PrestaShop Review: Free, Open-source Ecommerce Platform
This article is part of a larger series on Retail Management.
PrestaShop is a free, open-source ecommerce platform that helps you create and manage multiple online stores. It offers hundreds of advanced built-in functionalities such as inventory management, hundreds of payment providers, multilanguage and multicurrency support, and marketing campaigns.
What We Like
- Highly customizable
- Does not require a lot of third-party apps to build a store
- Has a solid and helpful community forum
- Supports over 75 languages
- Expensive customer support
- Developer skills required
- Requires a lot of hosting space
- Software Fees: Free
- Payment Processing Fees: Varies; PrestaShop Checkout: 2.59% + 49 cents
- Payment Processors: More than 250 providers, including Square, PayPal, Stripe, and Apple Pay
- Point-of-Sale: None built in, offers add-on integrations
- Standout Features:
- Multilingual and multicurrency auto IP detector
- Open source
- Can support multiple stores from a single dashboard
- Essential built-in integrations are enough to run a fully-functional ecommerce store
What We Recommend PrestaShop For
PrestaShop made it to our list of the top free ecommerce platforms, scoring a 4.04 out of 5 in our evaluation. It earned perfect marks for the quality of its built-in features, eliminating the need for paid add-ons from its app marketplace. However, PrestaShop’s steep learning curve and the need to pay for customer support hurt its score.
We particularly recommend PrestaShop for:
- Developing a customized ecommerce solution: PrestaShop’s open-source software allows you to build your features as needed. However, you will need to code them yourself or with the help of a developer.
- Managing multiple online stores and transacting in different languages and currencies: PrestaShop has built-in features for users who plan on selling on different websites but want to consolidate orders in a single dashboard. It can also translate your store into 75 languages and lets you accept payments in other currencies.
When PrestaShop Would Not Be a Good Fit
- Individuals new to ecommerce or needing a user-friendly option: If you are looking for a more user-friendly and self-hosted environment, Shopify is your best choice. It is our top pick for the best ecommerce platforms.
- Small sellers wanting a simple shopping cart for an existing site: If you have an existing website and want to incorporate an online store but do not have the bandwidth for PrestaShop’s installation procedure, consider going with Ecwid. Ecwid also offers a free plan and lets you connect or embed your online store to existing websites in a few simple steps.
- Adding ecommerce functionality to WordPress websites: WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, so it makes perfect sense to develop your online store within WordPress if your existing website is already there.
- Creating a content site that also has product sales: We recommend Squarespace. Shopify is great for ecommerce, but it’s not as fluid when it comes to maintaining content. Also, Shopify’s WYSIWYG editor isn’t as user-friendly and powerful as Squarespace’s drag-and-drop page editor.
Looking for something different? Read our guide to the leading free ecommerce platforms for small businesses to find a service or software that’s right for you. You can also look at our top ecommerce platforms for small businesses to find a solution that’s right for you.
Follow our guide on how to set up a PrestaShop online store once you’re ready to test PrestaShop.
PrestaShop Store Examples
The following PrestaShop stores highlight the platform’s standout features and operate on its latest version.
Laboratoires de Biarritz
Born from the desire to develop an organic sun care product for sea-loving people, Laboratoires de Biarritz created certified organic products that are healthy and environmentally friendly and started selling online using PrestaShop. It shared that PrestaShop’s SEO optimization and local support team are critical factors for the decision to keep using the platform.
PrestaShop is a free ecommerce solution, and those interested can visit its website to download the software. Extensions are available in its official marketplace, PrestaShop Addons, with popular apps costing anywhere between $0–$400 per module. Modules include SEO Expert, Abandoned Cart Reminder, and Loyalty Coupons.
While PrestaShop is free to download, it has the following minimum installation and working requirements for its latest version, 1.7:
- A domain name (or a subdomain/subfolder)
- Supported operating systems (Windows, Mac, and Linux)
- An Apache+PHP+MySQL prepared package (WampServer or EasyPHP for Windows, XAMPP or Bitnami for Windows and OS X)
- PHP 7.1
- MySQL 5.6+ installed with a database created
- FTP access (ask your hosting service for your credentials)
One of PrestaShop’s advantages is that it has hundreds of built-in ecommerce features, and these include all the basics most businesses need to get started. The platform allows you to create product listings, configure a checkout page, calculate taxes, etc. Since it is an open-source software, the sky’s the limit for customization.
Since our last update:
Since we last wrote this review in July 2021, PrestaShop has released system upgrades and updates to its latest version 1.7—PrestaShop 18.104.22.168:
- Bug fixes
- Front office account creation alerts for invalid first and last names
- Incompatibility issue fixes
PrestaShop highly recommends that its users continuously update to the latest version for critical bug fixes and improvements.
We highlight some of its main features below.
PrestaShop offers over 3,000 paid mobile-responsive templates. PrestaShop’s only free template comes with a WYSIWYG editor to make it possible to make changes. However, take note that only three templates are developed by PrestaShop, with the rest coming from different developers. Do your research and find out how developers provide support before buying a premium theme.
Product listings can be as detailed as you want them to be. The ability to upload multiple product images, zoom in and out on them, set up store policies, product descriptions, and leave customer reviews are just a few things you can include on your product page.
The following functionalities are also built in:
- Product navigation (categories and subcategories)
- Order management
- Inventory management
- Customer management
- Store catalog
- Store “Search” feature
- Sales and tax management
- Data analytics and reports
- Promo codes, coupons, and discounts
- Price rules (special offers based on product, customer, or order)
- Product highlights
- Connect store to social networks
- SEO product pages and store
There are over 270 payment modules in the PrestaShop Addons marketplace such as options for card or wallet payments, bank transfer payments, POS, recurring payments, invoicing, and regular online payment gateways. Most of these are free.
You can choose from popular payment providers like Square, PayPal, and Stripe. You can also set up mobile payment options like Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.
If you need help choosing a payment processor, see our guide on the best payment gateways.
Multilanguage & Multicurrency Support
If you sell in different countries, PrestaShop is ideal for you because it enables you to accept multiple currencies. It can also automatically translate your store into more than 75 languages—or you can automatically set it to translate based on a visitor’s IP address.
Running a variety of marketing campaigns is easily done in PrestaShop. For example, you can advertise promotions via images or banners throughout your store pages, display call-to-action buttons on product pages, and set up cross-selling and promotional content (like suggesting related items).
Its email marketing function lets you send your customers emails containing recently viewed products or alerting them with back-in-stock notifications. Abandoned cart recovery emails are also a great way to increase conversion rate, and you can personalize this from your dashboard.
You can personalize all of these user experiences because the platform allows you to segment customer groups.
The PrestaShop Addons marketplace offers close to 4,000 modules (extensions or integrations), including thousands available in languages other than English. Most integrations are one-time purchases, and their reviews are available on their respective module pages.
One thing to note since different developers make most modules is that PrestaShop can’t guarantee that all modules are compatible with one another.
PrestaShop Ease of Use
- Help desk
- Knowledge base
- Support plans, starting at 249.00 euros (~$268 at the time of conversion)
- PrestaShop experts
- Training: Documentation, catalog, and course programs
- Phone support: Mondays to Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Setting up PrestaShop requires a lot of time and technical know-how. For example, in the first setup phase, you’ll need to download the software, create a database, upload the software to your server using an FTP client, and then install it. You can read through PrestaShop’s Get Started guide for more information, including the step-by-step installation documentation.
PrestaShop offers email and phone support, though most users said that they had trouble getting the assistance they needed via phone and that most email replies came late. However, help from the community forum is widespread—including support for common languages (such as English and Spanish).
PrestaShop also offers training programs and a list of PrestaShop experts if ever you need one. Paid support plans include access to an expert consultant and a guarantee that all concerns and inquiries will be attended to within 48 hours.
Top PrestaShop Alternatives
Best for: Small businesses and entrepreneurs offering in-person and local deliveries
Best for: Business that have existing websites (Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly)
Best for: Businesses that have existing WordPress websites
Offers a free plan? Yes
Offers a free plan? Yes
Offers a free plan? Yes
Paid plans from: $12/month
Paid plans from: $15/month
Paid plans from: N/A
If you’re not sure PrestaShop is right for you, see how it compares with our top free ecommerce platforms. However, Shopify is our top recommended ecommerce platform. Though plans start at $29 per month, you can try it free for 14 days.
What Users Think About PrestaShop
Most PrestaShop user reviews online highlight how the software lets them customize almost every aspect of their online stores. They also appreciate the multilanguage support. Meanwhile, negative reviews center around its expensive customer support.
At the time of publication, PrestaShop earned the following scores on popular user review sites:
- Capterra: 4.3 out of 5 based on nearly 200 reviews
- G2: 4.3 out of 5 based on more than 100 reviews
When reading through user reviews, we noticed these trends:
Users Don’t Like
Module extensions may be incompatible with one another
Support available in multiple languages
Required upgrades to software can make website slow
Many templates and modules available
Expensive customer support
PrestaShop is made with developers in mind—it’s a great fit if you know how to code or can afford to hire a developer. One of PrestaShop’s strengths is the number of its built-in integrations, allowing you to develop a store without much need to install a third-party extension. It offers multilanguage and multicurrency options for free, compared to other platforms that often require a higher paid plan or a premium integration to unlock the features.
PrestaShop doesn’t provide much support unless you pay for access to its experts. So, if you have limited technical knowledge or little experience working with PHP coding language, consider investing in a web developer to help you through the store setup and maintenance.
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