Is it time to find an alternative to Volusion? If you’re asking yourself that question, you’ve come to the right place.
Whether you’re already using Volusion and ready to replatform or you’re thinking of launching an online store and want to learn more about small business and enterprise ecommerce platforms, we’ve got you covered.
We’ll take a look at:
Reasons that Volusion might not work for you.
Important features you should consider.
The pros and cons of five ecommerce solutions.
Why some business owners have migrated away from Volusion to BigCommerce.
Before we dive in, let’s review Volusion’s history and current offerings.
Founded in 1999 as a web design agency, Volusion eventually became one of the first, and most widely used, software-as-a-service (SaaS) ecommerce platforms in the early 2000s.
After growing in popularity through 2010, they eventually divested funding and development from their SMB product to focus on enterprise ecommerce. However, after experiencing slow traction, Volusion sold its enterprise solution, Mozu, to Kibo and refocused on SMB with the launch of Volusion phase two (V2) in 2017.
In late July 2020, Volusion filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. According to a blog post on Volution’s website, the company is still open and operating as usual, offering ecommerce solutions for online stores that we will go over.
For small business owners, Volusion offers four pricing tiers for ecommerce websites, starting at $26 when you pre-pay for three months.
As you upgrade your plan, you get access to advanced features. One thing to note is that plan pricing is based on your gross merchandise volume (GMV), calculated on a 12-month basis. And in case you were wondering, each of these new plans is part of Volusion phase two (V2).
Something to be aware of is that sometimes V2 is referred to as VOLT, so you may see several references to VOLT online and in the Volusion Help Center.
Volusion Prime is the enterprise ecommerce solution for large businesses. The pricing for Volusion Prime is customized for your specific business.
As we stated earlier, Volusion was one of the first SaaS ecommerce platforms. So many Volusion customers still use the legacy version, referred to as Version 1 or V1. While you won’t find any information about V1 on the Volusion website, the help center is still accessible to current merchants.
In addition to the recent bankruptcy announcement, Volusion also experienced a serious security breach in late 2019 that affected thousands of online stores. And while stability might be one concern that’s leading you to evaluate other ecommerce software options, it’s probably not the only one.
Unless you have advanced HTML and CSS skills, you’re going to have a hard time editing the theme of your store if you’re a V1 customer. Because as of now, there’s no easy drag-and-drop visual editor you can use to make changes to your theme.
If you want to make basic changes to your store’s design, you’ll either need to switch to V2 or work with a developer.
Also, Volusion currently only offers 26 themes. So if you’re looking for more options to make your store stand out, you could be better off with another option. Because otherwise you’ll probably need to do some heavy customizations to your ecommerce website — or pay extra to have Volusion to do it for you.
As you may have heard, when it comes to search engine optimization, or SEO, content is king. And one of the best ways to start creating content for your website is with a blog.
Unfortunately, neither version of Volusion includes a built-in option for blogging. If you want to add a blog to your site, you’ll need to sign up with WordPress and do extensive customizations for V1 or complete several integration steps for V2.
Maybe you’re frustrated with Volusion for another reason that we haven’t even mentioned. Perhaps you want access to more apps and integrations. Maybe you have a hard time navigating the Help Center.
Whatever the reason is, the good news is that there are many alternatives to Volusion out there. But before you make a decision on the one you want, we’ve put together a list of some features you might want to consider.
While every merchant runs their business in a way that’s unique to them, these are some features that will help make it easier to manage your ecommerce store.
More than likely, you use a lot of different tools and software to run your business, everything from inventory management to social media. And when it comes to your ecommerce platform, you want it to work with each of these systems.
Make sure that the platform you choose has a wide variety of integrations, as well as a large app marketplace so that you can add the functionality and customization you need.
For example, more and more people are using digital wallets, like Apple Pay, when shopping online. In fact, as of 2019, there are an estimated 441 million Apple Pay users worldwide.
To be successful, you need to be able to select a payment gateway that works for you — and your customers. So if someone wants to use something like Apple Pay when checking out on your site, they can.
There’s almost nothing better than a good customer service experience. At the same time, there’s nothing like the frustration that comes from dealing with bad customer support.
And it’s inevitable that you’ll need some kind of support when you’re setting up a new ecommerce platform. So take a test drive of the customer support team. Investigate things like:
How long does it take to get someone on the phone?
What level of support you have access to with your plan (phone, chat, etc.)?
Is there an option for priority support with a better plan?
What do online reviews say about the customer support?
Getting the answers to these questions should give you a good idea if the company is worth investing in.
While this one may seem a bit obvious, it’s still worth pointing out. Because as you’re probably well aware, sometimes things really are too good to be true.
For instance, you might find software that’s less than $10 per month, or even something that’s completely free, but what are the additional costs? Are you responsible for managing upgrades, paying for hosting and getting a SSL certificate? If so, that’s going to drive up your costs.
When you’re doing your research, document what you get at the price presented. Watch out for any hidden fees and make sure you understand any additional costs.
Now that you have a better idea of what you do and don’t want for your ecommerce platform, let’s review some of your options.
BigCommerce is a flexible ecommerce platform that helps merchants easily build and scale their online stores.
Transparent monthly plan subscription pricing and zero additional transaction fees.
24/7 access to live agent support. Historically, merchants get connected to a US-based support rep in under two minutes.
Stores come standard with Level 1 PCI compliance and a free SSL certificate to make your site safe and secure.
BigCommerce has thousands of agency partners, 600 App Partners and supports 55+ payment gateways.
Over 90% of the platform is exposed via APIs to create an open SaaS ecommerce solution that integrates with other systems.
With so many naitive features built into the platform, there’s a bit of a learning curve
Unlike the plans for Plus and Pro, there’s no discount for paying annually on the Standard plan.
Shopify is a SaaS ecommerce platform, specializing in getting small businesses up and running fast.
Unlimited products and bandwidth for all monthly subscription plans.
An additional option for Shopify Lite, which allows you to add a buy button on a personal website or blog so you can sell products without an online store.
A Point of Sale (POS) app that lets you process orders and take payments in person.
A wide selection of free and premium themes that you can modify with the built-in theme editor.
If you don’t want to use their proprietary payment provider Shopify Payments, you can be charged additional transaction fees of up to 2% of each sale.
Shopify has limited options for big catalogs, capping you at 100 SKUs per product and only three options per product.
Shopify limits your level of control over SEO. For instance, you can’t fully customize your URLs.
PinnacleCart is a legacy shopping cart software solution for small and mid-sized businesses that want to open an online storefront.
You get the option to manage hosting on your own server by purchasing a Perpetual License or you can get web hosting through PinnacleCart.
There are zero transaction fees on Standard and Advanced plans.
Over 30 payment options, including PayPal, for Advanced and Enterprise plans.
Unlike BigCommerce and Shopify, there are only three pricing plans and the lowest option starts at $79.95.
Also, the Standard plan places caps on bandwidth and storage, meaning if you grow quickly or have a large store, you’ll most likely need to upgrade.
While PinnacleCart releases updates, you’re responsible for managing and upgrading your shopping cart to the latest version.
Wix is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) for anyone looking to create a website, and they also offer business plans for ecommerce stores.
Wix offers several plans, with the lowest priced option at $23 per month.
Each plan comes with abandon cart recovery, which sends automated emails reminding customers about items left in their shopping cart.
They have a drag-and-drop editor that makes it easy to create content on your website.
Unless you select the enterprise plan with custom storage space, you’re limited to a maximum of 50GB.
Wix tends to be more focused on specific niche markets so they might not be the best fit, depending on your needs.
Wix basis its monthly cost on an annual subscription where the full year is paid up front.
With any WordPress site, you can use the WooCommerce plug-in at no cost to you.
Since it’s open source, you can completely customize the design of your online store.
If you’re already used to using WordPress for content management, it’s easy to integrate an ecommerce function on your blog.
Abandoned cart recovery, coupons and discounts, and single-page checkout are only a few of the features that require extra cost and management on WooCommerce.
Since WooCommerce is not a software-as-a-service ecommerce platform, you’re responsible for managing upgrades and patches, in addition to the costs of domain hosting and an SSL certificate.
Of course, it’s no secret that we think BigCommerce is a pretty great Volusion alternative. So here are some reasons we think you’ll be happier with BigCommerce.
Perhaps the most important thing you should know is that we have lots of experience helping merchants replatform from Volusion to BigCommerce. In fact, our in-house team has migrated over 1,000 stores from Volusion. Plus, we have an extensive list of Partners, like Kensium Solutions, that can help migrate your store.
“As a full-service ecommerce agency for over 14 years now, we recommend BigCommerce because it offers our Midsize (SMB) and Enterprise clients specific advantages in comparison to some of the other common ecommerce platforms available. At Kensium Solutions, we find it to be a great fit for our clients who are dealing with real-world business complexities, such as B2C and B2B customer requirements, large or complex catalogs, multi-pronged distribution models, and robust growth strategies, but also require ease of use and maintainability without maintaining a large IT staff. BigCommerce also offers competitive pricing, flexibility when it comes to customizations, and exceptional customer support. By comparison, many of the other platforms offer little flexibility and virtually no customer support, which should be an important consideration for any organization managing their ecommerce site with a competent in-house, but not necessarily technical, commerce team.” — Ted Stenstrom, VP of Client Engagement for Kensium Solutions
Because all of our merchants are on the same platform, they don’t have to worry about switching versions to get access to new features. So as we release new features all of our customers can take advantage of them right away.
One of the most recent examples is the BigCommerce PageBuilder. Using this simple drag-and-drop website builder, merchants can quickly customize web pages without touching the code.
We’re also continually working on improving our multi-channel experience. Right now, the BigCommerce platform integrates with Google Shopping, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Plus, we just launched in-app checkout for Instagram.
We want to give you the resources you need to succeed. This means you get access to:
Live agent support 24/7 on phone, chat and email where 85% of issues get resolved on the first call.
An online Help Center that includes a well-documented knowledge base, a community resource forum, and a dedicated Product blog.
Monthly Town Hall meetings, featuring our CEO Brent Bellm and Product team members that provide transparency on where we are headed.
When seasoned entrepreneur Suzanne Moore was looking for a new ecommerce platform for So Suzy Stamps, she knew she wanted great customer support. After having a bad experience with Volusion previously, it was very important that the provider she chose was as excited about her new business venture as she was.
Once she spoke to the BigCommerce support ninjas, she knew she found the partner she was looking for. Additionally, the platform’s customization options and powerful apps led to massive scaling very quickly. So fast in fact, that within two years, Suzy was able to sell her store and start a new venture in educating others on how to find success online.
Bohemian Traders, one of Australia’s top fashion retailers, weren’t happy with their two previous ecommerce platforms, BigCartel and Volusion. With BigCartel, the platform couldn’t support rapid growth, and then, the Volusion platform felt antiquated and hard to manage. Determined to get it right this time, they focused on finding a platform that was easy to use and would scale with them as they continued to grow.
After evaluating both Shopify and BigCommerce, Bohemian Traders chose BigCommerce. Since making the switch they’ve experienced a 309% increase in customer growth, 166% year over year revenue growth, and they’ve processed over 17,000 orders.
EcoEnclose, a leading provider of sustainable packaging solutions, spent a lot of time innovating to create a unique product, but nothing about their Volusion website reflected that they were a modern, contemporary company. According to the owner Saloni Doshi, the website was hard to navigate, poorly designed, and lacked the functionality they wanted, including single-page checkout.
At the recommendation of their development agency, Optimum7, EcoEnclose ended up going with BigCommerce. EcoEnclose really took advantage of the BigCommerce App Marketplace to work with Partners that helped them gain insights on customers and improve the checkout experience.
“It was really easy to talk to the BigCommerce customer service team while we were in the sandbox phase, which was amazing. We got to a good place and went live, and I would say it was one of the most seamless migration experiences I’ve ever imagined.” — Saloni Doshi, EcoEnclose Owner & Co-CEO.
Volusion has a long history in the ecommerce industry. But that might not be enough to ensure your business continues to grow. Now is an excellent time to explore your options as there are so many new companies that offer modern, feature-rich ecommerce software.
We listed some of the most popular ones above; however, there are many others, including Shift4Shop, PrestaShop, Magento, Weebly, etc. that you can evaluate. And while we hope you’ll choose BigCommerce, the most important thing is that you pick the solution that’s right for your online business.
Shelley is a Manager, Content Marketing at BigCommerce, where she specializes in content strategy, research and writing to educate brands on the ecommerce industry. Prior to joining BigCommerce, she worked on marketing teams spanning various industries from eLearning to millennial and Gen Z research. Outside of work, she loves exploring all things Texas BBQ and craft beer with her husband and two dogs.