The pitch / A very active contributor to the PrestaShop forum since 2007, Lucas Vitale became its first administrator before becoming one of our first International Brand Ambassadors.
Now / CEO of RSI-Sistemas
Meeting PrestaShop and the creation of the Ambassadors program
I discovered PrestaShop in 2007 through a Spanish customer. I had set up RSI-Sistemas in 2003 but I was working with Spain a lot because e-commerce hadn’t really taken off yet in Argentina. At the time I was mainly using osCommerce and Zencart, but this customer wanted to redesign his site, which operated under PrestaShop. I immersed myself in the forum to train myself up, and quickly became very active under the ID “Shacker”. So active, in fact, that in 2009 PrestaShop offered me the chance to become administrator for the Spanish-speaking, and later the English-speaking, versions of the forum.
In 2015, Ariel Spampinato, another Argentinian developer, had the idea of creating a PrestaShop event in Buenos Aires. Head Office helped us, one thing led to another, and the program got started. We became Brand Ambassadors in Argentina. Since then, the program has acquired lots of tools to help Ambassadors organize their own events and lead their communities.
Being a PrestaShop Ambassador
- What are the advantages? The human side, without a doubt, as I’ve always enjoyed helping people. I give programming courses, I’m heavily involved with the forum, and I love the ethos of family and mutual support which is what the PrestaShop community is all about. The Ambassador role has been, for me, a means of helping the Argentinian community at a more local level. Through the program, I’ve met vast numbers of people, some of whom have become true friends. The technical side is also pretty exciting: no two days are the same, and PrestaShop is constantly improving its product, and so you don’t have time to get bored.
- What are you most proud of? I’ve known PrestaShop since version 1.0, so I can help just about any user, whatever version they are on. At our first Meetup, we had 15 people. We’re now up to more than 150, and one of our members actually made a 12-hour bus ride to attend a Meetup! In total, since 2015, we’ve brought together more than 1,000 people, which is very satisfying.
- PrestaShop and Argentinian e-commerce / position after Mercadolibre, a kind of national eBay which made e-commerce more widespread in our country in 2014 but which isn’t customizable; Tiendanube, another Argentinian solution similar to Shopify, which offers a subscription and takes commission; and thIn Argentina, PrestaShop is in 4Vtex, a Brazilian solution for big businesses.
The main e-commerce challenge in Argentina right now is shipping: delivery still often takes 2 weeks! The existing logistical solutions nearly all have their own module on PrestaShop but we don’t have an offer.
- The stores to follow /
- One of the oldest, Errepar, which sells books, has been using PrestaShop since version 1.4.
- Some of the biggest, TiendaOwoco, for children’s fashion, which has branches in every country, Todo Musica, the biggest musical instrument store in Argentina, Onasaez, the country’s best-known fashion store, and TeveCompras, one of the leading home shopping companies.
- One of the fastest-growing ones: Barlovento, which sells fish and seafood, made the equivalent of 2 months’ sales in a single day during Holy Week thanks to a strong social network presence and its marketing.
- The modules worth knowing / The most-used modules in Argentina are local ones: Oca e-Pak, Mercadopago and Todopago. Practically all online stores use them. One of the lesser-known but very interesting modules is Club La Nacion, for offering reductions to club members of the daily newspaper “La Nación”.
What do you wish for the next 10 years?
I want PrestaShop to increase its presence in my country, including setting up a Latin American office. This local presence would make it possible to convince the biggest businesses of PrestaShop’s relevance.