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BigCommerce vs Volusion – An E-Commerce Shopping Cart Comparison

bigcommercevsvolusion 600x369With e-commerce growing at an incredible rate and becoming increasingly vital to modern-day businesses, hosted shopping cart solutions play a major role for online vendors and their customers. The two largest and most popular e-commerce platforms, BigCommerce and Volusion, offer a wide range of features as well as highly-rated customer support, and are well matched in many areas. But which one is right for your business?

SEO

Both Volusion and BigCommerce allow you freedom over your Title, Keywords and Descriptions fields. However, Volusion’s SEO makes use of unwieldy Product IDs and query strings and the interface is more difficult to work with. Meanwhile, BigCommerce gains plus points for offering neat URLs which generate the page from the product name, interspersed with underscores, and will only produce strange results if you employ punctuation. As an added bonus, it integrates nicely with Google Website Optimizer, giving you smart and responsive testing, analysis and feedback on your site.

Admin Tools

Both services successfully separate the core functionality of the e-commerce shopping cart from its design and aesthetics, making it easy to navigate the interfaces and apply changes where needed. Customization is made as simple as possible: neither service requires knowledge of ASP or PHP code, nor users will require only rudimentary knowledge of HTML and CSS to customize every aspect of the store. Users are not given extensive access to the service server for modifications, and scripting is limited to Javascript and HTML/CSS. While more advanced users may find this limitation frustrating, for those who want to get started with a store immediately it is ideal. Both BigCommerce and Volusion provide users with a wide range of tools. One advantage of Volusion is the option to send email newsletters to customers; BigCommerce only permits you to export email addresses for sending with a separate email marketing platform. While the two services are both easy to use and customize, BigCommerce sets itself apart by its feedback tools. For example, it generates reports on abandoned shopping carts which outlines when, where and how frequently customers abandon their items before purchasing is complete, enabling you to get in contact or provide an incentive to complete the transaction.

Design Tools

The beauty of e-commerce shopping cart services is that, using only basic coding, users can quickly and easily create a store with a decent interface without having to put in hours of programming. If you have enlisted a designer who will handle customization for you, you will not need to make use of the ecommerce design templates offered by both Volusion and BigCommerce. However, if you require a template for your ecommerce website, BigCommerce should be your first choice for your shopping cart service. The templates offered by Volusion are out-dated, unattractive and sometimes bizarre, with poor optimization and badly designed toolkits which make them challenging to work with. While the templates are free and therefore attractive to businesses with a low budget, they are generally not fit for purpose. For BigCommerce web design is one of the service’s strengths. The service offers the option of contacting one of its many promoted design affiliates and getting a quote for your specific requirements, or to make use of the free, pre-packaged templates. BigCommerce templates show that the service has invested significant time and resources into creating clean, usable and attractive templates which can be customized in a matter of minutes. BigCommerce offers more templates than Volusion, with some truly eye-catching and vibrant designs that will enhance any site. BigCommerce also offers an intuitive drag-and-drop interface which enables you to move the important shopping cart elements using only the mouse.

Third-Party Integration and Additional Features

Both services offer users extensive online support areas for integrating the shopping cart with third-party software. Both offer electronic and downloadable products and gift certificates. BigCommerce also offers social media toolbars for quick integration with websites such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as easy integration of YouTube videos. Furthermore, in the next release BigCommerce will offer drop shipping, support for iPhone and iPad, integration with MailChimp and eBay, and multiple warehouse, making it the clear winner here.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Some clients report that, having tried both services, Volusion offer a slightly more extensive range of customer support options, including free live support via phone, instant chat or email, 24/7. Volusion is the more well-established of the two, and has built up a vast library of tutorials, FAQs and user videos to guide you through the process. However, BigCommerce also provide round-the-clock support through a number of channels.

While Volusion and BigCommerce are both excellent services that are well matched in many aspects, BigCommerce has the edge on its competitor thanks to a more user-friendly interface, better design templates and a greater range of features.

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  • I’ve helped develop and manage BigCommerce and Volusion websites, and from my experience, BigCommerce seems to be the preferred solution. The feedback I’m getting is that BigCommerce was easier to setup and manage from the start. Their intuitive software and friendly support have been extremely helpful to our new clients.