WooCommerce vs Prestashop – both are free open-source ecommerce platforms. There’s not a huge amount of difference in terms of the functionality each platform offers but WooCommerce is much more customisable thanks to its popularity and range of plugins. Which is the best platform for your needs? Our overview of both platforms, their pros, cons and costs will help you find the best e-commerce platform for you.

WooCommerce Overview

Small business owners that have built a modest eCommerce store with WordPress might want to take a look at the WooCommerce shopping cart. The plugin is free and providing you don’t need too many extras, WooCommerce software presents an affordable and user-friendly option.

Is WooCommerce SAAS?

No, WooCommerce is an add-on to WordPress and you’ll need to pay for hosting of WordPress and then use the WooCommerce plugin to convert WordPress to an e-commerce store.

WooCommerce Setup Costs

The WooCommerce plugin is free from WordPress. For small businesses on a budget, this provides you with all the functionality you need to get your eCommerce store up and running at low-cost. However, if you want to add more functionality, you’ll need a handful of plugins, which cost around $49/£35 each.

On top of that, there is a £70 fee for an SSL certificate and web hosting costs together with domain registration fees.  Some web hosts offer SSL certificates and domains for free as an incentive for customers to sign up. Realistically, you can set up a fully-functional eCommerce website with WooCommerce for under £1000 if you do it all yourself.

WooCommerce Monthly Costs

WooCommerce is a free plugin which reduces your monthly running costs. Basic eCommerce sites can be as little as £15 a month for the first year if all you need is web hosting. Monthly costs, therefore, depend on your hosting package and could ultimately, be as high as £350 a month if you use a dedicated server.

WooCommerce Hosting Options

WordPress, and thus WooCommerce, require third-party hosts. Hosting plans are well represented across the board and for the most part are reasonably priced. You can get premium hosting plans for as little as £200 a year with unlimited bandwidth. The cost of WooCommerce really depends on how much you develop the platform from the standard install.

WooCommerce Set-up Skills

Setting up WooCommerce is as easy as installing a plugin into the backend of your WordPress website. Okay, there are other more technical functions to perform such as setting up buy buttons and syncing them with payment gateways, but if you are already familiar with WordPress, this is not too difficult to do.

Having said that, it is easier if you have some coding and WordPress knowledge – although your host support or development team should be able to guide you through most of the setup functions. If you need visual aids, use the WooCommerce setup wizard.  That walks you through everything you need to know in less than five minutes.

You also have access to Storefront Powerpack which hosts easy-to-use tools and enables you to make customisable designs to the template without needing any coding skills. Again, this is much easier if you already have some understanding of how WordPress works, but in all honesty, it’s not too difficult to pick up if you are given the right guidance to get you started.

WooCommerce Theme Availability

Templates for WooCommerce are scarce in the WooThemes Storefront, but at $39/£29 are not expensive. However, you will find plenty of pre-formatted design options through WordPress themes and other third-party sources – although you may have to pay twice as much for a theme. Marketplaces like ThemeForest are a great source of themes.

WooCommerce Day-to-Day Running

Together with Shopify, WooCommerce is the easiest interface to navigate. You access WooCommerce through your WordPress dashboard and can see pending shipping orders, product information and inventory tracking at a glance.  Shipping details are built-in automatically so customers can select their preferred method. Adding products is performed through WordPress.

WooCommerce Payment Options

WooCommerce software offers five built-in payment gateways including PayPal (and Simplify for US users). Customers also have the option to pay by direct bank transfer, check payment or cash on delivery.

In addition to the free options listed above, you can install the following payment gateways:

  • Amazon Payments
  • Stripe (supports Apple Pay)
  • Authorize.net
  • PayPal Pro
  • FirstData
  • Square

WooCommerce Product Attributes

Because WooCommerce is open source, one of the advantages the software offers is unrestricted customisation. However, some WordPress themes present obstacles which can only be navigated with additional code which subsequently slows download speeds. Because the WooCommerce shopping centre is hosted by a third party, file storage depends on the package you have with your web host.

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

The WooCommerce platform is free and unlimited – if you choose it to be. However, on-running costs will depend on how much you want to enhance your eCommerce store. Remember that extensions, shipping options and payment gateways carry individual fees but you only have to buy these once. Hosting plans and SSL certificates may change yearly so check with your web host.

WooCommerce Customer Support Options

WooCommerce does offer customer support, but it is a ticket system and replies typically take 48 hours. Support options are limited, particularly if you have a customised website. The tech team at WooCommerce will just refer you to your web developers or ask you to disable third-party products before they help you. There is also a self-support forum which features useful documents, tutorial videos and tips from other users.

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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