Online sales in Poland are developing with constant dynamics. E-sellers are supported in their development by widely available e-commerce solutions, from the smallest, helpful functions, modules and tools to the most important sales platforms. One of the most popular engines is the one based on open source, the PrestaShop platform. As it turns out, in Poland, up to 18% of online stores operate on PrestaShop. Migration and updates play an important role in maintaining consistent and optimal sales growth, especially since Prestashop 8 was released recently. It is worth checking what this means for sellers, whether it is necessary to update at all and what are the consequences?
Prestashop has gained such great global popularity for many reasons, but the most important advantage is that access to the source code is free. That's why so many small and medium-sized e-commerce companies with limited budgets use this solution. The platform is not particularly difficult to use. The administration panel should not pose any difficulties even for beginner e-sellers; no knowledge of programming or coding is required to use it. However, the potential of "presta" is so great that very large e-commerce companies also use it. It should also be noted that in the latest version the platform will be even more efficient and advanced, which leads to the conclusion that this solution is especially aimed at medium-sized online stores.
If we are still working in the 1.6 environment, moving to the next version may be quite a problem. First of all, versions 1.6 and 1.7 are not particularly compatible. This means that the 1-click upgrade module will not help us migrate, as it simply does not work. Other types of solutions or available modules will not help much either. The big problem is that templates from version 1.6 will not work properly in version 1.7. What's more, the settings will not be transferred, and even more than half of them will require manual re-entering.
This results from, among others, because the newer version works slightly differently. So when it comes to the template, we will have to create it from scratch or buy a ready-made one that will be optimized for version 1.7.
The migration itself from version 1.6 to 1.7 can take quite a long time. First, launch the store in version 1.7, then select a template compatible with this version. Of course, you can also adapt the one running on a lower version accordingly. However, this requires programming knowledge. In the next step, it is necessary to configure all the elements that make up the store. The next steps you need to take are copying the database, customers, products or orders. Therefore, the entire migration process is not only quite time-consuming, but also requires a large number of activities that, in many cases, mean building the store almost from scratch.
You should also bear in mind that some problems may occur along the way during migration. These are particularly related to the preparation of compatible templates or modules that functioned in version 1.6. Let's note a certain dependency related to the purchase of this or that module for which we no longer have support. In such a case, we will not have the right to update such a module to the new version of PrestaShop. So we are waiting for another purchase. The same can happen with templates.
Migration from version 1.7 to version 8 is incomparably easier. It is difficult to even call this transition a migration, it would be much more precise to talk about an update. The database structure is transferable. Although it will most likely require manual configuration, it will not be as challenging as migrating from 1.6 to 1.7.
The most important and necessary activities that we should perform before migration or update are making a copy of the online store and testing the migration on the copy to be able to fully responsibly confirm that everything works as it should.
We should not skip testing and making copies when moving from version 1.7 to 8. Even though the update is much easier to perform, it is good practice to carry out full tests. If we omit these activities, errors may appear in a "living organism", the online store will lose its image and turnover as a result of minor or major problems.
Relatively simple, not particularly extensive in terms of offer or functionality, online stores that do not require modification of the source code may generate approximately 20 hours of work. Therefore, you should set a budget for this working time. Let's keep in mind that during migration, almost without exception, there are some unexpected actions that need to be performed.
However, if the store is slightly more advanced, has more modules, functions, a large product database, and is based on an individually designed graphic template, the time needed for a perfectly organized migration may be up to approximately 100 hours.
The situation is slightly different when updating Prestashop 1.7 to 8.0. This procedure should not exceed 10 hours, especially if the template does not generate major errors. However, there are many cases in which such a transition may take up to several dozen hours if it is necessary to introduce some individual solutions or adapt the template to the new version.
It is recommended to regularly update the online store running on the Prestashop engine. If we miss subsequent versions and corrections introduced to the platform, subsequent migration or even updating may turn out to be much more problematic. New versions are usually released every six months, but updates or corrections may be made between the release of such versions. Most often, these are relatively simple improvements that are intended to fix e.g. security or performance issues. Even if we ignore these small patches that appear throughout the year, it is worth updating your online store at least once a year.
First of all, this update improves the engine's performance compared to the previous version. Moreover, "8" supports PHP from 7.2 to 8.1. You should also keep in mind the Symfony version changes from 3.4 to 4.4.
A lot of work was also done on the product catalog. This means that managing lists or product photos becomes much more convenient and more intuitive. However, let's keep in mind that although the transition from version 1.7 to 8 is much easier than from 1.6 to 1.7, it does not mean that we will not need specialist support. It also seems extremely important that the PHP programming code itself has been very thoroughly cleaned. Obsolete components were removed and many modifications were implemented both in the code and in the modules. Over a hundred problems reported by platform users from all over the world have also been corrected.
So who should be especially interested in switching to the latest version of Prestashop? First of all, e-sellers who plan to rebuild their online store should look favorably on the update. If the e-store is a bit behind the latest technological trends, it is also worth migrating and updating. Larger e-commerce companies that operate on other platforms (SaaS or open source) should at least consider switching to such an extensive sales environment supported by their community.
As an agency specializing in this sales platform, we will be happy to help you migrate or update your online store. We specialize in comprehensive provision of services based on the PrestaShop engine for both small, medium and large companies. We design Prestashop online stores that use the best modules, often created by our team.