The e-commerce industry in our country is still developing. New stores appear on the web almost every day, and the largest players from the traditional market also enter the virtual space. This creates a great demand for online store management tools. PrestaShop is one of the most popular platforms for online stores. Is it right? We take it under the microscope, analyzing both advantages and disadvantages.
What is PrestaShop?
As you may have already figured out, PrestaShop is one of the most popular platforms for online stores. It operates all over the world, currently serving over 300 thousand. shops. It is a universal Open Source tool that allows you to create a commercial website offering any assortment. Undoubtedly, it owes its popularity to the fact that it is free. You do not have to pay any fees to use PrestaShop software, and the store created with it can be freely modified.
An open-source solution gives developers the freedom to adapt their store to the seller’s needs. Thus, PrestaShop is a kind of framework that can be used in the chosen way. However, you do not need to be a specialist to create a trading platform with the tool yourself. It is complete and intuitive, with an accessible administration panel.
PrestaShop is simple and intuitive to use
It is worth starting the platform analysis with the advantages. One of them is simplicity and intuitiveness. To set up a store, all you need to do is have a domain and hosting, then install PrestaShop. It is very simple, as is the operation of the tool from the administrator’s position. It was created for those who do not have extensive IT knowledge and want to trade on the Internet. Launching a store, and then running or expanding it, should not cause anyone major problems. The options regarding e.g. creating promotional offers are also very useful – just a few clicks are enough to offer your customers a discount or e.g. free shipping.
A very accessible interface and functions described in simple language make it easy to perform all the necessary operations. The platform also provides tutorials and other materials to help you learn about its operation and operation. In case of problems, you can also count on the support of PrestaShop experts who are ready to answer any question and solve technical problems.
PrestaShop is high functionality
Despite the ease of use, PrestaShop is an extensive tool that offers a wide range of applications. It is suitable for both small and very large-scale trading. This thesis can be confirmed by well-known brands that use PrestaShop. The sheer volume of options may be overwhelming at first, but it also makes it a comprehensive online trading platform. The abundance of functionalities definitely distinguishes PrestaShop from other popular tools of this type.
It is possible to expand the store’s capabilities with additional modules, and if none of them meet your expectations, you can prepare your own (with the help of a specialist, of course, if you are not a developer yourself). Store owners can also use templates that influence the layout and appearance of the site. Both free and paid modules and templates are available. They create great opportunities for building an original, functional store that perfectly displays its products.
PrestaShop is universal
As already mentioned, PrestaShop allows you to create a trading platform with any subject and range. This is not the only thing that proves the universality of the platform. Its great advantage is multilingualism. The script has been translated into several dozen languages, which reduces the automatic creation of different language versions of the same store to just a few clicks. The same applies to currencies – when choosing a language, product prices can be automatically converted to the currency of the country. This in turn means that it is easy to reach international customers. This can be a great advantage – especially since more and more Internet users are eager to shop outside their country of residence. Therefore, creating several language versions of the store can significantly increase sales – especially if you offer unique products.
The universality of stores built on the basis of PrestaShop also lies in the full responsiveness, i.e. adaptation to operation on various devices – not only computers, but also tablets or smartphones. The number of mobile users of trading platforms is constantly growing, which is why this is a very important aspect that should not be overlooked. By choosing PrestaShop, you can easily optimize your store to the needs of each device and ensure a convenient shopping experience for every visitor.
PrestaShop is SEO and marketing friendly
Speaking of optimization, the topic of SEO, i.e. positioning, must not be ignored. How to make your store show up to users entering specific terms in the search engine? An appropriate site design is needed. PrestaShop provides many tools that facilitate SEO-oriented optimization, helping stores to increase their visibility in search engines. The platform is synchronized with Google Analytics, thanks to which you have easy access to all data about entering the website and the related behavior of Internet users. This, in turn, provides a lot of important information for more effective marketing and SEO activities.
Among the additional PrestaShop modules, there are also many tools to facilitate marketing activities: starting from mailing, and ending with easily setting promotions or organizing sales. Their skillful use can lead to a significant increase in conversion (the number of purchases made in relation to visits to the store), therefore their presence should definitely be considered an advantage.
PrestaShop is not without its flaws
Of course, the perfect system for online stores does not exist, and PrestaShop also has its drawbacks. It is worth noting, however, that many of them are ambiguous, as not everyone expects the same from their online store.
The mere presence of various modules that allow you to expand the functionality of the store is of course an advantage. However, they are also responsible for some, it might seem, basic functions that are missing in the basic version of the store. These include, for example, a blog feature that allows you to build trust in your brand and increase store traffic, or the cash on delivery feature that customers often expect. Some users also complain about the prices of modules – most of them are paid and slightly destroy the promise of a free online store that PrestaShop makes. The costs of implementing the system may turn out to be even greater if you decide to help professionals in the construction, operation or development of the store.
Another disadvantage is frequent system updates as they are not installed automatically. The script is constantly improved, which provides its users primarily with security, but the need for constant updates can irritate and hinder the development of the store. It may also be difficult to use certain functions. Overall, the admin panel is intuitive, but unfortunately fails in some places. Fans of various templates for stores should also be vigilant – editing them requires knowledge of the Smarty language.
Summary – advantages and disadvantages of PrestaShop
Let’s juxtapose all the observed advantages and disadvantages of PrestaShop to make it easier to evaluate the platform. Its positive features certainly include:
– free installation and use of the script,
– wide possibilities of personalization and expansion of functions,
– availability of many useful modules and attractive templates,
– Open Source code that can be freely modified,
– intuitive operation of the admin panel,
– availability of built-in tools for creating different language versions of the store,
– SEO support and extensive marketing tools,
– support for mobile devices – the ability to create a fully responsive store,
– good performance,
– constant development and improvement of the platform,
– availability and usability for each store regardless of the scale of operation,
– the possibility of using the support of experts or the extensive PrestaShop community.
The following can be considered as defects of the script:
– lack of some important functions in the basic version and the need to buy additional modules,
– low availability of free modules and relatively high prices of the paid ones,
– the need to manually install frequent updates,
– ease of slowing down the store’s operation due to the multitude of extensive functions and too complicated structure,
– difficult template editing.
It’s easy to see that the script has more advantages than disadvantages – especially since the latter are much finer and generally less significant. PrestaShop is certainly an interesting and noteworthy tool that can be perfect for building an online store. Its great advantage is accessibility – thanks to it, everyone can set up their own trading platform, even without specialist IT knowledge.
Is PrestaShop for you?
Let us emphasize once again that PrestaShop is a universal script that has a chance to work in many applications. However, it certainly will not satisfy everyone. This solution is primarily for:
– small and medium-sized stores – a very extensive offer may require the implementation of a dedicated platform;
– beginners and intermediate users – relatively easy operation and wide possibilities make it possible for almost anyone to create a professional shop;
– people looking for flexibility – additional functional modules and the possibility of constant expansion of the store allow for complete freedom.
Due to the ability to use the basic version of PrestaShop for free, it is a great starting platform for all those who are just starting out and don’t want to invest too much in the website itself. It will also be appreciated by those who have previously used SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions and were dissatisfied due to the constraints associated with them.
It is worth noting that PrestaShop is most suitable for professional use. However, it is a platform designed to sell products that have specific prices and are differentiated according to such features as color, size, etc. – i.e. clothing, handicrafts, everyday items, electronic equipment. It works well for a range of up to several hundred thousand products. In the case of personalization of goods or complex pricing based on various parameters, additional modules can be used. In some cases, however, it is worth investing in a dedicated platform that will be perfectly suited to your needs.