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Whenever a business chooses to go online or start an eCommerce store, it is of a great deal of importance to choose the right platform for launching the web mall. Different eCommerce platforms make the right choice for different web malls, based on the number of products they sell, and how frequently they make changes to their store.

The business owner needs to make a selection from a range of eCommerce platforms that are nowadays available at his disposal. PrestaShop and Shopify are two of the finest selections from the list.

While Shopify is characterized by going live quickly and its ease of use, PrestaShop may be the right choice to go ahead with if one is looking for additional customizability.

In this article, we compare Shopify and PrestaShop over a range of critical operational and marketing parameters, to figure out the choice that will work the best for you.

1. An overview of Shopify and PrestaShop

Shopify and PrestaShop are both end-to-end eCommerce platforms and their built-in features are robust. A business owner can customize his store on either platform. While Shopify was founded in June 2006, PrestaShop was released in July 2008. Shopify powers 500,000 businesses across 175 countries. PrestaShop, similarly, powers 300,000 stores and is available in over 60 languages.

When we dwell deeper over the two eCommerce platforms, there’s one important difference between the two. As a fully hosted platform, Shopify is available on a paid subscription basis. Shopify not just hosts the online store but also manages security, maintenance, and upgrades, for the subscription fee paid to access the software.

But PrestaShop is an open-source platform. While it is free to download, the user conducts the installation. He pays for web hosting. Similarly, he finds and pays for updates and maintenance, as and when required.

2. The key features

2.1. Performance

In terms of performance, Shopify is the clear winner. With a load time of 1.3 seconds, Shopify gets 3.9 performance points. PrestaShop has a load time of 4.6 seconds and 2.9 performance points.

2.2 Ease of use

Among all eCommerce building platforms, the user interface of Shopify is the clearest and the neatest. With Shopify’s drag and drop elements, prior knowledge of coding is not a must for creating an aesthetic and professional online Shopify store. This allows a business to save on time and money. Numerous eCommerce businesses hence prefer to start with Shopify.

Complexity levels are slightly more in the case of PrestaShop. Since some coding is involved with creating a PrestaShop store, creating the same is going to be complex for a business owner, by himself.

2.3 Themes and customization power

At the Shopify theme store, a user comes across over 70 free and premium eCommerce website templates. PrestaShop, similarly, offers over 500 responsive free PrestaShop themes and PrestaShop templates for a user’s selection.

Shopify and PrestaShop, both make add-ons and extensions available for adding new features to an online store. A user can quickly change the layout and style of a store.

Adding features to PrestaShop is easy, but Shopify’s themes are more polished and customization is easier with Shopify as well.

2.4 Security       

Shopify and PrestaShop, both use state-of-the-art features for ensuring user privacy and security.

By creating one’s online store over Shopify, an online merchant gets free SSL registration and automated updates. All Shopify stores are certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliant (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard).

PrestaShop stores, similarly, are PCI compliant. There are numerous PrestaShop security modules that store owners can install, such as GDPR, Security Lite, Prestashop Captcha – reCAPTCHA module, etc.

2.5 Shopify apps and PrestaShop modules

Shopify features an app store and can be integrated with services such as MailChimp and Sumo. PrestaShop, similarly, uses modules, that are its versions of add-ons and themes. Currently, PrestaShop has over 3,000 modules.

Shopify apps and PrestaShop modules bring success to a merchant’s eCommerce business. They are additional features, which may have been developed by the platform itself, or by a third-party developer. All features that a merchant may require will be available at the Shopify or PrestaShop marketplace. They bring value to the business.

2.6 SEO & Marketing

A few of the marketing tactics that both, Shopify and PrestaShop make available include connectivity with social media platforms, free shipping, coupon codes, special offers, and discounts.

Shopify makes it easier to leave product reviews on the website and also simplifies website SEO. PrestaShop, similarly, facilitates rewriting URLs for the users. PrestaShop, furthermore, has a range of dedicated sections to optimize web pages. A few of their paid SEO modules automatically fill in the meta tags. Free and premium modules can be downloaded for letting customers leave reviews.

2.7 Payment methods

Shopify has its own Shopify Payments network to integrate card processors directly into the check-out process. Additionally, Shopify provides 100+ external payment gateways such as Stripe, PayPal, 2Checkout, etc., apart from Shopify Payment.

Similarly, in the case of PrestaShop, users can choose a third-party payment processor from 250 free options on the PrestaShop marketplace or PrestaShop Checkout solution.

2.8 Pricing

Installing and using PrestaShop is free because it is an entirely free CMS, and no transaction fees are charged as well. Payments need to be made only for the hosting service that you choose and come in the line of $3 – $7 per month.

But Shopify is a cloud-based solution and provides hosting services by itself. Shopify has 3 plans with a monthly price of USD 29, USD 79, and USD 299 respectively. Shopify, furthermore, charges a transaction fee of 2% if their ‘Shopify Payments’ is not used.

Among the two, PrestaShop is a clear winner in terms of Pricing.

3. Which one should you choose?

Choosing between Shopify and PrestaShop ultimately depends on a store owner’s requirements and the unique circumstances surrounding his business. In case a merchant is not possessed with strong technical skills, then Shopify is going to be the ideal option for him to conduct business. While Shopify is easy to use, controlling the price is easier as well.

Nevertheless, if a merchant has a small to medium-sized store and merely wants a platform that can provide him with the customization and the ability to sell hitch-free, then PrestaShop is a better-suited alternative for him. One can get started for free, the setup is easy, and there are no worries about any maintenance at all.

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