Surveys have found that about 25% of consumers will make an online purchase at least once a week. This is a fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to sell to a wide audience. There are numerous platforms you can use to build an online store. Two of the most popular are WooCommerce and PrestaShop. So, between the two, which is best for your business?
WooCommerce is not actually a platform, but rather a plugin for the popular WordPress website plugin. WooCommerce was developed by WooThemes in 2011, and in 2015, was purchased by Automattic, the company that owns WordPress. The WooCommerce plugin turns standard WordPress websites into an eCommerce platform that can sell products.
PrestaShop is an open source eCommerce software package. It’s free to download and use as long as you have a hosting solution and domain. The software was developed in 2005, making it older than WooCommerce. PrestaShop has gained favourable attention because of the intuitive dashboard and the range of default functionality.
The Main Difference: PrestaShop vs WooCommerce
There’s one major difference between PrestaShop and WooCommerce, which is that WooCommerce is reliant on WordPress, whereas PrestaShop is an independent eCommerce software.
However, beyond that, the two eCommerce packages are rather similar. Both are free to download and install. Plus there are lots of plugins (or addons) for both PrestaShop and WooCommerce that can extend the functionality of the main eCommerce stores.
There are official marketplaces for both WooCommerce and PrestaShop. Some of the extensions are free, while others do require a monthly subscription or one-off payment.
Designing Your Store
Designing with WooCommerce is simple. Because it’s an extension of WooCommerce, you should already have experience designing your website. This is often done through themes that are downloaded and installed on your store.
You can get specific eCommerce themes designed for WooCommerce, like StoreFront, which is the default option. This is the perfect option as it easily integrates with WooCommerce and WordPress and is maintained by the developers behind WooCommerce. However, there are also other themes that you can use.
If you’ve seen a store using WooCommerce that has a look you like, you can use this WordPress Theme Detector to find out which theme they’re using.
If you want to customize your store’s appearance further, you can choose a child theme from StoreFront. These are premium and cost a one-off fee. Or, you can use a page builder app that gives you complete freedom on the design of your page. Installing any theme or plugin on WordPress is simple, anyone can do it without a developer or coding experience.
PrestaShop allows you to create an online store for free. Or you can use a template. There are some free templates and there are premium templates, just like with WooCommerce. The premium templates do look aesthetically pleasing, but some of the templates from third parties aren’t as good as you can get on WooCommerce or from the PrestaShop theme shop.
The themes on PrestaShop are also very expensive, especially when compared to those of WooCommerce. Also, you’ll need to have some coding experience and skills available to ensure the theme is installed correctly.
If you see a PrestaShop with a theme that you like the look of, you can see which theme it is with the Prestashop Template Detector.
With both WooCommerce and PrestaShop, you need to ensure that the theme you use is mobile responsive. This is a significant factor in success online as it can help with SEO and conversions.
When you’re comparing pricing in a PrestaShop vs WooCommerce comparison, it is hard to compare. This is because WooCommerce and PrestaShop are free to download.
With WooCommerce, you will need to buy a hosting package. The price of this will heavily depend on the service that you require. While shared servers are cheaper, they can lead to slower websites and poorer conversions. A VPS is the better choice when you’re starting out.
Then you have to buy a domain. After this, costs can become rather hard to predict. There’s a lot of additional functionality you can add to your store, like SEO, Payment Gateways, Social Media, etc.. These can be done on a monthly subscription or as an upfront cost. There are, however, lots of free plugins you can use.
PrestaShop is similar in that it is free to download and use. And you can see their demo to explore the dashboard and store front. However, there are significant issues when installing PrestaShop onto a domain. It isn’t easy and you’ll need to hire a web developer to install and fix it.
Plus, PrestaShop is also expensive to add features to. If you want to integrate your online store with Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Email or anything, that’s going to cost you a lot.
Therefore, the cost of PrestaShop start out low but can very quickly escalate.
Functionality is a big part of running an online store. You need to ensure that you have the tools and functions available to be able to run your business as effectively as possible.
On the basic level, WooCommerce and PrestaShop have similar features that allow you to list both digital and physical products, product management, SEO features and some analytics. PrestaShop does have additional features like integration with major shipping companies. But these don’t always offer the best prices.
When comparing the two with their differences, you can see where the two differ.
WooCommerce’s dashboard is just an extension of the WordPress dashboard. Even without any experience, any beginner online store owner should be able to pick up and start using WooCommerce with ease.
With WooCommerce there is a massive catalog of free and paid add-ons that allow you to extend your store’s functionality. WooCommerce doesn’t restrict what plugins you install on your site and there are several very popular options.
WooCommerce and WordPress also seem to work perfectly with most, if not all, plugins and extensions. Therefore, even those developed by third-parties, will extend your store’s functionality without harming your store.
With PrestaShop it’s different. Most of the integrations on the PrestaShop add-ons marketplace require a one-time purchase. These add-ons that can range from extra payment security to advertising tools, can be expensive.
In addition, because the add-ons are developed by third-party developers you might find that your add-ons don’t work together. And you might need a website developer to install any add-ons to your store. Therefore, costs can mount again.
However, the dashboard for PrestaShop is a rather simple, intuitive system that most people can handle without problems.
Final Word: PrestaShop vs WooCommerce
There are few differences when you run a contest that compares PrestaShop and WooCommerce. The major difference is the cost between the two programs when you want to expand the functionality of your store. WooCommerce can be more affordable, so if you want to invest more in your marketing or product inventory, then you should look at WooCommerce as there are numerous free extensions that you can take advantage of.
There are also issues with the development of the store. PrestaShop will require the use of a developer, whereas WooCommerce can be done without the need of external help. This can be a major factor with your store. Problems with WooCommerce can be easily fixed whereas with PrestaShop, it can be a challenge to find and fix the issue.