As a PrestaShop user, you should be pretty familiar with the term “module.” You might even have heard of front office modules, back office modules and official modules. But what exactly is a module anyway? Today Chris Machin explains the concept of modules, what they are, and how to use them to maximize your PrestaShop store. As a Partner Manager, he works side by side with other companies to create connector modules – but more on that later!
Why does PrestaShop use Modules?
The PrestaShop software is used by over 200,000 online shops around the world. They run the retail gamut from selling digital products (Dulzura de Papel) to clothing (Indie Soul). Although these companies sell online, they use the PrestaShop software in different ways. PrestaShop was built with the need for versatility in mind. To accommodate a variety of business needs without weighing down the software, these features can be turned on or off by installing or removing modules. So what does this look like in actual practice? Well, our own PrestaShop Addons is a marketplace-based shop, where independent users submit their products to be sold (a little like Amazon Marketplace). Indie Soul, on the other hand, is a traditional fashion retailer, so they don’t need the marketplace functionality. However, they ship their products so they need features that help them do that efficiently.
What is a module?
At PrestaShop, we define a module as an extension that adds functionality to the PrestaShop software. Modules can also be referred to as integrations, plug-ins or widgets. They add functionality in the following ways:
- Customize displayed content
- Perform tasks
- Connect with other tools (API)
Modules that customize displays
With these modules, you can modify everything from your homepage banner to the content displayed in your menu bar. The most popular module that allows modifications to PrestaShop’s default template is our "Theme configurator" module, which is built directly into the back office and lets you enable or disable many front office displays including the Facebook Block, CMS information, Top Banner and others.
Modules that perform various tasks
There are as many modules as there are business challenges. For example, do you want to reward customers for making purchases, but find it difficult to keep track of who bought what? With PrestaShop’s built in loyalty and rewards module, you can automatically reward frequent customers for shopping on your website with a loyalty program. That’s just one example of the added functionality a task-performing module can provide. Others can batch update information, such as search queries and exchange rates, or help you batch import and export data from your shop.
Modules that connect with other tools
Once you’re up and running, you’ll quickly find that you use many different software programs and service providers along with PrestaShop to run your online store. For example, regardless of what type of payment you accept, you’ll need a payment processor to handle the actual cash exchange. To help your PrestaShop store communicate with your payment provider, we partner with them to provide a free module which connects to their API (Application Program Interface). This API contains a set of routines, protocols and tools that communicates data such as payment status, exchange rates, and shipping costs to your PrestaShop store, which is then displayed back to the customer. In our payment provider example, PrestaShop’s software will send the customer’s billing information along with the order amount to your preferred payment provider. Once the payment processor has completed the transaction, the confirmation information is sent back to your PrestaShop software and stored in the order information database. Payment processing is just one of the many free modules PrestaShop provides. We work with a number of partners in the following industries:
To explore the many functions and features that come pre-built into PrestaShop, head to the Modules tab in your PrestaShop Back Office. Once you’ve had a look around the many features we offer, explore PrestaShop Addons, our official marketplace, to access the thousands of modules developed by members in our community. Already familiar with our modules? Tell us which is your favorite in the comments below!