Digital

Prestashop VS Shopify: Which option is best for your brand?

PrestaShop and Shopify are similar online commerce platforms, but not that similar! Find out which one is best for your business.

Words by
Inês Paraíso, Ricardo Ferreira, João Santos
Published
in 13 of April of 2022

Are you thinking of selling your first products online? Want to migrate products from your website or social media network to a better online commerce platform?

Either situation is valid and viable. In this article, we will compare the online commerce platforms Prestashop and Shopify.

We also asked our web developers about which solution is the most intuitive and adaptable for different businesses, because at MD3 STUDIO we are up to any web challenge. See portfólio.

What are PrestaShop and Shopify?

At first glance, PrestaShop and Shopify look very similar. Both PrestaShop and Shopify allow you to build and customise an online shop, add and merchandise products, accept payments, manage and complete orders and give customers online shopping cart functionality. Overall, PrestaShop and Shopify are all-inclusive platforms.

There is one big (and important) difference.

Shopify is a fully hosted platform available on a paid subscription basis. In other words, Shopify hosts the online shop and handles security, updates and maintenance for the subscription fee you pay to access the software.

PrestaShop, on the other hand, is an open-source platform. 

Open-source software, PrestaShop provides access to the code, allowing you to edit and adjust it according to your customers' needs.

PrestaShop vs Shopify: Pros and Cons

👍 PrestaShop 

Customisation

  • Prestashop offers more significant customisation capabilities.
  • As an open-source platform, everything in PrestaShop can be completely edited, modified and customized for each business. 
  • Not only does PrestaShop include impressive out-of-the-box integrated features, but it is also a platform that has the ability to significantly change and extend functionality. 
  • The number of themes and modules on the PrestaShop marketplace is truly impressive - which means that if there's a feature or tool you want to add, you're more than likely to find it available.
  • One of the most notable customization options PrestaShop offers is payment processing. PrestaShop allows you to integrate with a variety of payment providers and does not charge additional credit card processing fees.

International capacities

  • While Shopify offers only minimal features for international sales, PrestaShop offers a variety of accommodations designed specifically for international online commerce. 
  • Some of PrestaShop's built-in features include multiple languages and currency capabilities, as well as checkout options for international taxes and shipping. 
  • With all the different payment processing options that PrestaShop offers, international merchants can choose the one that works best. This feature is in stark contrast to Shopify, which charges an extra transaction fee if you don't use Shopify Payments (available with limitations for some countries).

👎 PrestaShop 

  • Because anyone can create and sell PrestaShop modules with their own web development, technical issues are likely to arise when a user tries to create an online shop on their own. Trust a web development professional to do this work. 
  • Being an open-source platform that requires development work, the cost of PrestaShop is unpredictable and can vary greatly depending on the business and the specific situation. 
  • Prestashop requires its own hosting, web domain and external security guarantees for online sales. 

While PrestaShop may have more to offer when it comes to customisation and international selling, there are two areas where Shopify wins in the PrestaShop vs. Shopify comparison

👍 Shopify

Usability

  • When it comes to ease of use, perhaps no online commerce platform can compete with Shopify.
  • Shopify is easy to use and understand and allows users to have an online shop up and running quickly.
  • Furthermore, as a fully hosted solution with a drag-and-drop web builder, Shopify is accessible to business owners of all skill and experience levels, allowing you to create, customise and manage your Shopify shop without any technical knowledge or coding. 

Predictability

  • Shopify has more cost transparency. Although the cost of Shopify depends on the business plan, additional options and payment processing, it becomes easier to predict the final price you'll pay to use the platform.
  • Before selecting a Shopify plan, you know what features are included and how much it will cost monthly. If something is missing and you need to buy an add-on, you can factor that into your total cost ahead of time.
  • Similarly, if you use Shopify Payments, you know how much you'll be charged per transaction, and although you'll pay more if you use a third-party merchant service provider, Shopify informs you upfront about the specifics of this cost.

👎 Shopify 

  • If you need all the features of Shopify, it can have a very high monthly cost.
  • It has a few free themes available. The customization options are not as extensive as PrestaShop's.
  • The built-in blogging platform is pretty basic.

What our web developers say

Over the past few years, we have been developing online shops for our clients on both Shopify and Prestashop platforms. 

The biggest challenge we face is that every customer wants to adapt their online shop to their brand's visual identity (and that's a good thing!). 

Clients want their online shops to stand out from the rest, they want plug-ins for stock management, invoicing, restrictions for certain countries, image capture blocking, among many other functions, and this implies a lot of design and programming adaptation work.  

It is tempting to opt for a Shopify type solution as it is an out-of-the-box solution and has a very low learning curve for the shop user, however the amount of subscriptions and monthly expenses that are required for a growing online shop are enormous. A Prestashop solution may seem more expensive in the short term, however the return on initial investment is easily achieved as the business grows and lasts longer.

Ricardo Ferreira, web developer

Several variables can be considered to make the best decision on which option to choose: Prestashop or Shopify. 

If you are an early stage business, with little turnover and want to get online quickly you can opt for Shopify. It is quick and easy to start an online shop with many themes and modules available, but paid.

However, if you expect to grow to a considerable size and turnover it may be better to opt for Prestashop which allows for greater customisation and scalability as well as having no online shop fees.

Making the transition from one system to another is something that should not be done and for that reason the initial choice is important.

João Santos, web developer

Whatever the decision: Prestashop or Shopify (and, also, Woocommerce), we have the right team to meet the different web development challenges in creating branded, appealing and scalable online shops. Get in touch.

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This article was written by Inês Paraíso, marketing & communication manager at MD3 STUDIO.

She looks for new opportunities to show our work, including on internal social networks. She is also a partner of our clients in their online communication with the creation of content in Portuguese and English. She is very fond of writing and has a gift for putting ideas into words. In fact, she says that words are always magic and have the power to reveal worlds!

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This article was written by Ricardo Ferreira, web developer at MD3 STUDIO.

Ricardo is passionate about front-end and back-end and brings any challenge of our designers and, of course, clients to life. In fact, in a short time he responds to professional challenges that have never been overcome before. He loves felines and is pro for finding the best memes whether they're about cats or not. Live your sense of humour!

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This article was written by João Santos, a web developer from MD3 STUDIO.

When João dives into work, whether it's front-end or back-end. He is focused on the different tasks and is quick to solve problems or respond to our client's challenges, always with the greatest calm.