Are you going to create an online store to boost your business?
If so, it is important that you take some time to reflect on the tool you are going to use to develop it, because once you get into work, it will be difficult to migrate to another system.
Fortunately, the times when to create an online shop you had to do a custom-made project, with the cost that this means, have long been behind you.
Currently, there are many tools or CMS that will allow us to have an online store ready to start configuring from Minute 0.
There are many very good e-commerce tools, but in this article I will focus on the ones that are possibly the most popular today.
And so, I’ll compare Magento vs. PrestaShop vs. WooCommerce.
Throughout this post, we will analyze various points to try to explain the pros and cons of each application and so you can see which one is best suited to what you are looking for.
Here we go!
Introduction, evolution and future
PrestaShop is an e-commerce-oriented content manager created in 2008 in France.
Since then, it has undergone a constant evolution, incorporating new functionalities, until becoming one of the most complete tools, to this day.
For its part, Magento was also created in 2008 by an American company.
In 2010 eBay took over a good part of the company, with all that this implies.
It has 2 versions: one free, called Community and one payment, called Enterprise. Needless to say, the payment version includes more options.
WooCommerce is the Benjamin of the group.
Created in 2011 by WooThemes in the United States, it really is not a tool for E-Commerce by itself, but it is a plugin for WordPress, the king of CMS.
In 2015 it was acquired by Automattic, a WordPress developer.
Although there were already many plugins to create an online store in WordPress, WooCommerce has overtaken them in a short time by functionality and simplicity of operation.
If we compare the 3 options in Google Trends we see that Magento wins the battle, but that WooCommerce is going up like foam, with a slight setback of the other 2:
It is important to take into account both its popularity, its evolution and the country where it is most popular, as, this will be an indication of the support we will find for applications, both in forums, as well as in blog posts, tutorials, videos, etc.
In the popularity ranking the winner is… WooCommerce
Although Magento (worldwide) and PrestaShop (in Spain) are more sought after by Google, WooCommerce’s evolution is spectacular, so it cannot be ruled out that in a short time it will take up first place.
In addition, the fact that it has been acquired by the same company that develops WordPress assures it a great future.
Ease of installation and operation
This point is very important.
On one balance plate we must take into account the time and money we want to invest in our online store and, on the other, the functionalities we will need and the size of the store.
It makes no sense to use a very complete tool but at the same time very complex, if then we will use 10% of its potential.
The 3 applications we are analyzing are free, except Magento Entreprise. This one has a cost of 15,500 dollars a year, so it only makes sense if what we want to set up is an online store with which we will get a lot of income.
It will also be important to take into account the requirements for running the applications.
While PrestaShop and WordPress+WooCommerce are usually able to run smoothly on a shared hosting service, Magento has a much higher resource consumption, so, it is possible that a dedicated server is needed for it alone, with the cost that this means is clear.
About the installation process: PrestaShop and Magento have a system of installation in several steps quite simple, something more in the first.
Installing WooCommerce is as simple as with any WordPress plugin.
In addition, PrestaShop and Magento have a multitude of integrated configuration options, as we will see below.
This, which is an advantage, means that the learning curve is greater than in WooCommerce, especially in the case of Magento.
We may even have to turn to third parties to set up the store to our liking.
If we already have experience in WordPress, we will be able to start working with WooCommerce in a few minutes, as the product configuration resembles the page configuration in WordPress.
Definitely the winner is… WooCommerce.
If we stick to the ease of handling, WooCommerce wins with a great score, much more if we have already worked with WordPress.
Functionalities available in comparison of Magento vs. PrestaShop vs. WooCommerceome
When creating our e-commerce we will have to plan the functionalities we will need, in order to be able to choose the tool that includes all or most of them.
At this point, both Magento and PrestaShop can be considered far superior to WooCommerce, as they include many configuration options for our store, which the WordPress plugin does not have in its default installation.
Although Magento has long gained in number of performances clearly, with the latest PrestaShop versions it has risen to the level.
Some of the features of PrestaShop
Within the same product we can have different combinations to which we can put their own price, stock and image.
Advanced price management
We can set product prices by quantity, date, customer group, etc.
Non-physical products such as mp3 files, ebooks or online courses may be sold.
We will have the option of having the store in several languages.
From a single management panel we can manage several stores independently and share information among them.
The web visitor will be able to mark products and compare their characteristics.
The user will have the option to select favorite products, being able to access them faster in future visits to the online store.
You can remove the shopping options in the store, making it work as a catalogue of products.
We can import products, categories, manufacturers, customers, etc. quickly through CSV files.
Various purchasing processes
We will have the option to show a purchase process in 5 steps or in 1 single step.
In addition, there is the possibility of making an express order without the need for the user to register.
Again, we can choose between different systems to manage the product stock, with the option to do it manually or through an advanced management system.
We can define discounts according to different criteria such as customer group, Country, amount, products, etc.
They can be configured by country or province.
We will have at our disposal a multitude of information such as best selling products, sales amounts between dates, conversion rates, etc.
And much more, here’s a PrestaShop tutorial on video.
Some of Magento’s features
With regard to Magento, the characteristics are similar, with small differences from those included in PrestaShop.
As an additional functionality, Magento is better prepared for integration with ERPs and CRMs.
It also has a version for mobile devices, although with the use of responsive templates this aspect is saved in the other tools.
Some of the features of WooCommerce
WooCommerce remains behind the rest at this point.
In its default installation we will have the necessary elements to create a simple e-commerce but far from all the options included in the competition.
For example, price management will be more limited, multi-language is not included, there is no multi-store option, catalogue mode, product comparison, data import, etc.
The good news is that all these WooCommerce limitations can be solved with additional plugins, as we will see later.
As for performance, the winner is… Magento.
It may be the most complete e-commerce application, especially the Entreprise version, but PrestaShop does not remains behind at all.
Payment and shipping methods
All 3 platforms include by default the most common payment methods, such as bank transfer, against refund, check or Paypal.
They also have the option of free shipping from a certain amount or flat rate.
It should be noted that PrestaShop and Magento include other additional payment methods, although less widespread in their use.
It should also be made clear that in order to add additional payment methods, such as the Redsys gateway, we will be able to use third-party extensions.
There are no problems in this respect for any of the 3.
Regarding shipping methods, WooCommerce has few default options.
For example, we will not be able to configure different port prices depending on the province and we will have to resort to additional plugins for this.
PrestaShop has the possibility to define different shipping zones, so that we can set different amounts for the shipment depending on the country and province.
In addition, these port prices may also depend on the total weight of the purchase and its amount.
Magento also has a method for configuring different shipping ports per zone based on weights and total amounts, although the system is more complex to configure than the one included in PrestaShop.
In addition, it has an integration module for courier companies such as UPS, FedEx o DHL.
In the section of payment methods and shipping methods the winner is… PrestaShop.
PrestaShop will cover most of our needs, with WooCommerce we will need to resort to additional plugins to configure ports and payment methods are well covered in all three cases.
The functionalities that we will have in our online store are not limited to those that include by default, but we will have at our disposal thousands of additional extensions with which we will be able to add new features.
These may include image galleries, additional payment and shipment methods, advanced price management, filtering methods, advanced invoice management, etc.
We can practically find everything we can think of.
These extensions may be both payment and free of charge and here are differences: most of those available for PrestaShop are paid.
Magento and WooCommerce do have a good number of free extensions.
Thanks to the plugins, WooCommerce, which remained somewhat lame in terms of performance, will win many integers, as, we will be able to find a plugin for most of the functionalities that already include Magento and PrestaShop series.
In any case, it is always preferable for these features to be included by default, as this will avoid possible compatibility problems.
Another aspect to take into account will be the functionality beyond the store that we want to add to the web, as it could be a blog, a forum, custom contact forms, newsletters, etc.
There’s no discussion here…
In functionalities to add outsiders to the store, WooCommerce is the king.
Being integrated in WordPress, we will have at our disposal more than 45.000 plugins, the immense part of them free, with which we will be able to enhance our website with any type of element.
Finally, we would have to evaluate the available templates or themes with which to customize the design of our website.
All platforms have more than enough options to choose from.
It is advisable to choose a payment template because the final results are usually much better.
It is worth making a small investment in this regard.
In the option of templates and themes available the winner is… WooCommerce.
We will have at our disposal a large number of plugins with which to improve the performance of the store until almost equal to those of PrestaShop or Magento.
In addition, we will be able to use any of the WordPress plugins to extend the capabilities of our web, beyond the store itself.
Do we have to take SEO into account?
The answer is yes, indeed, this is a fundamental element.
It will do little for us to have an online shop with a great design and the best prices if we are invisible to users.
And this will happen if we fail to position our website conveniently in search engines.
To guide us in this task, the chosen tool must be prepared to help us configure the different aspects of SEO.
By default, Magento is the best prepared in this regard.
In addition to having basic elements, such as friendly URLs and meta title and description setting, also included in PrestaShop and WooCommerce, we will have additional features, such as canonical URLs, integration with Google Webmaster Tools or alt tags of configurable images.
With regard to additional extensions, the modules available for Magento are superior to those of PrestaShop but, again, here WooCommerce wins the game: using plugins like Yoast SEO and its specific version for WooCommerce, we can achieve an optimal configuration to position our page in search engines.
In SEO configuration issues the winner is… WooCommerce.
Although the default options included by Magento are superior to those of WooCommerce, thanks to third party plugins we will be able to prepare our e-commerce for SEO in a relatively simple way.
As you have seen in the above, the choice to take will depend on 2 main factors:
- The functionality that we need
- The money we’re willing to invest.
If what we’re looking for is an easy-to-operate shop with minimal time and economic investment, WooCommerce is the best option.
It will also be the best option if we are already used to working with WordPress or if the online store will only be an additional element of our website and not its main part.
If we are looking for a pure e-Commerce tool, with many configuration options available, my recommendation is PrestaShop.
The reason for this is that it has benefits similar to those of Magento but with a lower learning curve.
In addition, it has a larger Spanish-speaking user community, which will facilitate the consultation of doubts.
Magento would only be recommended for large-scale stores.
We should bear in mind that server requirements will be higher so that the cost of Hosting will be higher in Magento.
And possibly, we will have to resort to outside companies to help us in the configuration of our trade.
Although we haven’t talked about them in this article, there are other options for setting up an E-commerce, such as Virtuemart, OpenCart, Zen Cart, osCommerce, etc.
They are probably perfectly valid to show our business, but I think they are one step behind what we have seen here.
I hope this little guide will help you find the application that best suits your needs.
Lots of luck and lots of sales for your business!
Now, with all this information I’ve given you, Which is the best option for you in the Magento vs. PrestaShop vs. WooCommerce comparison?
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