Whether you are an independent artist busy making and selling home décor items or an aspiring e-retailer, chances are that you have no experience whatsoever in web design and development. However, considering the ever-growing popularity of e-commerce, you cannot lag behind simply because you have no technical knowledge.
Although launching an e-commerce store can be a big headache for a non-tech savvy and inexperienced user, but with professional help you can easily sail through. Those who are ready to try it out themselves can make use of one of the DIY website builders to create their dream webstore. If you too are considering the DIY approach, there are 4-5 major options available in the market, and among them, Shopify and Volusion lead the game.
Both, Shopify and Volusion offer an out of the box shopping platform complete with all advanced e-commerce features, hundreds of beautiful templates and mobile commerce solutions. At the first look of it, you may feel that they have a lot in common, but there are several key differences that must be considered when making a choice. So, let us explore these differences in our Volusion vs. Shopify comparison. The most important differences between Volusion and Shopify lie in the design, price of services, complimentary services and their experience in developing e-commerce solutions. Here is a detailed comparison between the two platforms.
Ease of Use
As far as the ease of use is concerned, both the platforms rank equal. They are both easy to pick up and both offer good onboarding help through articles, on-screen walkthroughs, and videos. Volusion offers out of the box Facebook and Twitter integrations, quick access to help and one-page checkout features. While these features are great, those with no technical experience may find it a little difficult to navigate the system. However, as far as the day to day operation of the system is concerned, they are both on equal footing.
In the nutshell, anyone who has no experience building e-commerce stores will feel comfortable getting started on either of the platforms. Both Volusion and Shopify are well-established market players and they owe a large part of their success to the user-friendly experience they offer to the first time e-retailers.
For ease of understanding, we will do a side by side comparison of the key features of these e-commerce platforms.
Basic store functionality
Both Volusion and Shopify provide basic store functionalities that are powerful yet easy to setup, use and maintain.
Payment gateway options
Volusion supports only 30+ payment gateways, while Shopify supports as many as 70 payment gateways. So, Shopify enjoys a clear edge when it comes to payment gateway options. We will discuss these options in detail in a little while.
If we consider the starter plan, both Shopify and Volusion have priced it at $14 per month. However, the difference lies in what you get for this price. Shopify’s starter plan restricts you to a maximum of 25 store items, while Volusion’s starter plan allows as many as 100 store items. However, when it comes to other plans, Shopify lets you add unlimited items to the store, while Volusion has a tiered structure wherein it allows unlimited products on only their top plan, which is priced at $135 per month.
Shipping charges calculation
This is an important and the most basic feature for any e-commerce store. Both Volusion and Shopify offer powerful and flexible options for calculating shipping charges.
Discounts and coupons
Volusion allows discount creation and offers calculation functionalities with all its plans. However, Shopify does not offer discounts and coupons feature on its starter plan.
Themes and templates
Both Volusion and Shopify offer a good collection of themes and templates that let you personalize your e-commerce store and give it a look and feel of your choice. Shopify offers fewer free themes compared to Volusion, but if you are looking for more contemporary themes, then you will certainly find Shopify better. Both Volusion and Shopify offer a variety of premium themes with a starting price of $80.
These days, it is extremely important to have a responsive web design, which means, the web pages should render equally well on all devices including desktop computers, laptops, smartphones and mobile phones. The good news is that both, Volusion and Shopify offer a variety of responsive design templates paid and well as free. We will talk about themes in detail in a while.
Apps and other Add-ons
Shopify offers more than 100 apps and add-ons that you can use to enhance the functionality of your e-commerce store. Here, Volusion is at a slight disadvantage, because it offers fewer apps and add-ons. There are a number of free and paid apps and add-ons available for both Volusion and Shopify.
When it comes to building a successful online store, customization is essential to make it stand out of the crowd. Both Volusion and Shopify offer robust customization capabilities through an advanced interface. This interface allows users to edit the HTML/CSS code and gives complete control over the design and appearance of your online store.
If we compare both platforms, Shopify provides an easy to use, menu-driven method to change the basic store attributes such as fonts and colors, and on the other hand, with Volusion you can customize your theme only by editing the HTML/CSS code, which only a professional can do.
Volusion offers better inbuilt multi-lingual support compared to Shopify. However, it does not offer the custom coding capabilities under a simple mode, but only under the raw code edit mode that requires high-level HTML/CSS coding skills. On the other hand, Shopify does not offer direct multi-lingual capabilities, and to create fully multi-lingual stores you need to use third party, paid apps.
Another way that you can create a multi-lingual store with Shopify is to custom code the template or theme with a simple/advanced level interface. Also, Shopify offers multi-lingual capability as an inbuilt feature on the checkout pages.
Blogging functionality and SEO features: Both Volusion and Shopify offer integrated blogging functionality. While Shopify has been offering this feature since long, Volusion has introduced it only recently. Also, both platforms offer a broad range of SEO capabilities to help business owners generate more organic traffic for their e-commerce store via search engines. However, Shopify offers more powerful SEO features and benefits compared to those offered by Volusion.
When it comes to marketing features, Volusion vs. Shopify game gets pretty tough. Here is how.
Search engine marketing
If you are looking for some great SEO capabilities, then Shopify offers pretty much everything you will ever need. Most of the SEO areas such as meta descriptions to title tags are editable and image files come with customizable file names and image alt tags. It also offers canonical URL tags to prevent duplicate content. On the other hand, even Volusion has in-built SEO capabilities, but it does not offer as many options as Shopify does. On their product page, there are fields such as URL text, photo alt tag, meta tag description, and a few others. While there is not a huge difference when it comes to SEO, but in Shopify, settings are easier to locate.
The primary social media integrations available with Volusion are Amazon, eBay, and Facebook. It also lets you place sharing buttons right on your web page to allow people to directly like, tweet or pin about the products. It also allows you to connect your online store directly to Twitter or Facebook for promotions or announcements. Volusion also lets you manage YouTube videos. On the other hand, Shopify lags behind badly when it comes to built-in social media tools. It lets you sell products through social media platforms such as Pinterest and Facebook, but it lacks Amazon and eBay integration, and support for quick social buttons. It does give you the freedom to choose your own app for social media solutions.
Shopify offers email newsletter functionality, although it is not the quickest setup. It lets you create a standard page that you can use to collect email addresses. You can integrate it with other email management solutions such as MailChimp. In case you find the newsletter feature too rudimentary, you can install one of the email apps. On the other hand, Volusion offers much better newsletter support compared to Shopify as the system is built into its backend. It lets you create and test the newsletters without having to open a separate program. It also offers features to track ROI to test effectiveness of mails. Volusion also offers the capability to segment users and make a professional form to capture emails and store them in the database.
Built-in promotion options
Shopify’s app store offers a variety of promotion tools. However, you also get access to promotional tools such as discount codes and gift cards depending on the plan you have purchased. Volusion on the other hand, has an amazing daily deals tool. It also allows you to offer customer loyalty plans, discount coupons and batch order processing that encourages people to buy more.
Other selling channels
Volusion allows you to setup the Google Merchant Center integration, however, it is not a simple solution and takes a bit of experience. It also offers support to sell on Facebook, Amazon and eBay. With Shopify also, you can sync your product data feed through the Google Merchant Center. It also allows you to sell on Facebook, but unlike the case of Volusion, Amazon and eBay are no supported, but you can install a third party app for this task.
Technical support and customer service
Both Volusion and Shopify offer a number of ways to contact customer support. Volusion offers round the clock support via phone, chat or mail for all plans except for the starter package, with which you get online support. Volusion also assures that users can get in touch with a knowledgeable, friendly support executive in less than 5 minutes.
Shopify also offers great customer service including 24/7 phone support. The users can access answers to their questions via different channels such as phone, email, live chat and other online resources such as discussion forum and wiki. Shopify also has an e-commerce University and a blog, which are both super helpful for the users. Shopify team can also be contacted via Twitter and Facebook.
As discussed earlier, Shopify supports more than 70 payment gateways and works with a variety of payment processors. They also launched an in-house processor called Shopify payments in 2013. With entry plans, you can to pay 2.9 percent and $0.30 per transaction. The professional and unlimited customers plans qualify for reduced rates i.e. 2.6 percent and $0.30 and 2.4 percent and $0.30 respectively.
Users that sign up for the program do not have to pay transaction fees.
Volusion is not compatible with as many processors as Shopify, but it integrates with a number of domestic and international payment gateways. Volusion also offers a credit card processor. The merchant services charges 2.15 percent per transaction, and another $3.41 as PCI compliance fee. Users have to purchase their own SSL certificate, which means an added expenditure of $89 per year. The fee structure of Shopify is more straightforward and it has a broader set of integrations compared to Volusion, which means, it is a clear winner as far as payment processing is concerned.
In the recent years, Shopify has completely redone its backend and has included a live theme editor that gives users, the ability to customize templates with ease. It offers eye-catching skins and elegant templates that are hard to beat. Most importantly, Shopify offers more than 130 responsive templates that make sure that your online store looks great from any device. In comparison, Volusion offers only 23 responsive templates. However, Volusion offers a reasonable number of themes to choose from, but, the skins lag behind those of Shopify in terms of overall design, page flow and font usage. While both Volusion and Shopify have file editor that gives access to raw code, the Shopify’s backend admin is more intuitive and flexible than that of Volusion.
Add-ons and integrations
Shopify offers an amazing number of integrations including myriad free and fee-based social media and accounting plugins and free to download mobile apps. Compared to this, Volusion’s app marketplace has few add-ons even though it has been around for more than 16 years. The most important plugs-ins that you will find on Volusion are Mailchimp and Quickbooks, but it leaves a lot to be desired. So, when it comes to add-ons and integrations, Shopify takes the lead.
Setup fees: Neither Shopify, nor Volusion charges any setup fees. Both offer a free, 14-day trial that allows users to test and evaluate the features and functionality of the platforms.
Monthly fees: Shopify offers four plans with monthly fees ranging from $14 for the basic plan to $179 for unlimited plan. However, those who do not want to start small without an online store can go for the lite plan at $9.
- Lite: $9 (no online store)
- Starter Plan : $ 14
- Basic Plan : $ 29
- Professional Plan : $79
- Unlimited Plan : $179
Shopify also offers a 14-day free trial.
Volusion also offers four plans, with monthly fees ranging from $15 to $135, as listed below:
- Mini Plan : $15
- Plus Plan : $35
- Pro Plan : $75
- Premium Plan : $135
Like Shopify, Volusion also offers a free, 14 day trial.
Transaction fees: If you use the Shopify payment gateway, then no additional transaction fee is charged. However, in case of other payment methods or gateways they have a tiered fee structure:
- Starter Plan : 2%
- Basic Plan : 1%
- Professional Plan : 1%
- Unlimited Plan : 0%
Volusion does not charge any transaction fee on any of its plan. However, the payment gateway provider’s transaction fee would be applicable for both platforms.
Bandwidth charges: None of the two platforms charge any bandwidth usage fee.
Template/Theme price: Both Volusion and Shopify offer a number of paid as well as free themes. On both platforms, the premium themes start at $80.
Volusion vs Shopify: Final Verdict
Both Volusion and Shopify are great platforms, and the decision to choose the best among them is a difficult one. However, considering the fact that Shopify fared better on most of the parameters that we considered, we have to hand it to Shopify. This does not mean there are any issues with Volusion or it is any less. Both Volusion and Shopify have earned the reputation of being the most advanced web-based carts available in the market. However, the fee structure, features, and beautiful themes and templates make Shopify a winner.
We recommend that you take a free trial of both the platforms, and then make a decision. When it comes to choosing between two highly reputed platforms, it is best to try them hands-on and then consider your personal preferences to make a choice.