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magento & ecommerce

Magento vs. PrestaShop: an overview

30Some newer website owners are beginning to favor PrestaShop over Magento. It has a free to download tag, seems rather simple to use, and with the appeal of being a fresh platform.

Is newer always better? Is a simple interface a key feature to running an ecommerce venture? The answer may surprise you.

In this article, we’ll take a close look at the main selling points of both platforms. By highlighting their highs and lows, you should have a better understanding of which platform is better suited for your particular setup.

Pricing

Pricing is a key element of any ecommerce platform. Magento is well known for its low subscription plans and free assistance. It is also known for having a wide range of free templates and plugins alongside the ones you have to pay for.

You can credit the Magento community for the tons of free ‘extras’ that you can use for your webstore.

Now let’s talk about PrestaShop. This software is free to download and free to use. There are no subscription plans that give you access to more themes or specific features.

However, PrestaShop does have some tricks up its sleeve. If you want support, you literally have to pay for it. The assistance is top-notch but can be a bit expensive for most site owners.

Granted, Magento doesn’t have a 24/7 hotline but at least you don’t have to choose between three payment plans to get the assistance you need. Another drawback is that none of the plans comes with a lifetime payment.

So, while PrestaShop may be free to use, it’s not as appealing as it sounds when you factor in paid plans for support and, wait for it – paid hosting. Yes, PrestaShop also forces you to use specific hosting services whereas Magento gives you total freedom to choose your favorite service.

Hosting

Setting aside the financial aspect of hosting, you should also know some other key differences between the two platforms. Magento obviously lets you choose whatever hosting service you want. You can go for a high-end provider with tight security or you can cut costs and take your business to a more affordable provider.

PrestaShop not only forces you into choosing their hosting partner, it also prevents you from choosing any other option. As it stands these days, you can’t launch your PrestaShop store without partnering up with one of their partners.

This lack of flexibility can be a major deal-breaker for a lot of site owners.

Functionality and integrated features

For a while, it seemed like the two were neck and neck in terms of features. PrestaShop puts a lot of emphasis on analytics and integrated features that help understand incoming traffic. This allows a website owner to modify the business strategy for maximizing profits.

It also does a great job of allowing shops to export product listings to huge marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay.

However, as extensive as PrestaShop’s list of features may seem, it’s like comparing a grocery list with an encyclopedia. The latter represents the vast array of integrated features that Magento offers to its users.

Here’s just a small taste of what Magento has and PrestaShop doesn’t:

  • Drag and drop interface
  • Campaign management
  • API
  • AWeber
  • HubSpot marketing
  • BankPayment
  • Stripe
  • Embedded ERP
  • Advanced statistics
  • Analytic graphs integration
  • Private sales
  • Reward system
  • Wish lists
  • Targeted promotions

The list goes on and on...

Ease of use

Now, judging by the amount of features and integrations in the Magento platform, it’s safe to say that this is not the easiest one to use. You do need some assistance especially if you don’t have a tech or development background.

PrestaShop is a bit simplified in terms of interface and feature implementation. It may seem like the optimal choice for freelancers and small business owners. After all, when and if you need more data and more features you can always find ways to migrate to a new platform.

However, just because the platform comes with a minimal learning curve doesn’t necessarily translate to an edge over Magento. If you consider PrestaShop’s paid support plans, even with limited knowledge in development and shop cart integration, Magento seems like a better option.

With Magento, you can make use of tons of written guides and video guides on how to get started, perform maintenance, adapt to unforeseen scenarios, and so on. The beauty of it is that you can access those free resources as needed and at any given time.

What about SEO?

Everyone wants to know about SEO functionality and effectiveness. In this respect, PrestaShop offers automated URL rewriting, CMS pages, and automatic Meta tags and social Meta tags. Overall it does a surprisingly good job at keeping up with Magento.

The industry-leading Magento, on the other hand, does all that and more. Magento also offers image optimization, separate Meta tags for home pages or products, editing of robot.txt files, canonical tags, Yoast integration, and more.

At the end of the day, there might be one SEO aspect that gives a slight edge to PrestaShop. Magento’s pages can be slow to load at times given that the platform is front-end heavy. It may take serious customization to get everything working just right and perhaps that’s something that not everyone has the time or the skill to perform.

Final word

At first glance, PrestaShop’s main draw is the free-to-use aspect. However, the reality of it is that without investing in their hosting and templates, you can’t really do much. What’s even worse is when you have to pay large sums of money to get assistance from their support staff.

In contrast, Magento is not the cheapest alternative by any means. Some of their best themes and templates cost serious dough. Nevertheless, you get a lot more freedom when it comes to choosing what you want or don’t want to pay for.

Magento isn’t the industry’s leading platform for just a few reasons. It sits on its throne because it can be as complex or as simple as you need it to be. It’s an ecommerce platform that molds itself to the widest range of businesses.

By interactivated • on July 30, 2018

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