Volusion was founded in 1999, so it’s been with us for quite some time. 2019 was a rough year for the platform, but more on that later. Volusion claims that it’s been home to more than 180,000 entrepreneurs from every corner of the world.
BigCommerce was founded 10 years later, in 2009. It started as a platform similar to Shopify, geared mainly toward startups and small businesses. Over time, it changed its course and began focusing more on B2B eCommerce, global sellers, and larger businesses. According to BigCommerce, more than 60,000 brands run their business on the platform.
Volusion is a hosted eCommerce solution, just like BigCommerce. As part of the same market, they have many other things in common. However, building and running your eCommerce store on one or the other will be quite different. There are many things that merchants need to take into account before they make a decision about which one of the two is the better option for their business.
The purpose of this article is to help merchants make a more informed decision. So, let’s dive into the Volusion vs BigCommerce comparison and explore the nitty-gritty of these two platforms.
A Short History of the Volusion Data Breach
Potential customers have the right to know about any problematic or concerning part of any eCommerce platform. That’s why we think it’s important to say a few words about the big Volusion data breach and the aftermath.
It was confirmed that 6,589 Volusion stores were victims of this vicious attack, although some reports claimed that the number was much bigger - about 20,000. The attackers stole and then sold hundreds of thousands of credit cards records on the dark web (the overall number of records was estimated to be 20,000,000), inflicting enormous financial damage.
As a consequence, Volusion filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order “to address an unstable capital structure involving matured debt“, as Volusion staff expressed in a short article. Chapter 11 doesn’t mean going out of business, but rather regrouping the company. In this scenario, the debtor agrees to reorganize the company and pay off the debts gradually.
In January 2021, Volusion published another announcement in which it states that the company dealt with the bankruptcy problem successfully. It also announced that it started a process of improving and making the platform even better than before.
However, since this was a serious incident, the consequences couldn’t just disappear. The Volusion data breach became a reason for concern for the company’s customers as well as its partners. Many problems were the result of a misunderstanding of what Chapter 11 meant. However, the real issues were regaining the people’s trust and coping with the customers’ migration to other companies; these are some things that Volusion had to deal with then and is still dealing with now.
This may seem like a digression from the main topic, however, it’s a caveat that users need to know about. On the other hand, especially when we’re talking about security-related issues, there isn’t a 100% hack-proof software out there. In a way, any company could be the victim of a similar attack. Besides, this incident does not define Volusion on its own. There are other variables that need to be taken into consideration. And that’s what we’re going to talk about next: Volusion and, along with this, BigCommerce features.
One of the best things about Volusion is that it gives a 99.9% uptime guarantee. Overall, the platform puts a lot of emphasis on hosting. According to Volusion, the company invested a lot of money in providing the best hosting experience for its clients. It runs on the Google Cloud Platform, which guarantees a smooth user experience.
When it comes to design, the platform offers a visual drag-and-drop editor and responsive themes to customize the look and feel of your store. There are 45 themes, 11 of which are free. The paid ones are all priced at $180. There are not too many options, but the themes all look solid.
This is what the style editor looks like:
You can pick a theme, add your logo, upload products, add navigation & CTAs (call to action), change colors & fonts, do some more basic customization, or write your own CSS code in the advanced CSS editor. Honestly, there aren’t that many options and the editor is not the most modern in the universe, but if you’re a fan of simplicity, you’ll probably like Volusion's approach.
As far as eCommerce features are concerned, Volusion offers a lot of them. There’s a dashboard that shows data related to your sales and it looks fairly good:
You also get access to different types of reporting like ROI (return on investment) and affiliate-related statistics. Then, there’s recurring billing, POS (point of sale), abandoned cart recovery, CRM functionality, customer reviews, many options regarding inventory management, gift certificates, coupons & discounts, multichannel sales (Facebook, eBay, Amazon, Google), solid SEO functionality, and more. Overall, Volusion’s offering is pretty good.
BigCommerce is one of the best hosted eCommerce solutions. It’s right there at the top with Shopify. It’s been very successful in attracting new customers, and encouraging users to move from other eCommerce platforms to BigCommerce.
One of the things that the platform is widely known for is the huge number of tools available out of the box. Another advantage of BigCommerce is that it’s a very innovative company. It constantly works on new additions to its already rich and high-quality assortment of tools. It also boasts excellent security features, which is especially important in light of Volusion’s recent history.
BigCommerce has the look and feel of an extremely modern and cutting-edge eCommerce platform. For starters, it offers a myriad of themes that all have an up-to-the-minute design. There are only 12 free themes, but they look pretty nice. The most expensive premium themes cost $300.
The page builder/visual editor is intuitive and for a drag-and-drop editor, it lets you do plenty of customization.
In case you need more customization options, you can always resort to the Stencil CLI, which lets you do more advanced editing.
When it comes to eCommerce features in a narrower sense, BigCommerce offers digital wallets (Google Pay, Amazon Pay, PayPal One Touch, etc.), coupons & discounts, headless commerce functionality, excellent B2B tools, multichannel selling options, a native POS system, multi-store/multi-site functionality, the ability to receive payments in various currencies, multiple-language store functionality, shipping, refunds & returns, great reporting & analytics tools, high-performance APIs, cutting-edge progressive web applications technology, and more. On top of this, the platform offers solid SEO tools like SEO-friendly URLs, basic blogging functionality, and a fast page load time. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?
Volusion offers 3 regular and 1 custom pricing plans:
- Personal: $29/month (paid monthly) or $26.10/month (paid yearly);
- Professional: $79/month (paid monthly) or $71.10/month (paid yearly);
- Business: $299/month (paid monthly) or $269.10/month (paid yearly);
- Prime: GMV-based.
The plans are based on GVM (gross merchandise value) per year, which is basically, the total value of sold products on an annual basis: $50K, $100K, $500K, and more than $500K.
There are no transaction fees with any of the plans and you get unlimited bandwidth no matter the plan.
Volusion gives you 14 days to take the platform for a spin, no credit card required, which is super convenient.
Price-wise, the BigCommerce pricing system is very similar to the Volusion pricing system. There are four total pricing plans, one of which is custom-priced:
- Standard: $29.95/month (paid monthly), no yearly subscription discount;
- Plus: $79.95/month (paid monthly) or $71.95/month (paid yearly);
- Pro: $299.95/month (paid monthly) or $269.96/month (paid yearly);
- Enterprise: custom pricing.
Here, the plans are based on clients’ annual earnings as well: $50K, $180K, $400K, and custom.
There are no transaction fees with BigCommerce, but unlike Volusion, the platform provides not just unlimited bandwidth, but also unlimited products, file storage, and staff accounts with every pricing plan.
There are 75 apps available on the Volusion marketplace. They’re divided in different categories according to their purpose, which is customary with app stores. Nine of the integrations are free, while the rest are paid. Some of the most notable names are: LiveChat, MailChimp, Namecheap, Norton, and Stripe.
The BigCommerce Apps Marketplace contains a larger number of integrations, more precisely, nearing 1,000. Here you can also find free and paid apps. MailChimp, QuickBooks, Facebook Ads, and Yotpo Product Reviews are the top free apps, while ShipStation, Google Shopping by Sales & Orders, Justuno, and ShipperHQ are at the top of the list of paid apps.
Keep in mind that not every possible integration will be found in the BigCommerce app store. DropInBlog, for instance, is a top-shelf blogging app that you can add to your BigCommerce store through an embed code. It’s a very easy and simple process to replace the BigCommerce elementary blogging functionality, boost up your search engine rankings, and bring more traffic to your store. For more details on this topic, check out “How to Create a Blog on Bigcommerce”.
If there are any issues to resolve, you can start a chat or schedule a call with Volusion's customer service. If you subscribe to the Business plan, you’ll be on the priority support list, while with the custom Prime plan, you get access to a private channel set up just for you where you can get help from an expert no matter problems you face and questions you have.
In addition to these options, there’s a help center page full of articles on any topic related to Volusion and your Volusion eCommerce store.
You can contact the BigCommerce support team by email, phone, and live chat with all four pricing plans. Along with this, there’s a help center, BigCommerce University, a webinars page, a BigCommerce community, and a knowledge base rich with resources.
According to BigCommerce themselves, the BigCommerce customer service is very efficient. In 85% of cases, it takes only one call for a customer problem to be sorted out. This is pretty impressive.
Also, keep in mind that there’s special support provided by the BigCommerce agency partners for customers migrating from Volusion. On top of this, there’s an app that helps you transfer your catalog data from Volusion yourself. It’s called Catalog Transfer and it’s free.
If there’s one thing that we can learn from the Volusion data breach experience, it’s that eCommerce platforms need to go the extra mile to ensure that their clients operate at the highest possible security level, and merchants need to ensure that there are regular backups of their eCommerce store data. An alternative solution for the merchants would be not to keep all their eggs in one basket. In other words, they could diversify their revenue streams, so if an incident happens, they could avoid a catastrophe.
As for BigCommerce vs Volusion, each platform has the potential of being a good business solution. Volusion has more experience, but BigCommerce seems to be more high-tech and forward-looking - at the leading edge of eCommerce. We tried to provide helpful information, but it’s on the merchants to decide which one suits them better.