Every business owner will have preferences regarding the eCommerce platform they want to use to build their online store. The choice should be based on the business needs and expectations, the business segment, the existing tech stack, the number of sales channels, recommendations, and the platform’s popularity.

In many cases, Shopware is going head-to-head with PrestaShop during the market analysis, and due to that, every minor difference can be a dealbreaker for a future client.

This article aims to compare Shopware and PrestaShop platforms, present their advantages and disadvantages, possible usage for online retailers, and compatibility both from the technical and business points of view. Let’s start with some general information to know where we stand. 

Shopware – Overview

The core parts of Shopware in its first versions were based on Zend Framework, but starting with Shopware 5, they began using more Symfony components.

It was a hermetic vendor focused mainly on the German market for some time. Things began to change when Shopware 6 came out because the vendor switched to a foreign markets-oriented strategy. The documentation was globalized, the new version of the eCommerce platform was rebuilt from scratch, and started using top-of-mind technologies, such as Symfony or Vue.js.

Many people in the Magento community decided to migrate to Shopware due to the unclear future of the Magento community and the recent Adobe acquisition. 

Shopware employs 400 people worldwide from its headquarters in Schöppingen, Germany, and its US office in New York City. It relies on a network of 1,200 sales, technology, and solution partners. Shopware is an idea in which you get a lot of out-of-the-box features with good User Experience while maintaining flexibility, the possibility to extend, and the standards of a good code (being at the same time an open-source eCommerce solution).

Shopware Pros

  • Marketing–oriented (every marketer is going to love it due to a great UI and many handful features)
  • The eCommerce website is easy to configure and administrate
  • Offers On-Premise and Cloud solution
  • High flexibility
  • Supportive Shopware Community
  • Easy scaling of online business
  • API-first (3 types of API)
  • Scalability (even tens of thousands of products)
  • Shopware can be used as a hub – an application that combines various solutions
  • Modern tech stack

Shopware Cons

  • Higher costs of implementation (compared to PrestaShop)
  • It has a lot of plugins, but many of them are commercial, not open-source
  • The on-premise version has 1600 modules, and the SaaS version has 250 modules/applications
  • Quite a long application verification process, so they are created slower

Possible usage of Shopware for online business

  • Demanding startups and unconventional businesses
  • Medium businesses
  • Enterprises
  • B2B, B2C, D2C 

Competition for Shopware: Sylius, Magento, Spryker, PrestaShop, Oxid 

Shopware is for you if you:

  • want to open an online business with sophisticated needs (SMB or large enterprises)
  • aim for B2C, B2B or both
  • want to set focus on marketing
  • need built-in functionality like Page Builder (Shopping Experiences) and Rule Builder
  • need a large community from which you get support

Shopware is also a good solution for fashion eCommerce.

Shopware – Technical support

Shopware offers technical support through extensive content like webinars, FAQs, knowledgebase, and Shopware Docs (divided for developers and users). Online retailers can request manufacturer support with a commercial license and active software subscription. Customers using the Community Edition will not receive support from the vendor itself, but Shopware, the solution, which has been on the market for 20 years, brings together a large and helpful community. Below you will find links related to the Shopware community:

Want to explore the best eCommerce technologies and deep dive into Shopware? Check out our free e-book – A comprehensive guide to choosing the best technologies for eCommerce

Shopware Pricing plans

Shopware has several licensing options:

  • Shopware 6 Community Edition
    This one is dedicated to stores in a local hosting environment. Available as an open-source solution.
  • Shopware Rise
    It is dedicated to B2C/D2C segments. It allows creating of unique shopping experiences and growing the brand presence.
    The price starts from €600 per month
  • Shopware Evolve
    It is a more advanced version of Shopware Rise, suitable for different business models – B2B, B2C, D2C or even hybrid. It lets scaling your business, grow online sales, and allows your ideas to be reflected in a real eCommerce project.
    The price is set individually.
  • Shopware Beyond
    It is the right solution for the most advanced eCommerce projects and for business owners that always go for more. A wide range of functionalities supplemented with comprehensive vendor support will ensure continuous development in international markets and a remarkable customer experience on different sales channels.
    The price is set individually.

Shopware Rise, Evolve and Beyond may appear as PaaS, SaaS or self-hosted.

Shopware architecture

Shopware is oriented toward the headless approach, i.e. connecting everything externally through the API. Shopware has a very good UX because it offers Vue.js in the admin panel, making navigating the platform more pleasant. It is a very intuitive and easy-to-use solution.

How does architecture translate into code quality?

Shopware also offers the Symfony programming approach; it is always intuitive, simple and standardized. In addition, Shopware offers an API-first approach.

Top 3 Shopware case studies (Poland)

PrestaShop – Overview

PrestaShop is an eCommerce solution accessible under the Open Software License, officially launched in August 2007. The software is written in PHP and based on the Smarty template engine. Currently, PrestaShop is used by more than 200 000 stores worldwide. 

The PrestaShop Group was founded in Paris, and a second headquarters opened in Miami in 2011. PrestaShop is translated into many languages, with English, French, Portuguese, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Polish, and Russian fully supported in all versions of the platform. 

Technical support is provided through support plans or free support on the official PrestaShop community forum. It complements its built-in features with a store of add-ons, where you can find many modules and themes to customize the look of your store. Many people support and add their own add-ons to PrestaShop for free.

PrestaShop Pros

  • Open-source license approach (this allows you to create a fully customizable online store based on modules created by the community). However, you’ll need the hand of a PrestaShop specialist to achieve this).
  • Numerous PrestaShop plugins 
  • Large and ready-to-help community
  • Maturity – since it has been on the market for a long time, it covers many functionalities
  • Ease of expansion – thanks to ready-made modules, you can expand the store

PrestaShop Cons

  • There is some legacy in the code, and by design, you inherit some technical debt which can affect scaling 
  • Limited third-party marketing integrations
  • PrestaShop is migrating to Symfony, so the code is changing; not every project is updated to the latest versions
  • With a large number of implemented modules, they can “argue” with each other

Possible usage of PrestaShop as an eCommerce platform

  • Startups
  • Small businesses
  • B2C-oriented

Competition for Prestashop: WooCommerce, Shoplo, Shopper, Shopify, BigCommerce, Shopware

 PrestaShop is for you if you:

  • are a small business
  • want to set something simple, something quick and relatively cheap
  • are willing to hire developers to create and modify your online store, make updates, deal with security threats
  • don’t mind changes in traffic and, consequently, changes in the server
  • think Shopware might be too expensive to implement or maintain

PrestaShop – Technical support

PrestaShop offers a helpdesk, FAQ, and knowledgebase provided by PrestaShop itself. However, the PrestaShop community on Slack, Gitter, and Stackoverflow is always ready to help you. 

PrestaShop Docs

PrestaShop Pricing plans

PrestaShop is available as an open-source eCommerce platform, currently in the 1.7.8 version.

Prestashop architecture

Top 3 PrestaShop case studies (Poland)

PrestaShop vs Shopware – migrations and technical debt

When it comes to migration, PrestaShop, in comparison to Shopware, is a bit more problematic. PrestaShop has many modules that implement their changes to the structure of the database, e.g. tables that were modified and belonged directly to PrestaShop. Doing this in Shopware is not easy either. Nonetheless, Shopware solves this problem by creating entity extensions. Such extensions do not interfere directly with the main database. Moreover, migrating between versions in PrestaShop or from Shopware to PrestaShop is very troublesome due to its aging architecture and code. It may change in the future, as PrestaShop is migrating to Symfony, but for now, Shopware seems to be a more long-term solution for sustainability and future development. 

PrestaShop vs Shopware in numbers

PrestaShop (https://trends.builtwith.com/shop/PrestaShop)


Shopware: (https://trends.builtwith.com/shop/Shopware)

PrestaShop vs Shopware – Summary 

Both platforms offer functionality at a high level. In fact, the choice of one or the other depends on your precise expectations, needs, target audience, and changing demands. PrestaShop is a cost-efficient choice that enables running an online shop that works well. However, lower-quality code and aging architecture can result in technical debt.

Shopware is a future-oriented platform perfect for companies that aim high and value top-notch performance and trouble-free scaling. Nonetheless, it is a quite more expensive option than PrestaShop, but at the same time, it targets different customers and offers different features. Due to that, the choice usually depends on the needs (and the budget). 

If you want to know if Shopware is a platform for you, get in touch with us.