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Shopify vs. Volusion - Their subtle but important differences

  • 6 min read

 

As two of the oldest e-Commerce platforms, Shopify and Volusion have a lot in common. Their subtle but important differences, however,  can tip the scales in favor of one over the other. Read our guide to learn more about each and see which has the upper hand.

At first, this might very much be about how similar Shopify and Volusion are. 

Both have the same basic purpose—to help you create your online store. Both are fully hosted solutions, which means you don’t need to install any software for using the platforms. Both offer you a range of design, marketing, and e-Commerce functionalities in return for a monthly fee. They let you sell any type of product and even services, and neither needs any coding or technical knowledge for creating your store.

Although Volusion is technically older, having been around since 1999, it has had less impact than Shopify, the second most popular hosted solution in the U.S., which has so far helped 1,000,000 users worldwide, compared to Volusion that has a little less than 60,000 customers. Volusion went through a massive redesign phase in 2016 to add more features and improve integration issues. Yet, according to Google Trends, Shopify is not only bigger but by far more popular than Volusion.

Aside from scale, the two platforms are different in some important ways, which can affect your overall experience with building and managing your online business. Here, we highlight those features that can help you decide.

Usability

Both platforms need little to no technical knowledge to launch your store. They have a clear-cut dashboard that lets you add inventory, change store settings, fulfill orders, or view analytics and site metrics for your store.

Although both Shopify and Volusion have a straightforward interface, users have found it more difficult in the past to set up a store with Volusion than Shopify. Issues with uploading templates, slow speed, and poor editing, not to mention Volusion’s limited number of templates, are some common pet peeves for its users.

Recently, Volusion redesigned its platform, which improved user experience, but Shopify’s theme editor is still more streamlined. Adding sections that use the core theme design is much easier with Shopify.

With Volusion, you’ll have to go through many steps and questions to add or modify different features of your store. Sometimes, the extensive guides and processes could be more a nuisance especially if you are more experienced in building online stores.

Overall, Volusion’s setup seems to have a few hiccups compared to Shopify’s easy breezy process.

Pricing

Even the pricing plans for the two seem to be similar, at first. Shopify has three core plans that range from $29 to $299 and two custom plans—Shopify Lite ($9), for selling on social media platforms or blogs, and Shopify Plus, a custom solution for large businesses that starts at $2000 per month.

Volusion has a four-level plan within that same range ($29-$299) and Volusion Prime, which is a custom plan with its price based on your requirements.

Unlike Shopify, which has no limits on sales or products in any of its plans, Volusion’s Personal plan ($29) is limited to annual sales below $50k.

What gets Volusion’s customers excited about its pricing is the complete absence of transaction fees in all of its plans. Compare that to Shopify, where you end up paying 0.5%, 1%, or 2% transaction fee on every purchase depending on your plan level.

Of course, you can avoid Shopify’s transaction fees if you use their payment system, Shopify Payments. The problem is that it only works if you are selling from certain countries

If your country is not on the list, you’ll get to choose from hundreds of third-party gateways for which you do pay the transaction fees.

Yet another difference between their pricing is that Shopify offers Abandoned Cart Recovery, a popular feature in e-Commerce platforms, as a built-in feature in its Basic Plan ($29) whereas, with Volusion, you would have to sign up for at least its Professional plan ($79) to get the same functionality.

Also different, Shopify offers point-of-sale features for all of its plans, Volusion offers none.

With the same pricing range, Shopify seems to offer more value for your money, but Volusion’s advantage of not having any transaction fees is an attractive deciding factor, especially if you sell from anywhere other than the 27 countries that offer Shopify Payments.

Design

Both platforms have a range of free and paid themes that are mobile-friendly, professional, and modern. But Volusion is more limited in variety and less flexible with customization than Shopify.

Although Volusion offers 18 free themes compared to Shopify’s 10, it has only one paid theme Balance and Glass, compared to Shopify, which has more than 60 design themes to choose from. 

Another important design factor is how easy it is to find and customize the themes available. With Shopify, it’s much easier to filter your search based on style, price, or industry, whereas Volusion Provides no filters at all. Shopify also has great customization tools and a user-friendly interface, which are absent in Volusion.

Volusion lags behind when it comes to the variety and usability of its design themes.

Apps and Features

Another clear win for Shopify is the wide range of apps and features it offers to ensure smooth management, regardless of the size of your business. Again, Volusion seems to have a lot to catch up with here.

Shopify offers a 100 payment gateways compared to Volusion, which only supports Stripe, Paypal, and Authorize.net. Although both platforms have their own payment solutions, Shopify Payments only applies in specific locations around the world.

Shopify’s killer app store covers thousands of apps and more than 2200 plugins, compared to Volusion’s 14 apps. Although it covers basic functionalities like Mailchimp, it simply fades compared to Shopify’s wide range of options.

Dropshipping, a popular method with online sellers that allows you to send orders to suppliers who then ship directly to customers, is a fully supported option with Shopify compared to Inventory Source, the one integration for Dropshipping in Volusion.

Shopify also offers great Point-on-Sale functionalities,  which lets you use the platform for taking orders, payment, and inventory, while you sell your products in a physical store.  Although POS can be used in any of Shopify’s plans, the full range of POS functionality costs an additional $89 per month. Volusion has no POS functionality, yet.

Whereas you can have ratings and reviews and Abandoned Cart Recovery in Shopify with their Basic plan, in Volusion you’ll have to sign up for at least 79$ a month to get the same features.

Volusion does offer built-in solutions for affiliate programs and recurring payments, which makes it an ideal choice if you are running subscription services.

Marketing

Shopify offers powerful SEO tools and integrates with reporting tools like Google Analytics and Adworks. If you need additional metrics to gauge the performance of your store, Shopify has its own analytics software that comes in handy.

It offers great email marketing apps, which you can install to send automated email campaigns. It also has a blogging tool that can boost your efforts in content marketing. The more advanced blog features like archiving and categorization are available through a third-party plugin like WordPress.

Just by comparing the variety of apps, Volusion clearly lags behind. It has basic marketing features to get you going, but with a far less variety of features. 

Like Shopify, Volusion also offers a third-party content management like WordPress, but because it remains on a sub-domain, users find it difficult to update and manage content.  With Shopify’s built-in blogging tool, you can get the SEO benefits from the same domain and help drive traffic to your main site.

Which is better?

In terms of design themes, apps, and features, Shopify performs far better. Although Volusion added a few features and improved some of its integrations, it still has a long way to go to match the popularity and scale of Shopify’s offers.

But if you are looking for a less costly alternative with no transaction fees regardless of the payment option you choose, Volusion has the upper hand. It also is ideal for subscription services or for wholesales, where you are looking for unlimited product options and variations.

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