Volusion vs Shopify: Which is the Better Option?

By Ewen Finser | Ecommerce

Volusion vs Shopify

I bet you’ve been desperately trying to find a perfect e-commerce platform for your online store. And if you’ve searched far and wide, chances are, you’ve already stumbled upon multiple recommendations on Volusion vs Shopify.  

Well, it goes without saying that they are both dominant SaaS platforms in the e-commerce industry. Numerous merchants are increasingly leveraging them for their extensive usability, plus holistic approach to online selling.  

In short, they are not just hosting solutions- they’ve combined that with a host of site customization and store management functionalities. Then to cap it off, Volusion and Shopify are both amazingly user-friendly. You can use them without any prior coding experience.  

Therefore, of course, it’s understandable why choosing between them is not that simple. I’ve been there too, and I know exactly how it feels to spend sleepless nights going over numerous reviews to determine what works best for your online store.  

Now, thankfully, I’ve taken the time to carefully analyze the platforms individually. I’ve even tested out their features on real e-commerce shops to establish how good they actually are.  

So, let’s settle this once and for all. Which one offers better features at a cheaper price- Volusion or Shopify?  

This comparative review provides all the critical details about the features on Volusion and Shopify, plus their individual pricing plans and overall weaknesses. Then, in the end, we’ll crown the winner.  

Overview 

Volusion 

Volusion’s journey can be traced as far back as the 90s when Kevin Sproles finally decided to do something about one particular request that his web design clients kept dropping. Most of them seemingly needed a simple shopping cart solution they could leverage for online selling.  

And so, in 1999, Sproles ultimately introduced an all-in-one platform that came with shopping cart functionalities along with hosting capabilities. Since then, Volusion has developed exponentially over the years to facilitate more than 185,000 online stores, which are supported by over 250 employees. In fact, two of its most notable clients are USA Bride and Tiny House Coffee Roasters.  

volusion home page

Previously, Volusion served users through its V1 version. It was a fairly effective platform with a host of decent e-commerce features. But then its developers saw the need to improve it even further. And in 2017, they eventually revamped the whole thing by releasing Volusion 2- which was subsequently praised for its increased speed and simplicity.  

Today, Volusion is a comprehensive e-commerce platform and site builder, which supports merchants seeking a simple solution for creating, hosting, managing, and growing their online stores. It comes with a decent array of powerful tools that small and mid-sized businesses can capitalize on over the long haul.  

Shopify 

Shopify is arguably one of those names that are always recurring in the e-commerce space. If you don’t know about it, then you’ve certainly heard about it. As a matter of fact, some believe that Shopify’s competitors even mention it more than it promotes itself.  

And there’s a good reason why. You see, Shopify is not any ordinary shopping cart. It’s considered one of the best e-commerce platforms on the web today. And that’s because it combines full online store hosting with extensive customizability, ease of use, 24/7 customer support, plus reasonable package prices.  

shopify home page

Well, Shopify might seem like one of the eldest players in the game. But, interestingly, it’s barely a decade old- considering it was founded in 2006. However, despite coming much later, it managed to outgrow Volusion’s user base. It now supports over 600,000 stores globally, which have cumulatively processed sales worth more than $72 billion.  

That said, it’s worth noting that the default Shopify platform is quite basic, providing only the essentials for small businesses and startups. But, if you want more features, you’re free to add supplementary apps from its extensive marketplace.  

All in all, Shopify’s strength primary lies in its numerous integrations, multi-channel selling capabilities, site customization tools, professionally-designed templates, and the corresponding powerful e-commerce feature set.  

Volusion vs Shopify: The Verdict 

Volusion and Shopify are e-commerce platforms that operate in a similar way. They are both SaaS solutions that allow users to build their own online stores from scratch, customize the corresponding functionalities, then manage the whole selling and marketing pipeline from anywhere across the globe.  

The best thing about Volusion and Shopify is this- you don’t need any design or coding technical skills to use them. They avail their tools through a user-friendly framework comprising of e-commerce functionalities, a content management system, and pre-designed customizable templates.  

Now, when it comes to usage figures, Shopify substantially dwarfs Volusion. While Volusion has only managed to host 185,000 stores in about two decades, Shopify came much later and grew exponentially to support more than 600,000 online shops.  

Well, it gets even more interesting when we switch over to the current user numbers. The active base on Volusion reportedly stretches slightly beyond 30,000 active users, which is fairly low compared to Shopify’s 1,000,000.  

Going by this alone, it seems online merchants continue to trust Shopify more than Volusion. Fair enough, but come to think of it, that’s a subjective way of judging between the two.  

From my experience with various e-commerce platforms, I can assure you that popularity is not necessarily a reliable indicator of a platform’s efficacy. Besides, we’ve seen a handful of little-known solutions outshine their large established counterparts in functionality.  

So, let’s dive deep into what really matters- their individual features.  

Volusion vs Shopify: Feature Showdown 

User Friendliness 

Volusion 

First things first. Getting started on Volusion is fairly simple. Although the whole process is admirably straightforward, the platform provides a step-by-step wizard to guide you accordingly.  

Well, that’s a nice touch even for experienced developers. It basically helps you get your account up and running in no time. The only problem, however, is the last part of the setup wizard, which requires you to enter your credit card details before proceeding. 

When you’re done with that stage, you’ll notice that Volusion’s website builder is well-built, offering both professionals and beginners a simple and convenient way of creating a complete e-commerce site. Its interface and tools basically transform the typically boring process of site development into a pleasantly intuitive one.  

Unfortunately, Volusion’s dashboard might turn out to be a bit disappointing. Its designers, I admit, made a good attempt at availing all the fundamental elements by combining multiple data points with various sections and tools.  

Volusion dashboard

But, I guess they overdid it. While experienced developers would probably love such a layout, all that information might be a little overwhelming for newbies.  

Well, on the bright side, it doesn’t take long to learn the ropes. You’ll be able to master the entire system in a couple of minutes, thanks to its well-structured functions. 

The system editor, for instance, provides access to all the editing options and tools you require. You can take advantage of them to tweak the product catalogs, work on your project, add and manage site pages, plus much more. The store builder is especially handy when you need to adjust things like product images, subcategories, and categories.  

Shopify 

Shopify is renowned for many things. However, the one thing that stands out above the rest is its simple user interface. It was seemingly developed to offer an exceptionally easy way of creating and managing your online store.  

In other words, you should be able to comfortably use Shopify without any coding knowledge. As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to know a thing about web design. Everything is neatly organized and labeled clearly to help you understand how the whole platform works.  

Speaking of which, Shopify doesn’t take chances when it comes to that. It offers an informative guide by default after signing up, which then explains the essentials of the website development process. Although it prepares you for any possible challenges along the way, chances are, you’ll proceed comfortably without any issues at all.  

Shopify even allows you to view how your store customizations will affect the corresponding design outlook. The Storefront Editor comes with two primary sections- one for working on your edits, and the other for displaying the resultant changes.  

shopify home page

Then when you eventually get your online store up and running, Shopify allows you to manage it from anywhere as long as you have an active internet connection. You only need to download a relevant Shopify mobile app to your smartphone, and the system will automatically sync all the elements to provide seamless control on the go. Any adjustments made via mobile, therefore, will reflect across the board in real time.  

Verdict 

Volusion, as we’ve established, comes with a user-friendly interface. But, let’s face it- all things considered, you’ll have a much easier time on Shopify than Volusion. We’ve explored multiple elements already, but it all boils down to overall simplicity. And Shopify is the obvious winner when it comes to that, thanks to its simpler editing process, coupled with its minimalistic layout.  

While Shopify seems to focus on the basics, Volusion attempts to do too much. Consequently, its interface appears to be a little busy and cluttered.  

Winner: Shopify 

Website Templates 

Volusion 

Volusion offers a pretty decent website builder for e-commerce sites. But, thankfully, you don’t have to start from scratch. The platform also comes with a range of predesigned website templates by default.  

So far, users get to choose between 45 different themes. And if you’re low on budget, you have about 11 free options- which I found to be reasonably attractive for basic online shops.  

But, of course, they can’t match up to the corresponding paid themes. You can tell Volusion’s designers took their time to expand the parameters on the 34 premium templates. And the resultant price itself ranges between $50 and $180, depending on the features, responsiveness, and overall customization capabilities.  

Volusion website templates

Fair enough. But, are Volusion’s website templates really customizable?  

Well, I know there are many website builders that falsely claim extensive customization, only to provide you with very limited editing options. Fortunately, that’s not the case with Volusion. Although you only get 45 templates, you can capitalize on the subsequent customization capabilities to build yourself a super unique online store.  

The only problem, however, is that the tweaking process is not that straightforward for beginners. It might take you some time before you get used to all the editing tools.  

On the bright side, you’ll find it easy to understand the functionality of Volusion’s drag-and-drop editor. It provides a stress-free method of coming up with numerous different layouts, thanks to provisions like a content builder and multiple menu formats that each template comes with.  

And if you’re looking for a more refined outlook, you’re free to introduce advanced HTML/CSS edits. But, in case your skills are not that developed, you’ll be glad that Volusion’s editor is set up with a WYSIWYG framework. Basically, what you see is what you get- each layout adjustment is mirrored immediately so you can see exactly how your website looks.  

And if the whole thing fails to pan out, Volusion is flexible enough to allow you to shift to a different template at any point without losing your content.  

Shopify 

The web development process on Shopify is set up pretty much like Volusion’s. The primary objective here is to help you create a professional e-commerce website as fast as possible, without necessarily depending on a coding expert.  

Currently, it offers 61 different themes- 51 of which are paid, while 10 are freemium. The free options may be a bit common, but rest assured they are professionally designed. You should be able to create a decent online store in a couple of minutes.  

shopify themes

However, just like Volusion, the best themes come at a price. And from my assessment, the cheapest cost a whopping $140, while the most expensive ones are reasonably priced at $180.  

Well, that might seem costly at first, but you could also argue it’s a good bargain considering the corresponding level of detail. In fact, most of the paid themes are good enough for dynamic businesses with a wide range of products and services.  

Now, after selecting a perfect template for your store, you can take advantage of the theme editor to customize it to your own liking. Shopify allows you to tweak colors, typography, layout, and content without any coding skills.  

But, that’s not all. In case you know a thing or two about programming, Shopify provides two additional customization options. You could flex your skills by editing the templates through a liquid markup language or HTML/CSS coding. In the end, you’ll be able to tweak the layout elements even further to achieve a completely exceptional final outlook.   

Verdict 

Volusion and Shopify are quite powerful when it comes to website building. They both offer tons of free and paid customizable e-commerce themes, accompanied by a user-friendly editor for non-coders. And in case you have the skills, Volusion and Shopify give you the chance to edit your site theme further via HTML/CSS.  

However, chances are, you might end up spending more with Shopify. It provides 10 free templates, and the premium ones cost at least $140. Compare that with Volusion, which comes with 11 free templates plus paid ones that start at $50.  

Shopify, on the other hand, makes a remarkable comeback when we switch to the numbers. Its default template options are almost double of what’s available on Volusion. And, in my personal opinion, their design is more impressive and crispier than Volusion’s. Then to top it off, Shopify offers supplementary customization options through its liquid markup language, plus the ability to tweak themes on the go via a mobile editor.  

There, all in all, it’s a narrow victory for Shopify. 

Winner: Shopify 

Store Management 

Volusion 

When your eCommerce website is up and running, one of the first things you’ll notice as you manage your store is that Volusion comes with impressive analytical capabilities.  

You can, for example, use its search term analysis functionality to discover what your target market is searching for on Google. Consequently, you’ll be able to optimize your site accordingly to attract a steady flow of warm leads from the search engine.  

And to help you set up favorable shopping experience for them, Volusion offers a host of powerful e-commerce tools. Some of the most notable ones include a superior inventory management system, barcode generator, plus CSV file import and export functions.  

volusion store management

Well, those only make up a fraction of the basic provisions. As you go deeper, you get to discover more specialized e-commerce features like the ability to tweak shipping variables, embed dropshipping capabilities, automate the calculation of shipping rates plus taxes, and so forth.  

Volusion is also considered to be reliable in lead conversion. It avails a couple of thoughtful features to optimize the overall shopping experience, and subsequently get your shoppers committed to their carts. In essence, you can capitalize on things like related product offers, product display customization, convertible product homepage slideshows, advanced search filters, and client reviews.  

Now, get this. It turns out Volusion is not just an e-commerce platform. It extends its functionalities to also facilitate offline physical selling through POS systems. As a result, your brick-and-mortar store can be synced with your online shop, and then you get to complete its transactions with the help of receipt printers, card readers, and UPC scanners.  

Speaking of which, there are a number of ways to process transactions on Volusion- thanks to its numerous payment gateway integrations. What you’ll be able to use, however, depends on your country of operation. US-based merchants, for instance, can select between 30 different gateways. Europeans, on the other hand, only have 8 valid choices.  

Well, the in-built option you’ll find by default is Volusion Payments. It’s not only secure and stable but also processes card payments from any part of the world. Sadly, the merchant-side is not that as lucky because, at the moment, Volusion Payments is only available to US-registered shops. 

But guess what? You don’t pay any transaction fees on Volusion. Yes, it’s completely zero. You only lose money to card processors- not the platform itself.   

Now, to sum it all up, Volusion is seemingly a solid system for powering and managing your online store’s back and front end. It’s particularly ideal for store owners who prioritize on data analysis plus insights about their customers.  

Shopify 

Shopify is quite something when it comes to storing management. It’s capable of handling simple or complex small, medium, and large scale projects for all types of businesses in the e-commerce industry.  

What does this mean?  

Well, for starters, you can sell pretty much anything- thanks to its unrestricted product lists coupled with high-quality item images and flexible variables.  

shopify products

Then to enhance your product descriptions, Shopify comes with a specialized augmented reality feature. It allows your shoppers to comprehensively analyze product characteristics from multiple perspectives, through a dynamic visualization window. If leveraged accordingly, this alone could boost your sales while minimizing product returns.  

Other notable sales optimization functionalities include coupons, discount codes, product reviews, abandoned cart recovery, retail inventory management, product data management, order management, customer segmentation, and many more.  

Now, in addition to that, Shopify is widely considered to be exceptionally suitable for growing businesses because of its multi-channel ecosystem. It goes beyond typical on-site selling to facilitate e-commerce on social media and third-party platforms, along with physical in-store transactions.  

In other words, you can sell some of your products through your main site, and then expand your business to sell directly from Facebook, plus other external websites like Amazon. But, that’s not all. It just so happens that users can also establish well-synced multi-store offline selling through Shopify POS.  

If you’re considering such an expansive network of complementary stores, you might want to take advantage of Shopify’s specialized POS hardware. You can, for instance, acquire a label printer, a till, a receipt printer, a barcode scanner, and a card reader- all of which work hand-in-hand to process brick-and-mortar store transactions.  

Another aspect you’re bound to enjoy on Shopify is its pretty versatile payment ecosystem. And Shopify Payments is the default payment gateway option, although it can be limiting as it only supports 11 merchant territories.  

On the bright side, however, you have more than 100 other payment processing solutions to choose from, including PayPal and Square.  Therefore, it goes without saying that Shopify is remarkably functional for merchants across the globe.  

Now, the thing with such a wide user base is this- it translates to a myriad of challenges since each store owner comes with their own individual needs. Thankfully, instead of a providing a one-size-fits-all suite, Shopify avails a standard e-commerce platform, whose default functionalities can be further enhanced by embedding extra apps.  

As a result, Shopify is now one of the most natively flexible platforms in the e-commerce space. Its extensive marketplace provides a wide array of free and paid third-party apps, which can be installed in a single click to personalize your online store’s functionalities.   

Sadly, regardless of your e-commerce setup, Shopify will charge you transaction fees for every single payment made on your site. At least 2.4% + 30¢ for online credit cards, 2.4% + 30¢ for in-person credit cards, plus 0.5% more if you’re not using Shopify Payments. It can go as high as at least 2.9% + 30¢ for online credit cards, 2.7% for in-person credit cards, plus 2% more when you transact through non-native gateways.  

And to make matters worse, that’s on top of the monthly subscription charges. So, of course, it can be quite expensive when you consider all the money you stand to lose.  

Verdict 

Volusion and Shopify essentially operate in the same commerce ecosystems. They provide powerful tools for e-commerce along with parallel in-store POS selling. In simple terms, you can use either of the two platforms to build a well-synced business framework comprising of your online store, plus its supplementary offline shop.  

Now, although the similarities between Volusion and Shopify are many, it turns out there are a couple of notable differences as well. If you try out their individual POS functionalities, for instance, it’s quite obvious that Volusion principally offers this as an ‘add-on’ solution, while Shopify has managed to seamlessly embed it with its native offering. Consequently, you might have to configure various elements to use POS on Volusion, whereas the Shopify POS is basically a plug-and-play functionality.  

Well, you’d expect Volusion to make up for that when it comes to online selling. But, just like we’ve seen with POS, Shopify manages to outshine its counterpart in the e-commerce environment. Don’t get me wrong though. Volusion is indeed a remarkable platform with a decent array of online selling tools. In fact, some of them are unique- like onsite checkouts, enhanced analytics, and the zero transaction fees policy, which is arguably the most outstanding advantage. 

Shopify, on the other hand, will take some of your money through its costly transaction fees. But, that notwithstanding, it’s still more powerful than Volusion in e-commerce management. Shopify is more of a comprehensive store management system with a solid array of customer engagement features, design customization functionalities, plus selling and marketing solutions.  

Now, combine that with its numerous third-party integrations, and you have yourself an all-rounded e-commerce platform. Therefore, although Volusion comes close, Shopify wins again- by a very slight margin.  

Winner: Shopify 

Volusion vs Shopify: Pricing 

Volusion 

Personal- $29 per month 

  • Social Media Integrations 
  • Built-in SEO Tools 
  • Inventory Management 
  • Drag and Drop Editing 
  • Free Responsive Themes 
  • Online Support 
  • Unlimited Bandwidth 
  • 100 Products 
  • 1 Staff Account 
  • $50,000 Worth of Annual Online Sales 

Professional– $79 per month 

  • Phone Orders and CRM 
  • Abandoned Cart Reports 
  • Ratings and Reviews 
  • Amazon & eBay Integrations 
  • Social Media Integrations 
  • Built-in SEO Tools 
  • Inventory Management 
  • Drag and Drop Editing 
  • Free Responsive Themes 
  • Phone and Online Support 
  • Unlimited Bandwidth 
  • 5,000 Products 
  • 5 Staff Accounts 
  • $100,000 Worth of Annual Online Sales 

Business- $299 per month 

  • 3rd Party Gateways 
  • 3rd Party Shipping Calculated Rates 
  • Advanced Report Builder 
  • Batch Order Processing 
  • API Access 
  • Phone Orders and CRM 
  • Abandoned Cart Reports 
  • Ratings and Reviews 
  • Amazon & eBay Integrations 
  • Social Media Integrations 
  • Built-in SEO Tools 
  • Inventory Management 
  • Drag and Drop Editing 
  • Free Responsive Themes 
  • Priority Support 
  • Unlimited Bandwidth 
  • Unlimited Products 
  • 15 Staff Accounts 
  • $500,000 Worth of Annual Online Sales 

Prime- Custom 

  • 3rd Party Gateways 
  • 3rd Party Shipping Calculated Rates 
  • Advanced Report Builder 
  • Batch Order Processing 
  • API Access 
  • Phone Orders and CRM 
  • Abandoned Cart Reports 
  • Ratings and Reviews 
  • Amazon & eBay Integrations 
  • Social Media Integrations 
  • Built-in SEO Tools 
  • Inventory Management 
  • Drag and Drop Editing 
  • Free Responsive Themes 
  • VIP Support 
  • Unlimited Bandwidth 
  • Unlimited Products 
  • Unlimited Accounts 
  • Custom Worth of Annual Online Sales 
Volusion pricing

Shopify 

Shopify Lite- $9 per month 

  • Sell on Facebook 
  • Add products to any site 

Basic Shopify- $29 per month 

  • Third-party POS apps 
  • Shopify POS app 
  • 2.0% Additional transaction fees on all processors other than Shopify Payments 
  • 2.7% + 0¢ In-person credit card transaction fee rates 
  • 2.9% + 30¢ Online credit card transaction fee rates 
  • Abandoned cart recovery 
  • Free SSL certificate 
  • Sell on online marketplaces and social media 
  • 24/7 support 
  • 2 Staff accounts 
  • Unlimited products 

Shopify- $79 per month 

  • Third-party POS apps 
  • Shopify POS app 
  • 1.0% Additional transaction fees on all processors other than Shopify Payments 
  • 2.5% + 0¢ In-person credit card transaction fee rates 
  • 2.6% + 30¢ Online credit card transaction fee rates 
  • Professional reports 
  • Gift cards 
  • Abandoned cart recovery 
  • Free SSL certificate 
  • Sell on online marketplaces and social media 
  • 24/7 support 
  • 5 Staff accounts 
  • Unlimited products 

Advanced Shopify- $299 per month 

  • Third-party POS apps 
  • Shopify POS app 
  • 0.5% Additional transaction fees on all processors other than Shopify Payments 
  • 2.4% + 0¢ In-person credit card transaction fee rates 
  • 2.4% + 30¢ Online credit card transaction fee rates 
  • Third-party calculated shipping rates 
  • Advanced report builder 
  • Professional reports 
  • Gift cards 
  • Abandoned cart recovery 
  • Free SSL certificate 
  • Sell on online marketplaces and social media 
  • 24/7 support 
  • 15 Staff accounts 
  • Unlimited products 

Shopify Plus- Customizable 

  • For enterprises and large businesses 
shopify pricing

Verdict 

Overall, Volusion and Shopify’s pricing schedules are more or less the same. They are pretty identical, and they are structured with comparable feature scales.  

But, all things considered, Volusion is significantly cheaper because of its zero transaction fees policy- unlike Shopify, which takes a percentage off each transaction. 

Winner: Volusion 

Volusion vs Shopify Summary 

Overview Volusion and Shopify are both SaaS platforms that help you create an e-commerce site, tweak its features, and then remotely control the corresponding selling and marketing processes.  Newbies can use Volusion and Shopify without any design or coding knowledge.  Volusion and Shopify provide a simple user-friendly environment, which encompasses e-commerce features, a content management system, and ready-made adjustable site templates. Volusion has hosted about 185,000 stores while Shopify has been used to build over 600,000. Volusion boasts of 30,000 active users, while Shopify has 1,000,000. 
User-Friendliness (Winner-Shopify) Although Volusion is considerably user-friendly, Shopify has a much easier and understandable framework. Shopify has prioritized on the basics while Volusion, on the other hand, appears to go slightly overboard with its cluttered interface.  
Templates   (Winner: Shopify) Volusion has 45 customizable templates- 34 paid, and 11 free Shopify has 71 customizable templates- 61 paid, and 10 free Both Volusion and Shopify provide a code-free theme editor plus HTML/CSS customization. Shopify facilitates mobile theme editing. Shopify provides additional liquid markup language theme customization abilities. 
Store Management   (Winner: Shopify) Volusion and Shopify support in-store selling and online selling.  Volusion POS comes as an “add-on” feature. Shopify POS is seamlessly integrated by default. Volusion offers onsite checkouts, enhanced analytics, and zero transaction fees.  Shopify is a complete store management platform with customer engagement tools, site customization features, plus selling and marketing capabilities.  Shopify boasts of a wide range of integrations. 
Pricing  (Winner: Volusion) The pricing schedules on Volusion and Shopify are almost identical. Shopify applies additional transaction fees. Volusion does not charge transaction fees. 

Going by our detailed analysis, Shopify wins by three points to one. But, that doesn’t necessarily make it a better option for everyone. A platform’s suitability depends on your precise online store needs and overall business goals.  

So, based on that, which of these two e-commerce platforms would you choose, and why?  

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About the Author

I blog about the tools I use every day because everyone hates hype-mongers. Don't be a hype-monger. I build web assets every day and I know the struggle with choosing the right tools. From SEO to website creation, to sales funnels tools, I've used them all and now I'm here to tell you about them.

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