Magento vs Prestashop – these ecommerce platforms are aimed at completely different users. Magento is a heavyweight ecommerce platform, favoured by enterprise-level companies and big digital agencies. However, PrestaShop is a free open-source e-commerce platform. Here’s our overview of both platforms, their pros, cons and costs.
Magento is a powerful eCommerce platform best suited to large eCommerce companies. The ‘enterprise level’ software has a lot to offer but requires development experience so is best suited for companies that have an in-house developer or can afford to pay a third party developer.
Is Magento SAAS?
No, Magento is not SAAS. You will need to download and install the Magento code on your own server and therefore you will need to factor in hosting costs.
Magento Setup costs
A major bonus: there are no setup charges or transaction fees to use Magento. However, in order to set up the online store you want, there are a significant number of other set-up costs including payment gateways, SSL certificates, product and shipping plugins which can cost several thousand pounds. Not forgetting that, unless you’re technically savvy, you’ll need a developer to configure Magento for you.
Magento Monthly Costs
Magento targets large enterprises so is not the cheapest eCommerce software around as you have to factor in setup costs which usually involve an agency or specialist developer.
In addition to set-up fees, there are a number of other costs to take into consideration; hosting, payment gateways, development, and various set up costs. It is estimated that the annual running costs for a basic Community Magento Edition (CE) will set you back between £1,000 and £5,000, which equates to the costs of your server hosting fees, plus minor additions like SSL certificates, renewing plugins, etc.
Large eCommerce companies typically need the Magento Enterprise platform which cost between £20,000 and £580,000 a year to run, develop and maintain. The exact pricing plans for Magento vary quite widely as you can choose between the (self-hosted) Enterprise Edition or the Magento-hosted cloud version Enterprise Cloud Edition.
Magento Hosting Options
Magento is a standalone platform so you will need a web host, unless you opt for the enterprise Cloud Edition, which is only realistically an option for larger stores with big budgets. There are plenty of hosting companies offering good packages, but not all are optimised. Hosting prices vary from £40-£350 per month depending on which additional services you need in addition to basic hosting.
Magento Set-Up Skills
In general, Magento users need some technical skills. If you’re planning to manage the software in-house you will need someone with development skills. It is not the easiest e-Commerce platform to use. However, if you are feeling a little overwhelmed, take advantage of the ‘Start My Store’ wizard which you will find at the top of the administrator page. This will help get you started and has demonstrations of how to create the design, add products, payments, shipping and everything else in between.
Magento Theme Availability
If there is one area which lets team Magento down is the lack of built-in templates. That’s not to say you won’t find a design suited to your eCommerce setup, but needless to say, you will have to pay for a decent template. There is a saving grace, however. ThemeForest list over 500 Magento themes starting from £30.
Magento Day-to-day Running
Although coding skills are required for to set-up your eCommerce store with Magento, daily management processes are relatively straightforward. The dashboard is clean and the intuitive user-interface makes navigation simple. The dashboard also gives you a quick overview of analytics and transactions.
Content can be easily imported from your computer’s hard drive and customising product pages does not require any technical skills. You use the admin panel to manage transactions; orders, fulfilment, shipping, invoices and extended credit are all accessed from one location. Overall, Magento is pretty easy to use and offers customer-friendly features such as a one-click buy button and zoom.
Magento Payment Options
The payment options in the Magento software has everything you would expect from an enterprise level software. Businesses can offer customers several gateway options, more than other eCommerce sites. This gives you more flexibility and professionalism.
Magento is compatible with PayPal, Simple Pay, Amazon Payments, Google Checkout and Authorize.net. Furthermore, there are no transactions fees or what customers may deem as ‘hidden costs’ – tax and shipping costs are built into the total invoice amount before customers head to checkout.
Another advantage of the Magento payment options is the “bill me later” program. This gives buyers the opportunity to set up convenient and affordable direct debits whereby they make monthly payments rather than a one-off payment. This is a feature online buyers appreciate for expensive items.
Magento Product Attributes (whether unlimited or not)
There is no limit to the number of products or product attributes that you can run in a Magento install.
Typical Annual Running Costs for the first year then ongoing years
Given Magento targets large eCommerce companies, the annual running costs are high. The licence for the hardware is £8,500 for the first two years and reduced to £6,500 in the third year. On top of that is the cost of a hosting plan which varies quite widely: from £400 upwards a month.
Magento Customer Support Options
Businesses that opt for the Magento CE are without technical support other than a users forum where you can tap into a huge knowledge base of active users. The Magento EE version does offer a tech support team.
Companies that intend to build a unique eCommerce website from open source agents should take a look at the Prestashop eCommerce software. This slick and powerful platform provides users with a finely tuned website that delivers an impressive shopping experience and a heavy dose of statistics right from the dashboard.
Prestashop Setup Costs
Theoretically, setting up an eCommerce website with Prestashop can cost next to nothing, but in reality, a professional website requires a sizeable investment. The eCommerce software itself is free and whilst there are over 600 features built-in, Prestashop is not always a low-cost solution.
In order to build a shopping cart customers trust on Prestashop, you need to invest in other software such as integration with certain social media networks, third-party payment gateways and integration with the Amazon and eBay marketplace, both of which costs $229/£172 and $289/£220 respectively.
Prestashop is also a licensed web platform which means you have to find a third-party host. Other expenses will include web development and the purchase of a premium design template. Because of the setup costs and development required to make a Prestashop platform totally professional, it is best suited for mid-sized to large businesses.
Prestashop Monthly Costs
One of the benefits of a self-hosted eCommerce platform is you don’t have ongoing monthly expenses. Furthermore, Prestashop doesn’t charge users for a monthly subscription fee or take a cut of your revenue like other eCommerce websites. Monthly running costs should, therefore, be minimal.
The most likely expense will be additional modules you want to install to help you grow your business and potential development issues caused by technical errors. However, the latter can be avoided if you (or your developer) takes time to research which plugins are most compatible with each other.
Whilst open source platforms do have benefits, they can also cause problems. Because the software and plugins you install on Prestashop are all made by different developers, there is not guarantee they are all compatible with one another. As a result, you may experience more technical problems than you might on other eCommerce platforms. Ongoing monthly costs are therefore difficult to predict and will depend on the complexity of your website.
Prestashop Hosting Options
Merchants using Prestashop need to find a third party host. Prestashop recommend 1&1 hosting (presumably because they have a deal with them), but you will probably find better deals if you shop around.
Prestashop Set up Skills
Unless you intend to build a bog-basic online store, eCommerce owners looking to build a shopping cart with Prestashop will need some technical knowledge or hire someone that does. Set up can be overly complicated if open source software clashes occur during the building process.
Prestashop Theme availability
There is no shortage of design templated available from Prestashop or third-party sources. You will find over 2000 themes in the Prestashop store, 500 of which are premium templates and another 600 designed by certified partners specifically for Prestashop. Templates start from $84/£64 whilst premium templates start from $157-$220/£120-£168.
Prestashop Day-to-Day Running
Once you are set up with Prestashop, the day to day running is straightforward. The dashboard provides an overview of all the most important statistics you need to run your business, more than any other eCommerce software.
Managing your shopping cart is also easy. Adding products and other various types of content is intuitive and built-in SEO features also provide guidance about keywords, metadata and other SEO-related factors that improve visibility on search engines.
Prestashop Payment Options
Because Prestashop is an open source software, users are free to add whatever payment gateways you require. Purchase of the payment gateway is a one-off purchase, but there is a processing fee charged by the bank or payment gateway for credit card payments on each transaction. Prestashop does not charge transaction fees like some of the other leading eCommerce platforms.
Prestashop Product Attributes
There is a wealth of attributes you can add to your product pages which help to improve sales and SEO. The product creation page is particularly well designed and allows business users to include extensive information about products together with adding multiple images.
Prestashop Typical Annual Running Costs
The annual running costs will depend on the complexity of your shopping cart and the web hosting plan you opt for. Once the initial setup costs are cleared and any technical issues are resolved, monthly ongoing costs can be kept to a minimum. Until you intend to expand, ongoing costs will not change significantly, although you will have to purchase an SSL Certificate each year. These typically cost $90/£70.
Prestashop Customer Support Options
Prestashop provides a comprehensive customer support service including live chat, email and phone. There is also a diverse user community that has built an extensive forum of problem/solutions that could help you resolve issues or even avoid them in the first place.
As mentioned earlier, when you install software that is developed by multiple sources, there is a higher risk of experiencing technical problems. So when you originally build your shopping cart, it is recommended that you tap into the wealth of knowledge provided by the Prestashop community and avoid encountering problems in the first place.
How The Content Works can help
Here at The Content Works, we specialise in Technical Website Audits. We’re here to find the issues on your website that are causing you to lose visitors, see poor conversions rates and ultimately we highlight the issues costing you money. Take a look at our services page to see the technical website audits we offer. Call us on 0207 305 5599 to discuss your situation and we’ll show you how we can add value to your business.