Unveiled in Beta version at the 2014 ecommerce fair, PrestaShop Cloud is officially available since January 15, 2015!
This post is not about testing PrestaShop Cloud, because PrestaShop Cloud is strictly identical to the traditional PrestaShop, now called “download,” with the addition of one-click installation and hosting.
There is one major difference though: you cannot access or modify files that make up your shop, or more precisely you can only access the theme files. It’s already a lot for a small ecommerce, but obviously not enough for a shop that’s bustling.
What does PrestaShop Cloud offer exactly?
PrestaShop Cloud is the PrestaShop SaaS offering: hosted on OVH servers and co-managed by PrestaShop and OVH, you have access to a PrestaShop store in a few seconds. Of course, the hosting is very solid and response times are excellent.
In addition, you can use (or purchase) your own domain name.
Finally, you have access to the theme’s FTP directory, allowing you to change the look of your shop freely. On the other hand, modules can only be added from PrestaShop Addons, the official market place.
The best part? This offer is 100% free!!
If it’s 100% free, how does PrestaShop earn money?
Quite simply from the modules (or themes) that merchants buy on PrestaShop Addons, and in particular the bank payment module used in most of the shops! Note that even the free modules bring money back to PrestaShop. Indeed, the partner modules like eBay or Sendinblue pay PrestaShop to appear in the solution, by year and/or performance.
Therefore, every sale completed in your cloud boutique bring money to PrestaShop, as it is the case with other market SaaS solutions, whether or not a subscription fee is required (Shopify, PowerBoutique, Oxatis, etc.).
Furthermore, PrestaShop will now be able to collect extensive usage data, Front and Back Office. These data, without earning any money, will allow Prestashop to dramatically improve its solution.
For whom, and for what?
I already mentioned the topic on this blog: an SaaS ecommerce boutique is not a bad solution to start your business because it allows reducing launch costs. You will probably reach the limits quickly, and you’ll need to consider switching to a full ownership solution (switch = cost, stress & time), but you will have limited the initial project cost.
PrestaShop Cloud looks like it is offering something truly innovative, because merchants will be able to easily switch from the Cloud to the traditional PrestaShop, therefore address the second phase of their development with ease!
Any merchant with SaaS should consider this: a CMS switch is never a fun time: the risk of SEO loss, significant cost, deficient data migration that is time consuming… and obviously the shop is closed for hours! The PrestaShop Cloud solution allows anticipating success of your shop, by simplifying the future switch.
Will this offering chip away at PrestaShop downloads, agencies, or specialized hosting providers?
And I even think that PrestaShop Cloud will push many merchants toward PrestaShop.
Indeed, this offer will enable the “small budget entrepronors” to create their shop simply and at lower costs. A good portion of these merchants give up on PrestaShop today because of the cost-complexities linked with a wholly-owned shop, and prefer to use a SaaS solution. Once a merchant gets a taste of PrestaShop Cloud, the switch to an auto-managed PrestaShop will be natural.
And as for ecommerce agencies? Same answer: a merchant using a SaaS solution usually consults the SaaS manager, therefore agencies currently get no business! With PrestaShop Cloud, agencies which are familiar with PrestaShop will be able to offer services : ecommerce advices or theme developpement.
Finally hosting providers. The most affected are probably low cost hosters (1&1, GoDaddy, HostGator, etc…) that usually host small shops. These merchants will be highly attracted by the Cloud. Specialized hosting providers are not affected because their customers are already at the stage where the SaaS offering would be a limitation.