Presta – Presto. They sound pretty close, but the first means to lend, pay, give, and the latter means quick and easy. PrestaShop may sound like it is a quick, easy web solution for creating your own online store at affordable costs, but it is actually a very complex e-commerce website builder that can rack up huge costs. PrestaShop customers also complain about software bugs and lack of tech support without paying hundreds to thousands of dollars.
PrestaShop is open-source software, meaning free. But the catch is that most likely you will have to pay a lot more using this system than others, for necessary features and for tech support. Furthermore, having to integrate third party add-ons, or modules, into your website can introduce more problems and issues, including compatibility issues and having to keep your add-ons updated for new versions, and security concerns.
Here are some examples of features that are good – and arguably really necessary – to have in your e-commerce website, but you have to purchase them as add-ons and integrate them separately to have them for your website. The costs do add up for this “free” e-commerce software…
Pretty / Clean URLs: This is to have simple, easy-to-read webpage urls, which are better for search engine ranking too. It’s included free in UltimateWB software (all versions), but not in PrestaShop. You can buy it from their official add-on shop currently for $42.99. Notice at the top of this page it states the compatibility is PrestaShop v184.108.40.206 – v220.127.116.11. So when the new version of PrestaShop comes out, perhaps to fix bugs or to update necessary coding for compatibility with new internet browser versions or computers/smartphones/tablets, this add-on, and others you have purchased and installed, may not work anymore. They may have to be updated, and you may even have to pay an upgrade fee, depending on each add-on’s policies.
Another website should-have: SEO, search engine optimization. You can buy this from the PrestaShop here for $219.99. It’s compatible for PrestaShop v18.104.22.168 – v22.214.171.124. If you choose to buy the 1 year updates plan with it, the price is 263.08. Or you can choose the 2-year updates plan which they say is “most popular” for a discounted rate of $284.63. Sounds like a good deal to you? UltimateWB software (all versions) comes with a built-in seo tool, that is updated with each version release. That means no separate update install, no separate add-on fee, and no third party add-on compatibility issues.
Pretty & clean urls and seo are raelly a must-have for any type of website. And now for an e-commerce website specific feature: Product Reviews. PrestaShop is an e-commerce website builder but the item reviews feature is not included. You can currently get this here for 42.99, or with the 1 years updates plan for $57.36. Right now it’s compatible with PrestaShop v126.96.36.199 – v188.8.131.52.
There are lots of other features too that require an add-on purchase with PrestaShop…such as social share, social login, “people who bought this also bought” feature, related items feature, inventory app, payments management app, affiliates app, mailing list, and more… Pricey. And possible headacbe too with all the updating required to have a functional website.
And how much does PrestaShop Tech Support cost? You can find this info on their website here. It ranges from $399/year to $2,499/year. The $399/year includes up to 6 hours/year of tech support, 2 hours max/month. Each additional hour of help is charged at $75. The $2,499/year includes the premium tech support plan which has 12 hours of tech support/year, max 5 hours/month, with $65 for each extra hour. It also includes the top 3 PrestaShop developed modules, or add-ons. None of the plans include custom design or coding.
What do PrestaShop customers think? Here are some PrestaShop customer reviews:
…This is a dangerous storefront and it doesn’t take long to find this out. Yes it looks pretty on the outside, but this is not so open source as you are led to believe. In fact, tech support alone costs more money than paid-for storefront. Sales tax can not manually be input, you must select the tax for your state that Prestashop has prepared and they didn’t do their homework. For my state, their tax rate was 50% lower than it should have been. When you consider the fines you can get for bad tax keeping, that’s a pretty dangerous option. Do a simple Internet search and you’ll find nothing but unanswered questions. I spent weeks, not just an hour getting into this storefront. I even uninstalled it and reinstalled it for a second chance to see if I wasn’t being too harsh on it. This is not a wise site to use. The most basic of features that come with sales have been overlooked.
This storefront will cost you more time and energy on your part than any other site out there and I’m familiar with some of the most difficult to use ones there are. Presta sounds nice and has some great features, but those features mean squat if you can’t even get to using them.
-via Merchant Maverick, -January 9, 2014
Reviewed by: Robert
“Worst cart system I’ve ever used. Easy to install, easy to set up, hard to do anything after that. Many features are broken or have bugs that are very easy to replicate. The community powering the software doesn’t seem too bright. I’m in the process now of trying to get this client to go with a custom-built solution instead. I have never left a bad review on software in my entire lifetime, usually I just don’t use it again, but I am hoping that people realize that it’s truly that bad. I made a joke earlier that an eight year old probably programmed this; another reviewer said a college freshman. Maybe somewhere in between?”
Rated 1/5, Review date: December 2013 Version reviewed: 1.5.4Reviewed by: keith
“I deeply regret choosing Prestashop. I decided to use this eCommerce software due to many options in the back-office. This software has many bugs (even considered “stable”), no support and the modules and themes are very pricey. I was shocked at how expensive Prestashop addons were. I figured if they were so expensive it may be worth it. I tested the BO and decided this was the one, bought a $130 theme and regret every bit of it. I have a few issues on my website, I’ve reached out to Prestashop’s help center (not once, not twice, but three times) but no answer, I opened up a question on Prestashop’s forum but no replies. I really do not recommend using this eCommerce software, as it may be considered “free” with the price of the modules and themes you are better off buying a stable eCommerce software that has reasonable priced addons and support. I agree with others, test and play around with the shop before committing to this software.”
Rated 2/5, Review date: October 2013 Version reviewed: 1.5.4Reviewed by: Columbine
“Unless you’re a high-level SQL programmer, don’t use PrestaShop. Host tech support doesn’t understand it and has little to say but “ask Prestashop,” and Prestashop only provides support to those who purchase pricey corporate subscriptions. Months of work down the tubes with nothing to show.”
Rated 1/5, Review date: January 2013 Version reviewed: 1.4.1Reviewed by: Lu
“Shopping cart is buggy. Templates for PS are buggy, and Store Manager by eMagicOne was buggy, but is better now (as far as I can tell). This cart although their site looks good, is not for the faint of heart. I am an intermediate coder, and am frustrated again and again by problems that ‘pop up’. Spent plenty of bucks too on templates and addons, but my impression is the coders can’t play nice together. I have a production site going and is working fine, but I fear updating or amending/improving the site because something may break. Oh well, live and learn. My suggestion is go ahead and use it if you’ve got some tech savvy under your belt.. meanwhile, I’m still looking for some better shopping cart options. ”Rated 2/5, Review date: January 2013 Version reviewed: 1.4.1
Reviewed by: Marianne
“Ignoring hundreds of bugs reported for the version 1.4x series of Prestashop ( see: forge.prestashop.com ) the developers branched off to develop “version 1.5 with MULTIshop” leaving shopowners hanging, dealing with the remaining unfixed bugs. Who asked for a “multishop” version? Not me. I’m really disappointed and more than a bit frustrated with the unfixed bugs and, no way, we won’t be attempting to “upgrade” our shop to “version 1.5″. Too many nightmare stories of people winding up with broken shops after attempting to upgrade. Oh, but when upgrade breaks your shop, you can PAY to have the developers investigate the problem. This past year has just been a sad, ridiculous, turn of events for a cart app that seemed like it had decent potential.”
Rated 2/5, Review date: December 2012 Version reviewed: 1.4.1
(via Ecommerce Spot)
Have you tried PrestaShop? Leave your comment below! You can compare PrestaShop to UltimateWB and other e-commerce website builders on the comparison chart here.