The online market is fast-changing, and currently, it offers retailers more than 120 different shopping carts to choose from. Since every platform has its strengths and weaknesses, it's really important to make the right choice that would suit your individual needs and budget.
So, if you're getting ready to launch an online store and having doubts about what type of eCommerce software to choose, read on. Today we will compare two completely different platforms - a hosted and non-hosted one - PrestaShop and Shopify. Both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses and can possibly become the right-your-size business solution. Let's make a side-by-side comparison to help you decide between these two alternatives.
Fact 1. PrestaShop vs. Shopify: Key Data
PrestaShop is a freemium self-hosted open-source platform, founded in Paris in 2007. Currently, it is being used by more than 300,000 shops worldwide. This solution doesn't require a specific web-provider and gives its customers the freedom to choose providers themselves. Also, it's famous for being fully customizable, i.e., you can modify the store according to your individual preferences. It's an ideal option for those entrepreneurs who are planning to set up a small or medium online business. Other benefits of PrestaShop are listed here.
Shopify, on the other hand, is a Canadian hosted platform (i.e., you will have to register an account on a specific server), founded in 2004. It powers more than one million stores and is considered to be one of the fastest-growing platforms in the world. This platform is famous for the simplicity of use and fine-featured themes. Due to its flexibility, Shopify is a perfect shopping cart for any type of online store.
Here's how PrestaShop and Shopify are displayed on Google Trends:
Even though the popularity of Shopify has increased over the last few years, PrestaShop's reliability is still well-liked among its users.
Fact 2. PrestaShop vs. Shopify: Ease of Use
Both PrestaShop and Shopify are user-friendly; hence, even not tech-savvy users feel comfortable working with them. In fact, Shopify is even easier to use due to its wizard mode, drag and drop builder, and intuitive dashboard. Creating a store on this platform shouldn't take long, and you could start making changes to it right away.
Prestashop set-up might take some time because it requires more profound technical skills. However, very detailed user-guides can be found in the eCommerce library.
Fact 3. PrestaShop vs. Shopify: Basic Features
Store performance is one of the core features that are essential to any business owner. Both shopping carts offer basic services that assist in the use and maintenance of the store.
To be more specific, Shopify's basic plan includes all the features needed to set up an eCommerce store (but one should understand that more capabilities are provided only within advanced pricing plans).
On the other hand, PrestaShop provides its customers with the accessibility to its full functionality without having to spend a penny. But keep in mind that there are additional expenses associated with hosting, add-ons, themes, and templates.
Number of Entities
Another thing that both shopping carts have in common is the number of entities in the store. PrestaShop offers clients the ability to list as many products as they wish to sell. Additional options include configurable features concerning the display of expiry dates for particular products and special alerts regarding the out-of-stock entities.
Shopify's clients can also add an unlimited number of entities regardless of their pricing plan. In addition to that, the software has a significant number of dropshipping apps that assist merchants in product creation.
Themes and Templates
PrestaShop, as well as Shopify, offers merchants a great variety of themes and templates to choose from.
The PrestaShop marketplace has over 3000 high-standard templates and themes. In order to help users make their best choice, they are divided into categories according to the topic, the language of the store, included functionalities, developers, reviews, structure, colors, and style. Their prices range from € 59.99 to € 999.99.
The official Shopify store has 8 free and 64 paid themes. They are also split into categories according to industry, the number of products, layout style, product, and home pages, navigation, marketing, and social media. All the themes are really modern-looking, and the price of the paid ones ranges from $140 to $180.
Modules and Applications
Another feature that helps entrepreneurs to enhance and increase the functionality of their store is the use of apps and add-ons. PrestaShop has a huge collection of modules, designed for different purposes of every store-owner. They are also divided into categories according to the aim of use, module language, developer, and review. Some of the modules are free, and the price of the paid ones ranges from € 19.99 to € 4 999.99 (it's a one-time purchase). While all of them look good and easy to use, it is important to keep in mind that they're usually made by different developers and may not be compatible with each other. Thus, you'll need a developer to synchronize them.
Shopify has one of the biggest Application stores out of all the eCommerce platforms. It is constantly growing and provides customers with a variety of applications that would satisfy the needs of even the most demanding store owner. Free and paid apps (most of them require a monthly fee) are separated into different subcategories and collections depending on the purpose of use. What's more, all the apps are being constantly checked and will not damage your store. To get to know more about Shopify's plug-ins, please read our article.
Most platforms provide its customers with additional customization options, and PrestaShop and Shopify are not the exceptions. To be more specific, PrestaShop is known as one of the most customizable platforms that allow expanding the functionality of the online shop. You can change the functionality of your shop, edit or create items following any specific needs and requirements.
At the same time, Shopify also has strong customization capabilities, mostly due to its interface, which allows editing codes directly. Users can easily change the main attributes of the site. Drag and drop Builder is one of the most notable features of the platform that makes Shopify popular among its users.
Orders and Shipping
PrestaShop offers merchants the possibility to create order fulfillment and returns. All the orders can be managed from the admin panel. Also, the software allows the use of configurable shipping methods, supports a variety of shipping zones, services, costs, and taxes depending on the region.
Contrarily, Shopify supports different dropshipping adds, allows one-click order fulfillment, refunds, as well as the creation of customer profiles and groups. Customers are provided with two options of checkout - they can either create a profile or buy products under a guest account.
As for payment gateways, both PrestaShop and Shopify platforms support a variety of payment methods. But the difference lies in integration. PrestaShop works well with almost any of the payment gateways, including PayPal, Amazon Pay, Worldpay, Authorize.net, etc. Additionally, there are over 250 add-ons that support different payment providers.
Shopify's list of supported providers includes over 100 worldwide companies, but they are considered to be the third-party gateways and to use them, you need to pay additional fees. As an alternative software suggests its customers to use Shopify Pay with 0% transaction fees.
Coupons and Discount Codes
When it comes to PrestaShop vs. Shopify, these platforms have entirely different approaches. They both offer coupons and discount codes, but PrestaShop does it immediately, without any additional payments on your side. Shopify, contrastingly, offers this option only after the purchase of a plan with more advanced functionality.
PrestaShop has a multilingual interface and supports multiple currencies, as well as checkout options for international shipping and taxes.
International trading with Shopify is also available, but this platform doesn't have built-in multilingual capabilities. In order to create a multilingual store, you will have to install a paid app - e.g., the most popular ones are the Langify, Weglot, Panda Language Translate, etc.
Both PrestaShop and Shopify have built-in mobile-optimized shopping features. So no need to worry, your store will look good on any device.
Fact 4. PrestaShop vs. Shopify: Overall Costs
Even though PrestaShop is free to download, to build a full-featured store, its owner must spend a fair amount of money. First of all, the store will need web hosting, since it's not a self-hosted platform. Prices of hostings can vary depending on the provider. Secondly, keep in mind that customization of open-source solutions like PrestaShop requires coding skills. Thus, you will do it by yourself if you have the necessary qualifications. Or, you will have to hire a developer, but be ready for some additional expenses.
At the same time, Shopify, even though being a paid eCommerce solution, is also free to download. The company offers a 14-day free trial to figure out if the functionality and performance of the platform are enough for the user. After the trial period, you can choose one of the three pricing plans that would suit your store size and budget.
Fact 5. PrestaShop vs. Shopify: Security
Needless to say that security is also one of the key features one should bear in mind when setting up an online store.
PrestaShop, as well as Shopify, are both PCI compliant. Shopify is being hosted on a Level 1 PCI DSS compliant server. Also, software regularly creates backups of all the data. Unfortunately, PrestaShop requires you to buy an additional SSL certificate and continuously check it on security patches.
Fact 6. PrestaShop vs. Shopify: SEO
Both platforms have an excellent set of techniques and tools, aiming to improve your store's SEO. PrestaShop provides its clients with a significant number of modules to promote their business online and end up in the highest ranks of search engines.
At the same time, Shopify itself is fast (since it is a hosted platform) and has almost all the features for your store to become popular. These include meta title and description, custom URLs, headings, image alt text, excellent speed and uptime, 301 redirects, SSL encryption, canonical tags. There's no need to install additional apps for your store to get a better chance in the ranking.
Fact 7. PrestaShop vs. Shopify: Customer Support
Another aspect that should not be left out is customer support. The questions concerning the store management will definitely arise, it's only a matter of time.
PrestaShop offers its customers only paid support. There are four different levels of support - "One shot", "Essential", "Premium" and "Deluxe". They differ in price and suggested options. Besides that, PrestaShop's website has a variety of support resources - documentation, videos, webinars, tutorials. Also, arising questions can be solved by fellow users on a community forum. Besides that, PrestaShop organizes training courses to teach merchants and developers the ins and outs of the software.
Shopify, on the other hand, has 24/7 customer support regardless of the pricing plan. This support includes phone, chat, and email support, as well as user forums, tutorials, and FAQs. Furthermore, Shopify has its eCommerce University with unlimited access to eBooks, guides, and videos.
To sum up the information mentioned above, let's now point out the pros and cons of each platform:
What are PrestaShop’s Pros and Cons?
- Free platform
- One of the most customizable on the market
- A significant number of themes and templates
- Huge collection of modules
- Immediate availability of coupons and discount codes
- High level of security
- Variety of SEO features
- Paid customer support
- A bit complicated set-up process
- Need of developer skills
What are Shopify’s Pros and Cons?
- Set pricing plans
- 14-day trial
- Easy set-up and maintenance
- Hundreds of beautiful and modern-looking themes
- Availability of reliable apps and add-ons
- Highest level of security
- Best SEO features
- Great customer support
- Low level of customization
- Monthly payments
With all that being said, both PrestaShop and Shopify are among the most used and talked about platforms in the world of online business. However, it’s up to you to decide which of them will suit your specific business case better.
PrestaShop vs. Shopify. Which Platform is Better for You?
As you can see, both platforms will eventually require money investment. So, if you are a developer with creative ideas - go for PrestaShop. If you want your shop to be easy-navigable and modern looking, then you should definitely opt for Shopify.
Additionally, we advise you to check out our post "The Most Popular eCommerce Platforms for Small Business in 2020".
The best way to choose a platform is to check its performance and features yourself. Also, keep in mind that you can always migrate your store from PrestaShop to Shopify. The migration service like Cart2Cart has been developed to help you make the process of transition smooth and easy, and deprive you of unnecessary concerns.