If you want to create or upgrade an eCommerce website, you have to decide which platform is best — Magento, Volusion, or something else? We have looked at all the options, and we think Magento is a good choice for most medium-sized to large companies who are in need or already have an eCommerce website. Let’s start with some basic information about eCommerce websites.
An eCommerce platform is the system behind a website that sells goods or services online. It includes the software, in this case the shopping cart application, a place for your website content, a database to store products, and a secure way to accept payments. eCommerce platforms can produce sales reports so you know what has sold, when and where to ship, and how your eCommerce website is doing. The more advanced eCommerce platforms have built-in invoicing, inventory management, customer tracking, context-sensitive product recommendations, and more.
The key here is to choose the system you need in the short- and medium-term. You might be planning to have a small number of products to start; however, you may discover the need to scale up quickly to become profitable. If you are thinking very small, like 20 products, then maybe you can get away with an inexpensive eCommerce solution like WordPress that has numerous shopping cart plugins available. But in our experience, it’s hard for most small sites to make a significant profit. There is a lot of overhead in marketing and maintaining your site. We recommend getting your eCommerce website professionally programmed so you will have a solid system that grows easily.
The primary difference between eCommerce platforms Magento and Volusion is that Magento is “open source.” This means Magento was written by the people, for the people. Payment processing and the database are secure, but any programmer can examine the code. This means the development process is democratic and organic. When using Magento, a website owner can customize the website so that it matches their branding and it has the exact functionality that you want. The Volusion eCommerce platform is owned by a corporation, and development of the system is controlled by Volusion Inc. The draw back when using a corporate package is that users are at the mercy of the corporation for updates and changes. As a matter of fact, many Volusion users are disappointed at Volusion’s rate of new releases lately. Compared to Volusion’s number of developers, active, open-source systems like Magento have a bigger number of developers word-wide who collectively strive to improve and develop the Magento eCommerce platform further. Thus, Magento has a history of more frequent updates and enhancements.
Since Magento is open-source, developers are motivated to create “extensions” that add additional functionality. The possibilities are endless! “Magento extensions” is a vast library of add-on programs designed to make Mageno even better. For example, there are Magento extensions to add gaming elements, search engine marketing, advanced reporting, and much more. Some are free, and some cost money. Overall, “Magento Extensions” help online store owners make their sites better and use the latest fads in website functionality as soon as they start to become popular. With Volusion such additional functionality is limited, and sometimes impossible to get without always waiting for an upgrade of the entire product.
Both platforms have several “levels” of usage available. While Volusion is a hosted service hosted by Volusion itself, with Magento, eCommerce website owners can pick and choose their hosting company as they wish. Remember there will be other costs associated with running any eCommerce store, such as fees for receiving payments, domain name, SSL, development, and web hosting fees. Volusion charges a monthly fee to use its service, including hosting and 24/7 customer support which is really handy in case of an emergency. There is no free trial or low level “cheap” account. For example, for $25 Volusion allows you to sell 25 products with 1GB worth of bandwidth a month. Fees increase as the number of products increases, up to $149/month for unlimited products. These fees include support, hosting, online video tutorials, etc.
Basic Magento “Community” level is free to download, and this suits most of our needs. Magento Enterprise costs around $14K/year and includes extensive support. However, few of our customers have needed the Enterprise Edition because we know how to use Magento without extensive support, and most of them don’t need the extra features that come with Magento Enterprise. Therefore, just hiring an experienced and competent Magento developer like Shero Designs can save you money by using Magento Community edition.
We run our own online, separate from Shero Designs, eCommerce business on Magento, so we stay sharp with the actual needs of our eCommerce clients. We really love the invoicing features in Magento. Its build-in search engine optimization (SEO) features are easy and effective ways to build traffic to your site. Magento is one of the most flexible and reliable eCommerce systems available.
If you want to talk more about Magento vs. Volusion, just give us a call at.. or fill in our contact form.