Magento vs Volusion – both great ecommerce platforms but they’re largely aimed at completely different users. Magento is often seen as a heavyweight ecommerce platform, favoured by enterprise-level companies and big digital agencies. However Volusion is an out-of-the-box ecommerce platform that could be setup far faster than Magento. However it’s not as customisable but, you need to figure out how much customisation you need. Here’s our overview of both platforms, their pros, cons and costs.

Magento Overview

Magento is a powerful eCommerce platform best suited to large eCommerce companies. The ‘enterprise level’ software has a lot to offer but requires development experience so is best suited for companies that have an in-house developer or can afford to pay a third party developer.

Is Magento SAAS?

No, Magento is not SAAS. You will need to download and install the Magento code on your own server and therefore you will need to factor in hosting costs.

Magento Setup costs

A major bonus: there are no setup charges or transaction fees to use Magento. However, in order to set up the online store you want, there are a significant number of other set-up costs including payment gateways, SSL certificates, product and shipping plugins which can cost several thousand pounds. Not forgetting that, unless you’re technically savvy, you’ll need a developer to configure Magento for you.

Magento Monthly Costs

Magento targets large enterprises so is not the cheapest eCommerce software around as you have to factor in setup costs which usually involve an agency or specialist developer.

In addition to set-up fees, there are a number of other costs to take into consideration; hosting, payment gateways, development, and various set up costs. It is estimated that the annual running costs for a basic Community Magento Edition (CE) will set you back between £1,000 and £5,000, which equates to the costs of your server hosting fees, plus minor additions like SSL certificates, renewing plugins, etc.

Large eCommerce companies typically need the Magento Enterprise platform which cost between £20,000 and £580,000 a year to run, develop and maintain. The exact pricing plans for Magento vary quite widely as you can choose between the (self-hosted) Enterprise Edition or the Magento-hosted cloud version Enterprise Cloud Edition.

Magento Hosting Options

Magento is a standalone platform so you will need a web host, unless you opt for the enterprise Cloud Edition, which is only realistically an option for larger stores with big budgets. There are plenty of hosting companies offering good packages, but not all are optimised. Hosting prices vary from £40-£350 per month depending on which additional services you need in addition to basic hosting.

Magento Set-Up Skills

In general, Magento users need some technical skills. If you’re planning to manage the software in-house you will need someone with development skills. It is not the easiest e-Commerce platform to use. However, if you are feeling a little overwhelmed, take advantage of the ‘Start My Store’ wizard which you will find at the top of the administrator page. This will help get you started and has demonstrations of how to create the design, add products, payments, shipping and everything else in between.

Magento Theme Availability

If there is one area which lets team Magento down is the lack of built-in templates. That’s not to say you won’t find a design suited to your eCommerce setup, but needless to say, you will have to pay for a decent template. There is a saving grace, however. ThemeForest list over 500 Magento themes starting from £30.

Magento Day-to-day Running

Although coding skills are required for to set-up your eCommerce store with Magento, daily management processes are relatively straightforward. The dashboard is clean and the intuitive user-interface makes navigation simple. The dashboard also gives you a quick overview of analytics and transactions.

Content can be easily imported from your computer’s hard drive and customising product pages does not require any technical skills. You use the admin panel to manage transactions; orders, fulfilment, shipping, invoices and extended credit are all accessed from one location. Overall, Magento is pretty easy to use and offers customer-friendly features such as a one-click buy button and zoom.

Magento Payment Options

The payment options in the Magento software has everything you would expect from an enterprise level software. Businesses can offer customers several gateway options, more than other eCommerce sites. This gives you more flexibility and professionalism.

Magento is compatible with PayPal, Simple Pay, Amazon Payments, Google Checkout and Authorize.net. Furthermore, there are no transactions fees or what customers may deem as ‘hidden costs’ – tax and shipping costs are built into the total invoice amount before customers head to checkout.

Another advantage of the Magento payment options is the “bill me later” program. This gives buyers the opportunity to set up convenient and affordable direct debits whereby they make monthly payments rather than a one-off payment. This is a feature online buyers appreciate for expensive items.

Magento Product Attributes (whether unlimited or not)

There is no limit to the number of products or product attributes that you can run in a Magento install.

Typical Annual Running Costs for the first year then ongoing years

Given Magento targets large eCommerce companies, the annual running costs are high. The licence for the hardware is £8,500 for the first two years and reduced to £6,500 in the third year. On top of that is the cost of a hosting plan which varies quite widely: from £400 upwards a month.

Magento Customer Support Options

Businesses that opt for the Magento CE are without technical support other than a users forum where you can tap into a huge knowledge base of active users. The Magento EE version does offer a tech support team.

 

Volusion Overview

For business owners lacking in technical know-how, Volusion provides eCommerce software that takes the hassle out of building an online store. With a powerful lineup of built-in tools, reasonably priced hosting plans and excellent customer support, Volusion is ranked as a leader in eCommerce software.

Is Volusion SAAS?

Yes, Volusion is a fully-hosted ecommerce solution. There is no code to download and you don’t need your own server host.

Volusion Setup costs

Volusion allows you to customise your website without needing coding skills, so if you are comfortable with computers, you will probably be able to build your own online store without having to hire a web developer. There is also a wide range of tools built into the dashboard which means you probably won’t have to buy additional plugins from the app store. As a result, Volusion is the most cost-effective eCommerce software there is for business owners that are just starting out.

Set up costs will depend on the pricing plan you choose (see pricing table below) and whether you opt to pay monthly or annually. Volution offer a 10% discount to users that pay for the whole year upfront. In addition to the subscription fee, you will have to purchase an SSL Certificate for $90/£68 and a template starting from $50/£38. Volusion offers a 14-day trial period for free. Set up costs can realistically be as low as $155/£117 for a basic website, but you should budget for at least £500 if you want a premium theme and a more tools in your dashboard.

Volusion Monthly costs

The monthly pricing plan at Volusion is competitive albeit slightly more than other leading eCommerce software solutions. However, the company does not charge transaction fees like Shopify and the setup costs are (potentially) far lower than Magento and WooCommerce.

Volusion Pricing Plan

Package   Monthly Price Transaction Fee Products Storage Space Bandwidth
Mini $15/£11 None 100 Unlimited Undisclosed
Plus $35/£19 None 1000 Unlimited Undisclosed
Pro $75/£49 None 10,000 Unlimited Undisclosed
Premium $135/£94 None Unlimited Unlimited Undisclosed

 

It’s worth noting that the Pro and Premium packages provide you with advanced tools such as integration with eBay and Amazon. You don’t have to purchase the top packages to sell products on these top sites, but if you do you can manage sales directly through the Volusion dashboard.

Volusion Hosting options

Volusion manages hosting for you, thus saves additional fees for external web hosts. The company also provides an excellent web hosting service that includes server updates, security and maintenance.

Volusion Set-Up Skills

Unlike other eCommerce software, Volusion has built-in CSS and HTML codes which makes it easy for you to build a website without needing to be technically minded. You will also find a small library of easy-to-follow tutorials that show you how to build your web store. You need practically zero skills to set up an eCommerce store in Volusion.

Volusion Theme Availability

There are over 45 themes to choose from in Volusion, 11 of which are free. The cost of templates vary widely and premium themes are very costly. Expect to pay anything from $50/£38 to $250/£180. You will find Volusion designers who are able to customise Volusion themes. Prices vary depending on complexity but you can spend anywhere between £800 and £5,000 for a custom Volusion theme.

Volusion Day to Day Running

One of the principle reasons eCommerce owners are drawn to Volusion is because it is the easiest shopping cart platform to use. The intuitive dashboard is feature rich and easy to navigate. Adding products, images, descriptions and integrating Volusion with social media networks can all be done at the click of a button and built-in SEO functions means you don’t have to concern yourself too much with optimisation. All you need to know for SEO is choosing the right keywords.

Volusion also includes free tools such as inventory management that enable you to keep a check on stock and sales at a glance together with brand loyalty and affiliate management programs. You will also find marketing tools that enable you to create coupons, daily deals and discounts.

Volusion Payment Options

Volusion do not have as many payment gateways as other leading eCommerce web builders although the most common gateways are available including PayPal, Stripe and Authorize.net. The company does not charge transactions fees, but there is a processing fee of 2-3% charged by banks or payment gateways.

Volusion Product Attributes (whether unlimited or not)

It’s important to provide as much details about your products as possible for customers. Volusion provides a comprehensive range of fields that enable you to list all the product attributes you need, including details that are sometimes overlooked in standard product descriptions including material and pattern.

Volusion Typical Annual Running Costs for first year then ongoing years

Unless Volution raise their monthly fees in line with inflation, users can expect to pay the same fees year on year. Additional expenses will depend on how much you spend on external services such as web development and marketing, but Volusion provide you with all the tools you need to manage this side of your online store until you start turning a profit. For a basic package you’re looking at £286 ($378) annual Volusion fees.

Volusion Customer Support Options

You shouldn’t have any problems resolving any issues you encounter with the Volusion eCommerce platform. The company provides its customers with 24/7 support via phone, live online chat and email. There are also tutorials and web forums you can turn to if you want to try and resolve problems yourself.

How The Content Works can help

Here at The Content Works, we specialise in Technical Website Audits. We’re here to find the issues on your website that are causing you to lose visitors, see poor conversions rates and ultimately we highlight the issues costing you money. Take a look at our services page to see the technical website audits we offer. Call us on 0207 305 5599 to discuss your situation and we’ll show you how we can add value to your business.

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