Shopify has dominated the eCommerce platform, but Volusion has recently caught up. I am sure you are undecided between the two, so I will provide you with a reasonable comparison.
Today, I will put these two on a head-to-head battle. In each category, we will declare a winner. In the end, you should be able to decide which one to use.
What to Look for In a Hosted Ecommerce Platform
Before I compare Shopify and Volusion, I will share several things you need to know before committing to an eCommerce platform. Many platforms try to seduce you with bells and whistles, but I must say that you should focus on the things that matter.
1. Limit to Hosting Storage and Bandwidth
The first thing that I want you to check is the limit to hosting services. Some providers give you a limit like 20 GB. I can say that this is frustrating, as a store requires a lot of images.
What you want is a platform that does not give you this limit. Preferably, there has to be no limit to the storge and the bandwidth.
Of course, I would understand if the platform would limit your video storage, as videos take a lot of space. But for images, beware of platforms that ask you to upgrade to get higher storage.
Bandwidth, however, is another thing. People confuse it as speed or storage, but it is not. It is the amount of data that the servers transfer at a given time.
Some providers reduce this bandwidth as you get more traffic. And I would tell you now that this is bad—your website performance will suffer. If you could, choose an eCommerce platform that does not have limits on both storage and bandwidth.
2. Products You Can Sell
What products can you sell on the platform? Is it just physical, or does it include digital? And why is it even necessary?
Once you start selling online, you will be surprised that you will also be interested in selling other products, especially if you are selling digital goods.
Here are some things you can ponder about:
- Digital products like art and music
If the platform cannot accommodate these, you may want to reconsider. I am only saying this because you will get accustomed to its system once you use the platform. And once this happens, you may be afraid to try other platforms.
If your product is digital, you want to make sure that the platform you choose can support the various ways you can scale it.
3. Transaction Fees
Different platforms have different views on whether they would charge you a fee or not. My take is that you should not be charged a transaction fee unless you use the platform’s payment system.
When you subscribe to an eCommerce platform, the monthly subscription you pay should be enough to cover the “rent.” However, some platforms still charge you money for every sale you make.
I do not like this setup. It is not like the platform is free, and you upload your products for free. If the setup is like that, I would understand if the platform would charge a sales fee.
Unfortunately, it is rare to see a company offer a zero-transaction fee service. It seems that they want to milk money from the users. If you can find such a platform, check if the platform has what you need. If it doesn’t, you are better off paying fees for every sale.
4. Safety and Security
In a time like this, security is imperative. You should not have to pay for extra services just to make your site secure.
At the very least, the platform should give your site SSL. It means Secure Socket Layer, and it automatically encrypts your website. All the information that travels between your website and your site users shall be secure.
With SSL, hackers may intercept data, but they cannot decrypt it, or it will take them forever to do it.
Some hosting service providers charge a fee for this outside of eCommerce, but most do not. The platform of choice must also give you free SSL.
5. Reporting and Analytics
Robust analytics is one fundamental factor for success. If you know what is happening in your business, you can make the right decision.
All eCommerce platforms offer basic reports. They reserve high-level analytics for higher plans. At the very least, you should choose a platform that gives you basic insights into your sales.
If the reporting mechanism is not that detailed, the platform must allow you to integrate Google Analytics and Google Search Console with your store. With these two, you will get insights into your traffic and how your site visitors behave.
6. Front-End Management
Front-end management refers to what you can do for things that people can see. For example, you should control the colors of your theme or what sections are on your pages.
In addition to this, you must have the liberty to add pages, blog posts and design the front-end. If you could, the eCommerce that you choose should also allow you to integrate apps like Elementor.
All eCommerce platforms allow you to change some aspects of the theme’s default design. However, you cannot do everything as you please. As such, it is always best to choose a platform where you can install apps that would help you change how your website looks like.
7. Back-End Management
This one refers to what you do behind the scenes. Customers and site visitors do not see this, but these actions impact how your website performs.
One good example of this is SEO. The platform must allow you to put meta titles, meta descriptions, and tags to your content. You can work on your organic traffic and not spend too much money on ads if you can do this.
Backend management is anything that has something to do with how your website works—speed, how it communicates with servers, and how the applications in your online store work.
Now that we have addressed this issue, we can now proceed to our comparison and see which of these two is a better choice.
Volusion Vs. Shopify Comparison
1. Ease of Use
Both Shopify and Volusion make it easy to build a website, add products, and launch a store. With Shopify, you only need to sign-up, and then choose a theme. Once you do this, the store is already functional, and the only thing to do is upload your products.
Volusion is also pretty easy to use. However, it isn’t easy to navigate. Users agree that Volusion lacks clarity on what to do next. It seems like Volusion is trying to do so many things at once. The result is a confusing interface.
Both Shopify and Volusion have a control panel to the left. The difference is that on Volusion, there is a sub-control panel to the right.
For example, if you are editing the homepage, another control panel to the right allows you to change the color palette.
The biggest gripe of users against Volusion is its interface. If you want to design your website, you will have difficulty finding which buttons lead to which page. In Shopify, this is not the case. Instead, the control panel to the left has it all.
To me, Shopify’s control panel is similar to WordPress. It is easy to find what page you are looking for. Editing your theme and your store couldn’t possibly be more straightforward than what Shopify has to offer.
WINNER: Shopify is the clear winner on this one. It is easy to understand the navigation pane.
2. Sales Features
First off, Volusion has sales limits according to your plan. Your sales limits are $50k, $100k, ad $500k. Shopify does not offer these limits.
I like Volusion because it comes with Robust analytics tools that help you drive sales. With Shopify, you only get the most basic reports in the Basic Shopify plan.
With Volusion, you can use the search term analysis to determine what customers look for on Google. I can say without a doubt that every entrepreneur needs this. If you know what people are looking for, you will know what to sell. Unfortunately, Shopify does not have this feature.
However, Volusion has no blogging feature while Shopify does. What this means is that in Volusion, you can only increase your organic traffic if you use the right keywords for your product pages. Good luck with that.
Shopify also offers sales channels; you can integrate your Shopify store with Amazon, eBay, and other sales channels. Volusion does not have this. With Volusion, you can only integrate your store with social media accounts.
What makes this critical is that you can reach people from other marketplaces with little effort. For example, if you integrate your Shopify store with your Amazon store, some people will buy your product on the Amazon platform.
Also, you only need to make changes in your Shopify store, and these changes will automatically reflect on your other sales channels.
WINNER: Shopify wins this round again. The winning factors are the blog for organic traffic and the integration with other marketplaces.
3. Design Flexibility
The last thing that you want is a cookie-cutter store. The thing with both Shopify and Volusion is you choose a theme when you are getting started, and then you change the images on the themes.
The problem is that you cannot design the website unless you are a coder. The process does not work like design editors like Thrive or Elementor. Pretty much, you only rely on what you want to remove or add, but you cannot make a personalized store.
Both Volusion and Shopify offer free themes. You can also buy professional themes and install them. The themes are automatically mobile-friendly.
Volusion does not have a lot of themes to choose from. Shopify has hundreds, if not thousands, available in the market. However, the themes in Volusion are more affordable.
In Shopify, you have the option to add and remove sections. For example, let us say that the theme you selected has a hero banner and a video section. If you have no video to show, you can remove that section.
You can also add sections, like collections. However, you are not in complete control of how this section would look. So, if you want five columns but the theme only offers four, you are stuck with that.
Volusion has the same capabilities. Volusion, however, encourages you to change the CSS or HTML code of the theme. Despite this feature, it does not make it any more user-friendly. Who knows how to code, anyway?
Both Shopify and Volusion allow you to choose a theme, edit them, and make changes from the CSS and HTML codes.
WINNER: The winner here is Shopify because of the number of options you have. Many developers out there make paid themes for the Shopify platform.
4. Help and Support
Of course, you will need support one of these days. Both Shopify and Volusion offer excellent service when it comes to customer support. However, Shopify has more to offer than Volusion.
Shopify has 24/7 service for both voice and live chat. On top of that, Shopify has email and social media support.
Shopify has a knowledge base and lots of tutorials on using the system. It also has a university and a forum to ask the community for help.
While Volusion also offers phone support, they are only open from 7 AM to 10 PM Central Standard Time. Right now, there is no email support.
Volusion also has tutorials, but it does not have a huge community. In Shopify, there are thousands of members you can ask. In fact, you can even ask a Shopify customer support specialist what he thinks about your store.
One thing I really like about the Shopify forum is that you can give your store’s URL in the forum, and one employee of Shopify will check it out. After testing your site, they will advise how you can make it better. Some community members may join in and give you valuable feedback.
WINNER: Shopify bags the win again for the support. It has many ways by which you could contact the customer service department, and you can depend on them 24/7.
5. Pricing and Value for Money
Below is an overview of Shopify’s pricing.
- Basic Shopify – costs $29 per month; build a fully functional store with two staff accounts, 77% shipping discount, and 2.9% plus $0.03 in transaction fees.
- Shopify – costs $79 per month; pay only 2.6% + $0.30 in transaction fees, have up to five staff accounts, and 88% shipping discounts.
- Advanced Shopify – costs $299 per month; pay as low as 2.5% + $0.30 in transaction fees, get 15 staff accounts, and 88% shipping discount.
Now, here is the pricing matrix for Volusion.
- Personal – costs $29 per month; limit of $50k in sales per year and 100 products; support is online only
- Professional – costs $79 per month; the limit is $100k in sales per year, and you can sell up to 5,000 products
- Business – costs $299 per month; the limit is at $500k in sales per year, and you can sell unlimited products.
As you can see, the big difference here is that Shopify charges a transaction fee while Volusion does not. However, Volusion limits the number of products that you can upload. There is also a limit to the amount of revenue per year. To get away from this limit, you must upgrade.
Volusion does not have a shipping partner baked into it. Therefore, you can only use third-party shipping calculators if you are in the Business plan.
WINNER: While Shopify charges fees, it is still the clear winner for this round. All it takes to get started is the Basic Shopify plan. You already have access to many features in this plan, including a point-of-sale system for offline sales.
6. Transaction Fees
We discussed the transaction fees earlier, but I want to discuss this in detail. Volusion does not charge transaction fees, but Shopify does.
Here is a table of fees from Shopify:
|Basic Shopify||Shopify||Advanced Shopify|
|Online credit card rates||2.9% + 30¢ USD||2.6% + 30¢ USD||2.4% + 30¢ USD|
|In-person credit/debit card rates||2.7% + 0¢ USD||2.5% + 0¢ USD||2.4% + 0¢ USD|
|Transaction fee if not using Shopify Payments||2.0%||1.0%||0.50%|
Online credit card rates refer to the fee you pay if someone buys from your Shopify store. In-person payment is for sales that you make in the real-world using Shopify’s card reader. This is the point-of-sale system where you swipe someone else’s card in person. If you use the POS, you will pay $89 per month.
Both of these use the Shopify payment gateway. If you are not using that, the fee is different. For example, if you are using PayPal, Shopify will take 2% of the sales on the Basic Shopify plan. This fee does not include the processing fee of PayPal if you receive the money on that platform.
It is a tad difficult to comprehend why Shopify would do this. I mean, I would understand if they are processing the credit card payments. However, the seller is at a disadvantage if he uses another platform like PayPal or Skrill.
WINNER: Volusion tops Shopify on this one. It does not charge any transaction fee whatsoever.
Both Shopify and Volusion offer free and paid templates. Those just starting do not need to buy premium ones, so both of these eCommerce platforms are great options.
Upon checking, I can say that all the templates on both platforms are modern. However, although all are mobile-responsive, it is not precisely “wow,” as mobile compatibility is now a basic expectation.
Both also offer quality templates, which means these templates are not just put together by some sleuth amateurs. Instead, they are well thought of, and both Shopify and Volusion control what templates show in their app store.
As far as pricing goes, both have similar price ranges. You can buy the themes anywhere from $20 and up. Some go up as high a $180.
Before you buy a theme, I strongly recommend that you check reviews. Sometimes, theme developers make many promises, but they do not live up to these claims. Do not buy a theme that has no refund guarantee.
WINNER: My decision here is a draw. None of these two platforms has created something new. However, remember that there is more developer support for Shopify than Volusion.
8. Types of Products You Can Sell
In Volusion, you can only sell physical products. There was a time when Shopify was like this, but they have made updates about it. Now, there is a box that you can tick that if your product is digital.
However, take note that in Shopify, you need to install an app to sell digital goods. You also need an external source where the user can download the product.
WINNER: In reality, there is no winner for this one. Both platforms do not offer a convenient way to allow you to sell digital goods.
9. Payment Gateways
Volusion only offers two payment processors. These are PayPal and Stripe. With Shopify, you have hundreds of options.
Here are some examples:
Shopify offers hundreds of payment options. What this means is if you are in a country where PayPal is not available, you can use the other payment methods.
Between Shopify and Volusion, my recommendation is Shopify. It has everything you need at an acceptable price. It has no limit on the products you can sell, albeit it has transaction fees.
Shopify is the platform that changed the landscape of building online stores. The rest are just copycats if you have to ask me.
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