In order to help you migrate from Shopify to PrestaShop, which can be a very tricky operation, we propose here a guide detailing the specificities of these two solutions that are quite different, both in their philosophy and in their use.
SaaS vs open source
What is SaaS?
SaaS (software as a service) is a straightforward way of distributing a service that allows easy access to the service without the need for installation or a lengthy setup process. We use this type of service every day: Gmail, Spotify, Netflix, etc. Shopify is also an example of SaaS. There are different financial models ranging from free access to subscription and pay-per-use.
What is open source?
"Free software" refers to an approach to development and dissemination that focuses on giving free access to the source code. The latter contains all the logic of an application. So it's a very transparent development method. Open source allows:
- ease of modification and adaptation
- for a community to be formed and to propose developments and corrections
But open source doesn't necessarily mean free. For example, customization (via add-ons) can be expensive if it requires the special skills of freelancers or an agency. It is also necessary to anticipate the costs of web hosting which can represent a significant part of your budget.
Can the two coexist?
SaaS is a method of distributing a service and open source is a development approach: so it's entirely possible to have what is called "open SaaS." On the other hand, SaaS projects are very often bona fide black boxes and it is difficult to access the source code. Open source software is often self-hosted, which means that the user has full control over the data and the environment of the solution.
An SaaS solution allows you to get started quickly and without the need for technical skills. However, the possibilities for customization are limited.
Open source allows for a greater level of customization, but requires more advanced technical skills and more time to set up.
The objective is to gain flexibility and customization while ensuring security and streamlining costs.
Shopify allows the use of third-party applications to customize your store and connect to payment solutions, ERP, carriers, etc. But some of these applications have a variable price depending on your usage, and therefore depending on your turnover (usually a few percent: 0.1%, 1%)
PrestaShop allows the purchase of modules, with prices ranging from €30 to €300. Some modules may also be available by subscription, but the amounts are fixed.
It is this stability and these lower costs that merchants turn to PrestaShop for.
Flexibility and customization
As mentioned previously, SaaS solutions offer limited flexibility. Meanwhile, self-hosted open source projects are very flexible. Shopify and PrestaShop are no exception to this rule: Shopify via these applications allows some customization but possesses limits that PrestaShop does not have. Thanks to overrides, it is quite easy to modify the core (the source code) of PrestaShop. This is a very complicated process for Shopify, especially because we don't have access to the source code. It is therefore very difficult (if not impossible) to modify it. This is an important point, and merchants choose PrestaShop for this extra flexibility.
With an SaaS solution, you are not the owner of the data from a technical point of view. You only have access to the data that Shopify shares with its users. There are potentially data sets that Shopify holds that are never shared with you. With an open source and self-hosted CMS, this problem cannot exist because the data is stored on your server; you have control over your server, so you have control over your data.
Multi-currency, multi-lingual and multi-store management
Here is a summary table of how these different features work on Spotify and PrestaShop:
|Multi-currency||You need to upgrade to Shopify Plus to use this feature. This means higher fees.||Simply add a currency and it will be automatically accessible. No need to change package, no additional costs.|
An application to manage translations is required. It is impossible to do this simply via the interface. This will cost you extra.
Managed directly in the PrestaShop interface. No modules to install, no extra costs.
You have to create as many Shopify stores as you need and then link them together. This can quickly become expensive if you have many Shopify Plus stores
Apart from the domain names, you do not have to pay for anything. Everything is done via the PrestaShop interface, where all your stores will appear.
Shopify has many features, but you have to pay for increasingly expensive packages in order to unlock them. PrestaShop does not follow this package approach; all basic features are directly accessible. This is a fact that many merchants appreciate once they switch to PrestaShop.
Depending on your package and your applications, you will have fixed and variable costs on your turnover
Only your hosting is a fixed cost. You can plan ahead and upgrade it when the need arises
|Flexibility||The customization options are limited.||
There is no limit, you have the source code, you can do anything.
You do not have direct access to it. This can be a problem if you want to make extensive changes or if you want to know exactly what data regarding your store has been saved.
You have full control. You know what is stored, where, and how.
Multi-store / multi-currency / multi-language management
In any case, you will have to pay for these features
Everything is available at no extra cost. To activate them, simply adjust the settings.
The migration process
The migration process is pretty standard, and you can follow all the steps we have outlined in our article on the topic.
Only step 2, data recovery, is specific. In fact, you will need to use Shopify exports or an app to access the necessary data. The exported data is more than sufficient to perform the migration and allows you to minimize expenses.
What are the pitfalls to avoid?
Choosing the right agency
When choosing an agency, opt for agencies that have experience with Shopify and are proficient with PrestaShop. They will be able to efficiently retrieve your data and build your new site with PrestaShop. Familiarity with the initial solution is always a plus, but it is essential to possess expertise in using the target solution. When choosing an agency, two approaches coexist:
- Choosing an agency that knows your business sector: it will be aware of the specificities of your ecosystem (ERP [Enterprise Resource Planning], WMS [Warehouse Management System], etc.)
- Hiring an agency with expertise in your needs (ERP connection, UI/UX, SEO, etc.) You will require some technical knowledge to determine whether your requests are specific or within the norm.
The ideal is to have both, but depending on your sector and its specificities or your needs, it is sometimes difficult to find an agency which is 100% suitable. If you have major technical needs (complex development, UI/UX needs on particular points), it is better to use an agency that knows how to handle them even if it is not familiar with your business sector. If you don't have any particular need, an agency that knows your business well will be a good fit.
Limited to the last 3 years
"Should we migrate everything or not?" This question comes up very frequently and it turns out that the GDPR rules provide us with part of the answer since an account that has not placed an order for more than 3 years must be deleted from the database. This is a good way to clear up the database during the migration, and it will allow you to lighten the database and gain in web performance.
Changing the interface
Your team’s training must be taken very seriously and properly organized prior to the start of production. Shopify and PrestaShop are very different solutions and so is their interface. The adaptation time is one of the main challenges of the first months. Proper training will limit the duration of this period and facilitate the adoption of the new solution by your teams. There are two ways to achieve this:
- Take a training course through the agency that is developing your new site
- Follow one of the training courses offered by PrestaShop
There may be a negative impact following the migration; some products may lose ranking. This is a problem that is usually resolved fairly quickly, because PrestaShop allows you to generate effective referencing. Nevertheless, it's not recommended to carry out a migration that ends two days before an important event, such as sales or Black Friday, for example.
This article was created with the help of Enjoy Creativ. A big thank-you to them.