When it comes to Shopify vs Volusion, they’re closely fighting for the same market. Both aimed to be ‘out-of-the-box’ ecommerce solutions, with user-friendly interfaces and drag and drop functionality. Although Shopify is arguably the ‘go to’ instant ecommerce platform thanks to its prolific advertising campaigns, Volusion is a serious Shopify rival. Our overview of both platforms, their pros, cons and costs will help you choose the best e-commerce platform for you.

Shopify Overview

Online business owners with an eCommerce website need a shopping platform that is aesthetically pleasing, affordable and easy to use for you and your customers. Shopify ticks all three boxes – and offers much more. There is a wide range of templates that can be customised to suit your brand image and is ideal eCommerce platform for drop shipping.

Is Shopify SAAS?

Yes, Shopify is fully-hosted, there is no open source code to download and install on your own server; everything is managed by Shopify.

Shopify Setup Costs

Shopify looks to provide start-up business owners with a cost-free solution by offering a 14-day free trial. After that, the monthly payments are incurred in accordance with the plan you choose.

On top of your monthly service fee, you also have others costs such as email, transaction fees and possible design costs if you hire a web developer. However, it is possible for you to customise templates yourself if you can work with Shopify ‘Liquid’. Overall, Shopify setup costs can cost anything from £600-£3000.

Shopify Monthly Costs

Shopify is a ‘software as a service’ (Saas) platform which means you have to pay a monthly subscription fee. There are five options, the cheapest of which is Shopify Lite which is an alternative low-cost option. The Shopify pricing plan is as follows:

  • Shopify Lite: $9/£7 month
  • Basic Shopify: $29/£22/month
  • Shopify: $79/£59/month
  • Advanced Shopify: $299/225/month
  • Shopify Plus: Negotiable depending on requirements. Contact Shopify sales for setup

In addition to monthly subscription fees, Shopify charges transactions fees if you use external payment gateways such as Paypal. However, there are no transaction fees when you use Shopify Payments. Transaction charges are:

  • Basic plan: 2.0%
  • Shopify: 1.0%
  • Advanced Shopify: 0.5%

Transaction fees are used to cover the cost of maintenance and the supply of technology Shopify use to power your sales. Where you will feel some loss is the credit card fees for point-of-sale. Shopify charges the following credit card fees.

  • Basic plan: online purchases = 2.2% + 20p / in person (point of sale) 1.7%
  • Shopify: online purchases 1.9% + 20p / in person (point of sale) 1.6%
  • Advanced Shopify: online purchases 1.6% + 20p / in person (point of sale) 1.5%

Shopify Hosting Options

Shopify is a hosted eCommerce platform so there are no hosting fees to pay. The cost of hosting is including in all Shopify packages.

Shopify Set-up Skills

Setting up Shopify is easier if you are tech savvy. If you know your way around a basic interface you will not have any problems. If you plan to customise your eCommerce to suit your brand colours, hiring a web developer is advisable.

Shopify uses a unique coding language called “Liquid”. This can complicate the customisation process even for programmers that know HTML and CSS code. For start-ups the best option is to use one of the free templates and only make basic modifications that do not require code. Once you start earning from your eCommerce website, you can always make modifications as and when necessary.

Shopify Theme Availability

Shopify offer 10 free starter templates and around 50 premium themes, although there are literally hundreds of themed Shopify templates available across the web. Templates are responsive and have two or three variants.  Although the free templates are well designed, the premium themes are more aesthetically pleasing and project a professional appearance. Premium templates cost between £100-£135 but have more functionality and enable you to add videos.

Shopify Day-to-day Running

Adding products, images and content is straightforward in Shopify. If less tech-savvy business owners shouldn’t encounter any problems with the interface.

Shopify Payment Options

Shopify has a couple of payment options for online users and credit card customers. The least expensive option is to use Shopify Payments. This is a built-in payment gateway and does not carry a transaction fee on purchases, although credit card charges do apply.

If you choose to use a recognised third party gateway, the transactions fees mentioned above apply. However, there is arguably more potential to make more sales through third-party gateways, like Paypal. Should you choose to opt for an external payment process, you need to register for a merchant account with the third party which may incur a transaction fee or monthly payment.

Shopify Product attributes (whether unlimited or not)

Shopify called product attributes Options and Variants. For example, an option is the Size of a T-Shirt of its Colour. Then the Variant is Small, Medium and Large or Green, Pink, Black.

You are allowed up to 100 variants on each product, which could be 10 options with 10 variants or 1 option with 100 variants – or any other combination.

The Shopify platform does not have a limit on the number of products you can sell.

Shopify Typical Annual Running Costs for the first year then ongoing years

The good news for eCommerce owners using Shopify is the fees go down each year. Running costs are as follows:

Plan Set Up and 1st year 2nd-year 3rd year
Basic $29/£22 $26.10/£20 $23.20/£18
Shopify $79/£59 $71.10/£54 $63.20/£47
Advanced Shopify $299/£225 $269.10/£203 $239.20/£180

Shopify Customer Support Options

Of all the eCommerce platforms available, Shopify boasts one of the best customer support teams of them all. Lines are open 24/7 and they can be contacted by email, live chat or phone. The support team are knowledgeable about usability queries, but if your question is a technical issue, you may have to wait until a developer gets back to you.

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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