PrestaShop is the leading e-commerce platform in Latin America with more than 25 thousand active online stores in the region. It is a free license system with hundreds of pre-installed functionality. Its management and administration is very intuitive and complete. It has a modular design that makes it flexible and adaptable software to the particular needs of each client, which have +3000 modules and +2000 official themes to complement the functions and appearance of your store.
PrestaShop is an excellent tool to build your online store. But, despite its ease of use and configuration, there are several essential elements from a commercial point of view, which we must additionally consider in order to have a GOOD experience with PrestaShop. In this article we will try to point out some important tips, both for those who decide to undertake and for those who want to digitize an existing business with this platform. All our advice is based on accumulated experience of more than 10 years that Rolige has, as a Platinum level certified agency, developing with this platform and the close collaboration of Claudia Rodríguez ([email protected]), PrestaShop ambassador in Mexico.
Handling and adaptability
PrestaShop is intuitive and very easy to use. Its learning curve is relatively low, allowing us to start operating it almost entirely in a very short time. Additionally, we have a large number of free and paid resources (tutorials, forums, videos, courses and support groups) to increase knowledge. Its basic configuration comes pre-installed dozens of functions and basic modules that will allow you to start with a fairly complete store, ready to start selling in a very short time.
Its own modular structure of the platform makes it highly adaptable to practically any area of electronic commerce. For this reason, the merchant will have the possibility of conditioning the platform to his way of working. It is not necessary to adjust to the system, but the system can be adjusted to the functions that the merchant requires. However, especially for those merchants who are about to digitize an existing physical business, we must remember that online commerce is not exactly the same as physical. It is a mistake to carry with old practices from physical commerce, which although they are robust and proven, are generally slower and more bureaucratic, ruining one of the essential elements of modern electronic commerce, such as agility and immediacy.
All projects must start from a strategic base where you must consider all the characteristics of your business and online commerce. We recommend researching and preparing strategies to manage payments, invoices, shipments, returns, warranties, and customer service. You should also calculate the costs generated by bank commissions, operating costs and investment in advertising.
You should study your competition and the position your business has in front of them. Knowing in depth that your competition is doing well is an excellent indicator to know that you could also put it into practice, without ever losing sight of the differentiator of your own brand or company.
Electronic commerce requires building trust. In your strategy you should include activities related to security, customer service and brand reinforcement.
Always remember that the first step to start selling online is having the store. But having an online store does not mean that your products are going to start selling themselves. You need to invest so that your potential customers know your products, trust your store and have the best possible shopping experience.
It is necessary to differentiate between the personnel that will set up and configure the platform and the personnel that will operate it.
The person or team that will be in charge of setting up your store if it requires programming knowledge. The merchant must make the decision to allocate his own resources for this operation or hire some agency or specialist freelancer and dedicate himself solely to the sale operation. This could be considered the first fundamental decision of your venture because the structural stability of the main tool for your online business depends on it: your store.
On the other hand, there are operational activities. They basically consist of receiving orders, filling them and providing customer service. The personnel in charge must have basic to intermediate knowledge in computing. The number of people to assign for this task will depend on the characteristics of the business and the volume of sales. Many specialists even recommend separating the e-commerce team from the physical sales team (in case the business also has them) so that each one has independent routines optimized to the maximum for their particular line of business.
There are no restrictions on volume of sales or quantity of products. PrestaShop can perfectly operate from small businesses to large companies. However, it is important to guarantee the human resources that support the volume of business sales. Remember that in electronic commerce a sale is almost instantaneous, so a doubt that puts that sale on pause must be resolved as quickly as possible, orders must be dispatched in a short time and a delay in shipping must be attended as an eventuality. own store, even if we delegate this task to a third party. Guaranteeing a complete team that can follow up and solve the eventualities of daily operations is undoubtedly a guarantee of satisfaction for customers and of success for the business.
Choose a hosting to host your online store according to your needs and expectations. Document yourself, get advice and try various options before making a decision. If you notice in the future that there is a better option, you can always change. The store is completely yours.
PrestaShop is a fully responsive platform and compatible with all modern browsers. However, it is recommended that the management operations of the store administration panel be carried out from a computer. Cell phones or tablets can make some tasks difficult due to their reduced screen space.
Costs and Investment
The e-commerce project must have a short, medium and long-term financial study, which includes calculating the factors related to costs of sale and return on investment (ROI).
Commitment to the project must be present at all hierarchical levels of the business, from management to operation, without forgetting that both the staff and the business itself will go through a learning curve and a maturation period before taking off completely.
On the other hand, the PrestaShop platform does not require licenses and has no sales commissions. You will not be charged for using or downloading it. However, your project in addition to the initial construction costs of the store, will require some recurring expenses:
- Web services: hosting server, domain, security certificate, emails, security backups, etc.
- Technical services: the assembly and configuration by an agency or freelancer will incur an initial cost and a maintenance cost if required.
PrestaShop has the possibility to make integrations with other systems, both through pre-made modules and custom developments. If you operate with other systems such as points of sale, ERP, CRM or mailing you can link them allowing you to synchronize inventories, manage sales and increase timely communication with the customer. If you also use other sales channels in marketplaces such as Mercado Libre, Amazon, eBay, etc. you can integrate them with your store increasing your productivity.
Online commerce is growing, however, that growth is not linear in all sectors. Some are very advanced, while others do not have a market used to buying online. In addition, we live with several generations, where there is a group highly familiar with technology and another that prefers traditional purchasing methods.
Traders must become aware of the market they serve and adapt to the way they buy. Generating a positive shopping experience fosters customer confidence both in the store and in its products. A satisfied customer is one who will most likely buy from you again.
Electronic commerce is constantly growing, developing and changing. It is important to be aware of new technology and market trends. From the beginning of the project, we must reconsider our strategies, adapt to the market and continuously improve ourselves.
PrestaShop is an excellent e-commerce platform. Commitment to our project will guarantee a good experience for our buyers. There are no limits to the growth of our online business if we work hard to satisfy our customers. The results can be AMAZING!