PrestaShop 1.5 is just around the corner, the PrestaShop team recently hinted that it could be with us as soon as late November!
PrestaShop 1.4 brought some notable tools, such** as web service integration, the customer service feature, a re-styled back office allowing back office themes, the automatic updater and much more**.
The upcoming PrestaShop 1.5 release looks just as rich in new features, bringing huge improvements as PrestaShop continues to grow stronger with each update.
The PrestaShop team have laid out a number of milestone features they want to include in PrestaShop 1.5, we'll look at some of these new features in detail and why they are very welcome additions.
1. New Modules API
At first glance, this may not seem anything of interest to shopkeepers and seemingly more focused towards developers. This is actually great news for shopkeepers as in PrestaShop 1.5 you will now be notified when your store's PrestaShop modules have updates available, allowing you to effortlessly keep your modules up to date, staying secure and using the latest features.
This is also great news for developers, as they can roll out fixes and new features to their PrestaShop modules without having to track down and tell users manually.
This can only be a good thing for PrestaShop, as it allows shopkeepers to easily stay up to date with their modules, even if a third-party such as a development agency created or installed them on their behalf in the first place.
2. Manually create and edit orders
Finally you'll be able to** alter a customers cart or order** with ease from the PrestaShop back office, adding additional products, applying a one-time discounts or subtracting items if the customer made a mistake in their purchase.
This PrestaShop 1.5 feature also allows you to create orders on your customer's behalf straight from the back office. This is very useful for shopkeepers that take a lot of orders over the phone, where your phone customers can still have a valid Order ID without you having to go through the store's front-office cart process.
3. Streamlined installation process
The PrestaShop team have improved the installation process with each update. In PrestaShop 1.5 the installation will allow you to select the features and PrestaShop modules that you want included in the install.
This could mean that you can choose to opt out of installing the Moneybrookers PrestaShop module for instance, if you know you or your client won't need it.
Allowing users to tailor their install allows shopkeepers and PrestaShop developers to really** remove the excess 'padding' or 'bulk' that can occur on a new install**, that at worst is needlessly slowing down your store, and at best confusing your client/employees by burdening them with useless features.
4. Multi-store management
I've been around the PrestaShop forums some time now, and a recurring requested feature is controlling multiple store fronts from a single back office.
PrestaShop 1.5 answers these calls, and it looks pretty good. You can add more stores to your back office, assign the store a 'category root' and you're set.
You can group your PrestaShop stores together that will share many of the same settings, or keep them separate and apply product prices, descriptions, payment methods and much more on an** individual store basis**.
Time will tell what toll this feature plays on your web server, as hosting multiple stores from a single database could be problematic if your store(s) get a lot of traffic.
Though, you would assume a store receiving such traffic would be built upon a solid server, and so this will probably not be an issue for many users.
5. Improved Front Office
Recently I posted about PrestaShop's new default store theme, this is coming as standard with PrestaShop 1.5. The theme is more than a facelift though, the PrestaShop team say that they are going to improve areas such as the order process and how product descriptions are handled.
This is good news, as I find the way the one-page checkout works a bit of a mess personally. The guest checkout could also be improved somewhat beyond what comes as default in PrestaShop 1.4.
All of this adds up to a** better customer experience, and a better customer/user experience means more conversions**, which are always welcome.
What else does PrestaShop 1.5 bring?
These are by no means the only features that are coming with PrestaShop 1.5, you can see a list of PrestaShop 1.5 milestones for the release, or developers are always encouraged to keep up to speed by using the PrestaShop SVN to track the very latest updates and developments.
Which features are you looking forward to? Do you have a feature request that missed the cut? Let us know your thoughts on the upcoming release below!