitable software or program. There is a wide range of solutions available in the market and it is quite difficult for most owners of this type of business to make a correct decision. Two very popular options are WooCommerce and PrestaShop, since both are the tool used by thousands of successful online stores, but they work in a different way and, as they have many benefits, they also have some drawbacks. Let me explain what each of them consists of and why you should choose one or the other.
- 1 PrestaShop: What it is, how it works and main features
- 2 What it is, how it works and what Prestashop is for
- 3 Main features of PrestaShop as an online store
- 4 Design and intuitive user interface and easy to understand and use
- 5 Thousands of free and premium templates available
- 6 Low start-up cost
- 7 Possibility of adding different forms of payment
- 8 Offers many customization options
- 9 Customer support is limited
- 10 WooCommerce: What it is, how it works and main features
- 11 What it is, how it works and what WooCommerce is for
- 12 Main features of WooCommerce as an online store
- 13 User-friendly design and user interface
- 14 The expenses are affordable and without surprises
- 15 Setting up WooCommerce is very simple
- 16 You can configure all the payment gateways that you need
- 17 Offer customization to where you want to go
- 18 Clear and fast customer support
- 19 Prestashop or Woocommerce Which one to choose and why?
- 20 Prestashop and Woocommerce are good options for your ecommerce
PrestaShop: What it is, how it works and main features
If you plan to have an online store to sell your products, chances are you’ve come across many options to do so, including PrestaShop. While PrestaShop is a relatively new player in the software industry of online stores and shopping carts, it has gained wide attention due to its functionality, speed, light weight and ease of use.
What it is, how it works and what Prestashop is for
Born in 2007 and of French nationality, PrestaShop is an open source e-commerce software, it is completely free, it is one of the newest online store managers (and one of the favorites of many developers). Its good indexing and the fully integrated ajax gives it a very modern look, plus it works with CSS (it will be very easy to change the look and customize it) and the default theme is validated by the W3C. The project was created in France, but it has support in English and, of course, in Spanish (although the Spanish community is not that big, it is still growing well).
PrestaShop is a free open source e-commerce software that has grown unstoppably in recent years, becoming the first choice of many developers.
The software weighs very little and is installed with surprising ease (if you are used to fighting with impossible installations you will be surprised by its simplicity, since in 10 minutes you will have the store running). If you’re used to working with SMARTY, you’re in luck because Prestashop runs under this framework, so you’ll know right away where all the elements are located (in short, it’s about thinking about things so anyone can use them).
One of the most striking things is the completeness of the control panel, enviable usability and ease of use. It has a module to migrate from Oscommerce stores, WordPress and other CMS to Prestashop stores, which can come in handy if you already have an online store with other software and want to start using Prestashop. According to the latest study by the Prestashop team, the Google tests give it a very high score, so it is also one of the best performing ecommerce applications (if you join it, it was awarded as the best application for e-commerce during several years, it is clear that it is a safe bet).
After several years being awarded as the best application for e-commerce, PrestaShop is one of the ecommerce applications with the best performance in the market.
PrestaShop is very easy to use, understand and manage, so you should not have too many problems to use it if you are a beginner. In addition, it is scalable, so it allows you to upload an unlimited number of products (it is very important to keep this in mind when you need to grow and expand the store). The inventory management tools that you put at your disposal are very powerful and will help you to keep good control over your stock of products. It also offers an option to run multiple stores through a control panel that can be useful if you need to have more than one store (which gives you a management power like few ecommerce CMS can offer you).
In fact, if, therefore, you need a function that does not come by default (such as integration with Facebook, the payment gateway, etc.), you can easily add it with extensions or third-party modules that you can buy in its official market . As if this were not enough, it also offers some SEO tools that will help you optimize your online store and improve your visibility in Google search results.
Main features of PrestaShop as an online store
Next I want to show you the main features offered by PrestaShop as online store software. The most basic configuration of this program offers a wide variety of functions ranging from the installation of templates adapted for all types of devices, search engine optimization, automation and tracking of emails, to international shipping and payment options. Let me explain the most outstanding features of Prestashop:
Design and intuitive user interface and easy to understand and use
Installing Prestashop is very easy if you have a minimum knowledge (although just follow a few steps, there are many hosting providers that offer facilities in 1 click) and, once your PrestaShop online store is installed and configured, your daily management is simple. The main panel provides an overview of all the most important statistics you need to manage your business (more than any other e-commerce software). Adding products and other content is intuitive and the integrated functions of SEO also offer guidance on keywords, metadata and other factors related to SEO that improve visibility in search engines. In addition, managing the shopping cart is also easy.
Thousands of free and premium templates available
With PrestaShop you can create your online store for free using one of its free templates (there are more than 1,500 templates available on its official website) or buying a premium. Buying a premium Prestashop template is something that I recommend, since it differentiates your online store and improves the experience you offer to your users (you pay for better-designed themes). These payment templates I recommend you buy in Themeforest (if you want to explain it better, choose between Warehouse and Alysum, which cost about $ 79 and you will not regret it).
Choose the option you choose, when you are about to buy a theme, make sure to find options that are adaptable to all devices (responsive), since not all themes offer it and this functionality is critical (think that the vast majority of your users access your ecommerce through tablets and smartphones). Giving importance in this kind of things will make your life easier later and you will not have to pay “extra” to anyone so that your store can adapt to any device later on.
Low start-up cost
PrestaShop is an open source software and its download is completely free. In theory, setting up an e-commerce with PrestaShop could “cost nothing” (or only the premium template if you decide on one), but in reality it is not and requires a considerable investment. The e-commerce software itself is free and, although there are more than 600 integrated functions, PrestaShop does not offer everything, so you have to invest in additional software (extensions and modules to integrate social networks, payment gateways not supported by default, etc), so it is not a low cost solution. PrestaShop offers two ways to work:
PrestaShop Download: It is a platform that allows you to download the Prestashop application and host it in the hosting provider you want.
PrestaShop Ready: It is a platform that allows you to use the hosting of PrestaShop without installing anything (it is free for 15 days and then has a monthly cost of € 24.9 or € 19.90 if you hire it annually).
Other expenses will include the design and development of the online store (if you do it with third parties), the purchase of a premium template and the extensions and modules that you consider appropriate. Due to the installation and development costs necessary for a PrestaShop platform to be fully functional and professional, this ecommerce solution is suitable for entrepreneurs and companies with a certain budget. The most notable expense in this type of facility is usually the extensions and additional modules that you want to install to help grow your business (which usually have a high price because that’s how PrestaShop makes money) and possible development problems caused by errors technicians
However, the latter can be avoided if you (or your developer) take the time to investigate which add-ons and modules are most compatible with each other. For example, if you want to integrate your online store with Facebook, QuickBooks, Amazon, etc., you should find an external solution that will help you. While open source platforms have many benefits, they can also have many disadvantages (because the software and add-ons that PrestaShop installs are made by different developers, there is no guarantee that they are compatible with each other). As a result, you may experience more technical problems than in other e-commerce platforms and, therefore, monthly costs are difficult to predict and will depend on the complexity of your online store.
Possibility of adding different forms of payment
Because PrestaShop is an open source software, users can add any payment gateway they want. Of course, you should know that the bank or third-party payment gateway charges a processing fee for each transaction. PrestaShop does not charge transaction fees like other e-commerce platforms, but it forces you to negotiate with your bank (which I recommend, because it is the best aggressive option for your pocket) and other providers.
Offers many customization options
There are a lot of attributes that you can add to the pages of your online store’s products that help improve sales and SEO. The product creation page is especially well designed and allows commercial users to include extensive product information along with the addition of multiple images and other functionalities.
Customer support is limited
Since PrestaShop is open source, anyone can contribute and create add-ons. This means that customer support can be a bit complicated since it is almost impossible to have a support team that can answer all the questions about software that is constantly changing. Your best bet would be the community forum and there you will find users who can help you at all times, but you will have to wait. Many users are developers and like to solve problems, but there are also many new users who will not be of much help.
You can also check the user guides for help, but some of them have more than 500 pages. There is the option to send a Support Ticket, and the waiting time can be up to 5 days or more. The PrestaShop documentation lacks some essential issues but has simple explanations that help solve some problems quickly.
WooCommerce: What it is, how it works and main features
I have been creating online stores with WordPress for many years and I have to say that it is a CMS that I recommend in my consultancies, since it fulfills many important requirements for online business, offers an extreme personalization capacity and also has a giant community behind (what is translates into improvements and updates every few months). In fact, one of the creators of the most famous premium templates for WordPress (Woothemes) of all time has come out the best plugin for ecommerce. It is called Woocommerce and it is important that you know what it consists of, how it works and its main characteristics.
What it is, how it works and what WooCommerce is for
WordPress is, without doubt, the most popular CMS in the world (present in more than 33% of all websites in the world), the perfect platform to create any type of web page, blog and, with a few clicks, you can convert it into an attractive and functional online store. This would not be possible without Woocommerce, a very complete and functional WordPress plugin that allows you to set up an online store in a few minutes. Due to the ease of use and benefits of Woocommerce, this has become one of the most downloaded plugins by users looking to set up an online store.
Because it is simple, Woocommerce does not come with as many features as the great ecommerce CMS (such as Prestashop or Magento), but over time, many better and specific extensions is becoming a bet for the future of many online stores. When you’re doing it, you’ll get all the tools you need to create and manage your online store, including various shipping options and payment gateways, product inventory management, order and order management system, marketing and dissemination tools, business reports and reports and a long etc.
WooCommerce was launched by theme developer WooThemes in 2011. Subsequently, in 2015, it was acquired by Automattic, the company that owns WordPress. WooCommerce is by far one of the most popular e-commerce platforms in the world, and today is part of millions of online stores. WooCommerce makes it very easy to create an online store to your WordPress website when you install the add-on.
Main features of WooCommerce as an online store
Below I want to show you the main features that WooCommerce offers as online store software. One of the most important is that there are hundreds of extensions to expand the functionality of WooCommerce in a variety of categories, including accounting, marketing, payment gateways, subscriptions, product search, anti-fraud protection, affiliate software, recommendations and many more. Let me explain the most outstanding features of Prestashop:
User-friendly design and user interface
WooCommerce is definitely the best way to turn your WordPress website into an e-commerce store. Since WooCommerce is a simple (but powerful) plugin for WordPress, it should be installed just like any other plugin. As it is free and open source software, you do not need any license and there are no recurring monthly fees. When you set up your WooCommerce store, you can sell anything: physical products, digital products, services, subscriptions, reservations, etc.
You will also have the option to install specific WooCommerce themes that were custom made so that every aspect of your online store looks great. One option to start is Storefront, which is the default theme of this online store. The integration between WooCommerce and Storefront is perfect, as it is built and maintained by WooCommerce. If you want to further customize the look of your online store, you can choose one of the many secondary themes for Storefront and most of them cost between € 39 and € 69.
The templates for WooCommerce are scarce in the WooThemes store, however the few that there are are not too expensive. But being a platform based on WordPress you can use the themes of this CMS and others from third parties. You can even find many themes in ThemeForest are a great source of themes. Along with Shopify, WooCommerce is the easiest interface to use. You can access WooCommerce through your WordPress panel and you can view pending orders, product information and inventory tracking at a glance. The shipping details are automatically incorporated so that customers can select their preferred method. The upload of new products is done through WordPress.
The expenses are affordable and without surprises
With Woocommerce you do not have to make monthly payments. The method of paying monthly to use an online software is called Software as a Service (or SAAS for its acronym in English). But not everything is free. WooCommerce is a WordPress add-on and you will have to pay for a hosting service to host it and then you can use the WooCommerce add-on to convert WordPress into an e-commerce store. As well as another series of add-ons that you want to add are paid, but the vast majority of plugins you need are free.
Being a free WordPress plugin (which is also free) you will not have any installation and configuration costs. This is ideal for small businesses with a limited budget, providing all the necessary functionality for your e-commerce store to operate at the lowest cost. However, if you want to add more advanced features, you will need a few add-ons, whose cost varies from € 10 to € 40 each, depending on what you need.
The hosting often does not include an SSL certificate, necessary to have an online store. These certificates usually have costs that go from € 5 a year depending on the provider. Not to mention the additional costs of backups or backups that you want to implement in your hosting. Some hosting providers and domains offer SSL certificates for free as an incentive for customers to subscribe. Realistically, if you configure everything in a particular way, without help, you can have an online store for less than € 100 the first year.
WooCommerce is a free add-on that reduces your monthly operating costs. Basic e-commerce sites can cost from € 15 a month (or much more) during the first year if all you need is web hosting. The monthly costs, therefore, depend on your hosting package and, ultimately, could be as high as € 350 per month if you use a dedicated server.
Setting up WooCommerce is very simple
Setting up WooCommerce is as easy as installing an add-on in the administrative panel of your WordPress website. Okay, there are other more technical functions to perform, such as setting up purchase buttons and synchronizing them with payment gateways (PayPal, AliPay, etc.), but if you’re already familiar with WordPress, this is not too hard to do. That said, it’s easier if you have WordPress management and programming skills, although the support agents of the hosting provider you’ve hired should be able to guide you through most of the configuration functions.
If you need visual aids, you can use the WooCommerce configuration wizard. This assistant will help you through everything you need to know in less than five minutes. There is also Storefront Powerpack, which contains easy-to-use tools and allows you to make customizable designs for the template without the need for programming skills. Again, this is much easier if you already understand how WordPress works, but honestly, it’s not too hard to learn if you follow a correct guide or tutorial.
You can configure all the payment gateways that you need
The WooCommerce software offers five integrated payment gateways, including PayPal (and Simplification for US users). Customers also have the option to pay by direct bank transfer, payment by check or cash on delivery. In addition to the free options listed above, you can also install the following payment gateways from Square, PayPal Checkout, Authorize.net or Amazon Pay. It also allows you to configure the payment through virtual POS, with an external extension depending on the bank.
Offer customization to where you want to go
Because WooCommerce is open source, one of the advantages offered by the software is unrestricted customization. However, some WordPress themes present obstacles that can only be overcome through additional programming that subsequently reduces the download speed. Because the WooCommerce shopping center is hosted by a third party, the storage of files depends on the package you have with your web hosting provider. In addition you have to take into account the compatibility of the plugins that are included in your online store.
Clear and fast customer support
The good thing about WooCommerce is that it is almost free of errors and bugs. The developers are doing a great job of maintenance and constant updating of WooCommerce and new versions are being launched all the time. Because of this, it is very rare that you find yourself looking for how to correct an error in your store. In addition, developers of extensions and plugins are usually quite accessible when you have any questions.
WooCommerce provides comprehensive support documentation that is easy to review and it is very likely that you will get the answer you are looking for there. Since WooCommerce is a free WordPress add-on, the main point to get help is through the official WordPress forums. You also have the option to go to the WooCommerce website, create a free user account there and send a ticket to receive support. Unfortunately, this type of support through tickets is available only in the English language.
Prestashop or Woocommerce Which one to choose and why?
You have already done a tour on two large platforms to create online stores. I could summarize it in that Prestashop is an independent open source PHP software, while WooCommerce is an extension or complement of WordPress (other open source software). Both WooCommerce and PrestaShop offer simple tools for product management, analysis and fulfillment of orders and can be used to sell physical and digital products.
The main difference between PrestaShop and WooCommerce is that PrestaShop is an independent e-commerce software, while WooCommerce is a WordPress add-on.
As time passes, you will want to explore other ways and expand the functionality of your ecommerce. WordPress has the ability to install thousands of plugins and extensions, so it really is something unbeatable. Whether you want to add an online chat, promotional codes, customer comments or spread social networks, you can do it easily and, in most cases, free with WooCommerce and WordPress. You can also do all that with PrestaShop, but generally it will have a higher price, so you should analyze your budget.
You can create your e-commerce store only with Prestashop both on its servers and in another hosting service, however you can not do it only using WooCommerce since the latter can not work alone. You need WordPress installed because it is a plugin. So there is a big difference between WooCommerce and Prestashop. Comparing both WooCommerce and Prestashop, we can say that WooCommerce is a bit limited in terms of built-in functions. Therefore, if you need a complex store focused solely on the sale of products, then Prestashop is the best option than WooCommerce because Prestashop is designed primarily for use as an e-commerce platform.
PrestaShop can be free to start, but additional and recurring costs will accrue quickly. Each additional function and update of your website will be very expensive. Also, if you’re not very tech savvy, you’ll definitely need to hire a developer to help you set up and manage your store, since it’s not so easy to do those things compared to WooCommerce. WooCommerce has the same basic costs of running the website, but it has much more to offer in terms of free add-ons and much cheaper themes and extensions.
You also do not need to hire a developer for everything you need to do, so, in general, with WooCommerce, you will save a lot of money in the long term. WooCommerce has a big advantage over PrestaShop when it comes to themes and design. PrestaShop has some good themes, but compared to the WordPress and WooCommerce themes, they cost too much. The selection of topics is also on the side of WooCommerce because you can easily find some incredible themes for all kinds of purposes and businesses.
Prestashop is recommended if you only want to focus on selling products without managing your site for other purposes such as corporate portals, forums or websites that include multimedia. To start a pure online store with the full range of e-commerce features, it is obviously better to use Prestashop than WooCommerce. But if you need a complex website that includes the e-commerce function, it is always better to choose WordPress + WooCommerce. Or suppose you have a blog or website in WordPress and suddenly decide to sell products. Then you only need to install WooCommerce in your blog to start selling. So in these cases WooCommerce is a better option.
Prestashop and Woocommerce are good options for your ecommerce
Making the right decision when choosing the best e-commerce platform is crucial. Later, changing the platform is a nightmare, so you must take into account each point of this comparison. When we look at each point, such as design, prices, add-ons and customer support, we can see that WooCommerce is far superior to PrestaShop. WooCommerce offers a better design and the themes also have a lower price. The themes for PrestaShop have a high price, plus you will have to hire someone to install it correctly.
The basic price is similar for both, but when you analyze other aspects and long-term expenses, WooCommerce is a much cheaper solution. WooCommerce also offers many plugins that are free and all work perfectly, which is not the case with PrestaShop, since the modules cost a lot of money and, often, will not be compatible and will give you problems. I hope that this complete Prestashop vs WooCommerce guide will help you choose the best tool for your online store.