Choosing the right e-commerce platform for your business will be a comprehensive decision to open an online store.
Your e-commerce platform determines how you create a website, list your products, accept payments, and manage all of your operations.
Fortunately, there are many platforms on the market, each with different functions, which may or may not meet your specific needs and budget.
Both PrestaShop and Shopify provide powerful e-commerce features, but the platform that suits your business depends on your specific needs and budget.
If you are looking for a predictable and easy-to-use platform that does not require any technical knowledge, Shopify is the best choice.
On the other hand, if you want a platform that can provide the greatest degree of customization and international sales capabilities, PrestaShop will be the most suitable choice.
Overview of PrestaShop vs. Shopify
At first glance, PrestaShop and Shopify seem very similar. Both PrestaShop and Shopify allow you to create and customize your online store, add and market your products, accept payments, manage and complete orders, and provide online shopping cart functionality to your customers.
Overall, PrestaShop and Shopify are comprehensive platforms with powerful built-in features
If you go deeper, you will find one major (and important) difference. Shopify is a fully managed platform, available through a paid subscription.
In other words, Shopify hosts your online store and manages the security, updates, and maintenance for the subscription fees you pay to access the software.
On the other hand, PrestaShop is an open source platform. PrestaShop is free to download, but you must install it yourself, find and pay for web hosting, and perform maintenance and updates as needed.
As an open source software, PrestaShop allows you to access its code, allowing you to edit and customize it specifically according to your needs.
PrestaShop feature highlights
PrestaShop gives you the ability to completely customize its platform as you see fit, and it also offers impressive out-of-the-box functionality.
Here are some of the most significant features:
- Store development:
With PrestaShop, you can customize your main theme using the PHP programming language, or choose from nearly 6,000 paid and free theme templates on the PrestaShop plugin market, and modify one of the themes to suit your business.
Although you acquire your own web host, PrestaShop provides a pre-installed and secure hosting solution that you can choose to purchase from its hosting partner.
- Product and inventory:
PrestaShop allows you to list your physical and digital products, sell them online, and allows you to organize them using categories, characteristics, values, variants, and packaging.
You can sell customizable products, track inventory for each product, and create vendors and manufacturers to associate with the corresponding products.
PrestaShop allows you to accept (and provide to your customers) many different payment methods, including checks, bank transfers, cash on delivery, and debit and credit cards.
It can be integrated with various payment processors, including major providers such as PayPal, Stripe, Square, and Authorize.Net.
PrestaShop offers free payment integration from its partners, as well as payment options you can add from your market.
- Orders and shipping:
With PrestaShop, you can create your order, fulfillment, and return workflow; manage all administrator orders; and send predetermined emails to your customers throughout the process.
PrestaShop allows you to configure your shipping method, select delivery area, shipping service, shipping cost, and taxes based on location.
- Customer support
PrestaShop offers customer support resources on its website including documentation, webinars, videos, tutorials and a community forum.
Unlike many open-source platforms, it also gives you the option to purchase a customer support plan, which provides access to personalized technical help for your store.
Moreover, PrestaShop offers training courses with its experts to teach merchants, developers or digital professionals the ins and outs of its software.
Shopify feature highlights
Unlike PrestaShop, where you receive all of its included capabilities when you download the software, the feature set you have with Shopify depends on which of its subscription plans you choose.
As the Shopify plans increase in price, they also increase in functionality. Some of the most notable features of Shopify as a whole include:
- Store builder:
To create your online store with Shopify, you can choose one of their 70+ free and paid themes and customize it with their drag and drop creator.
All Shopify stores support mobile devices, including blogs and a complete content management system.
- Web hosting and security:
Shopify offers web hosting for all of its online stores, as well as free SSL certificates, instant updates, unlimited bandwidth, and 24/7 monitoring.
Shopify also gives you the option of using your own business domain name or buying through them.
- Products and inventory:
With Shopify, you can list an unlimited number of products (including digital products), create product variations, and organize your inventory by category, type, season, sales, and more.
Shopify will also track your inventory and automatically stop selling products when the inventory runs out.
To accept payments online in your Shopify store, Shopify offers you the option of using its internal Shopify Payments processing program or integrating with any of the 100+ external gateways.
- Customer support:
Shopify offers dedicated customer support from its team 24/7 by email, live chat and phone.
Shopify’s website also includes customer resources like discussion forums, the Shopify Help Center — which includes FAQs, user guides and tutorials — and its e-commerce university.
Finally, Shopify houses a library of experts, including designers, developers and marketers, who you can hire for personalized, hands-on assistance with your e-commerce operations.
Although PrestaShop is free to download, it will not be completely free to use this software to operate your online store.
To use PrestaShop for your e-commerce site, you’ll have to find and pay for web hosting. The cost of hosting can vary, but if you use PrestaShop’s hosting partner, you’ll pay $4 to $14 per month, depending on the plan you choose.
When it comes to Shopify, on the other hand, the costs are much more predictable. Shopify offers its e-commerce software on a subscription basis, giving you the option to choose a plan and pay the respective monthly fee.
Unlike PrestaShop, however, the Shopify plan you choose dictates the extent of the included features you receive.
When it comes to PrestaShop reviews online, most of the users are positive about their experience on this open source platform.
Reviewers often say that PrestaShop is extensible, customizable, and professional. Users also highlighted the built-in international sales features, as well as the extensive network of PrestaShop developers and experts who can help.
Although most of the online reviews are positive, users did mention some shortcomings of the software.
Usually reviewers comment on expensive plugins and general development improvement needed to create and maintain a store with PrestaShop.
However, many commenters also wrote that compared to other open source platforms like Magento, PrestaShop is more accessible and easier to use.
Like PrestaShop, Shopify’s online reviews are usually positive. Reviewers for Shopify wrote about how simple and easy the platform is and how it is available to various business owners.
Users focus on Shopify’s customization features, layout templates, mobile features, and other included tools.
When discussing the negative effects of the Shopify platform, users will write articles about Shopify prices more frequently.
They say that the cost of subscription is high, especially if you are just getting started, and if you need the additional features that only come with higher-level plans.
In addition, users do not like the transaction fees that Shopify charges for using third-party payment gateways.
Despite this, most online reviewers seem to be satisfied with their overall experience with Shopify.