Volusion vs. OpenCart

Looking for ecommerce software? Here's how Volusion and OpenCart stack up.

Matthew Taylor
Daniel Adams

Matthew Taylor and Daniel Adams

Last updated 2o July 2020


Volusion

4.4  Stackupp rating


Pricing from

$ 29.00 / month

Free Plan?

Trial


Best for

Small businesses expecting to scale that are looking for a feature-rich platform.

OpenCart

4.0  Stackupp rating


Pricing from

N/A

Free Plan?

Yes


Best for

Opencart is ideal for small and medium-sized retailers that have web development experience.

Volusion or OpenCart: Which is best?

Can't decide between Volusion and OpenCart?

Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of Volusion and OpenCart. 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.

Is Volusion right for 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.

Advantages

  • Easy to get up and running with a good selection of templates.
  • An extensive set of features which make Volusion ideal for fast-growing stores.
  • 24/7 customer support with access to design and marketing specialists.

Drawbacks

  • Features that some retailers may consider essential are not included at lower price-points.
  • Themes can be pricey, usually costing $180 for paid options.
  • There are some hidden costs.

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.

Is OpenCart right for you?

OpenCart occupies a unique space in the eCommerce platform market. It’s a free and open-source solution that’s ideal for small and medium retailers that want to exercise full development control on their own servers.

Immediately, this excludes two groups. First, small retailers that want a fully-hosted solution and don’t have coding skills will struggle with OpenCart. Secondly, larger stores, or stores expecting to scale, may find the feature-set somewhat limited. OpenCart doesn’t have the same functionality and scalability as other open-source platforms like Magento.

If you’re not in either group, however, OpenCart is well worth giving a go. As an open-source solution, it’s fully customizable. The feature set is pretty solid, and the interface is very intuitive for a self-hosted solution. You’ll also have access to a large user community and extensions library. Oh, and it’s probably worth mentioning the key selling point again: it’s free.

Advantages

  • The platform itself is free.
  • Open-source and fully editable for those with web development skills.
  • Intuitive and easy to use for a self-hosted platform.

Drawbacks

  • Costs for dedicated support and extensions can quickly add up.
  • Requires development and IT knowledge to be used effectively.
  • Few native marketing and SEO features.

Use OpenCart if you’re a small or medium-sized retailer looking for a self-hosted solution that isn’t going to break the bank. OpenCart is a streamlined platform with an intuitive dashboard, a solid feature-set, and a friendly, active community of users.

Ease of Use

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 OpenCart platforms are to run.

How easy is Volusion to use?

Rated 5/5 for Ease of Use

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.

What Volusion customers are saying...

“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.”

How easy is OpenCart to use?

Rated 4/5 for Ease of Use

There are two sides to the ease of use question when it comes to OpenCart.

On the one hand, users have access to an intuitive dashboard (which is slightly unusual for an open-source, self-hosted solution) and a large library of extensions.

On the other hand, installing, maintaining, and running a store built on OpenCart requires a certain degree of development experience.

If you’re not comfortable handling backend tasks, then it’s probably not the option for you.

What OpenCart customers are saying...

Very good. Takes a while to get it setup to your own taste/needs, but worth the effort. Loads of online help for the most common stumbling blocks.
Having tried numerous e-commerce platforms opencart is by far my favourite.
I love that you can easily buy modifications from the marketplace for niche use case scenarios, and if not there are developers that are very knowledgeable of the product so custom functionality isn't a problem.

Volusion is our winner for ease of use

Design

Powerful features are great, but we all know first impressions count. So, do Volusion and OpenCart templates actually look any good? See for yourself. We outline each platforms design options, plus showcase a few real life examples.

How good are Volusion's themes?

Rated 4/5 for Design

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.

Volusion Examples

  • Fitness Finders
    Fitness Finders
Item 1 of 3

How good are OpenCart's themes?

Rated 4/5 for Design

OpenCart comes with a straightforward, minimal theme that’s already installed. Users that want to change the design have two options: buy a theme from the marketplace or edit the source code directly.

The themes in the marketplace are relatively well-priced - most cost around $20 - and this is a definite plus. There are lots of options on offer, tailored for a variety of online sectors, so you’re certain to find one that fits your needs.

OpenCart doesn’t provide a site-builder for users. If you’re not comfortable editing code directly, then you’ll struggle to make small design changes. Again, development experience is a must.

OpenCart Examples

  • Schtinky Dog
    Schtinky Dog
Item 1 of 3

It's a draw!

How much do they cost?

Everyone’s favourite topic - pricing. Let's dive in to see if Volusion or OpenCart offers better value for money.

How much does Volusion cost?

Rated 4/5 for Pricing

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.

How much does OpenCart cost?

Rated 4/5 for Pricing

It’s difficult to fault a free platform. So why only eight out of ten?

First, let’s take a look at the positive side of things. The OpenCart feature-set is superb for a free, open-source platform. Users can take advantage of unlimited products and categories, multilingual and multi-currency support, product reviews, a shipping calculator, analytics reports, and more.

Where OpenCart starts to flounder a little is in regards to extensions and support. Dedicated support is $99/month. And extensions which provide extra functionality, such as integrations with third-party platforms, regularly run into the hundreds of dollars. Finally, retailers will have to take care of all hosting and maintenance costs themselves.

It's a draw!

Help and Support

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 OpenCart's support measure up?

How good is Volusion support?

Rated 4.5/5 for Help and Support

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.

How good is OpenCart support?

Rated 4/5 for Help and Support

OpenCart support comes in three forms. Reviews of the quality of support are generally positive.

First, users have access to a free community forum. The forum is active and has over 110,000 members.

Second, a one-off paid option is available. For $99 you get a one-time technical fix with a 30-day bug-free guarantee.

Finally, a subscription option for $99/month provides you with a monthly maximum of five extension installations and three bug fixes.

Volusion is our winner for support

The Bottom Line

The final say. Let's wrap up our thoughts on each platform.

Volusion: Our Verdict

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.

OpenCart: Our Verdict

We liked OpenCart. It’s a great free solution for retailers that want to manage backend tasks themselves. If you have a small or medium store, and don’t want to deal with the complexities of a platform like Magento or PrestaShop, then it’s well worth giving a go.

Where OpenCart stumbles a little is in regards to paid extensions and support. Add-ons often run into hundreds of dollars. And for the amount you pay for monthly support, you might as well opt for a fully-hosted plan like Shopify or BigCommerce that comes with support included.

Just remember, if you don’t have development and IT skills, you’ll likely struggle with OpenCart. If, on the other hand, you’re more of the DIY orientation, you’ll certainly value the intuitive dashboard and extensive, easy-to-use features.

Overall, we found Volusion to be the better ecommerce platform.

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