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Choosing the right ecommerce platform for your business will be an integral decision to starting an online store—as it will dictate how you create your site, list your products, accept payments, and manage the whole of your operations. Luckily, there are numerous platforms on the market, each with different capabilities that may or may not meet your specific needs and budget.
If you’re exploring various platforms, then, you’ve probably seen both PrestaShop and Shopify appear frequently in your research. As two well-known, popular options that support thousands of business owners around the world, you may be wondering which is a better choice for your business. We’re here to help. We’ll compare PrestaShop vs. Shopify, discussing the different features, pricing, and customer reviews of the two platforms—to provide you with all of the information you need to decide which ecommerce platform is right for your business.
On first glance, PrestaShop and Shopify seem very similar—and in many ways they are. Both PrestaShop and Shopify allow you to build and customize your online store, add and market your products, accept payments, manage and complete orders, and of course, give your customers online shopping cart functionality. On the whole, PrestaShop and Shopify are all-inclusive platforms, with robust built-in features that give you the ability to start and grow your ecommerce business.
However, when diving deeper into the comparison of PrestaShop vs. Shopify, you’ll find one major (and important) difference. Shopify is a fully hosted platform that is available on a paid subscription basis—meaning that Shopify hosts your online store and manages security, upgrades, and maintenance–and these features are included in the fee you pay for access to the software. PrestaShop, on the other hand, 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 necessary. As an open-source software, PrestaShop gives you access to their code, allowing you to edit and adjust it specifically for your needs.
We should note that although PrestaShop is known for their open-source software, they also have a hosted platform, called PrestaShop Ready. As of June 2019, however, this solution is “being revamped” and not currently available, according to the PrestaShop website. Therefore, we’ll continue to compare PrestaShop vs. Shopify in terms of PrestaShop’s open-source offering.
With this overview in mind, let’s explore some of the specific features of PrestaShop vs. Shopify to get a better sense of what each of these platforms has to offer:
Although as an open-source software, PrestaShop gives you the ability to completely customize their platform as you see fit, they actually offer impressive out-of-the-box functionality as well. Here are some of the most significant features:
An example of a PrestaShop online store. Source: PrestaShop
Unlike PrestaShop, where you receive all of their included capabilities when you download the software, the feature set you have with Shopify depends on which of their subscription plans you choose. As the Shopify plans increase in price, they also increase in functionality. Keeping this in mind, these are some of the most notable features of Shopify as a whole:
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An example of a Shopify online store. Source: Shopify
Despite their inherent differences, when comparing PrestaShop vs. Shopify, you can see that they actually offer many similar features. When it comes to pricing, however, these two platforms are going to differ greatly due to the fact that PrestaShop is an open-source solution and Shopify is a hosted platform. Let’s take a closer look:
Although PrestaShop is free to download, it will not be completely free to use this software to operate your online store. In fact, it’s rather difficult to say exactly how much it will cost to use PrestaShop—however, there are a few factors we can take into consideration.
First, to use PrestaShop for your ecommerce 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.
Next, you’ll want to consider the costs you’ll incur from actually getting your site set up, including any development and customization. Since PrestaShop is an open-source solution, any customization you desire will have to be done with code—meaning unless you or someone at your business has technical knowledge, you’ll more than likely have to hire a developer.
The cost of a developer, as you might imagine, varies depending on the individual, as well as the services that you require. Additionally, even if you hire a developer for the initial setup and customization, you’ll want to keep in mind that you may need to continue to use that resource for any maintenance, updates, and security monitoring.
Furthermore, you’ll also want to consider the cost of the PrestaShop add-ons and themes. Although some of the integration options in the PrestaShop marketplace are free, many range in price from $35 to over $200 per add-on. If you need multiple add-ons, you should remember that you’ll need to pay the associated cost for each one.
Finally, you’ll have to think about the cost of payment processing. PrestaShop does not charge additional transaction fees on top of those that come directly from your processor; however, they do charge for many of their payment modules. As an example, if you chose to use Square as your payment processor, you would pay the cost per transaction from Square (2.9% plus $0.30), as well as the $174.99 to download the Square module from the PrestaShop marketplace.
Although you could choose to have your developer create modules outside of those offered in the PrestaShop marketplace, you would then have to pay those development costs, as well.
Taking all of these variables into consideration, you can see how the exact cost of PrestaShop is complex. Ultimately, the price to use PrestaShop will largely depend on your customization needs and development costs.
When it comes to Shopify, on the other hand, the costs are much more predictable. As we mentioned earlier, Shopify offers their ecommerce 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.
To explain, Shopify offers four core plans: Shopify Lite, Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify. They also offer an enterprise solution, Shopify Plus, for high-volume merchants that is available on a quote basis. The first plan, Shopify Lite, costs $9 per month—however, this plan does not give you the ability to create an online store—instead, it allows you to sell on Facebook or add products to an existing website or blog.
The other three plans, however, all provide full online store functionality. Basic Shopify costs $29 per month and includes:
Shopify costs $79 per month and includes all of the features of Basic Shopify, as well as:
Finally, Advanced Shopify costs $299 per month and includes all of the functionality of the previous two plans, plus:
Additionally, if you want to expand your functionality with Shopify apps, you can do so, but as is the case with PrestaShop, you may have to pay a fee, depending on the specific add-on.
Moreover, you’ll also need to pay the cost of online credit card processing. In comparing the pricing of PrestaShop vs. Shopify, this is an area in which the two platforms greatly differ. As we mentioned earlier, Shopify offers in-house processing with Shopify Payments (which PrestaShop does not). If you utilize Shopify Payments, you’ll pay 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction if you have the Basic plan, 2.6% plus $0.30 per transaction if you have the Shopify plan, and 2.4% plus $0.30 per transaction if you have the Advanced plan.
However, whereas PrestaShop does not charge any transaction fees regardless of the processor you use, Shopify charges an additional fee if you use a provider other than Shopify Payments. This fee varies between the three plans, but ranges from 2% to 0.5%.
Now that we’ve compared PrestaShop vs. Shopify in terms of both features and pricing, let’s see what users have to say about each platform. We researched online customer reviews, as well as talked to a few business owners to hear their personal experiences with PrestaShop and Shopify.
When it comes to online PrestaShop reviews, most users seem to write positively about their experience with this open-source platform. Reviewers typically feel that PrestaShop is scalable, customizable, and professional-looking. Many users also highlight the built-in international selling capabilities, as well as the wide network of PrestaShop developers and experts that are available for assistance.
Although most online reviews are generally positive, users do mention some drawbacks of the software. Most frequently, reviewers comment on the expensive add-ons and the overall development lift it takes to set up and maintain a store using PrestaShop. However, many reviewers also write that PrestaShop is much more approachable and easy to use compared to other open source platforms, like Magento.
In his review on G2Crowd, Geremias M., a graphic designer, writes about his experience using PrestaShop—highlighting the software’s inventory options, web configuration and customization, as well as the variety of templates and add-ons.
He says: “I recommend [PrestaShop] if you are thinking of developing any type of ecommerce. PrestaShop has an infinity of ideal characteristics in this area.”
Like PrestaShop, Shopify online reviews are generally positive. Shopify reviewers write again and again about how simple and easy the platform is and how it’s accessible for all kinds of business owners. Furthermore, users highlight Shopify’s customization capabilities, design templates, mobile functionality, and additional included tools.
When discussing negative aspects of the Shopify platform, users most frequently write about Shopify’s price. They feel that the subscription cost is expensive, especially if you’re just starting out, as well as if you need additional functionality that only comes with the higher-level plans. In addition, users don’t like the transaction fee Shopify charges for using a third-party payment gateway. This being said, it seems that most online reviewers are satisfied with their overall experience with Shopify.
When we talked to small business owners Becky Beach and Aristide Basque, they both said that when comparing PrestaShop vs. Shopify, they would choose Shopify. Beach, ecommerce business owner and blogger at MomBeach.com, told us that she actually switched from PrestaShop to Shopify, saying Shopify is much more user-friendly.
“[Shopify has] several apps that integrate well such as MailerLite and reviews. After switching to Shopify, I was able to boost revenue by 50%. I recommend Shopify to everyone,” she said.
Basque, CEO and co-founder of Shift Agency, felt similarly.
“We love Shopify and recommend [it] to all our clients. We haven’t found anything better in terms of UX/UI, fulfillment, pricing, and customer support. It is very user-friendly and allows anyone to understand the platform within a few days,” he said.
Taking into consideration everything we’ve explored so far, let’s see where PrestaShop wins in the PrestaShop vs. Shopify comparison.
Although both PrestaShop and Shopify provide significant customization capabilities, there’s no doubt that PrestaShop offers more. As an open-source platform, everything about PrestaShop can be completely edited, modified, and customized to your business. Therefore, not only does PrestaShop include impressive built-in features out-of-the-box, but the platform also gives you the ability to significantly change and extend your functionality. Additionally, the number of themes and modules in the PrestaShop marketplace is truly impressive—meaning if there’s a feature or tool you want to add, you’ll more than likely be able to find it there.
Moreover, perhaps one of the most notable customization options PrestaShop offers is payment processing. When comparing PrestaShop vs. Shopify, payment processing is often an issue users have with Shopify. PrestaShop, on the other hand, allows you to integrate with a variety of payment providers and doesn’t charge additional credit card processing fees.
Whereas Shopify only offers minimum features for international selling, PrestaShop provides a variety of accommodations designed specifically for international ecommerce. As we mentioned earlier, some of PrestaShop’s built-in features include multi-language and currency capabilities, as well as checkout options for international taxes and shipping. Moreover, with all of the different payment processing options PrestaShop offers, international merchants can choose the one that works for them. This feature stands in large contrast to Shopify, who charges an extra transaction fee if you don’t use Shopify Payments, which is only available in 13 countries.
Although PrestaShop may have more to offer when it comes to customization and international selling, there are also areas where Shopify wins in this PrestaShop vs. Shopify comparison. Here are two to consider:
When it comes to user-friendliness, perhaps no ecommerce platform can compete with Shopify. As we heard from real business owners, Shopify is easy to use and understand and allows you to get your online store up and running quickly. Additionally, as a fully-hosted solution with a drag-and-drop web builder, Shopify is accessible to business owners of all skill levels and experience—you can create, customize, and manage your Shopify store without any technical knowledge or coding. Although PrestaShop is known as a much more usable platform in comparison to other open-source ecommerce software options, you’ll still more than likely need a developer’s assistance to truly utilize it.
As an open-source platform that requires development work, PrestaShop’s cost is unpredictable and can vary greatly depending on the specific business and situation. Shopify, however, has more cost transparency. Although Shopify’s cost will depend on your plan, add-on options, and payment processing, you’re more easily able to predict the final price you’ll pay to use the platform.
To explain, before you select a Shopify plan, you know what features are included and how much it will cost on a monthly basis. If something is missing from your plan that you need to buy as an add-on, you can factor that into your cost ahead of time. Similarly, if you use Shopify Payments, you know how much you’ll be charged per transaction, and although you’ll pay more if you use a third-party merchant services provider, Shopify at least tells you about the specifics of this cost upfront.
In these ways, Shopify is much more predictable than PrestaShop—you know what you’re getting and how much it will cost—which can be particularly important for small businesses, especially in terms of budget.
At the end of the day, both PrestaShop and Shopify have robust ecommerce functionality to offer—but the platform that’s right for your business will depend on your specific needs and budget. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use, predictable platform that doesn’t require any technical knowledge, Shopify is going to be the better option for you. On the other hand, if you want a platform that can offer you the most customization and ability to sell internationally, PrestaShop will be the more suitable choice. Therefore, there is no objective winner in PrestaShop vs. Shopify—instead, the right platform will be the one that works best for your small business needs.