Since the digital world is growing faster than anyone could have ever imagined, any business that decides to go online will sooner or later face the issue of choice of the right solution. And, with the specifics of his business as well as his needs and wishes in mind, the owner needs and wishes will have to spend many hours comparing the platforms and picking the right technologies.
The review below is going to assist you with making this decision by comparing two ecommerce solutions – Drupal and PrestaShop.
Table of Contents
PrestaShop is an open-source solution for e-commerce that is currently being used by 270,000 merchants globally. It was released in 2005 in France. Due to its free-of-charge basis, intuitive and user-friendly maintenance and extensive worldwide community of developers, PrestaShop is rightfully considered a proper technology for an e-commerce project of almost any size, for example, such global brands like McDonald’s and Salling.DK use PrestaShop.
Initially created as a message board in 2000, it has grown into a highly flexible open source CMS supported by 30,000 developers and 1mln of registered users worldwide. In recent years, it has also become a popular ecommerce solution due to the introduction of a number of native Drupal plugins for ecommerce, such as Drupal Commerce, Ubercart, Be2Bill, Amazon Store and e-Commerce. Now I will outline the features of each.
Drupal Commerce: dynamic product displays, payment method API, calculation of taxes and VAT support, advanced integration with D7’s Fields, Views, Rules and Entity API.
Ubercart: anonymous checkout, simple order creation and editing, flexible product attribute system, support of multiple product images and integrations with UPS, FedEx, USPS.
Be2Bill: advanced fraud prevention system, automatic transferral of all payments to the company bank account and level PCI-DSS.
Amazon Store: Amazon Product links to the site store and improved documentation.
e-Commerce: taxes, charges and discounts creation, generation of invoices and sending email notifications, customers order history.
Further on in the article we will describe Drupal from the perspective of the Drupal Commerce plugin.
The major advantage is that Drupal can be used as a digital platform for websites of all types and scales: from personal blogs to government websites. NASA.gov and Grammy Awards are among the most known websites built on Drupal.
Pricing and extra costs
We are not going to take into account common expenses like hosting, registration of domain name, starting a corporate email, local taxes and creating a general concept of the website as they quite often depend on a variety of factors and therefore pointless to compare.
The platform itself is free, anyone can visit PrestaShop.com and download the software without any limitations or obligations. Although, PrestaShop offers paid expert assistance. The support plans start from $335 approx. for three hours of assistance available for one month. The most expensive plan will cost you $1890 approx. for 20 hours valid within a year and also includes 30 minutes of phone support available within a month.
As your business grows, you will apparently want to extend the functionality through implementing modules and templates. Visit the official PrestaShop add-ons website, some of the most popular resources like Themeforest, Templatemonster or freelance marketplaces like Fiverr or Upwork. Before you decide on a certain solution, post a job or at least compare the prices for the services offered to have a clear picture of the future website budget.
The prices for PrestaShop extensions start from $35 depending on required needs and included features. Add these extra expenses to the total cost and remember that in the future you will want to keep your website updated by obtaining new themes and add-ons.
Drupal is free, but websites are definitely not. The final pricing depends on how scalable and extensible site you want to build and the customization itself can still be quite expensive. Drupal can provide incredible capabilities to those who are technically savvy. But if your web-development knowledge is rather weak, get ready to seek a freelancer or even a team depending on the scale of your project. For example, Fiverr gives around 230 search results for ‘Drupal’. The prices for the services start from $30 per hour approx.
One more important thing is Drupal updates are released every two or three years. The advantage is the software gets better with every new edition. The disadvantage is every new update changes the functionality of the site greatly so a developer has to completely rewrite the code. Hence, it will require more long-term investments.
Although, you always can learn how to work with Drupal. With the assistance of multiple YouTube tutorials, you can become a member of the Drupal community if the scale of your project lets you do it.
Design and support
With such a big number of websites, it is getting harder to surprise a visitor. Apart from the content and competitive prices, that have always mattered, an eye-catching design the ecommerce platform provides is still among the best ways of attracting consumers.
In this regard, PrestaShop is a fully equipped solution that has thorough support from third-party developers globally. PrestaShop users who are online store owners have a rich selection of themes that can fit even the demanding user’s preferences.
Official PrestaShop partners offer a range of 5,500 themes starting from $75 with three months of technical support on average. When you take a look at the categories offered by PrestaShop template providers, you will hardly see something even slightly resembling a blog, as PrestaShop is completely targeted at online vendors.
Digital marketplaces are also a good option. For example, Themeforest offers 1,000 of themes, the price starts from $19. Another popular resource Templatemonster has a selection of 700 themes. When obtaining a certain design solution for your PrestaShop-based store, be careful with what you pick. It sometimes gets pretty difficult to have a unique design due to the popularity of certain themes, and your website may happen to look like hundreds of others.
Drupal does not lack the selection of designs either. A great advantage is that you can find a lot more free designs compared to those of PrestaShop.
What is more important is that you will not compromise on quality if you decide to adopt a free theme for your Drupal website. For example, the official site is fully packed with non-commercial themes that can significantly improve the functionality of the site. 2,700 themes can be found on drupal.org.
Paid themes in most cases have a trial period so that they could be tested before the purchase. A deeper level of customization and ready-made features allow paid themes to stand out from the free ones. Well-configured scrolling or smooth animation, together with multi-level drop-down menus, for instance, is what you pay for.
If Drupal.org does not satisfy you with its selection of themes, you always can visit such marketplaces as Themeforest that offers the assortment of 133 themes for Drupal. The prices start at $30. Most of the themes are multipurpose, although you can select the theme that will fit your exact needs. Very often developers include an explanatory instruction video. If you need extended support, it normally costs about $20. At Templatemonster one can select between 360 various templates. If you plan to have a mobile-friendly website, pay attention that the theme had this feature.
Ease of Use and Customization
PrestaShop is praised by many store owners. To start using the software, you simply download and start working. It has all the tools and features you need to start an internet shop. The interface is as simple as it can be, even for those who have never tried it before. PrestaShop is intuitive and user-friendly thanks to its clear and handy internal structure.
For many entrepreneurs, PrestaShop becomes a lifetime e-commerce solution. You do not need to spend hours on learning how to code but can concentrate on more important things for a business-owner like building strategies for your brand’s growth and expansion. Whether the set of default functionality is not good enough, you can customize it or add any type of solution.
In addition, you can save a penny in case you do not have enough time for administration of the backend yourself. Managing of PrestaShop back office does not require some specific knowledge or experience. The software is available in 65 languages.
Being very flexible, Drupal is a powerful framework, which gives you incredible freedom of customization. To add a new feature to your site, you can use a set of Drupal modules. Every module is built on smaller modules; they can be intermixed in order to get and implement new features to the website. The major drawback of this flexibility is that there are sometimes a dozen of different ways how to create one feature and it becomes clear what method is the best only via experience.
Drupal is a quite complicated CMS, but you can reach a lot without deep knowledge of coding, again thanks to flexibility and diversity of ways how to customize a certain feature. It may not work exactly as you were planning, but it will be a decent result.
Minor updates are released every month, which allows getting any bugs fixed. Once you have your Drupal installed you will get a range of options for customization. But here you face another problem. The learning curve is only beginning to increase. Most changes demand deep expertise of programming in HTML, PHP, and a variety of other languages. If you are not aware of that, you will need a professional developer’s assistance. Even updating your website requires a technical background, for you will have to adjust the code.
Great websites can be created on both platforms, whatever solution you choose. It apparently depends on the user, his level of expertise and willingness to learn new software. The technologies’ supporters claim both PrestaShop and Drupal work perfectly for any need, but if we take into account that PrestaShop is used for constructing online stores, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Completely equipped with various add-ons and worldwide support, being user-friendly in term of administration PrestaShop continues to be the perfect choice among thousands of online merchants. Drupal, in its turn, gives more freedom in customization of any project, saves your budget, but requires a lot of time for learning the software.
Read more of our ecommerce platform comparisons here: