While the data is around six months old, the information revealed by this infographic is quite interesting with it containing a very useful comparison of the various features, and many extensions and plugins, among other things. The infographic was created by Boney Pandya for Web Net Hosting, and we applaud him for doing such a great job.
The infographic reveals that the Magento is getting left behind regarding ease of use, so it remains to be seen whether they will continue to be as popular in the future.
Furthermore, they are not the only solutions, and things like Woo-commerce for WordPress is one of our favorites due to ease of use and the many themes that have Woo-commerce functionality built in. However, for dedicated solutions, Magento is one of the most powerful, and well known, but as the infographic shows, PrestaShop and OpenCart are gaining traction. OpenCart is said to be particularly easy to use. Other e-commerce systems you should be aware of are Zen Cart and OsCommerce, but the infographic does not cover these, unfortunately.
Due to the popularity of this article, we thought we would briefly talk about each one in turn.
PrestaShop is a free solution that enables you to build your store either on the PrestaShop Cloud or via download to set up on your own hosting. If you like to play around with the source code, you will need to use the self-hosted version. While free, it would appear that PrestaShop makes their money via the many add-ons in their Marketplace, and some of these add-ons are quite pricey (i.e. SEO expert £134.99, Gift Card £79,99).
Signing up for a free PrestaShop store is very easy, especially if you use their Cloud (although we recommend using a self-hosting version (easily installed via Softaculous) so you can take greater control over your store, including ensuring you have your own backups, etc. Just click sign up, and fill in a few details on the simple sign-up page:
Click the “Start My Online Store Button” and fill in a few additional details and you will be setup in less than a minute (it took us about 30 seconds).
Now what we like about PrestaShop is that within minutes you have a fully set up store that looks gorgeous. It is always easier to alter an existing store rather than design and make a store yourself. What do you think of the store that was created after less than a minute of configuration?:
Of course, for a very reasonable sum (£74.99) you have many other great templates to choose from.
The admin. area is equally good and very simple to use. Not only that, but the dashboard looks great with much intuitive information readily displayed:
For ease of use, and stunning design we would have to give this a huge thumbs up. Also, don’t rush to buy a template … about 15 minutes after we signed up we were sent a 15 percent discount coupon, so you might want to wait for that.
If you are not an expert on websites, hosting or e-commerce you may feel a little lost when you visit the Magento website. There are two editions, the Enterprise Edition, and the Community Edition. The easiest way to test out the free edition is by installing it via Softaculous. It took us about 3 minutes to install a base version that looks like this:
As you can see, the basic install is in fact extremely basic, and you would need to put in significant work and even get a designer to make this into something special that would attract customers actually to buy. The admin. area is similarly basic:
Of course, where Magento excels is the power to handle significant amounts of traffic, as well as scores of products. We would guess that those companies would be more than capable of affording a development team that would make something stunning out of Magento, and indeed would probably use the Enterprise edition in any event.
Having just seen the PrestaShop default website and admin. area. We would not be choosing Magento unless we had to for technical reasons. There are some excellent discussions if you go through all the comments (check out all the comment pages), including many references to Magento being slow, or requiring a higher-end infrastructure (although this could be due to the nature of the types of shops using Magento, i.e. larger stores).
OpenCart is one that is fairly well thought of in the comments, and many seem to be raving about it. Despite the less visually pleasing demo compared to PrestaShop (we will come to that in a minute) it should probably be given much weight when choosing which e-commerce platform to choose.
You can demo OpenCart here. You will see a choice to view the Store Front and the Admin Area. We would say that the demo is a little dated and simplistic in design, but you can find many premium themes to choose from, so you shouldn’t let this worry you.
The admin. area looks pretty good with a modern interface giving a good summary of all the latest orders and other sales analytics. Looking at the admin. area more closely, it looks easy to manage all the products and something we could easily see ourselves using when managing a store. There are many extensions to choose from, similar to PrestaShop. You can see a screenshot of the admin. area below:
As to what we think of the PrestaShop vs. OpenCart debate … we believe that it would be hard to make an informed opinion as we don’t have extensive experience with these platforms. However, based on the comments below we believe both are good solutions. Certainly, if we were a small company just starting out we don’t think we would choose Magento, and it would take someone with much more experience than us to comment on Magento more generally. Certainly, we prefer the themes available to PrestaShop more than OpenCart as it gives a slightly more modern feel.
Therefore, we cannot give you any clear recommendations on which way to go. E-Commerce systems can be quite complicated, and we suggest you try out each of them via a Softaculous installation and see which one you prefer. Equally, check out the comments below which give some great insights.
We would add that various other companies are providing services allowing you easily to create your online store, such as Shopify, but also new cheaper (but untested) entries into the market include firms such as GoDaddy.
Jonathan Griffin Editor, SEO Consultant, & Developer.
Jonathan Griffin is The Webmaster's Editor & CEO, managing day-to-day editorial operations across all our publications. Jonathan writes about Development, Hosting, and SEO topics for The Webmaster and The Search Review with more than nine years of experience. Jonathan also manages his own SEO consultancy, offering SEO developer services. He is an expert on site-structure, strategy, Schema, AMP, and technical SEO. You can find Jonathan on Twitter as @thewebmastercom.