Volusion vs PrestaShop – Volusion is SAAS and a paid-for service but PrestaShop is open-source and free. The two solutions are very similar in terms of what they offer the user but there are key differences as this comparison will show you. Our overview of both platforms, their pros, cons and costs will help you find the best e-commerce platform for you.
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
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.
Companies that intend to build a unique eCommerce website from open source agents should take a look at the Prestashop eCommerce software. This slick and powerful platform provides users with a finely tuned website that delivers an impressive shopping experience and a heavy dose of statistics right from the dashboard.
Prestashop Setup Costs
Theoretically, setting up an eCommerce website with Prestashop can cost next to nothing, but in reality, a professional website requires a sizeable investment. The eCommerce software itself is free and whilst there are over 600 features built-in, Prestashop is not always a low-cost solution.
In order to build a shopping cart customers trust on Prestashop, you need to invest in other software such as integration with certain social media networks, third-party payment gateways and integration with the Amazon and eBay marketplace, both of which costs $229/£172 and $289/£220 respectively.
Prestashop is also a licensed web platform which means you have to find a third-party host. Other expenses will include web development and the purchase of a premium design template. Because of the setup costs and development required to make a Prestashop platform totally professional, it is best suited for mid-sized to large businesses.
Prestashop Monthly Costs
One of the benefits of a self-hosted eCommerce platform is you don’t have ongoing monthly expenses. Furthermore, Prestashop doesn’t charge users for a monthly subscription fee or take a cut of your revenue like other eCommerce websites. Monthly running costs should, therefore, be minimal.
The most likely expense will be additional modules you want to install to help you grow your business and potential development issues caused by technical errors. However, the latter can be avoided if you (or your developer) takes time to research which plugins are most compatible with each other.
Whilst open source platforms do have benefits, they can also cause problems. Because the software and plugins you install on Prestashop are all made by different developers, there is not guarantee they are all compatible with one another. As a result, you may experience more technical problems than you might on other eCommerce platforms. Ongoing monthly costs are therefore difficult to predict and will depend on the complexity of your website.
Prestashop Hosting Options
Merchants using Prestashop need to find a third party host. Prestashop recommend 1&1 hosting (presumably because they have a deal with them), but you will probably find better deals if you shop around.
Prestashop Set up Skills
Unless you intend to build a bog-basic online store, eCommerce owners looking to build a shopping cart with Prestashop will need some technical knowledge or hire someone that does. Set up can be overly complicated if open source software clashes occur during the building process.
Prestashop Theme availability
There is no shortage of design templated available from Prestashop or third-party sources. You will find over 2000 themes in the Prestashop store, 500 of which are premium templates and another 600 designed by certified partners specifically for Prestashop. Templates start from $84/£64 whilst premium templates start from $157-$220/£120-£168.
Prestashop Day-to-Day Running
Once you are set up with Prestashop, the day to day running is straightforward. The dashboard provides an overview of all the most important statistics you need to run your business, more than any other eCommerce software.
Managing your shopping cart is also easy. Adding products and other various types of content is intuitive and built-in SEO features also provide guidance about keywords, metadata and other SEO-related factors that improve visibility on search engines.
Prestashop Payment Options
Because Prestashop is an open source software, users are free to add whatever payment gateways you require. Purchase of the payment gateway is a one-off purchase, but there is a processing fee charged by the bank or payment gateway for credit card payments on each transaction. Prestashop does not charge transaction fees like some of the other leading eCommerce platforms.
Prestashop Product Attributes
There is a wealth of attributes you can add to your product pages which help to improve sales and SEO. The product creation page is particularly well designed and allows business users to include extensive information about products together with adding multiple images.
Prestashop Typical Annual Running Costs
The annual running costs will depend on the complexity of your shopping cart and the web hosting plan you opt for. Once the initial setup costs are cleared and any technical issues are resolved, monthly ongoing costs can be kept to a minimum. Until you intend to expand, ongoing costs will not change significantly, although you will have to purchase an SSL Certificate each year. These typically cost $90/£70.
Prestashop Customer Support Options
Prestashop provides a comprehensive customer support service including live chat, email and phone. There is also a diverse user community that has built an extensive forum of problem/solutions that could help you resolve issues or even avoid them in the first place.
As mentioned earlier, when you install software that is developed by multiple sources, there is a higher risk of experiencing technical problems. So when you originally build your shopping cart, it is recommended that you tap into the wealth of knowledge provided by the Prestashop community and avoid encountering problems in the first place.
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.