Magento or PrestaShop: What's Better for Your eBusiness?
If you plan to create your own online store and you wonder which software to choose: Magento or PrestaShop, you've come to the right place! In this article, we compare both of these solutions, point out their advantages and disadvantages, and help you choose the best one for your eCommerce store. Happy reading!
Magento or PrestaShop: Key Similarities
Magento and PrestaShop are both solutions for online stores that are available for self-installation on your own servers. If you choose any of the two, you have to take care of a stable hosting, professional technical support and regular software updates. This is unlike in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, where the service provider takes care of all of it for you.
As both Magento and PrestaShop are open source solutions, they are free to use and allow you to enjoy flexibility – at least to some extent. Launched for the first time in 2008, Magento is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in the world, offering rich features for demanding businesses. In Poland, it is currently used by 2099 eCommerce sites. This number is much smaller than in case of PrestaShop, an easier solution created three years earlier, that is the most popular eCommerce platform in Poland, with as many as 19,890 active installations.
Magento or PrestaShop: Key Differences
Both solutions were created for different types of business. This fundamental difference forms the basis for all the other ones. Let's have a look at them one by one.
Even though PrestaShop is an open source software, you need to pay extra for plug-ins that enable more ambitious features – and those can cost a lot. For example: the basic plug-in that allows you to generate discount coupons costs 83.99 euro. By contrast, in Magento more features are included in the basic free software package.
However, while with a little software development knowledge you can carry out the implementation of PrestaShop all by yourself, the implementation of Magento requires experienced engineers or an external agency. The same goes for maintaining and updating the store itself – and all that costs money.
Both platforms offer a lot of features that allow you to build a professional online store, but compared to Magento, PrestaShop is better suited for smaller, young businesses. Of course it will allow you to create and manage products, create special offers or recover abandoned shopping carts, but it will not allow you to e.g. define non-standard shipping costs depending on variable parameters in case of e.g. custom-made furniture – unless you install a paid plug-in.
Magento does not impose such restrictions, and it allows you to freely adapt software to the individual needs of your business. Magento offers not only support for multiple language versions and currencies, but also allows you to run many independent online stores from a single panel. It also allows you to integrate with popular price comparison websites and eBay; it supports the sending of automated transactional emails and provides detailed data on customer behavior and preferences.
And while doing all this, Magento maintains a good loading speed, while PrestaShop, especially when not optimized and burdened with a multitude of plug-ins, can run very slowly.
As befits software intended for beginners or small businesses, PrestaShop has a simple graphical interface that allows you to efficiently navigate the "back office" of your eStore without any special IT skills. However, it entails significant limitations in terms of controlling the store and its further development. Magento is a bit more complicated on the UX end – its interface resembles a typical CMS, such as WordPress – but in return it allows you for much more.
System updates in PrestaShop take less time and effort than in case of Magento, but they can be difficult to do for a person unfamiliar with programming. Magento, on the other hand, due to its complexity should not to updated by a non-expert – it is better to entrust it to e.g. an external agency.
4. Scalability and Performance
As we've already mentioned, PrestaShop was designed primarily for small and medium-sized online stores, and therefore once a business grows, its operation and maintenance become problematic. The store takes longer to load, and more often than not it is "clogged".
Magento on the other hand – like no other solution – allows you to go through a period of dynamic growth with a dry foot. This software is able to cope with a significant increase in traffic, number of transactions and payments (up to 50 thousand buyers per hour!) while efficiently operating e.g. loyalty programs.
Not surprisingly, both solutions are very safe. If they were not, they would not be so widely used. Security is ensured by frequent software updates, in case of Magento released every 10-15 days. However, PrestaShop has the reputation of a solution whose plugins have significant security flaws...
To attract traffic to an online store, it's necessary to ensure that its content is optimized for search engines. It's not so much about the mobile-friendliness of the store or the speed with which the content loads – it's more about the content itself and links to it. Both PrestaShop and Magento offer good optimization of store content for SEO, but Magento offers more without the need to install additional plug-ins. It not only supports creation of Google-friendly URLs, or allows you to edit meta tags separately for individual products and product categories, but also has a tool that can automatically optimize the size of product photos.
7. Technical and Community Support
Just like other tools distributed in the open source model, Magento and PrestaShop have large communities of users that provide substantive assistance. You can easily access extensive documentation and discussion forums, where you can quickly get professional support.
Additionally, PrestaShop offers paid help in the ticket system to its customers, while Magento does it for free. A proactive customer support is available 24/7 via live chat and phone for customers using paid Magento Commerce licenses. In case of PrestaShop similar support will cost you 100 euros per hour.
So, Magento or PrestaShop?
Let's try to summarize what we've learned about both solutions.
PrestaShop has the opinion of a tool that is not very precisely targeted – it tries to serve all niches on the eCommerce market, and as a result, it is unable to fully satisfy any of them. As a solution designed for small and medium-sized stores it works well, but as soon as it is necessary to install additional plug-ins (and it will certainly happen, because not everything can be done in it using basic installation), you need help of an IT expert. In the long run, choosing PrestaShop can stop your store from growing. The more paid plugins installed in it, the more necessary updates and the associated risk that the store will choke and stop working properly.
Magento offers great flexibility for the development of an online store without the need to use additional plug-ins that support specific features. It allows you to create non-standard solution, i.e. stores that offer customized assortment (e.g. custom-made windows), allows for advanced personalization and the use of different settings for different time zones; you can also freely change price settings. However, when choosing Magento, you should lean on the knowledge and experience of IT experts, which increases the cost of using this software. But for an ambitious, dynamically growing online store such an investment will surely pay off.
There is no simple answer to the question asked in the title. It depends primarily on the nature, size and ambition of your planned online store. PrestaShop is perfect for beginners and medium-sized eBusinesses, especially since it does not require high technical skills. Magento, on the other hand, is the best choice for companies that operate on a grand scale and need conditions for a stable, trouble-free development.
Considering the above, we've worked out a compromise between the advanced features of the Magento system and the cost and difficulty of its implementation. The e-com.SHOP Magento 2 online store is a ready-to-use, SEO-optimized eCommerce store, equipped with our proprietary modules. Learn more about opportunities it offers your eBusiness.
Collaboration in research: Anna Para, e-com.house