Looking for ecommerce software? Here's how Volusion and Etsy stack up.
Matthew Taylor and Mark Hammersley
Last updated 2o July 2020
4.4 Stackupp rating
$ 29.00 / month
Best forSmall businesses expecting to scale that are looking for a feature-rich platform.
3.8 Stackupp rating
$ 10.00 / month
Best forsmall retailers that sell vintage items, handmade products, or craft supplies.
Can't decide between Volusion and Etsy?
Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of Volusion and Etsy. See how each platform stacks up across ease of use, design, support and value for money.
Let the comparison begin. Don't worry, we'll guide you.
Volusion is a fully-hosted ecommerce platform with a loyal user-base and a wide selection of features. While the platform is suitable for businesses of all sizes, the intuitive user interface, high-quality customer support, and extensive feature-set make it an attractive choice for small and medium-sized retailers that are looking to scale.
Four pricing plans are available, beginning at $29/month and running all the way up to a custom option with VIP support. It is important for retailers to ensure that all the features they need are included with the package they select, as some features aren’t offered in lower-tier plans, like integration with third-party payment gateways and reviews and ratings functionality.
Use Volusion if you’re starting out or if you’re looking to scale and need access to a comprehensive set of ecommerce features. Larger stores that prefer to use a fully-hosted solution and wish to make a switch will also find a lot to like in Volusion.
Etsy is a well-known marketplace and ecommerce platform for retailers that offer vintage items, handmade products, and craft supplies.
It’s a straightforward, cost-effective option for small businesses and individuals with an inventory that meets Etsy requirements. By running your store on Etsy, you’ll avoid many of the challenges that come hand-in-hand with larger solutions like Shopify and WooCommerce, while also gaining access to one of the world’s largest third-party marketplaces. You can upgrade to Etsy’s separate solution, called Patterns, which enables you to build your own store and sell whatever you like on it while still using the Etsy engine.
Retailers with diverse inventories and high product turnover, however, will almost certainly need a more feature-rich platform.
you’re a small independent retailer specializing in handmade or vintage items (or craft supplies). Etsy has a forever-free plan, along with an inexpensive premium option, so it’s an incredibly cost-effective solution.
Our first comparison criteria, ease of use. Why? Because it’s the most important.
Think about it. You don’t want to invest a lot of your precious time setting up an online store and tweaking the design only to find out that it’s a pain in the butt to manage day to day.
We take a look at how simple the Volusion and Etsy platforms are to run.
Volusion is incredibly intuitive and easy to use. Users have access to a store builder, making it possible to design storefronts without any coding knowledge. Adding product listings, managing inventory and shipping, and setting up payment gateways, are all straightforward processes. What’s more, store-owners have 24/7 access to a variety of specialists.
“Always an awesome experience!”
“The online "chat" techs have been absolutely great. Solved my problems and are going to help me with a special "tweak" that I need done on my site. Should be ready to publish shortly.”
“Tech support is top of the list for all V2 owners. They are there for you to help you out for better ecommerce service.”
You won’t find a platform that is easier to use than Etsy. This is partly due to the fact that there aren’t lots of complex features (which some might see as a downside) and partly due to the simple, intuitive design of the seller dashboard. Etsy makes essential tasks, like creating listings and generating reports, nearly effortless.
“Discovering Etsy and opening a shop enabled me to take control of sales.”
“Etsy has allowed me to build an international customer base that already appreciates handmade products.”
“Etsy has been an incredible experience for me.”
It's a draw!
Powerful features are great, but we all know first impressions count. So, do Volusion and Etsy templates actually look any good? See for yourself. We outline each platforms design options, plus showcase a few real life examples.
Volusion is an excellent choice for users with limited design abilities that want to create a professional site. The site builder utilizes drag-and-drop content blocks (for reviews, images, testimonials, etc.), an editor for tweaking page elements, and also offers a variety of out-of-the-box features like search functionality.
On the downside, Volusion only offers forty-five themes, which is lower than some competitors. Only eleven themes are free. The remaining paid options each cost $180. Users should take advantage of the free trial to see if the templates and website builder are a fit for their store. It’s also worth reiterating that all customers have access to design specialists if they want to make changes or tweaks that require coding knowledge.
Design flexibility and freedom isn’t one of Etsy’s strongest points. Most Etsy stores look very similar, and there’s a reason for this: Etsy only offers a limited number of customization options.
As a seller, you can change the colours, fonts, and photo styles in your store. You’ll also be able to upload a unique logo and banner - which has the option of a photo “carousel” - and set a homepage description.
Users of the Etsy Plus premium plan will have access to a handful of additional features, such as the option to highlight top-performing products on the homepage.
Customizing your store is a very fast and straightforward process. While design freedom is limited, this won’t be a problem for people with little development experience who already like the standard Etsy storefront.
Volusion is our winner for design
Everyone’s favourite topic - pricing. Let's dive in to see if Volusion or Etsy offers better value for money.
Volusion is fairly competitive on the pricing front. Even on the basic plan, users have access to a broad array of features, including checkout, inventory management, access to templates, and so on.
There are a few things to watch out for, however.
First, some features that might be considered essential, like ratings and reviews, third-party payment gateway integrations, and omnichannel store management, are only available on higher-tier plans.
Second, there are some hidden costs involved. All store-owners must purchase an SSL certificate, for example, and customer support is only available via the web on the entry-level plan.
At first glance, Etsy looks like one of the most cost-effective ecommerce solutions on the market. It has a forever-free plan and even the premium option, Etsy Plus, only costs ten dollars per month. “Pattern by Etsy”, a service which allows you to run an “independent” online store on your own domain (in conjunction with your Etsy store) only costs $15 a month.
But it’s crucial to take account of fees. Retailers are charged $0.20 for every listing. When a sale is made, Etsy takes a 5% transaction fee, along with a 4% payment processing charge, which amounts to nearly 10% of the overall item price.
If you only process low sales volume, then these fees can be viable. With higher volumes, however, Etsy becomes less feasible.
Volusion is our winner for cost
If things go wrong (and they often do) you need to know someone’s there to help get you back on track. So, how does Volusion's and Etsy's support measure up?
Volusion excels in customer support. A 24/7 service is available and provides access to technical, design, and marketing specialists. As web chat is only available on the beginner plan, you will need to upgrade to the next package for phone support. More extensive support packages, such as “homepage optimization” or Google Analytics training, are available for an extra cost.
Etsy has an excellent support package, even on its free plan. Along with one of the largest seller communities on the web and extensive and in-depth training materials, users can also take advantage of live-chat and phone service.
Inexperienced retailers, in particular, will find a lot to like in the comprehensive tutorials and “seller handbook”. The online forum, through which users can join “teams” to exchange ideas and collaborate, is an excellent learning tool.
All support options are accessible from a tab in the seller dashboard, so assistance is easy to find when you need it.
Volusion is our winner for support
The final say. Let's wrap up our thoughts on each platform.
Volusion has a great package of features, competitive pricing, and outstanding customer support. Retailers that require access to a team of technical, design, and marketing specialists should consider Volusion. Anybody without coding skills looking for a way to build and manage a store will feel at home with Volusion’s easy-to-use and intuitive dashboard.
The platform isn’t perfect, however. There are some hidden costs, like the requirement to buy or transfer an SSL certificate. Many features that might be considered essential, like omnichannel store management, coupon creation, and reviews and ratings functionality on product pages, are not included in the basic plan. Furthermore, third-party payment gateways are only available on the “Business” or “Prime” package.
Retailers should carefully check the features on offer to make sure they’ll have what they need with the plan they can afford.
In short, Volusion is an excellent platform for the right retailers. If you’re a small or medium-sized business looking for a platform that can scale as you grow, take advantage of the 14-day free trial to see if it’s a fit.
Retailers considering Etsy should understand that it isn’t an ecommerce platform in the traditional sense. It’s not a standalone app like Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. You should only consider it as an option if you’re planning to sell your products to the broader Etsy marketplace.
If you do fall into that category, however, then you’ll find a lot to like - it’s a streamlined, easy-to-use platform at a fantastic price.
Furthermore, Etsy “Pattern” enables retailers to have a store at their own domain that isn’t bound by typical Etsy restrictions but is still managed from the central store manager. If you think it might be for you, sign up for a free account and give it a whirl.
Overall, we found Volusion to be the better ecommerce platform.
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