What is PrestaShop?
PrestaShop is an open source online store software. The PrestaShop source code is maintained by the PrestaShop brand and an international community participating in the software development since 2008. The source code is free to use, extend and modify as needed.
Without paying any fees or signing any contracts, anyone can use the PrestaShop engine to build our own online store that will bring us profits. More than 300,000 eCommerce sites worldwide use PrestaShop.
PrestaShop against the competition
Every store on the Internet uses an engine, or source code, which is responsible for the operation and functionality of the store. Depending on who creates the source code, there are three main types of eCommerce stores:
Open source stores - they are free to download, you can install them yourself on your own server, modify and expand them, so their operation is familiar to developers and implementation companies. Modern open source engines do not require programming knowledge, but in order to take full advantage of their potential it is worth using the services of programmers, SEO agencies, etc. Open source stores are largely developed by the community. Examples: PrestaShop, WooCommerce, Magento.
SaaS stores, orSoftware as a Service - paid, often subscription-based, store engines whose authors develop the source code on their own and do not make it available for editing to users. SaaS is an "off-the-shelf" solution, with a low entry threshold and integrated with the owner's server.
Custom-builtstores - companies with the right capital build their own store engines integrated with many internal tools. Many individual stores use open source engines at the base!
Where did the popularity of PrestaShop come from?
PrestaShop is all about community and user support. Thousands of freelancers and sellers create forums and online groups where there is a constant exchange of knowledge and experience. Beginners ask questions and the more experienced ones give hints and help.
It's worth taking a look at the official PrestaShop Help Center https://help-center.prestashop.com/en and the PrestaShop Academy, which features lessons covering the eCommerce industry and store operations: https://www.prestashop-academy.com/en. Both portals are available in English (2022/08), but we have some information that the team is already working on a Polish version.
On online groups and forums you will find a huge dose of knowledge
Open and structured source code
Good source code has for years attracted the attention of developers who have managed to get to know the PrestaShop system inside out. When building online stores, they can create their own modifications or use ready-made modules (plug-ins) provided by the community. For the store owner, this means a lot of room for maneuver in creating a store based on their own personalized vision.
According to the Builtwith website, there are more than 320,000 PrestaShop-based stores in the world, of which nearly 8% are in Poland.
Familiar to developers and easy to maintain, modify, extend and manage (e.g. Smarty, Twig, Bootstrap, Symfony). The most popular version of PrestaShop 1.7 and the latest 8 at its core uses the free Symfony framework, which is one of the most popular engines for building advanced websites. The Symfony framework has increased PrestaShop's appeal to implementers and developers around the world.
Makes PrestaShop appreciated not only by freelancers and small businesses - what's more, it also finds supporters among the largest brands selling online. This proves the tremendous scalability of the PrestaShop engine. This, in turn, makes it possible for virtually anyone to have an online store - both individuals with limited budgets and well-established brands processing hundreds of orders a day online.
The user-friendly interface
makes it possible to build an e-store based on standard PrestaShop functionality, as well as based on templates and modules that can be added to the store. In most cases, all the work is to select the elements you need and "un-click" their settings, adjusting them to your needs. As a result, you get your first store - perfect for use throughout the eCommerce world.
PrestaShop allows you to scale your business to a truly sizable size. A basic installation of PrestaShop on a classic FTP server will satisfy merchants with catalogs of up to 50,000 products and receiving the same number of customers per month. Proper optimization of the store, modules and server allows you to run a smooth business with a million product catalog and thousands of customers in the store at one time.
PrestaShop Admin Panel: Dashboard, product management, order list and module management.
Good for getting started and ideal for development
If you are not a programmer, PrestaShop is a good choice. The system is set up so that with a little commitment you can build your store yourself and make your first sales on it.
The knowledge you will take in while working with PrestaShop will broaden your horizons and allow you to specialize in eCommerce
- PrestaShop meets the basic needs for the operation of eCommerce stores, including: managing product catalogs, customer database, secure order process, integration with couriers and online payments, and in conducting analytics and marketing activities.
- PrestaShop has very good technical and user documentation translated into many languages.
- Presta allows you to personalize the appearance of the store - there are more than 20,000 graphic templates available on the market, prepared for various industries and products.
- PrestaShop is thousands of ready-made modules that you can upload to your store and start using them right away.
- The natural positioning of the online store is of huge importance, which is another convenience for beginners. You can perform optimization against search engines yourself in the administration panel.
Default PrestaShop template - the front part of the store available to buyers. Sequentially: home page, category page with product list, product page, shopping cart and order process.
PrestaShop is constantly being developed
The availability of regular updates and the simplicity of migration to the latest version guarantee a high level of security and reliability of operation. Functionalities that a few years ago were available only on individual order, today with PrestaShop you can implement quickly with the help of ready-made modules, programmer or software house. New features also come with free updates to the PrestaShop engine.
PrestaShop released as many as 10 different updates over the course of a year (2020), consisting of new features, fixes and community-submitted improvements. Click here to learn more about the history of PrestaShop.
Leaks from PrestaShop HQ
For the entry, we invited a PrestaShop specialist and veteran in Poland. Krystian Podemski, in question, has been working and collaborating with PrestaShop for more than a decade. He has been spreading knowledge and developing the community since the days when classic online forums still led the Internet. Krystian will talk about the near future of PrestaShop.
Technology in PrestaShop, what's in 2022?
Krystian Podemski - programmer and Tech Evangelist PrestaShop Poland
"PrestaShop is already one of the most flexible solutions available on the market.
Since version 1.7 of PrestaShop, part of the engine has been rewritten to the Symfony framework, this gives developers even more possibilities to interfere with the default mechanisms of the platform and facilitated creation of their own. The move to the Symfony PHP framework is intended to help Presta mature, moving away from an in-house solution to one that is known throughout Europe. We are giving developers a tool that many of them are familiar with, this should make it easier for them to work on new stores and services for them.
PrestaShop 8.0.0, which will be released this year, will support Symfony 4.4 long term support (LTS) and PHP 8.1. C, the goal of the entire team of project maintainers is to make sure the platform is as competitive as possible and compatible with current technologies.
Twig, Doctrine, the ability to modify the Symfony container directly from modules, are just a few elements by which the developers' work should be easier. You can read a lot about the technical aspects of PrestaShop on the official developer blog https://build.prestashop.com/ and in the official documentation for developers here."
Starting a PrestaShop store on your own
- If you are a beginner - you will need a server that hosts the PrestaShop installer. Many servers have such an installer as a standard offering.
- If you know how to use servers and know what FTP is - download the package from the official PrestaShop website, upload the files and install the store on any server.
- If you are an experienced seller or developer - PrestaShop is perfectly optimized to work with rich resources of dedicated servers, as well as containerization and GIT version control system, which will streamline your process of working with the store.
PrestaShop installation process is simple and resembles installers of other systems.
Template, or the appearance of the store. The market offers a huge number of various ready-made graphic templates. The wealth of graphics and layouts available in PrestaShop templates allows you to create a shopping platform characterized by individual design and functionality. You can modify any template you upload to your store - another advantage of PrestaShop.
On the Internet under PrestaShop templates or themes you will find thousands of ready-made looks for your first professional online store.
PrestaShop is an engine that easily undergoes modification and expansion. This feature makes life easier for experienced sellers who have specific needs and design online stores from A to Z, starting, for example, with mockup and custom graphic design for Desktop and Mobile. Therefore, if you are creating an online store based on an analysis or a business plan and have specific needs - you will easily find the necessary design and programming support, as every element of a PrestaShop store can be customized individually.
Check out the latest default template for PrestaShop 9.0! Information about it is spread on github, and you can view the graphics online at Figma: https://github.com/PrestaShop/hummingbird/issues/2
Since the PrestaShop code is open and flexible, professional implementation agencies can design a customized look and sales features. These advantages make PrestaShop adaptable both to a huge product base and to selling 1 product, even a virtual one. As a result, you create an online store that suits your needs and business plans.
Another advantage of creating a store based on PrestaShop is the availability of a huge number of modules. With appropriately selected plug-ins, you can build a modern online store that not only works well in the eCommerce market, but also does not require expensive implementation and complicated maintenance.
Module (plugin, plug-in, add-on) PrestaShop allows you to introduce new functionality to your online store. With the help of modules, you can extend the basic functionality of PrestaShop with new features and integrations.
PrestaShop in the basic version is equipped with many necessary modules. In addition, there are free and paid modules available on the market.
List of standard free modules you will find in PrestaShop admin panel.
In addition to the default modules in PrestaShop and free modules available on forums, you can use paid modules created by agencies that know the problems and needs of stores and create modules to support or automate eCommerce work at different levels:
- Integrations, such as with wholesalers, payments, parcel machines, Google Analytics, Instagram, Facebook or ERP systems
- Customer communication management, such as lookbooks, banners, pop-ups, promotions
- Managing content and building SEO value, such as running a blog like this one
- Establishing customer relationships, e.g. affiliate and loyalty programs
Modules that allow customer interaction are a new category of modules. Until now, developers creating modules have focused on automating the operation of an online store and integrating with external services. Today we know that a returning customer to your store is a very important customer. Nowadays, more and more emphasis is placed on contact with product buyers - hence the offers of companies creating PrestaShop modules include blogs with the possibility of posting products and loyalty or affiliate programs with exclusive bonuses only for participants.
To make the implementation of new modules efficient and enjoyable, it is worth paying attention to whether the company creating the modules provides a performance guarantee, HelpDesk support and a system of module updates.
Why is PrestaShop worth considering?
Online stores built on the PrestaShop engine are characterized by flexibility and scalability. Depending on your needs and available budget, the shopping platform can be expanded both in terms of new functionalities and the number of products and integrations, such as with wholesalers.
PrestaShop is a free set of tools for running:
- Local sales, e.g. a sausage store
- Domestic sales, such as a furniture store
- International sales, such as a virtual products store :)
In the standard PrestaShop engine you will find features such as:
- Domestic and international tax and currency handling
- Convenient translation in any number of languages
- Management of multi-variant products
- Multistore - management of multiple stores from one administration panel
- Affordable shopping cart and purchasing process
- Possibility to integrate with any service, suppliers and payments available on the market
A small store becomes big
Over time, your store may require adjustments or changes that you won't be able to make on your own. That's when it's a good idea to get help. Prices of programmers on the market range from 20 to 200 PLN/hour. Many companies will easily price the commissioned work in advance. It's worth making sure that you have regular contact with a freelancer or a company that will provide support when you need it.
What capabilities do PrestaShop modules have in 2022?
Doesn't PrestaShop sound mysterious already? :-) At PrestaShow, we have been working with Presta since 2012. During this time we have implemented dozens of stores, helped thousands of owners and built 35 modules for PrestaShop.
Below are the most popular modules in 2021. These are well-liked and internationally unique solutions. In the process of designing them, we are accompanied by a wonderful community of our customers and a vision to provide functionalities that until now you have to reach for external tools. Why run your business from several places when you can with PrestaShop? :-)
- Import Manager - flow of information between the store and multiple wholesalers simultaneously
- Google Integrator - lossless analytics and integration with Google tools
- Advanced Warehouse Management - give up external ERP programs
- PrestaShop Invoices - all accounting directly in your store
- Price Master - smart price management: markup, mark-up, rounding, mass change.
We believe that PrestaShop is a valuable and worthwhile platform for building an online store. This is evidenced by the growing popularity of this system, and that you will start building your own eCommerc empire on your own or with any budget :-)