Shopify, Bigcommerce, Vendio, Volusion, Magento and tons more—sellers have plenty of choices now to create and run their online businesses. But if you haven't put PrestaShop on your list of options, this may be the time to do so.
PrestaShop has already won accolades, ranking No.1 among open source e-commerce platforms in eCommerceBytes' 2013 ranking
PrestaShop has offered free downloadable software for building Web stores since 2007, and it powers more than 200,000 stores worldwide. Its premise is simple: Enable merchants to have an online store at a low cost.
Recently, PrestaShop announced PrestaShop Cloud, the industry's "first and only free cloud e-commerce platform that enables merchants from around the world to set up an online store in just a few clicks."
PrestaShop has already won accolades, ranking No.1 among open source e-commerce platforms in eCommerceBytes' 2013 ranking, and among the top five for 2014. To learn more about PrestaShop Cloud, we spoke with Sabrina Marechal, director of Product Marketing at PrestaShop.
Perfect for smaller sellers
Schepp: Who is your target market?
Marechal: PrestaShop is aimed at small to midsized merchants who are looking to quickly set up a fully functioning online shop at a minimal cost, and without requiring advanced technical skills or development knowledge.
Schepp: Who are your main competitors and how does PrestaShop stack up?
Marechal: Our main competitors are e-commerce platform providers aimed at the same market of small and midsized merchants, such as Shopify and Bigcommerce.
Our main difference is the freemium model, which allows our merchants to have an up-and-running store without the license fees, or revenue percentages that our competitors charge. We are the only platform that offers a completely free solution. Further, as an open-source platform, our merchants benefit from additional support and innovation from our 700,000-member open source community.
The benefits of a cloud store
Schepp: What are the advantages of having your store based in the Cloud?
Marechal: The main advantage is accessibility. Our platform has users from all over the globe, and our software has been translated into 65 different languages… [Plus,] users can launch a store without downloading anything, and the frequent updates that result from our open source community are automatically integrated into the cloud platform.
Schepp: Describe the basic store people can create for free.
Marechal: A merchant can add and organize an unlimited amount of products, along with descriptions, pictures, prices, etc., and configure additional pages, such as terms and conditions.
PrestaShop also offers features such as customer reviews and loyalty programs to establish communication and relationships with consumers
From there, they set up one or more several payment solutions using PrestaShop's free integrated connectors, such as PayPal, Simplify by MasterCard and Authorize.Net, and then shipping solutions. PrestaShop also offers features such as customer reviews and loyalty programs to establish communication and relationships with consumers.
Setting up shop
Schepp: What are the steps involved in setting up your first store?
Marechal: It's really as simple as starting with a store name and a working email address. From there, users can choose a template and upload any existing inventory with a click.
Of course, customizing the store to the user's specifications will take additional time, but setting up a functional store is only a matter of a few clicks.
Schepp: What about running the store day to day? What's that like?
Marechal: On a daily basis, PrestaShop merchants log in to their back office to review and process orders, add and edit products offered via their online store, manage messages received through the Customer Service feature, and make any adjustments needed to run their business.
PrestaShop creates a seamless process for merchants to communicate with consumers and run their business. PrestaShop's support team is also available daily to help with issues.
Let's talk pricing
Schepp: At what point could sellers benefit from modules? How does pricing work for them?
Marechal: As soon as their online store is established with PrestaShop Download or PrestaShop Cloud.
The modules customize the look and feel of each seller's store, creating a truly one-of-a-kind presence. Depending on the module that sellers choose, they will receive front-end and back-end support—or both—to support growth.
PrestaShop's mission is to enable anyone to open a successful online store with no technical or financial barriers
We offer more than 90 free partner modules through PayPal, Simplify by MasterCard, Yotpo, etc., and more than 100 feature modules within the software that are activated with one click, such as newsletter subscription and cross-selling. There are more than 5,000 modules and themes on PrestaShop's Marketplace. Pricing for the paid modules varies based on the module the seller selects, but typical pricing ranges from $30 to $300…
The most popular modules vary depending on the country, however, among the most popular are PayPal, Google Analytics and eBay.
Schepp: What does your average mid-sized merchant wind up paying per month?
Marechal: PrestaShop does not operate on a monthly fee structure. If a merchant chooses to purchase a module or template from PrestaShop, it is a one-time purchase. Recurring fees are as a result of third-party companies, such as a payment solution or Internet provider.
PrestaShop's mission is to enable anyone to open a successful online store with no technical or financial barriers. Instead of charging merchants for our software, PrestaShop offers additional paid features and strong partnerships with industry leaders.
PayPal and customer support
Schepp: Tell us about your integration with PayPal.
Marechal: Our integration with PayPal means that we have an effective and popular payment processing method built right into our cloud solution. This eliminates another cumbersome step in the process of creating an online store, and helps consumers start selling faster and more reliably.
Schepp: What support do you provide to your customers?
Marechal: In addition to online chat support with a member of our support team, PrestaShop offers various levels of technical support packages that include one-on-one professional support. Support options are structured to meet the level of needs for our customers' online stores. Additionally, our open source community fully supports the software and remains very active in addressing support needs through our online forum.
Schepp: Thank you, Sabrina!