Prestashop vs. WooCommerce: Which should you use?
Planning to start an online store? Confused as to which is the best e-commerce software to start your online business? The good news is that you have several choices with ecommerce stores these days. In this article we will discuss two of the biggest e-commerce platforms currently in vogue – PrestaShop and WooCommerce.
Both are open source e-commerce platforms perfect for small and medium stores. But the basic difference between the two is this – WooCommerce doesn’t offer a hosting and you need a set-hosting solution. PrestaShop comes with two options – (1) Choose a free cloud based option and (2) Download software and do the hosting yourself.
PrestaShop is an open source e-commerce platform, either hosted in the cloud or downloaded from the PrestaShop website. It came first in 2007, and gained immense popularity quickly. PS gives business flexibility and low entry barrier making it easier for companies to build their online store.
While PS is an eCommerce software, WC is a very popular eCommerce plugin, a free one that converts a simple WordPress site into a fully functional online shop. And it is fairly young, released in
2011. The main purpose of WC is that it can help websites sell their products, or something related to the subject matter. And for this purpose, it can extend CMS’s functionality with a shopping cart.
Now, let’s examine the areas where both of them perform. Many of them are similar, but there are differences as well.
WC – One of the biggest advantages of WC is its themes and plugins option. These are easily available through the WordPress Repository. Probably this is also the reason why the software has an improved market share. Through this option, you can easily create personalised and a very responsive store. ThemeForest has many templates that you can use. While there are around 430 out of the box themes for easy availability, you can also make use of the 6000 themes designed for WordPress and modify them to work with WC.
However, there is one thing to be aware of. – vulnerability. When you choose each plugin or theme, make sure to read down the security page, and check whether it is really secure.
PS – The official website of PS contains around 1300+themes. 390+ themes can be found on ThemeForest, 1000+ templates available on Template Monster, so you have more options there.
Ease of installation
WC – It can be installed very easily on the WordPress site. It has a wizard that acts as a guide that helps you through the installation process, making it quick and painless. But if there is no WordPress site, then it will have to be created first. That might take time, but when used with a host, can be done with a one-click install option.
PS – You will have to download the PS files first and then download it to their web server. The automated installation process takes about 5 minutes on a normal machine. Beginners may need more time feeling their way around the machine initially.
WC – There are thousands of different plugins and extensions in WC; you can’t beat that. And if you need an SEO plugins, you can easily install that without any charges. In a similar way, you can add social media shares with the relevant plugins, for example – email marketing, customer review, affiliate marketing, live chat, promo code plugin.
PS – Many of the fully functional modules are expensive, and you will have to loosen your purse strings whenever upgrading and expanding PS, because you will have to get templates, themes and
WC – If you know WordPress, you can easily edit it to add products. It is a very simple program, with built-in plugins for ease of use. Just like PS, you can easily get order details, sales reports, get a bird’s eye view on the overall store performance and so on.
PS – Comes with an amazingly organised dashboard where you can browse sales statistics, orders, status of conversion, visits on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. There is a detailed navigation bar that allows you to monitor order management, shipping details, customer price and several other things with simple clicks. You can easily do what you want without much expertise.
To make things easier for you, you can easily use all major carriers like UPS, USPS and FedEx, and customers can choose their favourite one.
WC – You can edit from within the theme, without having the need to go to the plugin’s templates. You can easily create your custom design with “/WooCommerce/” inside your theme.
PS – The software is built though Smarty framework. All you need is a little of CSS and HTML knowledge, and the design is all yours.
Basic On-page SEO
WC – Naturally, and being installed in WordPress, WC offers several SEO specific features. So you can easily update the content and meta information, and make sure it attracts visitors for particular keywords. Yoast SEO plugin lets you optimize your website for search engines.
PS – There are some basic search engine optimisation possibilities with PrestaShop. It had not offered any responsive layouts by default initially, but now it does. The layouts and templates in this software is optimised for various platforms and devices. You can configure your store to attract high traffic during seasons.
WC – It is the #1 eCommerce plugin designed mainly for WordPress sites. It can be used on all kinds of online selling sites. There are over 3.4 million downloads, with over 260,000 websites in its kitty.
PS – There are almost 3.8 million downloads on the official site, with a huge community support of very 600,000 members. More than 185,000 stores in 160+ countries use PrestaShop.
Final thoughts – what could be the verdict?
In the end, it would be difficult to say which is the best. It all depends on what kind of online store you need. If you need just a basic storefront with just the simple features, then WooCommerce would be apt. On the other hand, if you want different functions, plugins, blogging features and a lot more, then PrestaShop would the means to end.
The main reason why WordPress and WooCommerce is so popular is that it lets you create personalised website with great ease, and is highly flexible as well. It’s not in the news for its e-commerce capabilities, but rather for its helpfulness in getting started quickly.
Picture Source: Fickr.com/ olivier/ Canonicalized
The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at www.Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.