Opening up a conventional brick-and-mortar retail store can be a very expensive endeavor. You have to rent the space, buy all those fixtures, and pay for your monthly utilities… and even then, you’re largely restricted to just local customers. This is why so many companies have decided to open online stores instead, either independently or in tandem with their brick-and-mortar locations. Maintenance costs are far lower and you can reach a worldwide customer base.
If you’ve been thinking about getting into e-commerce, then you should take a serious look at PrestaShop, a free e-ecommerce solution that “provides everything you need to open, operate and maintain a successful online store.”
E-Commerce Made Easy
To provide your customers with the “best e-commerce experience,” PrestaShop offers hundreds of features that you can utilize in your online store. This will help you increase your sales without having to put in too much effort. All of the features are integrated into the software by default and are offered for free.
As other reviews of PrestaShop have indicated, the software is provided to you on an open-source basis. This means that it’s free to use. The way that PrestaShop goes about making its money is through the optional add-ons, but the core software and core features come at no cost to you.
Some key highlights include the robust inventory management, the ability to export your listings to eBay, an easy way to implement cross selling, the ability to list digital as well as physical products, and a product comparison engine that will help your customers choose what’s right for them.
Your Professional Online Store
You want to provide your customers with as positive an experience as possible and this starts with giving your online store a professional appearance. PrestaShop makes that easy as well.
This is one example of a PrestaShop-powered online store, but you could just as easily choose from the over 1,500 PrestaShop themes that you can download and implement. They approach a broad range of categories, including high tech, food and drink, travel, cars, children and kids, animals and pets, and beauty and jewelry. Before you pick a theme, you have an opportunity read through its description and get a preview of how it’s going to look.
The Backend Dashboard
After you’ve downloaded and installed PrestaShop, you can then get set up and access the main dashboard to configure and run your online store.
This may look a little daunting to the uninitiated, but the overall layout of the PrestaShop dashboard is very intuitive and easy to follow. All of the core navigation is located in the left sidebar with a floating nested menu showing up for the different sections.
When you hover over the “Orders” section, for example, you’ll be able to quickly access information about current orders and invoices, as well as merchandise returns, delivery slips, credit slips, statuses and order messages. Similar options can then be found for managing your product catalog, customer list, pricing rules, shipping details, localization options and so forth.
Engage Shoppers and Increase Online Sales
As PrestaShop is offered as free open-source software, it will take you some time to familiarize yourself with the interface and get your e-commerce store set up exactly the way you want it. This includes going through the process of installing the software on your own servers. The software itself is free, but you do need to pay for some of the optional modules and themes, as well as for a technical support package. These are optional, however, so you could run your store for free if you’d like. There is an extensive community forum at your assistance.
The cost to entry is effectively zero, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give PrestaShop a try if you want to open an online store. It makes it very easy to open up shop, list your products, and start making some real sales.
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Sell Online for Free: PrestaShop 1.6 Review