Selecting the right ecommerce platform for creating and operating a web store can spell the difference between comfort and chaos, profit and loss for your business, especially if you’re a small business with limited resources and budgets that you just can't afford to throw away.
Shopify and Volusion are two ecommerce store creation and management platforms that are fairly powerful and popular today, as you can see from this chart. Here is a head-to-head comparison between the two:
Basic online store functionality – both Shopify and Volusion offer basic store functionalities that are fairly powerful yet easy to setup, use and maintain over a period of time. While it happens to be a matter of opinion, Shopify has been found to be at least somewhat easier to use as compared to Volusion by many, including the author of this review.
Inventory management – All Shopify plans allow an unlimited number of items to be added to and sold via your store, while Volution has a tiered structure, offering unlimited products only on their top-of-the-line plan ($135/mo.).
Calculation of shipping charges – both platforms allow flexible and powerful options for calculation of shipping charges which is one of the most basic and essential aspects of selling physical goods via an ecommerce storefront.
Provision for coupons and discount codes – Shopify, a bit of an underdog here, does not offer this feature on their Lite plan, while it is available on all other plans. All plans at Volusion allow discount code creation and calculation functionalities.
Payment gateway options – Shopify has a major edge here, with support for 70 payment gateways while Volusion is relatively at a disadvantage with support for only 30+ gateways.
Themes and Templates – both Shopify and Volusion offer a large collection of themes and templates to give your online store a look and feel to suit your products and taste. While the number of free themes provided by Shopify is smaller than that of Volusion, it can be noted that the free Shopify themes are generally more contemporary as compared to the themes offered by Volusion. Both offer paid/premium themes starting at the same price – $80.
In keeping with today's must-have requirement of responsive website design (a design that works well across a range of commonly used devices with which people get online), both Shopify and Volusion offer a good number of responsive templates, free as well as paid.
Apps and Add-ons – well over 100 apps and add-ons are available for Shopify using which you can enhance and expand the functionality of your online store in various ways. Volusion, again, is at a slight disadvantage here, with less than a 100 apps and add-ons. A mix of free as well as paid apps/add-ons is available for both platforms.
Multi-lingual capabilities – Shopify does not offer full multi-lingual capabilities directly. For creating fully multi-lingual stores, third-party/paid apps are available for Shopify. Another option available at Shopify is to custom code your theme/templates with a simple as well as an advanced level interface. On the one hand, Volusion is at an advantage here, with more in-built multi-lingual support but on the other hand, it has a disadvantage in that the custom coding capabilities it offers are not available under a simple mode but only under the advanced – raw-code-edit mode which requires high HTML/CSS coding skill levels. It should also be noted here that Shopify does offer multi-lingual capability on the checkout pages as an in-built feature.
SEO capabilities – while both platforms offer extensive SEO capabilities in order to help you drive more organic traffic to your store via search engines, it should be noted here that the SEO features and benefits of Shopify are more powerful as compared to those of Volusion, as extensively described my article on how to choose the best ecommerce platform for SEO.
Customization capabilities – both platforms offer robust customization capabilities, via an advanced interface that allows you to edit the raw HTML/CSS code directly to give you total control over the design and the look-and-feel of your store. However, as mentioned above, Shopify scores better here by providing a simple, menu driven method to change the basic attributes of your store such as fonts, colors etc. very easily while with Volusion, the only way to customize your theme is via editing raw HTML/CSS – something that requires specialist know-how.
Blogging functionality – regardless of the fact that Shopify has been offering integrated blogging functionality for long while Volusion has introduced this feature only recently, it should be noted that both of these ecommerce platforms offer in-built blogging functionality at this point in time.
Ease of use
As mentioned earlier in this review, Shopify and Volusion are both fairly powerful and easy to use ecommerce store building platforms. Both come with a user interface that is well-designed and thought-out, making it as easy as it can get for any user to get up and running with an online store in minimum time.
Having said that, it should be noted that Shopify has a wizard mode that allows even novice users to setup their stores very easily while Volusion is lacking in this feature.
Setup fees – neither of the platforms require any setup fees. In fact, both offer a 14-day free trial with which you can test and evaluate the functionality and features offered by their ecommerce hosting platforms.
Monthly fees – Shopify offers four different plans with monthly fees ranging from $9 to $299 as follows:
- Lite Plan : $9
- Basic Shopify Plan : $ 29
- Shopify Plan : $79
- Advanced Shopify Plan : $299
Start a free Shopify trial by clicking here.
Volusion offers four plans, with monthly fees ranging from $14 to $135, as listed below:
- Mini Plan : $14
- Plus Plan : $35
- Pro Plan : $75
- Premium Plan : $135
Start a free Volusion trial by clicking here.
Bandwidth charges – neither Shopify nor Volusion charge any bandwidth usage fees on any of their plans.
Transaction fees – Shopify does not charge any additional transaction fees if their own payment gateway is used. If using any other gateway or method (such as COD), their transaction fee structure is as follows:
- Lite Plan ($9/mo.) : 2%
- Basic Shopify Plan ($29/mo.) : 2%
- Shopify Plan ($79/mo.) : 1%
- Advanced Shopify Plan ($299/mo.) : 0.5%
Volusion charges no transaction fees on any of the plans. Gateway provider’s transaction fees (varying from one gateway to another) would be applicable for both platforms, naturally.
Theme/Template prices – both platform offer a good number of free as well as paid themes, with premium theme prices starting at $80 on both.
While both Shopify and Volusion are fairly powerful ecommerce hosting platforms, Shopify provides greater ease of use coupled with superior customization and SEO
In light of this as well as some of the points discussed above, Shopify comes out a winner as an ecommerce platform for building your online store with ease of use and powerful capabilities.
To get started with a free trial of Shopify, click here.
For starting a free trial with Volusion, click here.