1.7? But 1.6 just came out! I know, but you have to look forward into the future of the platform that you love. I develop exclusively in Prestashop and I want to see Prestashop become the number one e-commerce platform on the planet, but right now the competition in the e-commerce market space is tough. I am going to break down the features I think 1.7 needs to make Prestashop pull ahead of all of the other platforms and become the most popular e-commerce platform in the world.
Full site HTTPS support
To me this is something that is growing in importance, especially with the changing standards of how https is supported. In the past using https on every page really slowed a site down, but with the advancement in browser technology and new protocols this is not the case anymore.
Features as modules
With the expanding code base of Prestashop, it is starting to run slow on certain server types. I would suggest stripping some of the features out of the core of Prestashop and add them back in as modules. Things such as;
- Multiple store support
- Warehousing and supplier information
- The whole shipping system
- Multiple currency support
- Multiple language support
You might think that your store does not use some of these features, but even though it does not, code for these features is loaded and that code slows your store down.
Tighter module integration
I think one key to the future success of Prestashop is to move module configuration off of the modules page. WordPress has a great way of handling how modules are configured, they either add the module to the appropriate section of the admin panel, or it creates a menu item for it. There are a lot of modules for Prestashop that affect products on a per product level that you have to enter all of the settings in on the module configuration page. It would be so much more seamless if Prestashop required module developers to move the configuration over to a tab on the product page. This is just one example, but it could be used with just about every module. Shipping modules configuration could be added to the shipping tab, order refunding could be added to the order pages, and so on.
Better password security
Currently passwords are salted and hashed with the md5 algorithm, it is quickly becoming an outdated algorithm. I would suggest moving to a more secure algorithm if the server supports it. A check can be made during the initial install. Also at the same time welcome emails need to stop sending plaintext passwords. No other e-commerce platforms do this and there is a security reason behind why they do it.
Images targeted to languages
I think this is essential to having a store that competes with multiple languages. Currently with a slider, you can only target one language and one page. So if you have a store in English and Chinese, you can only have your images in one language pointing to product pages in that language. Shops need to better target all of the images to all languages used by the shop. This is something that translates both into better usuability and better SEO.
CSS editor and backoffice theme editor
This has been a key feature of WordPress almost since the inception. It is actually one of the things that drive people to WordPress, because you can make simple changes without having to ftp into a site, use a text editor, and save your changes. This is especially convenient for on the fly editing or just changing a couple lines of code in one file. I think doing this will open Prestashop to more non developers and also decrease the learning curve of using Prestashop.
Header and footer editor
Currently if I want to validate a site with Google Webmaster Tools, Pinterest, Bing Webmaster Tools, or other integrations I need to ftp into the site edit the header.tpl file, save and upload. This could easily be solved by adding a simple editor in the back office. Then people wanting to validate their sites would not have to go into code, they could just paste their code in a box and be done with it. This would also make Prestashop easier to integrate with many other applications such as Clicktale, Optimizely, and other e-commerce conversion tracking software.
Prestashop 1.4 had this ability, but it was taken out in the 1.5x and 1.6x releases. This needs to be added back in to keep normal users that just want to add a simple redirect out of code. The biggest thing I think Prestashop can do for its users is to keep them out of the code. Things like this will dramatically increase the ease of use for Prestashop both from the user stand point and from the support stand point.
Backoffice access to error messages and debug profiling
These are no brainers to me, the option to turn these two setting on should be stored in the backoffice on the advance parameters page. As I mentioned earlier, I think a key to Prestashop’s success is to keep people out of code.
Better product configuration
Currently your options with products are pretty much limited, you can either enable or disable products, make them available for sale or not. Also you can fill in general information, but that is about it. I propose adding more information, but making it modular at the same time. Not every shop will need the extended information, so I do not agree with penalizing every shop with the code overhead. Some fields I think are needed are;
- ISBN field for book sellers
- ASIN field for syncing with Amazon
- The ability to show the price just in the cart. This is essential for shops that sell for below MAP pricing
- Configurable product tabs that can be added globally or per product. Say you want to show a tab on every product that is your return information, this cannot be accomplished currently
Better language support
Prestashop has pretty great language support as is, but it could be more tightly integrate to help with SEO. Adding a new language to a site ends up being an SEO nightmare currently. Imagine that you currently only have one language in your site. A path to a product might be site.com/14-ipod.html. But if you add another language to your shop, all of your current pages will gain a language prefix. The suggestion I propose is that there is no language prefix used for the default language. This way if you want to add another language in the future, all of your current urls will not change and you will not drop out of the search engines.
This is something that Prestashop has needed for a while. This is not to replace the current CMS pages, they are fine the way they are. A standard installation of Prestashop needs a modular blog feature that people can use for their shop. I think with SEO the way it is most shop owners realize they need a blog for their shops, but right now the integration is just not that good.
Configurable 404 page
Currently to edit the 404 page you need to edit the actual file. In my opinion the 404 page should be switched over to a 404 CMS page making it easy to edit the contents. At the same time I would also add a hook to it as well. With a hook you could use the 404 page as a marketing page instead of just a simple error page. I have found it is good to attach a product list to the page with a message like “Sorry it seems you have come to a page that does not exist, maybe you were looking for one of the products below”. This would give Prestashop a big advantage over a lot of other platforms.
This is pretty vital in my opinion. The id numbers need to be removed from the product, category, and CMS URLS. A simple check can be put into place to prevent any naming collisions, this help out with shop SEO and make urls easier to type.
Better favicon support
Currently the favicon supported is just a standard .ico file, but they are quickly falling out of favor, especially with mobile platforms. What is needed is for the favicon to take a jpg or a png and run it through Prestashop’s internal image processing to make the appropriate size files in png format. Currently if you want to take advantage of IOS or Android desktop icons, they have to be made manually and added to the site.
Easier customizable checkout
There are too many required fields during the checkout, the checkout process should be more configurable from the backend and not require any fields other than email addresses. Currently you cannot turn off the newsletter box, I think it should be optional with the option to have the box checked as well. The same thing with the terms and conditions. Cleaner sleeker checkouts reduce cart abandonment.
Simple maintenance buttons
If you want to clear out all old abandoned shopping carts, there is really no way other than buying a module or doing it manually from the database. Prestashop needs built in functions for shop maintenance like these. I would suggest clearing old carts with the option of leaving ones from a time frame and also not deleting ones associated with accounts. Also having a function to delete all the expired vouchers is needed as well and also to clear expired specific price rules as well. As well as also adding a button on the bottom of the main product list in the back office that will let you disable / enable products in mass.
Of course these are just my suggestions in what I think 1.7 needs to add. A couple concerns that I took into account when I compiled the list are; is this feature good for the community as a whole, and how much code bloat would this feature add. I realize that there are a lot of people that need specialized features and I still think those need to be covered by 3rd party modules, but I think these features are essential for having a great e-commerce platform.
About the Author: Lesley Paone
Lesley has worked in e-commerce for over a decade, and is the founder of dh42. Starting out with PrestaShop and brancing out into other platforms like Shopify. He loves all things e-commerce and loves a challenge, in his spare time he helps moderate several forums on SEO, e-commerce, as well as the PrestaShop forum. If you have any questions for him about any of his articles just use our contact form to contact him.