PrestaShop is a free e-commerce solution that lets you sell online quickly and easily. It also lets you build your own online store and with this online store you can actually have your own domain name, your own web host, you can list as many products as you like in comparison with other e-commerce content management system such as Content Speed.
Basically, the PrestaShop developers don’t charge you a monthly fee for using their software and they don’t charge a commission for each item sold. Of course, you still have to pay the domain name monthly or at every ten years and you also need to pay your web host. Also, you still need to pay commission to your credit card processor. But these three are independent of the PrestaShop software. Other than that it doesn’t cost you anything for the actual program.
Features of PrestaShop
The software is very advanced and just by looking at it, you can see that it is very professional and you can list all types of products. For example, you can list regular products that are basically shipped by mail, you can also list virtual products. Basically, all you can see on a demo PrestaShop is customizable and in addition PrestaShop even lets you add certain features to the website by downloading additional modules. Modules are used to create and place on your shop features such as menus, slideshows, maps, banners and so on. That is how you can change the entire front end due to the fact that PrestaShop manages the entire CMS content here using modules.
So if you click on a category of a product you can also see how advanced it is having great features such as allowing you to view products by list or by the grid. It has a special section for categories where you can expand them and it also has a layered navigation system that lets you filter items after color and so on. There is also a slider which helps you filter products by price.
And when you go to purchase items, the product page looks nice and clean it has a breadcrumb and three columns. You can choose colors, size through the radio buttons and drop-down menus. You can add attachments. You can let customers customize products such as T-shirts.
You can add SSL so when the person checks out they feel more secure about the checkout process and you can also enable one-page checkout and guest checkout. This is something unique and very cool. Because one of the main concerns online when you run a store is that your customer can easily navigate through your website and buy products.
You can also cross promote items in listings, you can add to compare items. Also, PrestaShop rewrites your URL if you have enabled the SEO options.
How to Install PrestaShop?
To start installing the system to your website, just go at PrestaShop.com where you can download the latest versions of the content management system. After you downloaded PrestaShop you should install an FTP client if you have one already you can use that.
Next, you need to upload the PrestaShop downloaded files to your web host root. Don’t forget to unzip first the downloaded files. You can use drag and drop to your web host. Also, you should upload the files to the folder named public_html from your root.
After you have finished uploading, you need to go to your directory where PrestaShop is installed on your browser and follow the installation assistant. You can set language and so on. You need to give the 777 permission to your files and folders in order to not have problems at installation.
The next step is to write down your shop name, main activity, country, shop time zone, account, first name, last name, email address and password. One of the last steps is to configure your database so you need the database server address, database name, database login, database password, and tables prefix.
To create a database you just need to go to your cPanel that usually it is at the address example.com/cpanel where you go at databases section and click on MySQL databases. Here you create a database using a name, a username with a password. Now you can add the user to your database and select the all privileges option. Copy the data and write them down at the PrestaShop installation assistant. You can even test the database connection.
After installation, you need to delete the install directory from your FTP root and you need to rename the admin folder from FTP. Now you can log in to your admin panel.
However, nowadays you can install PrestaShop using Softaculous or another one-click installer available in cPanel in just couple of minutes, without going through all the above mentioned steps. The one-click installer will upload the files and will create the database.
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Overview of PrestaShop Dashboard
Once you enter on the dashboard you can see stats for your orders, exchanges, abandoned carts, out of stock products and so on. There are available notifications for new messages and for product reviews. You can also see stats about unique visitors, traffic sources, and visits.
You can edit, delete, view or add new products, categories, product features, product attributes, manufacturers, tags, suppliers, attachments at the catalog menu item.
You can see your orders, invoices, merchandise returns, delivery ships, credit ships, statuses and order messages at the orders menu item.
You can see customers, addresses, groups, shopping carts, customer service, contacts and titles at the customers menu item.
At price rules, you can edit cart rules, catalog price rules, and marketing settings. Here you can also create a marketing campaign and coupons.
At the modules, you can manage modules, themes and choose positions and payment while at shipping you can see carriers and preferences.
The next is the localization where you can manage languages, zones, countries, states, currencies, taxes, tax rules, and translations.
At preferences you can set your own preferences about general ones, orders, products, customers, themes, SEO, urls, CMS, images, store contacts, search, maintenance, geolocation.
These are the most important elements from PrestaShop dashboard, additionally you can edit other ones such as advanced parameters, administration, stats, and cs blog.
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