To be successful in online sales, we need to choose the right platform to do business. The two most frequently chosen solutions in Polish e-commerce are PrestaShop Store and WooCommerce. According to current data for Poland (trends.builtwith.com for 2022), both engines are used by the same number of pages – 21,000 each.
PrestaShop and WooComerce store – features
PrestaShop is a free, standalone software for an online store that is based on an open source engine, i.e. it gives free (open) access to the source code. PrestaShop software has been on the market since 2007. Its main advantage is the ability to introduce a wide range of modifications and changes to the platform settings. Each user can interfere with the code and thus adjust the store to the needs of their business.
WooCommerce was launched in 2011 as a free plugin for the popular blogging and website platform, WordPress. WooCommerce is not a separate e-commerce platform, but it does enable the functionality of an online store. The operation of the software is also based on an open source engine.
PrestaShop vs. WooCommerce – comparison
Functionality and operation of the platform
PrestaShop integrates standard functions necessary for the operation of an online store (catalogue, product comparison, product attributes, discounts, statistics, data import, etc.). In WooCommerce, most of the basic functions are enabled in the panel by installing the appropriate plugins.
Both platforms are intuitive and easy to use – the admin panel is available in Polish. PrestaShop integrates customer activity management solutions such as order status notifications and returns processing. In WooCommerce, we have to install them ourselves.
The appearance of the PrestaShop store is adapted to standard user expectations – the customer visiting our site immediately knows that he has entered an online store. He navigates the page using a drop-down menu that directs him to the sections you select.
In the basic version, WooCommerce does not look like an online store, but like a regular business website. The website consists of several sub-pages, such as Home, About Us, Offer, Promotions, Contact. WordPress allows for significant change in appearance, so we can order a graphic design and receive a store that looks like a traditional shopping platform.
Adjusting the graphic design of a PrestaShop store is easier – we have many ready-to-use modifications (free and paid) at our disposal. If we commission the construction of an agency store, we can implement many unconventional ideas, tailored to the needs of a specific industry.
The open source software is free (we don’t have to pay any license or subscription) and we can easily upload it to our server. However, we bear the costs related to the configuration and maintenance of the server (hosting) on which we install the website, as well as the domains (website name) and the SSL certificate (guarantees the security of the transmission data related, for example, to online payments).
In a situation where we do not have specialized knowledge in the field of software selected for our store (or time for training), and we plan to change its appearance and functions, it will be appropriate to use this agency interactive. Of course, this involves costs that depend on the planned activities – if we want to order the construction of a store with a high technical level (with individual graphics, advanced functions and SEO optimization), it can cost 4000-30 000 PLN net. Modifications for WooCommerce start with lower pricing than PrestaShop, but for larger projects, the prices for both platforms are similar.
Tip: whether you opt for a PrestaShop or WooCommerce solution, you must choose the right hosting for them, adapted to the software. Proper hosting ensures fast loading of the store website, it can carry the expanding range and new functions. When looking for hosting service providers for PrestaShop or WordPress (WooCommerce), pay attention to the parameters of the offer – look for information on the product page indicating that the hosting is built with the store software you choose.
PrestaShop and WooCommerce both offer a wide range of free and paid plugins that allow you to make extensive changes and integrate your store with the most popular services such as online transfers, courier deliveries or online accounting .
Moreover, PrestaShop has an application store – Addons Marketplace. There are more than 3200 modules for the store. Most of the apps available are loaded on the platform, so you just need to install them.
A modern e-commerce platform should be optimized to meet the requirements of the most popular search engine – Google. Thanks to this, we can effectively position the website, increasing its visibility, for example by adding unique content (containing keywords). What does it look like? In response to user requests, our store will be displayed in a higher position in search engine suggestions. Store optimization also allows you to generate organic (free) traffic, which allows you to attract new customers, and therefore – to increase sales. The popularity of stores built on the open source engine is due to the fact that they are very well positioned. PrestaShop lets you optimize your content (by adding meta titles and meta descriptions) and edit link data.
WooCommerce provides a handy tool to optimize your store content – the free Yoast SEO plugin. Thanks to it, by adding descriptions on the product page, category or blog entries, we can modify them so that they are adapted to the requirements of the Google algorithm. The plugin works as an index. It suggests (using messages and colors) how to effectively enhance text and lets you add meta titles and meta descriptions. An added benefit of WooCommerce, resulting from the fact that it is a WordPress plugin, is the ability to run a blog connected to the store.
Both platforms allow us to position SEO, but WooCommere has more facilities that allow independent operation in this area.
PrestaShop vs. WooCommerce – which platform to choose for an online store?
When deciding between PrestaShop and WooCommerce, we need to consider what functions our store should have: how big should it be, do we need unique extensions, how wide should the platform be, how many functions must she have. Both solutions are free in the basic version (however, we have to bear the cost of hosting, domain, SSL certificate and support from agencies or developers). Both are equally safe and regularly updated.
Who is WooCommerce for? The platform is a good solution for store owners with a small and medium range. Launching the shop module is not difficult, especially for those who have used WordPress before (who have run a blog, portals or administered a website).
All services and functions necessary for the online shop (e.g. online payment, delivery, order processing, advertising) can be activated using the available plugins. WooCoomerce, thanks to the free Yoast SEO plugin, allows us to create optimal and valuable content (product descriptions, blog posts), appreciated by the Google algorithm and positively influencing the visibility of the store in the search engine.
It’s a good platform to start a business – it allows you to quickly launch your store (especially if you already run a WordPress website/blog). WooCommerce is an extension (new feature) of an existing platform (WordPress), not a separate engine for an online store built from scratch. Despite constant updates and the appearance of new plugins, the modification of the platform is limited.
PrestaShop is a platform created especially for the online store. It’s a great solution for medium and large businesses that are planning to expand. The PrestaShop software is very flexible – we can adapt the platform to different businesses or create an industry-specific store. For a less experienced user, the PrestaShop store will be easier to use.