Low Pricing (weighted 11%)
No charge to download the software (open source,) no transaction fees (besides any charges you may incur from payment processors,) access to a community forum, app store, responsive templates, and unlimited products on your site. You must find and pay for own hosting and domain name, and consider if you want a CDN or any other extensions that may cost you money. An upgrade to the Enterprise Edition is available for a custom fee.
15 USD/ month
100 products, mobile app, tax rates, 1GB bandwidth, social media tools, responsive templates.
35 USD/ month
1000 products, everything that comes in the previous plan, phone support, newsletters, ratings and reviews, abandoned cart reports, importing and exporting, 3GB bandwidth.
75 USD/ month
10,000 products, 10 GB bandwidth, everything in the previous plans, priority support, Amazon and eBay integration, API access, customer relationship management tools.
135 USD/ month
Unlimited products, 35 GB bandwidth, everything from the previous plans, dedicated account manager.
Save about 10% per month when opting for a yearly payment plan, 14 day fee trial, unlimited storage and no transaction fees for all plans, online support, social media tools, Facebook store, mobile commerce, automatic tax rates.
Design (weighted 11%)
Compared to Volusion, Magento Community Edition has far more themes, since so many developers are creating them in the open source environment. However, that also opens up the possibility for themes to not work that well if designed poorly. Over 120 themes are offered in the Magento Theme Marketplace, and you can also pay for one of the thousands of premium themes. The prices range drastically, but in general, you can expect to pay from $50 to $150 for a professional solution.
Although some Magento themes are poorly designed, many are also better than what you may get spending thousands of dollars on custom design. Volusion is more out of the box, so if you don't care about customization, Volusion is the place to find a theme. However, if you're interested in a collection of themes that have unlimited expansion possibilities, Magento is for you. At Volusion, you receive access to 28 free themes and 88 paid ones. Some aren't that modern, but they are simple and do the trick. You also get access to an FTP client, which you would have to find yourself with Magento. Source code files are available, but they are a pain to customize, whereas with Magento, you have free reign.
Frontend Features (weighted 11%)
Magento is packed with features on the frontend. Although Volusion has many built-in features, Magento is the polar opposite. You receive related products, upsells and cross sells, coupon codes, quantity discounts, new items, polls, newsletter management, wishlists, one page checkout, saved shopping cart, gift messages, and a full customer account dashboard. Order status and history is all compiled into one dashboard, and visitors can see product reviews and tags, re-orders, a contact us form, zoomable images and a full responsive design for people who want to shop on tablets and phones.
The frontend is far more simple than Magento. You get a responsive design and a mobile app, automatic tax rates and several social media options for selling and sharing online. The newsletter module is nice, and the reviews and ratings area helps with social credibility and SEO. You can also integrate to sell on eBay and Amazon, and setup a customer loyalty program.
Backend Features (weighted 11%)
The backend is as powerful as it gets, but it may seem quite confusing for beginners. The dashboard is easy to move around and learn, but some might find it intimidating upon landing there. Analytics and reports are easily accessible, you get customer service modules for managing people who stop by, and you can manage which payment processors and gateways you want to use without much trouble. Integrate with Authorize.net or PayPal (not as many options as Volusion,) sell virtual products, setup unlimited product attributes, moderate product tags and reviews, sort customers and utilize numerous marketing tools such as product bundles and free shipping.
Even though Magento may seem intimidating to some, Volusion has a surprisingly tedious backend for a more beginner-focused system. The dashboard is quite clean, but once you start modifying code and customizing the look of your site, it forces you to work with poorly organized files that are tough for even developers. However, the dashboard has great tutorials, a step by step process for completing the most important tasks and even several charts on the dashboard to check on trends and stats. The dashboard has tabs for looking into pages for inventory, design, reports, customers, marketing and more. Adding a product works well, and it's more clean than with Magento. Include images, descriptions, prices, codes and more.
Marketing (weighted 11%)
Magento is 100% SEO friendly, with a Google sitemap, search engine friendly URLs, the ability to change URLs, meta info for products, categories and other areas, Google content API and a popular search terms area that generates automatically.
There aren't any social media specific tools built right into Magento Community, but the doors are wide open for you to integrate apps that can help you sell on social platforms and to encourage people to share your pages. You can also custom code your own social features, but that takes development knowledge.
Newsletter subscription management is a basic feature in the platform, but you will generally connect your site with a system like MailChimp to design and send out emails. You can actually integrate coupon codes with the newsletter management system.
Built-in promotion options
Promotions is one of the standout areas when you put Magento next to Volusion. To start, it has related products, upsells, promotional pricing with customizable restrictions, flexible coupons, multi-tier pricing, landing pages, customer groups, bundling for products, free shipping options, wish lists and an area for people to send to a friend.
Support of other selling channels
The Google Shopping API is open for you to integrate with the shopping comparison sites you can find online. Anything other than this is only available if you find an app or custom code your own selling channel support, but that's tough unless you have access to APIs.
SEO is more basic, since you simply go into a product page and modify fields for photo alt tags, meta title tags, URL text and meta tag keywords. The system also pings the search engines, but the more robust features are with the open source solution.
If you're looking for built-in social features without having to think about anything, Volusion is your solution. It integrates with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, along with modules for hooking up with Amazon and eBay. People can tweet, pin or like your products as well.
The entire newsletter system is built-in, so you can send out emails, manage them, test how they look and design them, all from the comfort of your own dashboard. If you'd rather not jump back and forth from MailChimp to another platform, Volusion isn't a bad choice. However, you don't get much in terms of designing beautiful HTML emails. You do, however, gain access to ROI tracking, customer segmentation and a form for collecting emails.
Built-in promotion options
Volusion has one area that's unique when it comes to promotions: The daily deals tool. However, you also get a customer loyalty plan, batch order processing and simple discount coupons. It isn't close when it comes to the amount of features offered from Magento. However, it works for small businesses with just a few products.
Support of other selling channels
Google Shopping and comparison integration works just fine through Voluison. You can also hook your store up to eBay, Facebook and Amazon.
Statistics (weighted 11%)
If you're familiar with WordPress, you know that analytics are one of the most versatile areas with an open source software. The same goes for Magento, since it provides a wide range of reports and analytical tools such as sales reports and tax reports. It's possible to hook up your Google Analytics account to your site, but that's also available through Volusion and most other platforms. The one part that Volusion generally stands out with is the snapshot statistics view on the dashboard, but Magento has that as well. Other statistic features include total sales refunded, sales invoiced, coupon usage reports, tag reports, product review reports, low stock reports, along with reports for abandoned shopping carts, purchased products, best viewed products and search terms.
As stated to the left, Volusion usually stands out with its dashboard stats snapshot, but that's not the case here. However, it's still a handy area if you go with Volusion. Some of the primary stats are a top 5 products report, category performance, ROI, affiliate sales, search terms and trends for everything from customer spending to sales.
Hosting & Security (weighted 11%)
Magento is a mixed bag for hosting since it all depends on the hosting provider you go with. It's a little more complex than Volusion, since with Magento you don't get included hosting. Therefore, you must find your own hosting and CDN in order to speed up your site, support high traffic loads and protect it from invaders. This can cost anywhere from $3 per month to $50 per month, and it can even go much higher than that, depending on your site traffic needs. Security also depends on your hosting, but SSL security support is provided for orders on both the frontend and backend. Chances are your security and hosting solutions are PCI Certified, but it's wise to check.
Volusion wins in this category since everything is included with your plan. The platform is PCI Certified, and it sells rather cheap 128-bit encryption SSL certificates. You gain acess to a strong CDN to keep your site running smoothly, and you can even register and buy your own domain from the dashboard.
Extensibility (weighted 11%)
Seeing as how the Magento Community system is open to all developers, you can find hundreds, even thousands, of extensions in the Magento Extension Store. It clearly dominates Volusion in this area, since the Volusion store has less than 100 and not all of them work that well. Finding the right extensions is fairly easy, since you can filter or search, and some of the are free, while others you must pay for. The download process is similar in both, where you must download the files to your computer and upload it to your store. This is tedious, but not the worst thing in the world. Choose from extensions that focus on email marketing, accounting, receipts and more.
The Volusion app shop is still in the beta stages (http://apps.volusion.com) and it provides around 76 add-ons for you to improve your store. It's strange that you have to download zip files since it's not an open source software. The apps aren't as mainstream or plentiful as with Magento, but they can help you out and most of them don't cost much.
Support (weighted 11%)
All of the Magento Community Edition support is community-based, similar to other open source tools like WordPress. This means that you generally won't be able to give someone a call or email them, but you can look at the support forums to see if one of your problems have been addressed in the past. This is great for finding quick solutions, since you have more people answering questions, but it can get frustrating if you really just want to speak with a dedicated support rep.