With so many ecommerce platforms to choose from, you can now have a powerful online business. Setting up a retail store online has honestly never been easier, and the right platform will empower you and offer the necessary tools to enhance lead generation and boost sales. As an entrepreneur, your only focus should be running a successful business and catering to your customers while a competent ecommerce platform takes care of the technical details.
So, which platform should you choose to start your online retail business? With so many options available, let’s narrow down the choice to the two most competitive, popular, and dominant ecommerce platforms on the market: Volusion and Shopify. Read on to get a comprehensive, comparative review of both, then decide which platform gets your vote.
Both Shopify and Volusion are online solutions that enable you to create and manage an online store. Although they offer similar services, they're very different in aspects like design, plans, and pricing. Let's see who wins the debate of Volusion vs Shopify when we compare them on each aspect of their service.
Volusion was established in 1999, while Shopify has been in business since 2006, meaning Shopify is relatively new in the market. When compared in terms of active customers, Shopify wins hands down, as it has more than 150,000 active customers; Volusion, on the other hand, has roughly 40,000 active customers. Even though Volusion is older and has been in the market longer, it hasn’t been able to win the same popularity as Shopify.
Service plans are one of the most crucial aspects that attract and bring in customers. Whether you're considering Volusion or Shopify, both offer a variety of different pricing plans, depending on the size of the business. Shopify plans start at $29/month, while Volusion plans begin at $15/month. Shopify plans charge a 1% or 2% of transaction fee, which can be waived if you opt for the company’s personal payment gateway. Volusion doesn’t charge any transaction fees; however, you have to spend at least a $100 or more to get a viable Volusion plan for your online store.
Even though the comparison in pricing shows Shopify plans are more expensive, Volusion plans actually tend to be more costly, as they include bandwidth charges. All Shopify plans, in comparison, have unlimited bandwidth.
Both ecommerce platforms offer a 14-day free-trial period, allowing you to consider the plan(s) best for you.
When it comes to simplicity, many Shopify reviews prove customers are much more satisfied with the way Shopify works. The Shopify website is designed to empower customers by offering them an easy-to-use platform for their online store. In fact, many customers have agreed that switching from Volusion to Shopify improved their user experience. With that said, however, there are instructions and guides available on both Shopify and Volusion to promote a positive user experience.
When it comes to frontend and backend features, both Shopify and Volusion offer a fair share. Comparing frontend features, we can see Shopify has a simple appearance. And with well-integrated social plugins, Shopify can easily run on mobile devices as well. On the other hand, Volusion offers drop-down lists that link out to various pages of the website. The site also has large tabs that provide you with a glimpse of the entire site.
In looking at frontend features, Volusion's checkout process is a clear winner. While Volusion has a simple, one-page checkout, Shopify has a three-page checkout. This can be time-consuming and complex for first-time shoppers. Moreover, Volusion offers a “daily deals” integration feature, along with SmartMatch technology. This technology only displays in-stock product combos.
Shopify's backend features not only help customers, but they're all present on a single page. Alternatively, Volusion has 12 tabs containing numerous fields. Although the simplicity of Shopify is unbeatable, for both mobile and desktop, the options offered by Volusion are certainly more powerful and impressive, and give the customer complete control of their online store.
Shopify offers better SEO than Volusion, as it sets a title tag and custom URL per product—something Volusion doesn’t. URLs are fundamental for search engine optimization, and Volusion loses here by default, in that they don't offer the option.
However, when comparing social media integration on store websites, Volusion certainly wins, as it offers a built-in “Like” button for Facebook, unlike Shopify. Volusion also allows direct posting of new products on Twitter and Facebook. In short, Volusion offers better integration options for social media.
For quite some time, Shopify has offered an integrated blogging function, which allows customers to generate more leads. Volusion, on the other hand, has only just started to offer this in-built function. So, Shopify leads the way here. The blogging function in Shopify is also more developed, and their Content Management System is more powerful.
For email marketing, Volusion is somewhat better, as it has a built-in newsletter option and has MailChimp integrated as an add-on. When using Shopify, however, owners of online retail stores have to add the subscribed customers to their mailing list manually. Although add-ons can help Shopify customers (e.g. integrating Constant Contact and Campaign Monitor), Volusion offers direct integration, making email marketing easier for customers.
When it comes to marketing, Volusion and Shopify are tied, as each has its own strengths and offers a number of impressive marketing options.
The templates offered by Shopify are elegant and eye-catching. Their skilled design department offers some of the best and unbeatable skins for online stores. Shopify themes are very responsive to mobile devices and generally run quite well, giving users a better and more interactive user experience. The prices are reasonable, too, as the highest priced theme is about $180. The live theme-editing option simplifies the process of customizing templates, and customers can easily modify the design of the templates to their preference.
Volusion does offer a larger variety of themes, but doesn't quite compare when it comes to page flow, font usage, and overall appearance of the page. The themes by Volusion are not compatible with most mobile devices, and some themes are as expensive as $895. Though Volusion provides editing options, it's ultimately less flexible when compared with Shopify.
When comparing prices and responsiveness of the website templates, Shopify is a surefire winner. Shopify has a better web design and offers better editing options than Volusion. Their templates are also more apt for professionals and have a fresh and modern appeal.
Add-ons and Integrations
Shopify provides basic options with its plans but offers a huge variety of add-ons and integrations. Their mobile app can be downloaded for free. Other accounting and social media plug-ins offered by Shopify are either fee-based or free to download.
And although Volusion has been around longer, it offers surprisingly few add-ons when compared to Shopify and still remains in beta. Volusion has yet to improve in the area of mobile and social interaction.
The basic Shopify plan limits customers, so they can only add 25 inventory items to their store. However, all other Shopify plans give the option of adding unlimited inventory.
In comparison, Volusion is generous when it comes to their starter plan and offers a limit of 100 items to the store inventory. However, while Shopify only has a limit on their starter plan, Volusion exercises a limit on virtually every plan, only offering unlimited inventory for their highest tier customers.
In comparing the two platforms, Shopify offers better inventory options and, for the most part, does not restrict customers. Volusion enforces a limit on every plan, except for those subscribed to the most expensive tier. This wins some major points for Shopify, and makes it a more desirable option for customers with a large inventory.
Shopify offers powerful payment gateways across the globe. So, managing an online business through Shopify will offer online store owners the chance to perform business transactions anywhere in the world. Shopify recently launched an in-house payment processing system as well. Opting for that choice will waive transaction fees from the Shopify plans and simplify processing payments.
Volusion also integrates with many local and international payment gateways but cannot match Shopify. For instance, Volusion is not compatible with as many payment processing gateways. Moreover, Volusion charges a fee per transaction, a payment gateway fee, statement fee per month, regulatory compliance fee, and a PCI compliance fee. These are added expenses store owners will have to pay, in addition to their hosting bill. When comparing the two in terms of payment processing, Shopify is a better ecommerce platform with stronger integrations of payment processing systems.
When comparing the two ecommerce giants, Volusion has more advanced security tools and offers greater safety to customers. A number of security features (like CISP, the authority to ban certain users, and a members-only section) give Volusion customers greater security on the internet.
However, Shopify's security features are solid, and they are offered through a simple and user-friendly web interface. Thus, it can certainly match up with Volusion in terms of security.
Although these ecommerce platforms simplify the process of setting up an online business, new business owners do face issues in technical areas. Shopify offers the best customer support service in the industry. Regardless of the plan, the team at Shopify provides support 24/7 through phone, email, and live chat.
Shopify also offers customer support in the form of webinars, online tutorials, and interactive user forums where clients can learn more about the online cart and better ways to improve their online store.
Volusion also offers an extensive online guide to help customers. They offer live chat and 24/7 customer support as well. However, their ticket system needs improvement. The response time is quite slow, which is a complete turn-off for most customers waiting to be helped.
In terms of technical support, Shopify takes the lead by offering effective and quick support to their customers. Volusion still needs a bit of improvement in this department.
In looking at reviews from both Shopify and Volusion, it seems Shopify customers show a greater level of satisfaction. They have less difficulty setting up and managing their accounts and stores. (The main complaint with Shopify being that it offers less free themes.)
However, customers are perhaps most excited about Shopify's offers: free bandwidth, numerous integrations and social plug-ins, a great uptime record, solid customer support, and extraordinary and outstanding templates for store websites.
Volusion, on the other hand, has earned complaints regarding their delayed and slow ticket system. Customers were also unhappy about additional fees, like the fee for extra bandwidth use. (Remember, Shopify's bandwidth use is unlimited.) People new to web design have also criticized the overall experience of Volusion, complaining it has limited guidance and a complicated platform. It's true that one may need extensive time and patience when building a Volusion store, and that can be frustrating, especially if you're new to ecommerce. Volusion customers have also pinpointed limited design flexibility as a con—something Shopify offers extensively.
Many reviews of Shopify by customers who switched from Volusion stated that Shopify, in comparison to Volusion, is less complex and simpler to operate. If you're a consumer who relies more heavily on reviews, this information could be important in determining your decision.
A Final Analysis
When comparing the two, it's necessary to examine the features both Volusion and Shopify offer their customers. Both companies are giants of the industry, and each leads the way in many areas. This alone puts both platforms above their competition in several ways. In short, either could be a good choice for you, depending on your interests.
For instance, after comparing the two on web design, simplicity, features, marketing, support, and security, both seem quite competent in all areas. After weighing the pros and cons, however, we can conclude Shopify is simpler and more efficient for new entrepreneurs. Alternatively, Volusion may be a quality choice for those with technical design knowledge. The fact remains, however; Shopify wins customers with simplicity. The Shopify websites boast a straightforward look, offer greater flexibility to users, and are more functional and easier to edit than Volusion.
People who are new to online business may be less intimidated by Shopify and more comfortable using its ecommerce platform. With Shopify's great tech support, customers can easily accomplish their goal of building an online store.
This does not mean that Volusion is a bad option. In fact, Volusion may be the preference of those with prior web designing knowledge, or those looking to get their hands dirty learning about the more technical aspects of building a site.
With Shopify, not only will you save time in the long-run, but you can set up your store in a matter of minutes. Plus, transactions can begin as soon as your store is up and running, meaning you'll be making money sooner rather than later.