When it comes to Shopify vs Prestashop, they’re closely fighting for the same market. Both aimed to be ‘out-of-the-box’ ecommerce solutions, with user-friendly interfaces and drag and drop functionality. However, there is a major difference: Prestashop is free. Although Shopify is arguably the ‘go to’ instant ecommerce platform thanks to its prolific advertising campaigns, Prestashop is a serious Shopify rival. Our overview of both platforms, their pros, cons and costs will help you choose the best e-commerce platform for you.

Shopify Overview

Online business owners with an eCommerce website need a shopping platform that is aesthetically pleasing, affordable and easy to use for you and your customers. Shopify ticks all three boxes – and offers much more. There is a wide range of templates that can be customised to suit your brand image and is ideal eCommerce platform for drop shipping.

Is Shopify SAAS?

Yes, Shopify is fully-hosted, there is no open source code to download and install on your own server; everything is managed by Shopify.

Shopify Setup Costs

Shopify looks to provide start-up business owners with a cost-free solution by offering a 14-day free trial. After that, the monthly payments are incurred in accordance with the plan you choose.

On top of your monthly service fee, you also have others costs such as email, transaction fees and possible design costs if you hire a web developer. However, it is possible for you to customise templates yourself if you can work with Shopify ‘Liquid’. Overall, Shopify setup costs can cost anything from £600-£3000.

Shopify Monthly Costs

Shopify is a ‘software as a service’ (Saas) platform which means you have to pay a monthly subscription fee. There are five options, the cheapest of which is Shopify Lite which is an alternative low-cost option. The Shopify pricing plan is as follows:

  • Shopify Lite: $9/£7 month
  • Basic Shopify: $29/£22/month
  • Shopify: $79/£59/month
  • Advanced Shopify: $299/225/month
  • Shopify Plus: Negotiable depending on requirements. Contact Shopify sales for setup

In addition to monthly subscription fees, Shopify charges transactions fees if you use external payment gateways such as Paypal. However, there are no transaction fees when you use Shopify Payments. Transaction charges are:

  • Basic plan: 2.0%
  • Shopify: 1.0%
  • Advanced Shopify: 0.5%

Transaction fees are used to cover the cost of maintenance and the supply of technology Shopify use to power your sales. Where you will feel some loss is the credit card fees for point-of-sale. Shopify charges the following credit card fees.

  • Basic plan: online purchases = 2.2% + 20p / in person (point of sale) 1.7%
  • Shopify: online purchases 1.9% + 20p / in person (point of sale) 1.6%
  • Advanced Shopify: online purchases 1.6% + 20p / in person (point of sale) 1.5%

Shopify Hosting Options

Shopify is a hosted eCommerce platform so there are no hosting fees to pay. The cost of hosting is including in all Shopify packages.

Shopify Set-up Skills

Setting up Shopify is easier if you are tech savvy. If you know your way around a basic interface you will not have any problems. If you plan to customise your eCommerce to suit your brand colours, hiring a web developer is advisable.

Shopify uses a unique coding language called “Liquid”. This can complicate the customisation process even for programmers that know HTML and CSS code. For start-ups the best option is to use one of the free templates and only make basic modifications that do not require code. Once you start earning from your eCommerce website, you can always make modifications as and when necessary.

Shopify Theme Availability

Shopify offer 10 free starter templates and around 50 premium themes, although there are literally hundreds of themed Shopify templates available across the web. Templates are responsive and have two or three variants.  Although the free templates are well designed, the premium themes are more aesthetically pleasing and project a professional appearance. Premium templates cost between £100-£135 but have more functionality and enable you to add videos.

Shopify Day-to-day Running

Adding products, images and content is straightforward in Shopify. If less tech-savvy business owners shouldn’t encounter any problems with the interface.

Shopify Payment Options

Shopify has a couple of payment options for online users and credit card customers. The least expensive option is to use Shopify Payments. This is a built-in payment gateway and does not carry a transaction fee on purchases, although credit card charges do apply.

If you choose to use a recognised third-party gateway, the transactions fees mentioned above apply. However, there is arguably more potential to make more sales through third-party gateways, like Paypal. Should you choose to opt for an external payment process, you need to register for a merchant account with the third party which may incur a transaction fee or monthly payment.

Shopify Product attributes (whether unlimited or not)

Shopify called product attributes Options and Variants. For example, an option is the Size of a T-Shirt of its Colour. Then the Variant is Small, Medium and Large or Green, Pink, Black.

You are allowed up to 100 variants on each product, which could be 10 options with 10 variants or 1 option with 100 variants – or any other combination.

The Shopify platform does not have a limit on the number of products you can sell.

Shopify Typical Annual Running Costs for the first year then ongoing years

The good news for eCommerce owners using Shopify is the fees go down each year. Running costs are as follows:

Plan Set Up and 1st year 2nd-year 3rd year
Basic $29/£22 $26.10/£20 $23.20/£18
Shopify $79/£59 $71.10/£54 $63.20/£47
Advanced Shopify $299/£225 $269.10/£203 $239.20/£180

Shopify Customer Support Options

Of all the eCommerce platforms available, Shopify boasts one of the best customer support teams of them all. Lines are open 24/7 and they can be contacted by email, live chat or phone. The support team are knowledgeable about usability queries, but if your question is a technical issue, you may have to wait until a developer gets back to you.

 

Prestashop Overview

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.

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