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A Deeper Look Into PrestaShop Shopping Cart

4.33/5 (3)

Let's face this - there are tons and tons of e-commerce platforms currently available on the market. PrestaShop seems to be one of the fastest growing platforms out there, which is why we think you all may want to take a closer look on it. So PrestaShop shopping cart is in the focus of our attention today.

PrestaShop is a professional e-commerce shopping cart software that you can download and use for free. It was founded in 2007 in Paris, France, and now aspires to provide one of the best open source e-Commerce solutions to the greatest number of business owners worldwide. This e-commerce solution was built to take advantage of essential web 2.0 innovations such as dynamic AJAX-powered features and next-generation ergonomy. Despite its technical sophistication and advanced functionality, PrestaShop e-commerce platform is speedy and very lightweight, so it's easy to download, install, and update. That's according to the project owners' information about themselves. As for ourselves - so far we don't see any reasons to disagree, but more on that later.

Being a total e-commerce package based on PHP and using MySQL data management, PrestaShop comes with a variety of tools necessary for building, launching, and managing a successful online store without paying any licensing fees or registration.

Key features of PrestaShop

front office

  • featured products on homepage;
  • top sellers on homepage;
  • new items on homepage;
  • special deals (price reductions, gift vouchers);
  • product image zoom;
  • order out-of-stock items;
  • loyalty system (points);
  • customer referral program;
  • customer subscription & user accounts;
  • unlimited payment methods (there is a default module for this and in addition to it there are several non-free payment or shipping modules available for purchase);
  • unlimited languages – 38 translations available so far.

Back Office

  • unlimited categories, subcategories and products;
  • customers’ product evaluations and comments;
  • products and accessories packs;
  • quantity discounts;
  • wish list;
  • customizable products (picture, text, etc.);
  • customizable orders statuses & returns management;
  • PDF invoices, slips and delivery slips;
  • product, catalog statistics, conversion rate per categories;
  • carriers, destinations and text settings;
  • good use of object oriented PHP;
  • tableless design that uses a lot of CSS;
  • "block" content that can be edited via the admin by point and click.

For more exhaustive list of current and upcoming features, visit the PrestaShop features page.

The customers could as well personalize their online stores adding a variety of modules such as: special deals (such as price reductions and gift coupons), text-message alerts for new orders and inventory levels, new products, top sellers, as well as SEO, filter, translation, and attribute wizard module, etc. Though pay attention that many of the modules are non-free – and they aren't cheap in fact. By the way, the authors of PrestaShop have an official marketplace for commercial modules and themes called PrestaStore (kinda like MagentoConnect).

When it comes to pros and cons of using this particular software, this triggers a disputable issue for PrestaShop supporters and opponents. PrestaShop has some cool, highly scalable features and is very lightweight, but still it’s far from being perfect. Those who are considering PrestaShop as their e-commerce platform should be aware of:

PrestaShop advantages:

  • Flexibility. Thanks to PrestaShop admin tool (back office), it is easy to customize this shopping cart by adding or deleting functionality according to customers’ needs.
  • Clean code. This one goes for the developers - they will surely appreciate the uncluttered framework and clean PrestaShop code.
  • Lightweight. PrestaShop is very light (around 5.5 MB) and is rather fast, it’s easy to install and update, and even customers with slow connection speeds will enjoy deploying this platform.
  • Interface. It is known to have sleek and intuitive interface that doesn't only look good, it also guides users through the product catalog intelligently and effortlessly.
  • Design themes. The customers can choose a free theme to suit their online store as well as modify or create one.
  • Customer and marketing policy. Customers will appreciate the features of this robust platform, such as price reductions, gift vouchers, free-shipping minimums, recommended accessories, quantity discounts, and the chance to order out-of-stock items. On the back end, store owners control an unlimited number of products, currencies, tax settings, shipping options, and languages.
  • PrestaShop also offers custom-built solutions for users looking to get more out of their online businesses by adapting the PrestaShop e-commerce solution to their specific needs, such as professionally designed storefronts and unique functionality.
  • Hosting. PrestaShop can also host customer sites on their servers and help create additional visitor traffic with its search engine optimization (SEO).

PrestaShop disadvantages:

  • Lack of scalability. PrestaShop is suitable for start-ups or small stores, but definitely matter of argument whether to use it for full scale shopping site. Plus PrestaShop doesn't have the multi-user interface.
  • Lack of modules. Most required modules for a fully functional online store are expensive. Though getting the module from PrestaStore isn’t mandatory for setting up a store with PrestaShop. There are few in-house modules included with PrestaShop, which is definitely a positive feature.
  • Fewer marketing features. The platform lacks features that other mature e-commerce solutions offer, including different input types for attributes, cross sell products, etc.
  • PrestaShop software is also known to have poor design of attribute combinations. Besides, the default skin certainly needs a lot of work, and the backend seems a bit buggy.
  • Support. The community claims there's no sufficient support and help on any PrestaShop-related questions and problems. Yet PrestaShop dedicated team and growing user community join forces to fix bugs and add new functionality. That's pretty much a common thing for new platforms and will surely be solved after some time.

osCommerce or Magento? Now there's also PrestaShop as an option

Business owners always search for the best system for extending their activity on the Internet and increasing number of their online shoppers. So if to compare different attributes of open source e-commerce platforms, let’s take for instance Magento and osCommerce versus PrestaShop, we could admit that PrestaShop is what we consider a one-stop shop which is a lot simpler to install and setup. Plus it is a scalable platform which means that it can grow as one’s business grows.

prestashop vs. magento vs. oscommerce

Magento and osCommerce are presently way ahead of Prestashop with the features that they have to offer. Still PrestaShop is easy to use and has less requirements than Magento for example that seems rather complex to configure and hard to customize. Magento could be very appropriate for a large scale e-commerce deployment with multiple storefronts and websites. PrestaShop on the other hand is quick and has a small system foot print, and is also easily tailored – it comes bundled with simple and clean smarty template system. Besides, it is very easy to alter PrestaShop layout with less work than it takes to alter osCommerce or Magento.

If we take osCommerce, it is a robust software, but its themes are cumbersome often causing customization problems. PrestaShop has a much better look and web 2.0 feel that requires little customization, its easy-to-use back office tool allows anyone, regardless of skill level, to use and maintain an online store. And PrestaShop is quickly catching up with the number of support community members that osCommerce has.

The closing thought is that PrestaShop is a very good alternative that serves e-commerce with a nice AJAX animated shopping cart and various interesting features. Still it’s up to you to decide which platform to pick up for your project, this info is just something for you to think of.

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So, PrestaShop is the up and coming free e-commerce platform ideal for those who don’t need intensive banding, full control and want to start online shopping right away. It is clearly the new in the e-commerce platform arena, though it has proven itself to be a notable adversary of quite a few heavyweight property e-commerce platforms. Easy deployment, modular scalability and low end system requirements just make it so desirable. Whether you are a computer expert or far less tech savvy novice, the PrestaShop e-commerce solution lets you take any business online. So if you ultimately decide to create an online store with PrestaShop, you may visit installing and updating PrestaShop software page that’ll favor the development of your site.

Now, let's get a quick taste of how PrestaShop works surfing through the excellent PrestaShop-powered sites.

Hervelvetvase.com

Hervelvetvase.com

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Biokado.com

Biokado.com

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Dqcolor.es

Dqcolor.es

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Kinousses.com

Kinousses.com

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Bio-accessible.com

Bio-accessible.com

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Berryjane.com

Berryjane.com

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Duffs.fr

Duffs.fr

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Maptiteboutique.ch

Maptiteboutique.ch

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All-over.eu

All-over.eu

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Tribbes.com

Tribbes.com

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Rider-corp.com

Rider-corp.com

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Oursoncalin.com

Oursoncalin.com

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Kissmezombie.com

Kissmezombie.com

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Corsagecreations.co.uk

Corsagecreations.co.uk

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Labagagerie.com

Labagagerie.com

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Amomuito.com

Amomuito.com

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Artmosphere-deco.com

Artmosphere-deco.com

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Lacerisesurlegateau-eshop.com

Lacerisesurlegateau-eshop.com

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Loulouaddict.com

Loulouaddict.com

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Sixpack.fr

Sixpack.fr

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Alright, so PrestaShop seems to be a strong starter on this eCommerce bandwagon - it does have some pretty neat features on both front- and back-end, plus a very promising community. Only time will tell whether it really is good enough to compete with Magento or osCommerce - though we ourselves surely want it to, more players - more fun. Now what do you think of this new eCommerce platform? Is it good enough for you to consider it for your own store?

  • Nigel Burke

    osCommerce is a poor e-commerce solution out of the box. I have a lot of experience with setting up online stores and there are 10 modules that I will install before the customer gets to look at the backend. Simple things such as a HTML editor, light box, multiple images, product image resizing etc.

    I would be interested in offering PrestaShop to my customers if TM started offering templates.

  • Owain Powell

    I have used a lot of e-commerce software but since discovering prestashop late last year, I have become fascinated by it. I have installed it on my first site made a few changes, and have to say i am really impressed with the ease of use, both as a developer – store owner, and as a shopper, it even works well on the mobile. As TM said above the support on the forum is quite slow, bit the forum is French based with an English section and as its quite new guess its taking up. Would be amazing if we got some templates from template monster for this though.

    • Owain Powell

      any feedback on the site btw I would appreciate flubbertoys.co.uk the theme is very basic but I would like to change it when one I like becomes available (COUGH COUGH TM)

  • Joanne Nestor

    Presto shop does indeed look very interesting.
    So when are you guys going to come up with some TM templates.

    What kind of software does one need?
    ..can one add inventory amount numbers?

  • Joanne Nestor

    What kind of support is available for store owner to make update changes?

    • Cristian Martinez

      Once completed the design of your store, you can integrate the products and features you need. No need support when your shop is Online.

  • BluewaterBob

    What I’d really like to see is an ecommerce solution that works like WordPress, so that upgrades can be easily done when available (in oscommerce you can’t if you’ve modified any code, and add-on modules are tied to installed oscommerce version). In WordPress it and any add-ons can easily be upgraded whenever available, and you are notified in WordPress backoffice of any available updates, then you just click a button and let it install. I also love how WordPress lets you switch templates/skins that you’ve added to the site. You can install one and in the back office just click on which one to activate. Its as simple as trying on different shirts. If someone created an ecommerce system that funtctioned like WordPress (better yet, one that integrates with WordPress) they would make a fortune.

    • Auz

      Check out the shopp plugin for WordPress. No where near as many features as pure ecommerce platforms, but it does an ok job. Here is a site I use it on: http://www.bellaboutiquellc.com

  • Cristian Martinez

    Prestashop is the best platform we’ve found for our eCommerce customers, designers and programmers provides us with changes to its structure. We would not change Prestashop as eCommerce platform for our customers.

  • David

    I have been using oscommerce for years for many clients and now use the oscmax version as it comes with many extra mods and a template system much easier to change. Extra forum suppoprt as well.

    I did try Magento however to me it is very heavy and large for shops which are not big time. I wil try it again now that it has gone through some evolution. I do like the look of it tho’.

    I have downloaded Prestahop and will try it out this week for some clients who have small shops. The look is really nice and if it works as good as it looks it is a winner.

    Already one developer has told me they have left oscommerce and are now only doing Prestashop, so we’ll see…

    Thanks TM for th great review and info. This is very helpful to webmasters.

    Have a great week..

    David

  • Dave

    I recently migrated a clients store from zencart to prestashop, it’s a very simple platform to set up and very intuitive back office – the client was amazed how simple it was to use.
    What becomes an issue is when the store grows, it quite quickly slows down – its taken a fair bit of work but with some editing it is possible to have a large store running quickly – there are guides on the forum to help you with this.

    I guess my point is, it seems lightweight and fast to start, but at some point your store will slow down as it grows – I was experiencing pageload times of over 15s at one point. I’ve got it back down to under 2s with some optimization, but i think it shows how young a platform this still is.

    As it develops it seems to be going from strength to strength, theres now support for cross selling, and most things I’ve required I have been able to find through the community or write myself. Having used other platforms this seems the best, although I agree with the earlier post about wordpress – it’ll be interesting to see how the ecommerce plug in evolves for that as I believe that could lead to a platform that literally anyone could set up and use.

  • Kinsh Technologies

    Super..!!!