The e-commerce market has come a long way since it was hit by the bubble burst in March 2000. More and more profitable online businesses are cropping up worldwide. Before you jump on this bandwagon, though, it’s essential to understand the different e-commerce platforms available to set up your dream online store.
A simple search on the net for e-commerce platforms will produce a plethora of options. Many of them offer similar services. There lies the importance of understanding whether they have the following options.
- An adaptable platform that takes care of your different business needs
- Has an effective in-built plugin for further augmentation
- Is able to keep your data secure and provide a safe transaction platform to the customers
- Is SEO-friendly
- Has strong backend or community support to address real-time problems
Depending on your business model, the two most popular ones are Prestashop and WooCommerce. We will do a comparative study on a few key parameters for better illustration.
For some, this could be the only point of consideration. WooCommerce has a staggering market share of 28%, with around 3.4 million users spread across the globe. Compared to this, only 310000 websites are built on Prestashop, giving it a mere 3.2% market share.
Further, WooCommerce has a larger global reach, catering to the US, UK, Iran, and more countries. Prestashop’s major presence is in Spain and France.
Ease of installation
Both the platforms are on an even keel on this aspect. Both WooCommerce and Prestashop are easy to download.
However, if you are already using WordPress or intend to build your website with WordPress integration, then WooCommerce could be the preferred choice. A number of web hosting platforms provide both the software applications together. Hence installing them becomes easier.
Prestashop, on the other hand, may take about 300 seconds to download with just a click of the mouse. If you are completely new to the world of technology, it can take you about 20 minutes to download and install. The tutorials are self-explanatory.
Both of them are free, open-source platforms that don’t charge you for installation. Having said that, WooCommerce, as well as Prestashop, has more additional running costs that you need to consider.
Add-on expense factors include a hosting provider, a domain name (unique for every online business), and an SSL Certificate.
Further, you are also keen on developing a website that stands out from the crowd. For this, you have to customize the site’s design and create the required extensions. Alternatively, you can purchase pre-set templates and plugins from both the service providers.
WooCommerce charges about one-third ($19/year) for its in-built themes and modules compared to about $55/ year that Prestashop charges.
Post-installations support is one of the primary determining factors behind choosing your website platform.
WooCommerce offers this service in three ways. In your WordPress account dashboard, you will find 3 alternatives. You can choose a) to fill out a form, and the support team will contact you, b) you can submit a service request, or c) you can check the forum for issues similar to yours and try finding a solution there.
Prestashop has a more robust tech-support system.
- ) They have an extensive collection of tutorials, FAQs, guides and training courses for merchants and developers.
- ) A thriving 1m plus community of developers and users are always ready to address any issue that you are facing
- ) A paid support system called Prestashop Technical Assistance. You can get your problems solved over a 15-minute phone call. However, this service comes at a stiff cost of $249 to $1399, depending on the complexity of your problem.
Themes and Extensions
Both these platforms present you with a wide array of built-in, customizable design templates to choose from. Depending on your technical expertise, you create a simple yet functional or a high-class web design with the available resources on both WooCommerce as well as Prestashop.
The challenge and choice between platforms become critical for users who are not very tech-savvy.
WooCommerce Themes gives you access to about 19 themes. Nevertheless, you can get privy to over 48000 paid and free themes from Themeforest if you are using WordPress. The paid versions start from $29.
In comparison, the Prestashop app market has about 3200 themes, but the starting range is from $59.99.
Built-in Features and Plugins
In-built features and plugins are important for any online business. WooCommerce, as well as Prestashop, has the basic built-in features to run your e-commerce portal. You can import and export your products, manage financial transactions, control your orders and get basic analytics for marketing purposes. They further allow the creation of a product category along with segmentation in terms of sizes and colors etc.
Being a WordPress plugin, WooCommerce is more potent in managing your blogs, social media and other promotional requirements.
WooCommerce plugin store has about 400 extensions. But, by integrating with WordPress plugins, you have access to a whopping 58000 plus extensions. You can build strong email marketing, accounting and data analytics tools through these extensions.
Prestashop Add-ons, on the other hand, offers only 4000 modules to choose from.
Keeping your store’s information secure is vital. You also have to ensure that customers’ details are kept safe. Else, you can face legal issues and/or lose trust as an online store of choice.
WooCommerce enables you to build a two-factor authentication plugin. Store owners are only allowed to log in to the admin section after verifying passwords sent on emails, SMS, or via phone calls. They are also responsible for getting the necessary PCI compliance certificate.
In the case of Prestashop, the mandatory PCI compliance is in-built. You can also get a multilingual GDPR Compliance done through the Prestashop add-on at 99.99 euros for 3 months.
A point to note is that since 2017 Prestashop has had 69 disclosed vulnerabilities while WooCommerce only has 18. However, these vulnerabilities did not rank high.
To keep your site secure, it’s advisable to keep updating to the latest version. Both WooCommerce and Prestashop come up with updates almost every month. This goes a long way in keeping your online business secure.
A wide option of payment gateways is critical in ensuring that there is less customer churning at the final stage. Your gateways should also support multi-currency payments. Both WooCommerce and Prestashop allow integrations with popular gateways such as Stripe and PayPal. Let’s take a closer look.
WooCommerce comes with its own built-in gateway called WooCommerce payments that accepts a wide network of credit and debit cards. This can lead to increased conversion as the customer can complete the transaction on the merchant’s site itself. The platform also has 100 plus payment plugins as an additional option.
Prestashop also provides Prestashop check-out for a secure, regulations-compliant payment gateway. You further have the option to select from 250 plus plugins from Prestashop Add-on. =
Apart from the above discourse, both Prestashop and WooCommerce come with a host of other benefits. The final decision to choose between the two platforms is dependent on the nature and scale of your business. For smaller, more SEO-centric businesses, WooCommerce could be a better choice. Larger stores, primarily in Europe, can opt for Prestashop.