If you’re a business owner considering selling your products or services online, one of the first actions you’ll want to take is to choose an ecommerce platform. After all, the ecommerce platform you use will dictate how you set up your online store, how you take and process orders, how you accept payments, and overall, how you run your ecommerce operations. This being said, as you start the search for the right solution for your business, you’ll probably come across three big names in the ecommerce space: Shopify, Volusion, and Magento.
Considering that these are some of the most well-known and frequently used platforms on the market, however, you’re probably wondering: What is the difference between these options and which is right for my needs? We’re here to help. With this Shopify vs. Volusion vs. Magento guide, we’ll compare all three of these software solutions in terms of features, pricing, and reviews—providing you with all the information you need to decide what will work best for your business.
As we mentioned, Shopify, Volusion, and Magneto are all popular ecommerce platforms that business owners all over the world use to manage and grow their online stores. Therefore, whether you’re starting an ecommerce business for the first time or you’re looking to switch from your existing platform, any of these options may be able to serve your needs. This being said, then, before we dive deeper into our Shopify vs. Volusion vs. Magento comparison, let’s give an overview of each of these software solutions.
Serving over 800,000 businesses, Shopify is more than likely one of the first brands you think of when you hear “ecommerce.” Shopify is an all-inclusive ecommerce platform that allows you to set up your online store, add products, accept payments, manage orders, and connect to other tools like POS software, other sales channels, and more.
When selling on Shopify, you can choose from three core pricing plans, as well as their Lite and Plus options, each of which is sold on a monthly subscription basis. Additionally, the Shopify plan you choose will dictate the specific features you receive with your software. Shopify also offers a 14-day free trial of their solution, no credit card required. On the whole, Shopify is known for its robust feature set, variety of integration options, and overall usability.
Starting in 1999, Volusion is actually one of the oldest all-in-one ecommerce platforms and has remained popular as a top Shopify competitor. Currently, Volusion serves over 30,000 merchants, allowing you to quickly and easily start your online store and manage your operations. Like Shopify, Volusion gives you the ability to accept payments, take and process orders, and integrate with other software—all within their platform.
Moreover, Volusion offers four standard pricing plans, as well as “Prime,” their enterprise solution. Once again, like Shopify, Volusion is available on a monthly subscription basis and the plan you choose will determine the specific functionality you receive. This being said, however, Volusion also offers discounted rates if you purchase three months of their software at a time. Finally, Volusion allows you to sign up for a 14-day free trial, no credit card required.
Even at this most basic level, it’s important to note that in our Shopify vs. Volusion vs. Magento comparison, Magento is inherently different than both Shopify and Volusion. Although Magento offers Magento Commerce, an all-inclusive platform similar to Shopify and Volusion, they’re most well-known for their open source solution, and therefore, we’ll be discussing Magento as such.
As an open source platform, Magento can be downloaded for free and by editing the software’s code, can be customized specifically for your business. This being said, however, an open source option like Magento also requires you to acquire your own web hosting, perform your own security and updates, and more than likely, use the assistance of a developer to set up and manage your online store.
With this difference established though, Magento is one of the most popular open source ecommerce platforms, offering impressive features, unmatched customization opportunities, and notable scalability.
Keeping these overviews in mind, let’s continue our Shopify vs. Volusion vs. Magento comparison by discussing each of the feature sets these platforms has to offer. We’ll start with Shopify.
Regardless of the specific Shopify plan you choose, overall, Shopify offers the essential features you need to get started in ecommerce and manage your store. Let’s learn more.
Once again, as we mentioned earlier, the specific features you receive with Shopify will depend on which of their plans you choose. We’ll discuss this at length in our pricing section.
Like Shopify, Volusion offers significant capabilities within their ecommerce platform. This being said, let’s break down some of the highlights of the Volusion feature set.
Finally, and as you can see with regard to customer support, the exact functionality you receive with Volusion will depend on which of their subscription plans you opt for.
Themes available from Volusion. Photo credit: Volusion.
Finally, as we compare Shopify vs. Volusion vs. Magento, let’s explore the most notable features that Magento can offer your business. Once again, we’ll be talking about the open source version of Magneto, which means that any of the included capabilities can be edited or customized after you download the software.
Therefore, comparing Magento vs. Shopify or Magneto vs. Volusion, Magento’s functionality is different in that it will not depend on any plan or subscription. As with other open source platforms like WooCommerce or PrestaShop, Magento will include a standard feature set which, after downloading the software, can then be adjusted and added to as you see fit.
Now that we’ve explored Shopify vs. Volusion vs. Magento in terms of the features they can offer your business, let’s compare these platforms with regard to their pricing. As we’ve mentioned, both Shopify and Volusion price their software on a monthly subscription basis, with multiple plans to choose from. With Magento, on the other hand, you can download their software for free, however, there are additional costs to consider. Let’s dive into the details.
When it comes to Shopify’s pricing, they offer three main subscription plans—Basic Shopify, Shopify, Advanced Shopify— as well as two additional options, Shopify Lite and Shopify Plus. Although your more specific features will depend on your plan, overall, the three core Shopify solutions each include your online store, blog, unlimited products, 24/7 customer support, SSL certificate, abandoned cart recovery, and the ability to connect to Shopify Payments and Shopify POS.
This being said, then, Shopify prices their plans as such:
In terms of Shopify Lite, this plan only costs $9 per month, however, it does not give you the ability to create an online store, but simply allows you to sell on Facebook or add products to an existing website or blog. Shopify Plus, on the other hand, is Shopify’s enterprise solution for larger businesses and high volume merchants, and therefore, pricing is available by contacting Shopify directly.
It’s also important to note, as you can see above, if you decide to utilize a payment processor other than Shopify Payments, you’ll have to pay Shopify an additional transaction fee on top of the fees that your third-party provider charges. Moreover, if you decide to purchase a Shopify plan on an annual or biennial basis instead of month-to-month, you’ll receive a 10% or 20% discount, respectively.
Shopify pricing chart. Photo credit: Shopify.
Comparing Shopify vs. Volusion vs. Magento in terms of pricing, Volusion’s pricing is, in fact, very similar to Shopify’s. Volusion offers their service on a monthly basis, with four core plans: Personal, Professional, Startup, and Business. Plus, like Shopify, Volusion offers their enterprise solution, Prime, available on a quote-basis by contacting Volusion directly.
This being said, although each Volusion plan includes a distinct feature set, on the whole, all of the plans include your online store, unlimited products, storage and bandwidth, an SSL certificate, no transaction fees, dropshipping integration, and online customer support. It’s also important to note that when comparing Volusion vs. Shopify, Volusion’s plans each have a yearly cap on the amount of online sales you can process.
Therefore, Volusion breaks up their pricing like this:
Additionally, if you use a payment provider other than Volusion Payments, you’ll have to pay the credit card processing fees associated with that provider, however, unlike Shopify, Volusion will not charge you a per transaction rate on top of those fees.
Volusion pricing chart. Photo credit: Volusion.
Finally, as we’ve mentioned, Magento’s pricing is inherently different from either Volusion or Shopify. As an open source platform, the Magento software can be downloaded for free, directly from their website. This being said, however, although open source solutions are often referred to as free ecommerce platforms, there are actually a variety of costs to consider when using a software like Magento.
First, in order to launch your online store using Magento, you’ll have to acquire and pay for web hosting, as well as a domain name. You may also have to pay for a theme, security, and any extensions you require from the Magento marketplace. Additionally, just as is the case with Volusion or Shopify, you’ll have to pay to accept payments online, the exact cost of which, with Magento, will depend on the payment processor you use.
Moreover, perhaps the most expensive and important cost you’ll incur with Magento is development costs. Unlike some open source solutions, like WooCommerce or PrestaShop, which can be utilized with limited technical knowledge, Magento is more than likely going to call for developer assistance. Therefore, unless you or one of your employees has development knowledge, you’ll need to pay a developer to help you set up, customize, and maintain your online store. Ultimately, this cost will depend on the developer you work with and the level of customization and development you require.
These types of costs are specific to Magento’s open source solution, so it’s worth reiterating that on top of this option, Magento does offer a cloud-platform, Magento Commerce. Nevertheless, Magento is still most often discussed in terms of their open source offering—plus, Magento does not provide pricing or specific plan information for Magento Commerce on their website.
Keeping in mind how we’ve compared Shopify vs. Volusion vs. Magento in terms of both features and pricing, let’s discuss customer reviews for each of these platforms. What do users have to say about their experience with these three solutions? Let’s learn more.
Overall, Shopify is a highly-reviewed ecommerce platform.
Most frequently, reviewers highlight how easy it is to set up and use the Shopify platform to start and manage an online store. Additionally, many reviewers mention the range of features, mobile app, and integration options as benefits of the software.
When it comes to negative comments on reviews, some reviewers feel that Shopify could offer greater customization capabilities, as well as include more built-in functionality, as opposed to relying on the apps in their marketplace. Moreover, some reviewers also write that this platform can be expensive, especially compared to Shopify alternatives.
However, on the whole, it seems that Shopify reviewers are satisfied with this ecommerce solution and would recommend it to other business owners.
When we talked to Calloway Cook, Founder of Illuminate Labs, he said: “As a business owner who doesn’t have a programming background, I decided to build my website on Shopify and I’m glad I did. The process of customizing my site was simple and straightforward, and Shopify even provided tech support at no cost to help with some of the more exotic customizations I was experimenting with.”
In terms of Volusion customer reviews, they’re also generally positive, however, perhaps not as complementary as Shopify’s reviews.
This being said, it seems that reviewers most often highlight Volusion’s ease of use, writing that it’s quick and simple to get started using Volusion. Additionally, many reviewers comment that Volusion’s customer support and online resources are very helpful and that they appreciate the all-in-one nature of this platform.
On the other hand, when customers list downsides of Volusion, they most often write that Volusion has limited theme and integration options, the dashboard is not as intuitive as it could be, and that the platform can be glitchy and slow on occasion. Moreover, some users write specifically that although Volusion is a fine option, there are other ecommerce platforms out there that are better.
Nevertheless, as Michael W. writes in his review on Capterra, he’s been using Volusion for his business since 2011. He says, “[Volusion] has never failed us. It is so easy to create new products, new pages, new categories, and arrange them as I wish. Volusion is also handling our PPC accounts, creating and maintaining ads, with weekly reports. Overall, I would recommend Volusion to anyone looking to create a digital storefront.”
Comparing Shopify vs. Volusion vs. Magento in terms of reviews, Magento, like Shopify and Volusion, has generally positive reviews. However, unlike Shopify and Volusion, reviews of Magento, even the positive ones, most often come with one caveat—the development that’s required to set up your store and sell online using Magento.
Overall, reviewers highlight the impressive functionality and customization opportunities that are available with Magneto. In fact, many users write that Magento is one of the most powerful and robust platforms on the market. Nevertheless, reviewers also remind potential users that it takes significant time, effort, and development resources to utilize Magento, especially if you’re new to ecommerce.
Additionally, in the same vein, some reviewers mention that Magento can be slow, unintuitive, and on the whole, complex, despite the benefits it offers.
Keeping all of this in mind, however, as Scott F. writes in the summary of his Capterra review, Magento is “complicated but can’t be beat.” Scott continues, “Magento is easily the most extensive and full-featured piece of open-source ecommerce out there. Once you understand the layout, you’ll find that it is very intuitive and flows perfectly. What really shines for me for Magento is all the different options available out there.”
With everything we’ve discussed thus far—features, pricing, and reviews—it’s time to break down the most noteworthy ways in which Shopify vs. Volusion vs. Magento compare against one another.
Overall, it seems that each of these platforms offers significant features and the ability to facilitate the whole of your ecommerce operations. Additionally, each of these platforms has generally positive user reviews, even considering both their benefits and drawbacks.
Therefore, let’s explore the pros and cons of each of our solutions individually, compared to their alternatives.
As we’ve mentioned, Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce solutions—and with good reason. This being said, we’d say Shopify stands out against Volusion and Magento in the following ways:
On the other hand, some of the biggest drawbacks of Shopify are:
Taking these into consideration, there’s no doubt that Shopify can well-serve a variety of business owners. As a user-friendly, mobile, and functional ecommerce platform, it’s a great option for those just starting their online store, as well as those looking to upgrade from a simpler platform.
Compared specifically to Volusion, Shopify is going to offer greater options—in terms of features, integrations, as well as customer support. Although Shopify charges additional transaction fees for using a third-party payment provider, their subscription plans are priced almost identically to Volusion, making Shopify the more cost-effective solution.
When it comes to how Shopify stacks up against Magento, Shopify is going to be a quicker and easier option for most business owners, especially ecommerce beginners. Additionally, Shopify will require much less outside assistance (developer, web hosting, security, etc.), offers a mobile app, dedicated customer support, and has predictable costs. This being said, however, Magento will certainly offer a greater level of customization.
When it comes to Volusion, it seems like this ecommerce solution offers the following advantages compared to Shopify and Magento:
Conversely, some of the most notable downsides of Volusion include:
Although Shopify and Volusion are very similar, it seems that Volusion is probably the simpler of the two platforms. Although Volusion has more core plan offerings—four compared to Shopify’s three—Volusion’s software is straightforward, easy to use, and doesn’t overwhelm you with unnecessary complexities and features you might not need.
Therefore, Volusion is probably best-suited for beginners—those looking to quickly and easily get started with an online store and test out how it will work for their business. Additionally, one of the biggest benefits of Volusion, especially compared to Shopify, is their payment processing. Not only does Volusion allow you to work with third-party processors without charging their own transaction fees, but it also offers extremely low rates with their in-house solution, Volusion Payments.
On the other hand, compared to Magento, Volusion is very different. Although it may seem like Volusion is lacking in comparison to Magento, it seems more accurate to say Volusion and Magento are designed for different types of business owners. With the development requirements and level of customization that comes with Magento, this solution goes beyond what Volusion can offer, and therefore, is best for larger businesses or those that intend to scale quickly. Volusion, then, is best for those who need a simple ecommerce platform that allows them to get their online store running easily, without extraneous costs and additional assistance.
Finally, how does Magento stand out in our Shopify vs. Volusion vs. Magento comparison? Let’s break down the top benefits of Magento:
With these in mind, some of the most notable drawbacks of Magento include:
Overall, compared to Volusion and Shopify, Magento is probably best-suited for a more established business owner. With the impressive customization opportunities and advanced feature options Magento offers, this platform is designed for business owners who can take full advantage of them. Therefore, considering the development requirements and unknown costs of Magento, this is probably going to be an option for larger businesses or those who are looking to scale extremely quickly.
This being said, as one of the most complex open source solutions—compared to PrestaShop, Woocommerce, OpenCart, etc. Magento is not suitable for beginners (as opposed to both Shopify and Volusion), nor those looking first and foremost for an all-in-one platform that is extremely easy to use.
Ultimately, business owners well-suited for Magento will be able to devote greater time, effort, and funds to start their store with this platform in order to accommodate more advanced functionality and customization within the software as they use it to facilitate and grow their sales.
At the end of the day, the right ecommerce platform for your business will be the one that can meet your overall needs and budget. Based on everything we’ve discussed in our Shopify vs. Volusion vs. Magento comparison, there’s no doubt that any of these three solutions may be able to serve your business well.
This being said, however, it seems that Volusion and Shopify are best-suited for business owners who are looking for an intuitive, user-friendly platform that will allow them to quickly and easily get started selling online. In terms of Magento, on the other hand, this software will be better-suited for business owners who need scalability and a high level of customization and have the means to accommodate development resources.
Keeping all of this in mind, if you’re still not sure which solution is right for your business, you might consider signing up for a 14-day free trial of either Shopify or Volusion. With Magento, you can download the software for free, as well as explore the developer documentation that’s available on the Magento website, to get a better sense of what using this platform might entail.
Randa Kriss is a senior staff writer at Fundera.
At Fundera, Randa specializes in reviewing small business products, software, and services. Randa has written hundreds of reviews across a wide swath of business topics including ecommerce, merchant services, accounting, credit cards, bank accounts, loan products, and payroll and human resources solutions.