eCommerce is a business opportunity that you can’t afford to miss, especially since the United States ranks among the top ten largest eCommerce markets globally. Moreover, about 270,000 online shops worldwide have one thing in common. They have all been created using PrestaShop.
The Basics Of PrestaShop for Online Stores and eCommerce
PrestaShop is an open-source software that helps you build, launch, and operate a sophisticated eCommerce store.
Simply put, it’s a software with an open license. You get complete access to the coding, so you can rewrite it completely to create and customize your online shop.
While the feature-rich PrestaShop software is free to download and use, optional add-ons may need to be purchased.
You don’t have to pay any commissions on your sales or monthly fees.
However, you may need some tech knowledge or a web developer’s assistance to customize your online store using PrestaShop.
The PrestaShop Advantage for Online Stores and eCommerce
Besides the obvious advantage of being free to download, PrestaShop has an impressive feature-set for the catalog, shopping cart, and checkout functions, in particular.
Unlike some other eCommerce platforms, the PrestaShop platform is highly customizable and offers a wide range of integrations.
Besides, you can access some excellent support resources on the PrestaShop website.
For individual assistance from PrestaShop’s expert customer support team, sign up for their Premium Support Plans. The support team helps you create and manage your store independently.
The diverse and highly active user community of PrestaShop helps resolve your queries through User Forums.
Alternatively, go through the detailed FAQs and User Guides, connect with a PrestaShop expert through a Web ticket, or contact PrestaShop even through social media, including Facebook and Twitter.
High-quality Features in PrestaShop
PrestaShop has 600+ built-in features offering highly sophisticated capabilities for your eCommerce store. Let’s take a closer look at some of these features.
Themes and Add-ons
When you create an online store using PrestaShop, you get a default theme or layout, free of cost. If you prefer to customize your storefront, the PrestaShop Add-ons marketplace offers thousands of mobile-responsive themes, priced between US$50 and US$530, besides optional modules or plug-ins for added functionality.
Store Construction Interface
Build your store interface and include search, navigation, and detailed product listings, using this powerful feature of PrestaShop.
Listing and Inventory
PrestaShop does not limit the number of product listings on your eCommerce store. Moreover, it offers powerful features, such as inventory tracking and restocking alerts.
PrestaShop enables on-the-go management through your mobile phone, with its powerful and responsive back-end dashboards and checkout systems.
Payment and Shipping Integrations
Offer your customers multiple payment modes and shipping options. PrestaShop enables integration with major shipping carriers and third-party payment processors, in addition to supporting check and wire payments.
PrestaShop’s payment partners for US businesses include Amazon Pay, Adyen, Discover Global Network, BlueSnap, PayPal USA and Canada, and many more. Besides, 250+ payment providers are available as optional add-ons.
PrestaShop helps prevent surprises at the checkout by enabling shipping estimates for your customers. Moreover, it allows you to configure the administration of your eCommerce store to the tax rules of your region.
Customer Relationship Management
Make your customers feel reassured after a transaction, with the automated email feature of PrestaShop. Get “Abandoned Cart Notifications” and many more features with your PrestaShop eCommerce store.
SEO and Promotions
PrestaShop makes it easier for search engines to locate items in your catalog. It enables product and catalog SEO (Search Engine Optimization) integration. PrestaShop also offers built-in eMarketing tools, including email integration, coupons, and promotions.
PrestaShop helps your eCommerce store go global by making its cloud administration dashboard available in English, Portuguese, Dutch, German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Polish. It supports 65 language translations for your storefront, besides payment in multiple currencies.
How To Use PrestaShop to Build Your Online Store
Begin by taking a look at the PrestaShop Demo Store on the website to view examples of a front-end store and back-end management dashboard. Then, apply the following three steps to create your own eCommerce store on the PrestaShop cloud in a few minutes.
Step 1: Create A Front-end Store
The front-end store is the foundation of your PrestaShop eCommerce store. Here’s how you can create it.
- Go to the homepage on the PrestaShop website and click “Start My Store.” Enter your store name and email address.
You can add a custom domain name for your eCommerce store. For example:
- Read more about choosing domain names for PrestaShop here.
- At this stage, simply enter your name, password, and other information to configure your account as a Store Manager.
- Once you click on “Create My Store,” you receive an email requesting you to “Activate Your Account.” With this final click, your front-end store becomes available, displaying a free default theme or layout powered by PrestaShop.
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Step 2: Build The Back-end Management Dashboard
The back-end interface is the heart of your eCommerce store. On entering the back-end dashboard, use the “Getting Started Wizard” of PrestaShop.
Now build the back-end dashboard of your store by following the four-step process mentioned under the heading “Getting Started with PrestaShop.” Let’s discuss this process in some detail.
Configure Your Store
Using the customization settings, design the look and feel of your online shop, to attract the right audiences. While the default theme or layout is free of cost, you can purchase professional themes depending on the products you intend to sell.
You can also add modules or small apps that provide greater functionality to your online store. The PrestaShop Addons marketplace offers more than 5,000 additional modules and professional themes to suit your requirements.
List your first product to start your catalog. Configure the pricing, and include a brief but interesting description of the product, highlighting its most attractive features. Finally, upload a high-quality image of the product.
An important part of getting your back-end dashboard ready is enabling payments on it. PrestaShop lets you select the payment modes that you would like your online store to offer.
Most of the common payment providers can easily be integrated with your PrestaShop store.
You can also apply and manage restrictions with regard to various currencies and countries.
Choose Your Shipping Options
For online businesses that sell physical products, shipping is a crucial aspect. In a US online survey conducted in October 2019, 62% of the respondents revealed that free shipping was a major factor in choosing a retailer when shopping.
To begin shipping products, you need to register your preferred shipping carriers with PrestaShop.
To enable registration, PrestaShop has several built-in, free modules or plug-ins for major shipping carriers that you can select and activate. You can also purchase additional modules from the PrestaShop Addons marketplace if you prefer.
Step 3: Launch Your eCommerce Store
Once you click on “Launch Your Store,” your eCommerce store goes live. You receive an email mentioning your PrestaShop account details and related links. Customers can now start shopping in your eCommerce store.
Operating your PrestaShop eCommerce store is easy. List your products with their description, quantities, images, and SEO features when adding the product to the catalog.
Use the administration settings on the Orders page to add and edit orders, and apply discounts. Send an email from the Orders page itself, when you need to contact customers.
Self-hosting Your PrestaShop eCommerce Store
If you are proficient at coding languages such as HTML, PHP, and CMS, you can download the PrestaShop software code, and customize the site to your requirements completely.
Alternatively, you could appoint a web developer to rewrite the code for you.
To try self-hosting, download the software and install your version. PrestaShop also offers you their Directory of Agencies to run your site for a fee, besides 1&1, their premier installation partner. To know more, browse their Partner-Agency Directory, or join the paid PrestaShop Training sessions.
BONUS: 120+ Brand Names of PrestaShop Stores Built With .STORE Domains
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For small businesses that want to initiate an online presence with minimal or no investment, PrestaShop is a great solution.
Applying the above steps, you can now create and launch your PrestaShop eCommerce store. As your online business grows, consider investing in more add-ons and professional themes to take it to the next level.