Should You Go For The Volusion Solution or The Super Shopify Online Platform To Meet Your Ecommerce Needs?
When establishing an online store, you have a good choice of platforms to choose from. Some like Shopify are extremely well established, others such as the Volusion ecommerce offering have been around for a long time.
The latter may not be as popular, but that should not discourage you from seeking in-depth information on exactly what is offered.
With this in mind, we have put together a comprehensive Volusion vs Shopify review that gives you the lowdown on what each platform has to offer.
Dedicated Ecommerce platforms – Different approach:
The first thing to be aware of is that whether you plump for Volusion or Shopify, you are opting for a fully dedicated ecommerce platform.
Where they differ is in their ease of use and set-up, features offered and analytical abilities. We certainly will not forget to mention pricing either!
So, without further ado, let’s get into a comprehensive Volusion versus Shopify side-by-side category comparisons to help you decide which platform meets your needs.
|Ease Of Use:|
|We need to state from the off that Volusion is not the easiest platform on which to set-up your online store presence.|
The issue is not with limitations in terms of the features available and what you can do with them.
It is getting to grips with the abundance of choices and the fact that your editing is split between 2 sections.
You have the ‘back-end’ that you as the administrator have visibility of, and the ‘front-end’ – i.e. your storefront and face to customers.
To navigate between these two sections means constant movement between them without any shortcuts.
Those online store owners who persevere will eventually get to grips with Volusion use, but it will take time and patience due to the overly complicated nature of use.
|There is no getting away from it, the Shopify user interface and store set up is very straightforward to use and allows you to set up your online store with ease.|
When you are tackling a new system, simplicity should be the key. Shopify score very well here.
Their intuitive editing tools and a very visible, easy to apply ‘undo’ feature make establishing and running your store uncomplicated.
Believe us, in the early stages of store set up the ‘undo’ feature will be very welcome!
Once you are up and running with the basics, Shopify allows you to add new products and services with ease.
You should also find payment set up and the ability to achieve cross-platform selling no problem.
Verdict: Shopify vs Volusion in the ‘Ease of Use’ category? Shopify is a clear winner.
|Templates & Flexibility:|
|Volusion fares very slightly better than Shopify in the free themes department.|
They offer 11 free themes as opposed to Shopify’s 10.
But, in the available ‘paid for’ apps arena they offer less; 34 as opposed to 50+.
While we are on the topic of ‘paid for’ themes, if you are to use one of these rather than a free theme then budgets need to be added to.
Opting for a Volusion ‘paid for’ theme will cost you $180 whichever you choose. Shopify ‘paid for’ themes cost between $140-180.
While there is less theme choice with Volusion, the 45 that are available should still be considered a good selection.
In truth, there is a theme for most business sectors out there.
The platform also offers a really handy mobile app that allows you to manage your store on the go.
There is also ease of integration across social media sites.
|A good selection of templates is yours on the Shopify platform.|
You get in excess of 60 well-designed themes to choose from. All of these can be further customised to meet your needs.
What does this customization mean?
It allows you to add individual services or product pages.
You can convincingly describe yourself by placing an ‘About Us’ page on your site and you do not have to stick with standard page elements.
This means you can add, remove, move or re-size elements of pages to suit your needs.
Further flexibility is achieved thanks to easy implementation of social media outlets.
As mentioned in the Volusion section, you can also make edits ‘on the fly’ with Shopify thanks to their mobile editor.
One final feature in this Shopify section that should not be overlooked is the ‘product zoom’ feature. This really helps visitors focus in on your products.
Verdict: Considering the additional templates available we deem Shopify to be the winner in this category.
|Volusion versus Shopify in terms of mobile responsiveness is a much closer call.|
We say this because both platforms offer fully responsive mobile stores.
Verdict: In terms of Volusion vs Shopify in the ‘Mobile Responsiveness’ category we deem this a draw.
|Mobile responsiveness has to be considered as a ‘must have’ for any online store expecting to attract a larger customer base.|
As just mentioned, whether you choose a Volusion website or a Shopify one, your store will be fully mobile responsive.
|Features & Tools:|
|You certainly get a fair number of features and tools to use when opting for the Volusion platform.|
· Establishment of a rewards program
· Affiliates goods and services
· Purchase order tracking
· Inventory management
· Advance shipping options
· Currency tools that enable you to sell across the globe
· Customer review options
For those businesses that are data-oriented then Volusion makes a worthy choice.
A stand-out feature:
Once you have overcome the challenging set up of a Volusion store, you will be rewarded with the use of some excellent features.
The platforms superb analytical tools particularly stand out.
An example of this is the ‘search term analysis’.
This allows you to see exactly what potential customers are actually looking for when searching via Google.
Once you understand this you can tailor your store in order to be found more easily.
There is no blogging feature included from the platform, but for those who wish to establish a blog (and you should do!) there is a choice of plug-ins available.
This is a very important consideration that all online store owners need to take into account.
With Volusion there are no transaction fees although some credit card transactions can cost between 0.5-2.0% per transaction. See the Shopify section opposite for their take on this.
Verdict: In the Volusion versus Shopify ‘Features & Tools’ category – We are placing this as a draw.
Because if you are a data-oriented company then Volusion allows you to drill right down and make excellent analysis.
On the other hand, for those less interested in deep analysis, Shopify offers everything required.
|The Shopify store offers power when it comes to functionality. The added bonus is that these features are quite straightforward to set up.|
All the basics you require are at your fingertips and once your basic, fully functioning online store has been created you can then add to this as your business develops.
Similar features to those offered by Volusion are available to Shopify store owners – One exception to note is for those stores who are keen on getting ‘coupons’ integrated into their store: This is not available on the Shopify ‘Lite’ payment plan.
We mentioned a stand-out Volusion feature, so it is only fair we do the same for Shopify.
Inventory management system:
This function may not be the most appealing aspect of any online store, but it is one of the most important.
Knowing your inventory numbers, being aware when you are running low and out of stock are key details.
The Shopify inventory management feature offers everything you need to keep your inventory to levels that make sense.
You will be alerted when stocks are running low and can quickly calculate your product inventory to keep abreast with current visitor trends and their buying habits.
A point here that relates to inventory management. This is regardless of whether you use Volusion, Shopify or any other platform relates to slow moving products.
If you have products that are not selling, then you can make the decision to either promote these (think coupons or discounts) or to end that particular product line.
When it comes to transaction costs, those who use the Shopify Payments do not have to worry about transaction costs. These are zero.
However, many feel they need the flexibility to use other payment systems.
Shopify certainly allows this. They allow integration to over 100 other payment platforms, but when using one of these you will pay a 2% transaction fee on every sale.
Dependent upon your turnover and which payment platform you use, this can certainly add up.
|Volusion may initially seem limited in the app’s availability category.|
This is because their Volusion V2 has integrations for 22 apps. More in the pipeline.
However, that is not the whole story. One of these apps is ‘Zapier’.
This is a service which allows you to connect to additional software services.
It should be noted that if you do take the Zapier route for additional apps, this is a ‘paid for’ offering.
Another reason is that whether you choose Volusion or Shopify they both offer APIs.
This means you can develop integrations and extensions yourself.
|Shopify stars in the app availability arena.|
Some estimates put the current availability at 2,500+ - That’s a whole lot of choice!
Again, there are free and paid for apps available, but with the amount that Shopify store owners have to choose from there is a strong likelihood you will need to budget for additional purchases.
Examples of what are offered include loads of social media marketing options as well as shipping and accounting plug-ins.
Shopify also offer an excellent ‘search feature’ for apps. This certainly makes finding exactly what you need easy.
Verdict: Due to the sheer number and diversity of apps offered – Shopify wins.
|The Volusion SEO tools give you what is required for a sound SEO strategy.|
This includes Keyword research and content optimisation.
You can also use the SEO audits available. These advise on where changes to your store should be made in areas such as:
Content changes, design, meta tags and URL info.
The problem is that using these services will cost, and if you decide to go it alone you will need some technical ability to get the best out of SEO for the Volusion platform.
|Shopify sees the importance of SEO features.|
Taking note of their ‘best practice’ recommendations and using the dedicated SEO app during uploads will certainly improve the online ranking of your store.
All the SEO basics and more are covered by Shopify and as we touched on above, their social media integrations allow for easy inclusion of ‘sharing’ buttons.
Verdict: When it comes to SEO between Volusion or Shopify – Shopify wins.
|Back Up & Restore:|
|Volusion looks after all security issues and protects your site. This means one less thing for you to worry about.|
They also provide daily backups of your site, but there is a word of caution here:
If something goes badly wrong and you ask Volusion for a restore, the first time is free.
Any store in need of subsequent backups will have to pay $ 199.99 for each backup made.
That is a lot of money and to be quite frank, if you are in the position of needing more than one back up you will have very little choice than to pay.
Please do bear this in mind.
|Shopify store users can rest assured that their data is backed up by the platform daily.|
This means as a worst-case scenario if problems did occur you would only lose changes made that day.
If you are a fast-moving business with many changes occurring on a daily basis you would be wise to look at some automated back-up and restore app plug ins. There is a good selection available.
We all know that ‘back-up’ is one of those things that ‘must’ be done but is sometimes forgotten – Automate it and save yourself the worry.
Verdict: Volusion or Shopify in the Back up and Restore category? – Shopify win.
|Help & Support:|
|It goes without saying that help and support are crucial to the well-being and well-running of your online store.|
Volusion fare quite well in this category. Their tutorials are informative, although some may wish there were additional videos to access.
It is possible to schedule a support call or call their support team directly between 07.00-22.00hrs CST.
Volusion have made the decision not to ‘do’ email support, they believe in ‘personal’ support. In this respect all those on each price plan, bar the ‘Personal plan’ comes with 24/7 phone support.
If you opt for the Personal plan, the only support you will get is ‘online’ and this does not include social media assistance.
Just to reiterate, those on the Plus plan or higher will get phone support while Premium plan users have a dedicated account manager.
|Shopify also majors in this category.|
You can avail of telephone, email and their live chat help 24/7.
Believe us, this should be looked upon as a highly valuable resource.
Those who subscribe to the Shopify Plus Level plan also get a dedicated support agent.
For those who wish to ‘self-learn; and it will benefit all store owner/administrators to do so constantly, there are comprehensive tutorials that include screenshots and tips as well as a very informative Community Forum you can take advantage of.
For those who wish to take their learning to a higher level there is also the opportunity to subscribe to the Shopify Ecommerce Online University. This is another worthy source of gaining expertise and experience.
Verdict: While the Volusion support is good, the Shopify all-round offering is more inclusive. We give this one to Shopify.
|We would be extremely remiss if we had not included this section!|
Pricing is key to understanding how you will get things up and running and move on from there.
We will explain in brief both platforms costs here but please do not forget to include those extras when budgeting – Themes, Apps and the like.
For an in-depth look at Volusion pricing please click here (link to the Volusion review). This is our individual review of Volusion with full price plan details.
The Volusion monthly price plans are:
· Personal at $29
· Professional at $79
· Business at $299
· Prime – this is for huge stores and you need to contact Volusion directly to discuss volumes as well as costs.
Discounts are available if you sign up for a 1-year contract.
One additional Volusion cost to note: You will be required to purchase a separate SSL certificate. This will cost between $89-99.
Most other platforms include this in their pricing plans.
Do beware of ceiling sales volumes dependent upon the price plan you choose and understand any transaction fees levied – These should be carefully investigated.
|Shopify slims down your price plans to 3 main options.|
These are monthly costs – As with Volusion, if you opt for a 1-year plan you will get a reduction:
· Basic Shopify at $29
· Shopify at $79
· Advanced Shopify at $299
· Shopify Plus at $2,000
To review and compare pricing you should click here (insert link to Shopify pricing review). This goes into full detail on the Shopify price plans and exactly what you get for your money.
Important Note when considering Volusion vs Shopify:
Both platforms offer a 14-day free trial period. Anyone considering either platform would be well-advised to take advantage of this.
2 weeks should be ample time for you to ‘test-drive’ each platform in order to decide as to which suits your needs best.
To take advantage of these trials please:
· Click here for Shopify free 14-day trial (insert link).
· Click here for Squarespace free 14-day trial (insert link).
Verdict: While it may be a surprise, there are too many variables to give a ‘like-for-like pricing comparison.
For this reason, we have to put the Volusion vs Shopify Pricing category down as a Draw.
It is clear in our side-by-side reviews and Volusion, Shopify comparisons that Shopify comes out the winner.
They are a far more ‘rounded’ solution than Volusion, although it does have to be said that those who are really into data drilling and statistical analysis will benefit from using Volusion as opposed to Shopify.
As you will be aware, there are other ecommerce platforms out there and if you would like to review further, for example, Volusion vs Shopify vs BigCommerce, you can go to individual reviews as well as a variety of side-by-side platform comparisons before deciding. To do that please click here.
As far as Shopify goes, they offer a platform to suit many. Our major ‘itch’ is the potential transaction fees – Do look at this aspect closely. It will not affect those who carry out transactions via ‘Shopify Payments’, but it will if you use other payment systems.