WooCommerce vs Volusion – one is an out-of-the-box ecommerce platform, the other requires you to setup server hosting and install the code. However they’re both simple, straight forward and easy to use. There’s not a huge amount of difference in terms of the functionality each platform offers but WooCommerce is much more customisable thanks to the open-source nature of the code. Which is the best platform for your needs? Our overview of both platforms, their pros, cons and costs will help you find the best ecommerce platform for you.

WooCommerce Overview

Small business owners that have built a modest eCommerce store with WordPress might want to take a look at the WooCommerce shopping cart. The plugin is free and providing you don’t need too many extras, WooCommerce software presents an affordable and user-friendly option.

Is WooCommerce SAAS?

No, WooCommerce is an add-on to WordPress and you’ll need to pay for hosting of WordPress and then use the WooCommerce plugin to convert WordPress to an e-commerce store.

WooCommerce Setup Costs

The WooCommerce plugin is free from WordPress. For small businesses on a budget, this provides you with all the functionality you need to get your eCommerce store up and running at low-cost. However, if you want to add more functionality, you’ll need a handful of plugins, which cost around $49/£35 each.

On top of that, there is a £70 fee for an SSL certificate and web hosting costs together with domain registration fees.  Some web hosts offer SSL certificates and domains for free as an incentive for customers to sign up. Realistically, you can set up a fully-functional eCommerce website with WooCommerce for under £1000 if you do it all yourself.

WooCommerce Monthly Costs

WooCommerce is a free plugin which reduces your monthly running costs. Basic eCommerce sites can be as little as £15 a month for the first year if all you need is web hosting. Monthly costs, therefore, depend on your hosting package and could ultimately, be as high as £350 a month if you use a dedicated server.

WooCommerce Hosting Options

WordPress, and thus WooCommerce, require third-party hosts. Hosting plans are well represented across the board and for the most part are reasonably priced. You can get premium hosting plans for as little as £200 a year with unlimited bandwidth. The cost of WooCommerce really depends on how much you develop the platform from the standard install.

WooCommerce Set-up Skills

Setting up WooCommerce is as easy as installing a plugin into the backend of your WordPress website. Okay, there are other more technical functions to perform such as setting up buy buttons and syncing them with payment gateways, but if you are already familiar with WordPress, this is not too difficult to do.

Having said that, it is easier if you have some coding and WordPress knowledge – although your host support or development team should be able to guide you through most of the setup functions. If you need visual aids, use the WooCommerce setup wizard.  That walks you through everything you need to know in less than five minutes.

You also have access to Storefront Powerpack which hosts easy-to-use tools and enables you to make customisable designs to the template without needing any coding skills. Again, this is much easier if you already have some understanding of how WordPress works, but in all honesty, it’s not too difficult to pick up if you are given the right guidance to get you started.

WooCommerce Theme Availability

Templates for WooCommerce are scarce in the WooThemes Storefront, but at $39/£29 are not expensive. However, you will find plenty of pre-formatted design options through WordPress themes and other third-party sources – although you may have to pay twice as much for a theme. Marketplaces like ThemeForest are a great source of themes.

WooCommerce Day-to-Day Running

Together with Shopify, WooCommerce is the easiest interface to navigate. You access WooCommerce through your WordPress dashboard and can see pending shipping orders, product information and inventory tracking at a glance.  Shipping details are built-in automatically so customers can select their preferred method. Adding products is performed through WordPress.

WooCommerce Payment Options

WooCommerce software offers five built-in payment gateways including PayPal (and Simplify for US users). Customers also have the option to pay by direct bank transfer, check payment or cash on delivery.

In addition to the free options listed above, you can install the following payment gateways:

  • Amazon Payments
  • Stripe (supports Apple Pay)
  • Authorize.net
  • PayPal Pro
  • FirstData
  • Square

WooCommerce Product Attributes (whether unlimited or not)

Because WooCommerce is open source, one of the advantages the software offers is unrestricted customisation. However, some WordPress themes present obstacles which can only be navigated with additional code which subsequently slows download speeds. Because the WooCommerce shopping centre is hosted by a third party, file storage depends on the package you have with your web host.

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

The WooCommerce platform is free and unlimited – if you choose it to be. However, on-running costs will depend on how much you want to enhance your eCommerce store. Remember that extensions, shipping options and payment gateways carry individual fees but you only have to buy these once. Hosting plans and SSL certificates may change yearly so check with your web host.

WooCommerce Customer Support Options

WooCommerce does offer customer support, but it is a ticket system and replies typically take 48 hours. Support options are limited, particularly if you have a customised website. The tech team at WooCommerce will just refer you to your web developers or ask you to disable third-party products before they help you. There is also a self-support forum which features useful documents, tutorial videos and tips from other users.

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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