Shopify vs Volusion – War of The Shops
In this e-commerce platform comparison, we are taking a look at another two popular cloud-based e-commerce software solutions: Shopify and Volusion. We are certain that this comparison will be interesting as each platform is positioned slightly differently.
Shopify has managed to establish itself as the go-to platform for small, first-time niche retailers who value simplicity and ease of use.
Volusion, on the other hand, is geared toward medium-sized stores, which is reflected in the slightly higher starting price. Let’s dive right in and discover their strengths and weaknesses are.
They do share similar key e-commerce features, e.g both offer variant pricing where product pricing changes depending on color or size.
If you don’t want to go through and read the entire comparison, we will reveal who the winner is.
And The Winner Is…
Volusion turned out to be a much less versatile platform that requires customers to jump through more hoops than they have to with Shopify and offers significantly worse user experience. Here below is a tl;dr summary version of our of Shopify and Volusion head-to-head comparison.
The following web hosting features have been compared and scored (click on the link to scroll to each feature section): 1. Interface, Set Up, & Ease of Use, 2. Themes & Designs, 3. Payments & Transactions, 4. Hosting & Security, 5. Marketing & Reporting and 6. Customer Support.
| Free 14-day trial|
Unlimited products & file storage
0 - 2.0% transaction fees
70 integrated payment gateways
Modern & fully customizable themes
More features at shopify.com
|From 29.99 /mo||78% score|| Visit website
| Free 14-day trial|
Unlimited file storage
No transaction fees
50 integrated payment gateways
Responsive & customizable themes
More features at volusion.com
|From 25.00 /mo||67% score|| Visit website
How Is the Front-End and the Back-End Interface and How Easy Are They to Use?
Many teams are made up of serious development manpower, others much less so. For this reason, we decided to compare the front and back-end ease-of-use for both Shopify and Volusion.
Shopify – 4/5
There’s no need to beat around the bush: Shopify is much better in terms of interface design and the overall usability than Volusion.
Shopify has some pretty crafty backend features which might be new for your eyes:
- Custom customer groups
- Keyboard shortcuts for admins
- Customizable gift cards
- Administrative search
- Sneaky-key to access Shopify remotely
- 2 Factor Authentication
- Create and schedule collections
- Transporter app for migrations
- Ability to accept cryptocurrencies
The software was designed with simplicity in mind, and developers don’t assume any prior knowledge of either web development or other CMS software. As such, everything is clearly explained in great detail and the user interface itself is easy to understand and simple to navigate.
Similar Interface to WordPress
Shopify made a wise decision to mimic the look and feel of WordPress. Many small retailers first started selling their goods using WooCommerce, a free e-commerce plugin for WordPress, which makes the transition so much easier. The only real issue is that Shopify still uses their old, cumbersome way of creating sub-menus.
This is a front-end demo of Basel, as you can see it’s very much WordPress-ish. Screenshot via Digital.com
Many users complain and suggest how it could be improved, but no significant changes have been made so far by Shopify to improve it. The problem is made worse by frequent changes to the interface design, which make old tutorials and explainer videos hard to follow.
Volusion is a different beast than Shopify. The software is relatively easy to use but only for those who are already somewhat experienced when it comes to using e-commerce software.
There are no hints or suggestions, and the user interface certainly doesn’t look as modern as we have gotten used to over the years. It works, it gets the job done, but it won’t make you fall in love with the administrative side of your businesses.
Too Much Change Isn’t Ideal
Another issue is how dramatically has the interface changed with some previous updates.
If you would stumble upon a tutorial online that was created using screenshots of the older version, you would not even recognize it as Volusion. Since the current interface is also due for a redesign, you can expect a similar change quite soon.
How Easy Is It to Set up Your Store?
To get you set up and start marketing your store, both Shopify and Volusion have expert directories.
You can also search the Shopify Expert to hire experts to help with your setting up your store, marketing, web design, web developer, and photography.
Most of Shopify’s experts are located in the United States of America, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Although, many of the services you might need are not location dependent. You can search by service, location and price range.
Volusion’s experts are more limited than Shopify. There are only five companies listed in the directory, offering services including store migration, marketing, web design and custom applications.
Do They Have Modern and Responsive Mobile-Friendly Themes?
Let’s face it, over 50% of visitors are likely to land on your site from a mobile device. If your site isn’t responsive, you’re jeopardizing the experience.
Shopify – 5/5
Shopify is synonymous with excellent theme design, great variety of different choices, and out-of-the-box readiness. Customers can choose between more than 100 free and paid themes, all sorted into many categories according to which type of commerce they would be best suited for.
All themes are responsive by default, and premium themes cost less than $200. That’s still a lot of money, but just about any profitable e-shop should be able to afford it.
Volusion – 4/5
Volusion currently has 59 paid themes and 16 free ones; much lower numbers than what you get with Shopify. On top of this, most of their premium themes start at a whopping $595 and some cost as much as $895. The same kind of money will get you a stunning, custom-made theme from many domestic and overseas designers.
Are Cheaper Themes Worth It?
Yes, some themes cost only $50 or $150, but most of those look worse than Volusion’s free themes. Last but not least, not all themes are responsive. If that’s something you care about (and you absolutely should), you suddenly get to choose only from 23 themes.
Volusion offer a custom-built theme for $2000. Screenshot via Digital.com
Probably the only redeeming thing is how quite many free themes are suited for high-class online fashion stores. Those who fall into this niche will have absolutely no problem selecting a theme that matches their style and design preference.
What Payment Gateways Are Supported and What About Transaction Fees?
Depending on what your plans are for taking payment, this section is hugely relevant. Take a look at what payment gateways are supported by Shopify and Volution.
Shopify – 5/5
With Shopify, customers have only one native payment option available: Stripe. The upside is that it is free from all transaction fees.
There are also more than 70 third-party payment providers with fees starting at 2% for the Basic account and going down to just 0.5% for the Unlimited account.
Shopify’s Own Payment System
Shopify accepts all major credit cards and offers point-of-sale integration when you’re selling in person. This can be useful when you’re selling at a brick and mortar store, a pop-up store or market.
Shopify also has Shopify Payments, where you accept payment as soon as you set up your store, without having to set-up a merchant account or third-party application. It is only available in certain countries.
Volusion – 4/5
Volusion supports only around 40 third-party payment gateways, and their own native option, Volusion Payments, is limited to the United States and comes with a monthly fee. A more extensive range of options would certainly be a welcomed addition.
Your business can accept credit cards on Volusion and easily integrates with a point of sale system if you have a retail store.
Hosting, Uptime and Security Measures
Time to compare these two bulls of e-commerce software by looking at uptime, security and hosting opportunities. But before we jump in, let’s talk about why security measures are important.
What could possibly go wrong? Here are 9 possible ways of exposing a site’s vulnerability:
- DDoS Attack
- Data Breach
- Customer data theft
- SQL Injection
- Cross-site scripting
- Price scraping
- Login fraud
- Man-in-the-middle attacks
All of these are attacks which are aimed at e-commerce sites, therefore it’s worth knowing about their dangers.
Shopify – 5/5
All stores Shopify stores are Level 1 PCI DSS compliant and their data are protected by an automatic backup system. In the case of a suspicious activity, users can report their finding through Shopify’s HackerOne page.
An enterprise-level hosting service, ServerCentral, takes care of data hosting for Shopify and offers 99.99% uptime. Data are instantly delivered to all parts of the world using a fast Content Delivery Network (CDN).
Volusion – 5/5
Just like Shopify, Volusion meets all expectations when it comes to security: each Volusion store is PCI certified and goes through an independent audit on a yearly basis.
The company offers 128-bit encryption SSL certificates for a discounted price; they offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee and deliver content using a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
What Marketing, Reporting and SEO Capabilities There?
So you’ve got your e-commerce shop up and running. Now it’s time to get customers. How do you do this exactly? Marketing of course!
Shopify – 4/5
Shopify is well-optimized for search engines and integrates with leading marketing and reporting tools, such as Google Analytics and Google AdWords.
Their own analytics software allows users to keep track of many important metrics and improve the performance of their online store. A suite of in-house tools helps users accomplish even more.
These include an integrated coupon engine and ListShopify for newsletter management. Still, not all essentials are available right out of the box, which makes it often necessary to purchase an appropriate application via their app store.
More Than 1000 Applications
The Shopify app store has over 1 000 apps to choose from. The most popular apps let you add customer reviews to your store, and add and sell products directly from your social media channels.
If you install one of the email marketing services, you can send emails to customers as part of automated marketing campaigns and you can target these emails according to buying behavior. The best thing about these apps is that you once you activate them, they’re easy to configure.
Shopify’s App store even has tools like Printful and Merchify that take care of shipping your products. Printful and Merchify are ideal solutions for businesses who sell custom designs that can be printed on t-shirts, posters or electronic devices. After your customer selects the design, the app will print and ship the product.
Oberlo for Logistics
Oberlo is another popular app that manages the logistics for you, you can visit Oberlo and select products you’d like to sell. Once a customer orders from your store, it’s packaged and shipped from the supplier, meaning you don’t manage any inventory.
If you’ve put together a marketing plan for your small business, you’ve probably heard about marketing and sales funnels. A marketing funnel is the steps your customer takes as they decide to purchase from your company. The steps in the funnel generally start with the customer’s awareness of your product, moving to interest, making a decision and finally the point where the sale is made: conversion.
Your Marketing Funnel
Actions like a customer visiting your store and viewing the product are all part of your funnel.
Building the right sales funnel can add a serious boost to your revenue, but they can be complicated at the start. There are a few programs to make it easier to get this right. ClickFunnels is one of these apps, and it integrates with Shopify, via Zapier.
An optimal user experience is key, especially when selecting to work with a marketing funnel. Take a look at the table below to get an idea:
|Stage 1 of Funnel||Stage 2 of Funnel||Stage 3 of Funnel||Stage 4 of Funnel|
|Breakdown||Interest targeting of audiences, followed by segmentation of multiple levels, depending on interest, demographic and other data.||Once the user has engaged, they are warm. This is where the funnel stage starts to re-target the user for conversion, again at different levels of segmentation depending on the user data and activity.||The user is now either about to or has completed a purchase. At this stage of the funnel, the most important thing is to ensure a smooth end process with a pleasant end experience.||Once the user has completed a purchase, there should almost always be a cool-down period, although this varies from store-to-store. Following this, the cycle starts again!|
Once again, Volusion lags behind Shopify in a few key areas. A quick glance at app marketplaces of both platforms reveals how much more choice Shopify’s customers get, compared to Volusion.
We are talking about a few dozen applications vs a few hundred.
Volusion offers the basic apps to augment features of your store, but the Volusion app store can’t really be compared to Shopify. There’s far less variety in Volusion’s app store. You will find basic platforms to improve your marketing and logistics. Some useful apps include plug-ins to enable live chat on your site easily. Doogma Designer is similar to Merchify, letting customers select custom designs, but it does not deliver your products.
If you’re interested in drop-shipping, Volusion integrates with Doba where you’ll have access to over a million products. You select the products and the supplier ships it directly to your customer.
But that’s not all; Volusion lacks an essential tool for online content marketing in this day and age: an integrated blogging platform.
Technically skilled individuals will be able to integrate their own, but it won’t be without some configuration, potential and potential frustration. Fortunately, Volusion does integrate with ClickFunnels, like Shopify.
What Support Options Are Available?
Many swear by selecting services and products in the digital world based on support quality. In the case of Shopify and Volusion, it should most definitely play a large part in your final decision.
Shopify – 4/5
Shopify offers 24/7 support via phone, email, and chat. The main problem is that it’s impossible to tell whether all channels are available all the time or if it’s just the mail or chat.
Shopify has a relatively good knowledge base, but a large number of customers will probably find better answers to their questions somewhere else.
Volusion – 3/5
Let’s start with what we like first. Volusion has a really extensive, in-depth knowledge base that goes to great lengths to answer all potential questions that customers could have. Sadly, that’s also where we have to end.
The problem is that their phone support is only available for customers who pay for their Plus plan, and even those customers get to choose only between three numbers (UK, US, and AU) with no additional information about availability.
How Do They Compare to Other Popular e-Commerce Platforms?
While Shopify and Volusion are popular e-commerce platforms, how do they stack up against BigCommerce and Magento?
BigCommerce is one of the leading e-commerce sites and is known for offering zero transaction fees when using specific payment gateways. This feature is not available to stores across the world, though. To ensure you have an attractive store, BigCommerce also offers responsive and modern themes with built-in SEO features.
Magento is one of the biggest players in e-commerce, serving some international brands. They also have plans designed for small businesses, offering streamlined checkout processes and highly customizable stores.