If you’re an aspiring e-retailer or independent artisan who’s busy making and selling handmade jewelry, pottery or whatever, you’re not likely to have time to take a night class in web development.
Since launching a webstore is a headache for an inexperienced user, non-tech-savvy creatives usually either hire a programmer or try to put up a website themselves using a DIY website builder. And when it comes to the latter option, there are four or five major players in the market with Volusion and Shopify ruling the roost.
Both platforms offer an out-of-the-box shopping platform chock-full of advanced commerce features, hundreds of beautiful templates geared towards e-retailing, as well as mobile commerce solutions. At first glance, their offerings have a lot in common, but there are also many potentially crucial differences. Join us exploring them in our updated Volusion vs Shopify comparison.
Ease of Use
Shopify. Shopify is comparatively easy to use. The control panel is well-structured, and nearly every option comes with hints or links to detailed tutorials.
And with the introduction of Shopify’s visual Storefront Editor, making changes to the store’s design has become even easier: the new editor is dominated by a preview of your site that updates as you make design changes in the collapsible control panel.
What’s more, Storefront editor lets you toggle between a desktop, mobile and tablet view.
Though every feature seems within reach, the control panel has a slight learning curve.
Volusion. Volusion is also quite user-friendly. It provides an uncluttered interface and logical navigation. However, its control panel seems more complicated than that of Shopify.
Shopify vs Volusion. Both platforms offer some sort of a setup wizard that will help you with the initial phase of the process. Both are fairly intuitive, yet based on my experience, Shopify seems a bit easier. It’s more straightforward and uses simpler terminology. I believe that DIY website builders are primarily meant for newbies, therefore any techy stuff should be kept out of the way, yet remain accessible.
Being complex feature-rich web services, Shopify and Volusion offer more complex dashboards than Wix or Weebly. Both site builders have many hidden capabilities that you can only discover watching detailed walkthroughs.
Note that neither Volusion, nor Shopify support drag-and-drop editing. Editing is done in a visual environment, but with point-and-clicking rather than drag-and-dropping.
In fact, Shopify and Volusion offer a similar set of core features and do all the kind of things you’d expect an eCommerce website builder to do: create catalogues of products, manage your inventory, optimize your products for search, create coupons and set discounts, accept online payments via a range of payment gateways and so on. Therefore, let’s focus on the differences.
Shopify has its own blogging platform which is an extremely important tool in the era of inbound marketing. It isn’t really impressive, yet it allows you to start a blog under your domain name, while Volusion doesn’t provide that possibility.
Additionally to the online software, Shopify offers a POS (Point of Sale) system allowing you to sell directly in your physical store, and even more – there’s a hardware suite designed specially for Shopify. It includes a barcode scanner, iPad stand, card reader, receipt printer and cash drawer.
Volusion has its benefits, too. It offers an out-of-the-box affiliate program – users can create accounts for their resellers and monitor their activity right from the Volusion control panel.
Both site builders offer native iOS, Android and smartwatch apps allowing users to manage their stores on the go.
In terms of functionality, both are favorable options. The only difference is the ability to start a blog. We wish Volusion had its own blogging system.
Both site builders are very flexible in terms of design configuration. Both offer three options: ready templates (free and paid); advanced editing (full access to CSS/HTML); custom site design services.
If you don’t know how to code, you’ll find their design customization options somewhat limiting. While you can still switch colors and set the number of displayed products per page, deeper customization can’t be done through drag-and-drop like in Wix or Weebly. You’ll need to get under the hood and make changes to the site’s HTML/CSS.
Whether you choose Volusion or Shopify, your eCommerce site will look and work great across different devices, from homepage to checkout.
Both platforms seem to have reasonable price tags. At any price level, you get a decent eCommerce solution that’s enough to launch a small or medium-sized webstore. Traditionally, the more you pay, the more features you get included.
While Volusion offers four plans that can be billed either annually or month to month, Shopify seems to have a bit more elaborate pricing system. In addition to the standard pricing plans they offer Lite Shopify ($9/mo) – the easiest way to add eCommerce to any website. If you already have a website built on, let’s say, WordPress, you can opt for it.
This plan will let you create a Shopify account and generate code for an embeddable Shopify button that you can add to any site.
Also, Shopify offers the Retail Package add-on ($40/mo), and Shopify Plus, a cloud based, fully hosted enterprise platform for high volume merchants.
Let’s take a look at detailed charts of Volusion’ and Shopify’ pricing plans:
As you can see, Shopify pricing plans are more simple while those of Volusion seem to be more flexible.
Shopify vs Volusion: Conclusion
Major differences between these site builders lie in the price, usability and complimentary services.
Shopify’s deal seems better, as it comes with a blogging platform, separate POS software and some other perks. Besides, if you’re newcomer in eCommerce you can start selling at your own website by simply adding a Shopify ‘Buy‘ Button – a pretty useful tool.
All in all, both site builders come with a free trial – sign up to both to see which one suits you better.
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