In this Bigcommerce vs Volusion review, we compare two leading online store building tools to see which comes out tops - and which is right for your type of business.
Bigcommerce pricing vs Volusion pricing...
Volusion's plans are as follows:
- Mini - $15 per month
- Plus - $35 per month
- Pro - $75 per month
- Premium - $135 per month
Bigcommerce's plans are:
- Bigcommerce Standard: $29.95 per month
- Bigcommerce Plus: $79.95 per month
- Bigcommerce Pro: $199.95 per month
- Bigcommerce Enterprise: pricing varies depending on requirements
The most obvious thing you'll notice from the above is that Volusion lets you start selling more cheaply, with the cheapest Volusion plan ('Mini') costing just $15 compared to Bigcommerce's $29.95 entry plan ('Standard').
The main differences in terms of features to watch out for between the two sets of plans are:
- the number of products you can sell: Bigcommerce allows you to sell an unlimited number of products on all their plans; Volusion only provides this on the most expensive 'Premium' plan.
- abandoned cart reports: with Volusion, you can access this information on their $35 ('Plus') plan and up - with Bigcommerce, you need to be on a $75.95 ('Plus') plan to avail of this functionality (but as will be explained below, the Bigcommerce abandoned cart functionality is significantly better)
- bandwidth: this is unlimited on all Bigcommerce plans, whereas Volusion limits it to varying degrees on all their plans (at the starter end of the spectrum, on Volusion's 'Mini' plan, you can expect a limit of 1GB per month; even on their premium plan a bandwidth cap also applies, of 35GB per month).
Worth remembering too of course is that with either a Bigcommerce or a Volusion plan, you will need to factor in the costs associated with using a ‘payment gateway’ - the software that allows you to process credit card payments. I feel that ALL the online store building tools I’ve reviewed recently could be more upfront about this additional cost (which varies according to provider – some, like Nochex, charge a fee per transaction; others, like Paypoint, charge a monthly fee which allows you to sell a certain number of products per month without worrying about transaction fees).
The free templates that Volusion and Bigcommerce provide are pretty good - I probably marginally prefer Bigcommerce's, but it's a very subjective area. One thing worth noting is that Volusion offers more free templates than Bigcommerce: 21 vs 7 respectively. However, only 6 of the Volusion templates are 'responsive' (i.e., will readjust themselves to display correctly regardless of the type of device used to view your store on).
Both companies also provide a range of fancier-looking paid-for templates. In Volusion's case however, some of these are extremely expensive (you can pay up to $690 for templates if living in the US, or £575 if living in the UK) - this is so expensive you might consider hiring a freelancer to tart up one of the free templates instead!
Mobile storefronts and smartphone apps
Both Volusion and Bigcommerce can automatically create a mobile and tablet friendly version of your store, via responsive templates, but not all the Volusion templates are responsive. In fact, of the 60 paid-for Volusion templates, only 17 - the very most expensive ones, costing $690 each - are responsive. This is pretty shocking really. By contrast, all the Bigcommerce templates are fully responsive.
Volusion also provides iOS and Android apps for managing aspects of your store on the go. Oddly, Bigcommerce used to provide one too, but it's no longer available.
- stock a wide range of products (digital and physical)
- accept a wide range of payments (via a selection of payment gateways)
- add new pages to your site and edit them
- capture customer data and access analytics on your store visits / sales.
On top of that both products offer a good range of marketing features including discount coupons, Facebook storefronts and banners. Volusion arguably goes further with the marketing features in that it offers a CRM tool on the Pro and Premium plans (note however, that this CRM functionality doesn't currently integrate with Gmail accounts- thus ruling out a hell of a lot of users - and can't be tested in trial account mode).
Volusion also allows you to set up your own affiliate program, which might be genuinely useful to some users (those with very popular stores / high levels of traffic in particular).
One thing worth paying particular attention to when deciding between Bigcommerce and Volusion is how both products deal with abandoned carts. Both provide you with functionality that lets you identify the visitors to your store who add something to their cart only to leave your site without making a purchase (how very dare they). This is very useful because you can then email these visitors encouraging them to reconsider this decision, offer them a discount code to tempt them back and so on. This functionality comes at a cheaper price with Volusion – it’s included with their $35 plan, whereas you need to be on a $79 + plan with Bigcommerce to get abandoned cart reports. However, the abandoned cart functionality that comes with Bigcommerce is much, much better than Volusion’s – with Bigcommerce, you can predefine what you’d like to happen when somebody abandons their cart (i.e., send them series of pre-written emails automatically); with Volusion, you get access to a list of users that have abandoned their carts, but you will have to email them manually (using Volusion's 'send retention email' option).
That said, there are some third party tools available which can help Volusion users with automation – such as Autoresponder Max – but they tend to come at a price (Autoresponder Max costs $99 per month).
Integrating Volusion and Bigcommerce with Ebay and Amazon
Both Bigcommerce and Volusion allow you to integrate your store with Ebay – if you are on their $29.95 and$79.95 plans respectively. If you want to integrate your store with Amazon, Volusion provides this functionality on its $75+ plans; Bigcommerce say support for selling on Amazon is coming soon. Disclaimer: I've not put both to the test, so if Ebay or Amazon integration is a big deal for you, I'd definitely road-test both products yourself first.
Ease of use
User-friendliness is the area where in a Bigcommerce vs Volusion shootout, Bigcommerce is a hands-down winner (in fact it’s one of the easiest-to-use store builders to use that I’ve tested to date). Put simply, its interface is contemporary, easy to use and intuitive; unfortunately the same cannot be said for Volusion’s, which makes doing basic things like creating a simple ‘about us’ HTML page bizarrely difficult. I've worked with a lot of site builders and CMS systems in my time and I am really struck by how unintuitive the Volusion interface is - with rivals Bigcommerce, Shopify or Squarespace, getting a simple site / store off the ground can be done with a minimum of fuss; the same simply cannot be said for Volusion, which I have not found at all easy to use. To be fair, a lot of support materials - including several 'getting started' videos - are provided by Volusion, and there is phone and chat support available if you get stuck.
Ultimately, I suspect that experienced web developers would not have a huge amount of difficulty using Volusion; but anyone new to putting a site together could struggle with it. The 'novice' user would find things much more straightforward with Bigcommerce.
With Bigcommerce, you get 24-hour 'live agent' support. It's not particularly clear on their site what channels this covers - phone, chat or email - and before you get access to actual contact details you have to try to resolve the issue by searching their help pages first. There is also a large range of video and text resources available from Bigcommerce, and a community forum.
With Volusion, support comes in three varieties, depending on what plan you're one: online, phone and priority. This does not appear to be 24/7, but at least accessing the relevant phone numbers on the Volusion site is easy...
Which is better, Bigcommerce or Volusion?
Bigcommerce and Volusion are both very fully-featured online store builders. There are however, quite a few differences in what they offer, and before you decide upon which tool to use, it’s a good idea to make a list of your ‘core requirements’ for your store so that you can identify which product (and plan) matches your business needs best: don’t pick a plan based on price alone.
There are three things that would probably nudge me in the direction of Bigcommerce over Volusion:
- its user-friendliness – if you are a novice at putting together a website, you will find Bigcommerce a lot easier to get to grips with than Volusion
- its abandoned cart functionality: being able to pre-program a series of follow up emails to users who abandon their carts has the potential to save you a lot of time – and money
- the fact that all plans allow you to sell an unlimited number of products
That’s not to say at all that Volusion is a bad product: depending on the type of business you run, you may find that its feature set meets your requirements better than Bigcommerce (particularly if you need a built in affiliate program or CRM tools). As ever it's a case of defining your requirements well, trying both products out via a free trial and working out which tool meets your needs better before signing up to a paid plan. You’ll find links to the Bigcommerce and Volusion free trials below.