In the first place, determining whether PrestaShop or WooCommerce is better for an online business is going to be up to the needs of that business. There are pros and cons for each, which we’ll go over. Most of the difference between the two apps lies in their environment: WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, while PrestaShop is its own stand-alone application.
So for some kinds of eCommerce sites, you might want to go with a simple PrestaShop hosting package and build from there. Web hosting companies offer PrestaShop hosting the same as any other major eCommerce or CMS platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal.
Business website features
When comparing any two software platforms, it’s important to ask what your business website will be offering to the public. You want to allow for both your current set-up and features you might add someday. For example:
- Online shopping cart – a given
- Gallery or catalog – allowing customers to browse a selection of products
- Landing pages – drawing in conversions with marketing copy
- Customer support pages – for products requiring a manual or instructions
- Blog – the ultimate online marketing and customer relations tool
- Forums – if your customers occupy a niche where they could benefit from peer support
- Multimedia – videos, podcasts, interactive galleries, and other promotional media
- Newsletter – for large businesses with many products and periodic promotions
- Social media integration – so your customers can help spread the word for you
These are just some of the eCommerce website features which you will want to consider. You will want a plan which hopefully scales with your business. You might start out small and offer one narrow line of products, but expand later. As you expand, you might find it beneficial to start offering content geared towards your customers – a line of sauces and seasonings would benefit from offering recipes and kitchen tips, for instance. Thinking about these developments now can help you plan for selecting a platform that can expand comfortably with your enterprise.
Now let’s examine both platforms and explore their features:
WooCommerce, as mentioned, is a WordPress plug-in, so it might be a better option if your business will need some CMS (Content Management System) features right from the start. In addition, you also get the opportunity to integrate your online shopping cart with other WordPress plug-ins. For example, the popular SEO plug-in Yoast has a WooCommerce plug-in, so you can optimize the content on your shopping cart pages to pull in those extra search hits.
Using a theme for WordPress can also carry over into your online store since the same theme cottage industry exists for WooCommerce as well. This helps your whole site have a unified and consistent look.
WooCommerce is very popular, with a market share of about 30% of all online retailers. Since WordPress is the most popular CMS for websites by far, this helps boost WooCommerce’s popularity.
There is, however, one obvious catch: What if you don’t want to use WordPress? You might have need for Drupal or Joomla if your content needs reach beyond WordPress capabilities. There is also the issue of maintenance for WordPress plug-ins. With a few plug-ins, this isn’t an issue. But if you find yourself adding plug-ins for a multimedia gallery, a forum, a user-accessible reference database, and so on, you might ask why you’re struggling to make WordPress be a whole bunch of applications instead of using stand-alone applications built for those purposes.
PrestaShop is a stand-alone eCommerce solution right out of the box, installing in its own directory. It does also have its own built-in CMS, but it’s not nearly as feature-filled as having a full WordPress base. PrestaShop is customizable with themes and add-on modules, just as with WordPress. The PrestaShop dashboard is exactly as intuitive and familiar as WordPress and other CMS.
If you care only about setting up an online store without worrying about content marketing and other ancillary matters, PrestaShop is dead-easy to set up. You can have an online store generated in a slick drag-and-drop interface in a day’s work, easily. PrestaShop is also a bit more secure by virtue of the fact that WordPress is more targeted by hackers. If your commerce needs are more advanced, PrestaShop is designed to be a full-fledged retail portal from the ground up, while WooCommerce adds a tacked-on boutique.
That being said, WooCommerce does have a few features lacking in PrestaShop, such as PayPal support right out of the box. And of course, if you were looking to focus more on content marketing, WordPress is going to be necessary anyway.