In today’s times, when almost everything is available with the click of a mouse or a tap on a smartphone, it is very casual that most businesses want to go online. An online store can provide a much-wanted push to the business.
Also Read:- Want to step up your new website you need to read this first
Nowadays, many e-commerce platforms are available in the market which can help a business to go online. Prestashop is a free and open source e-commerce platform. So, let’s discover what makes Prestashop different.
Prestashop started in 2005 as a student project within the EPITECH IT School in Paris, France. Originally named phpOpenstore, the software was first available in two languages: English and French. Three months after its launch the project was translated in thirteen languages. According to BuiltWith.com- technology tracking website, the market share of Prestashop specifically for open-source e-commerce websites is 9%. And according to W3Techs, Prestashop is used by 0.5% population of a total of all websites.
Some features of Prestashop
Prestashop is written in PHP and supports MYSQL database. It is available in as many as 65 languages with almost 250,000 online stores.
Some other features of Prestashop are-
- Stores can be run in the cloud or through self-hosting
- Easy to use
- A large number of add-ons and themes
- Responsive store interface
- Built-in product and catalog SEO integration
Creating a Prestashop store
The latest version of Prestashop is 1.7. It provides a front-end store and a back-end management dashboard with various options for creating your online store. Both the options are extremely user-friendly making it a product to go for.
The front-end store tools help to create an attractive look for your store. They also provide a very user-friendly way of shopping from the storefront. The front office as it called is the face of your store, one in which customers will see. Prestashop comes with a simple default theme which can be changed to a different theme or customized as per the shop owner’s requirements.
The front end consists of a header and a footer with various options. The header may contain options regarding contact page, language, currency, sign-up page, and cart. The footer may contain information regarding products, the organization, and the customer’s account. The central part will contain the products listings and the cart. The customer may create his account, buy products using the shopping cart and provide shipping and payment information.
Besides the front-end store, there is a back-end management dashboard. The dashboard is provided with numerous options which can be used to manage the store in an efficient manner. Some of the options are –
- Sell option – It provides options for managing orders, catalogs, customers, customer service, and stats. Orders option can be used to manage orders, invoices, credit and delivery slips and shopping cart. Catalogs option can manage products, categories, monitoring, attributes and features, brands and suppliers and discounts while Customers option can manage customers and their addresses. Customer services option takes care of order messages, merchandise returns and more.
- Improve option – It contains options for modules, design, shipping, payments and international.
Design can be used to set the theme and logo. Logos can be set for invoice, email, header etc. Various pages are provided by Prestashop which can be further customized. Pages may be full width or contain two to three columns. Modules can be used to configure products, social media buttons, banners etc.
You can set shipping carriers and preferences. Payment module and preferences can also be managed. You can also set localization, location, taxes, and translations using the International option.
- Configure option – The configure option provides options for shop and advance parameters. The shop parameters option further contains options - general, order settings, product settings, customer settings, contact, traffic and SEO, and search. The advance parameters option can be used to set the following – information, performance, administration, email, import, team, database, logs and web service.
Installing Prestashop 1.7
Since Prestashop is built in PHP, you require PHP 5.2 or later and MySQL 5.0 or later. You also need to have server space at a hosting provider, a domain name, FTP client and a text editor. Let’s have a quick look at the installation process-
1. Download the latest version which is compressed
2. Unzip the archive
3. Upload the files to a server using the FTP client
4. Create a MySQL database to be used by the application
5. Launch the auto installer - Here you would be required to set server and store information. You also need to configure the database and database server apart from setting the language
6. secure your installation -you need to delete or rename the install and docs folder and the readme file. Also, change the name of admin folder to something else
Why choose Prestashop?
The market offers many e-commerce options apart from Prestashop like Magento, Shopify, Opencart, and others. Most of them are free then what’s special about Prestashop. Let’s have a look –
- Prestashop is fast as it is very lightweight. It makes for great user experience as mostly the users prefer sites which have good performance and minimum load time. Even the search engines love sites which are fast.
- Prestashop is so easy to set up and use that a person with almost no programming abilities can use it to set up an online store. You can also hire Prestashop developer to create your website.
- Prestashop enjoys a very active community and foundation which keep on coming up with new and innovative designs and themes.
- These can be easily used by the developers. Prestashop modules can be developed to add more functionality.
- It is very easy to migrate your present online store to Prestashop without losing any data.
- It can be used for almost any kind of business.
- Prestashop provides over 5000 add-ons consisting of modules and themes on its official marketplace which are easy to install and use. Modules are pieces of code which can integrate seamlessly with the front end or the back end of Prestashop and provide additional functionality or features. Themes are used with the storefront and give it a unique look and feel. Among these around 600 are free and rest can be got for a very economical price.
- Prestashop supports almost all payment systems like PayPal, Google Checkout, Payments Pro via API, Authorize.net and Skrill. It provides single page checkout with various shipping options like fee, shipping restrictions, weights and more. You can choose a currency with a customizable exchange rate.
- Prestashop provides very powerful analytics. It lets you track your customers and find out where they come from. It lets you track orders and sales. It lets you find out best-selling items and popular catalogs.
- It provides a lot of customer-centric features like discounts, newsletter subscriptions and emails. It also lets you personalize a customer’s experience by showing the last viewed and most viewed options. It also includes loyalty and referral programs.
- Prestashop provides rich user documentation which really comes handy when developing your store.
- The cloud-based platform lets you start a store without downloading anything. Prestashop hosts it for you and even relieves you of frequent updates.
- It provides excellent technical support which lets first-time users launch their site smoothly without any technical issues.
- The same back office can manage multiple stores which are technically known as “multistore” feature.
Some limitations of Prestashop
- Prestashop works well with small and medium businesses but is difficult to scale thus making it of lesser advantage to larger businesses. The reason for this is it has been simplified for the use by a beginner and hence it is difficult to scale.
- Many modules and theme are available for a price.
- On a technical side, the scripting architecture is sometimes limiting, hindering the development process.
A brief comparison of Prestashop with other e-commerce platforms
- Other e-commerce platforms like Magento have better support for SEO than Prestashop.
- Magento also provides Product comparison and RSS feed which are absent in Prestashop.
- WooCommerce provides e-commerce functionality for Wordpress. It must be your choice if you require strong blogging features.
Also Read:- 10 reasons why one should opt Magento
Prestashop is faster and easy to modify than most of its competitors like Magento. Prestashop website development is also easier than its counterparts. So, despite some limitations, Prestashop provides a feature-rich freemium solution which is worth going for.