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Opening a store seems like a fairly simple task. After all, it just comes down to choosing an assortment, one or another technological solution, and you’re done. However, this laconic approach may disappoint us greatly. E-commerce is a very vast phenomenon encompassing many concepts related to online marketing (SEO, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, content marketing, remarketing, marketing automation, affiliate networks, etc.), and yet there is also the side related strictly to the operation of the online store. And this issue seems to be extremely important.
Which one should I use? It’s often a matter of internal dispute whether to choose SaaS (Software as a Service) platform or open-source solutions. While ready-made, template-based stores are almost immediately usable, the open-source ones require proper configuration. However, the latter gives you a certain freedom, independence from SaaS providers. Let’s take a look at these solutions, peeking a bit deeper into the possibilities offered by popular platforms such as Magento and Prestashop.
Both Magento and Prestashop are software designed to be installed on your own hosting. In case of open-source solutions, as opposed to the SaaS model, we have to take care of a good, stable hosting on our own. It’s also worth taking care of professional support offered by interactive agencies specializing in building e-shops on the foundation of open-source solutions. It is also important to keep an eye on the pulse in terms of regular software updates.
It is also worth noting that Magento and Prestashop are free technologies that can be managed freely. However, it should be noted that we need to know not only about the issues related to the server, hosting, but also about the operation of the online store in general. We should know about the ergonomics of online shopping, how the shopping process should proceed, etc.
Since these are open-source platforms, it would seem that the differences are not too many. And if we take into account the costs, they are indeed similar. If we know even a little bit about programming, these platforms give us a lot of possibilities. However, we should pay attention to the fact that in case of Prestashop we have to take into account the costs of further exploitation of this solution. E-store development regardless of the direction will require the use of one or another plug-in. And this will generate expenses. As far as Magento is concerned, the basic version includes a comprehensive set of plugins which will satisfy most needs.
And how about the functionality? Both Prestashop and Magento offer quite a lot of features that will allow you to build a professional online store. The differences will come, for example, from the ability to configure and manage product cards. This especially refers to the logistics layer. In Prestashop, without buying paid plug-ins, it’s impossible to define non-standard shipping costs, which often depend on variable parameters of ordered products (e.g., in furniture industry).
Lack of restrictions in Magento also refers to multiple language versions, as well as currencies. What is more, Magento enables to run many stores from the level of one administration panel. It should be mentioned that Magento enables you to integrate with well-known price comparison services. A very valuable feature of Magento is also the one related to the support of automated dispatch of transactional emails, it also provides detailed statistical data that informs about customer behavior and preferences.
There is another important difference between Magento and Prestashop. The former platform maintains very good loading speed of the online store. On the other hand, Prestashop, if not optimized properly (even more so if it is loaded with many plugins), may not run fast enough for both users and googlebots. Let’s also pay attention to the scalability of both solutions.
Let’s also pay attention to the scalability of both solutions. Prestashop will be a pretty good solution for small and medium-sized stores, but if they grow significantly, they will expect the sales platform to work properly. This refers primarily to the already mentioned speed. Prestashop is prone to slower performance compared to Magento. Open source Magento allows you to support tens of thousands of users, so the clear development of your store will not be hindered even if the traffic grows extremely dynamically.
While considering one or the other solution, we should take into account the scale of our e-business. Magento is a solution that gives a lot of possibilities if we look further into the future, while Prestation gives a chance to start selling online quickly and with a small budget, but over time it may not be a sufficient solution.
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