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Volusion vs Shopify Plus: Everything You Need to Know to Compare Both Platforms (BONUS: Free Migration Offer!)

by Allen Burt
October 31, 2016

*A note to our readers: we typically don’t promote an offer like this on the blog, but this one is too good and we think it’s a real benefit to our readers. For a limited time, Shopify Plus is offering free data migration and up to 6 months free service: check it out here.

I want you to take a moment and conjure up a memory of the last time you were in an airport security line.

On a scale of 1-10, how irritated were you?

At least an 8, right?

I think I heard a couple of amens from the back.

In that same moment, do you remember catching a glimpse of the TSA Pre-Check line? The roped-off, exclusive line where there’s NO removing of shoes, a speedy luggage scan, and everyone seems to look annoyingly happy and smart?

And YOU – someone who usually makes wise and thought-out decisions – YOU got stuck in a herd of sheep, fumbling with their shoes and complaining about the confiscation of their non-travel-sized deodorant and yes, having to remove your laptop (is there an echo?).

How did you end up here?

Why aren’t you speeding through like those other happy, smart people?

Simply put: you didn’t see value in investing in efficiency. And now you’re stuck in line watching everyone else get to their destination quicker than you.

I’m using the airport scene to set the context for this article because we’ve all been there. And it sucks to know that you can actually do something about it… you just don’t.

What will it take for you to realize the value in efficiency?

Bear with my analogy while I draw the comparison of the TSA Pre-Check folks to brands like Chubbies, Mizzen + Main, and Cotopaxi, who are speeding their way to $10-$12 million in revenue.

The one commonality all these brands have going for them is that they’ve invested in an efficient ecommerce platform – their equivalent of a TSA Pre-Check pass.

Don’t you want to be on your way to the $10-$12 million mark, too?

This article is going to tell you exactly how you can get in the fast-lane for growth by:

  • Showing you common platform “headaches” that can be slowing your business growth
  • The pros & cons of different enterprise platform solutions
  • How you can get ahead of the game – NOW – with data migration

So let’s get into it…

volusion vs shopify plus free offer Blue Stout

Where Are You Now?

Before we get into the how-to’s, let’s take a look at where your ecommerce business is currently:

  • Level A
    We’re Just Starting, Looking to Hit Our First $1 Million
  • Level B
    Plateaued. Hit Our First $1-$5 Million, but Can’t Seem to Increase Revenue
  • Level C
    Ready to Scale. Hit $8-$12 Million and are Ready to Get to $50M

Each of these levels has their own unique challenges. What a Level C company has to deal with is quite different than what a Level A company does.

But regardless of what level your company falls under, you have ONE crucial element in common: your ecommerce platform.

Volusion is Bottlenecking Your Ability to Accomplish (What Should Be) Easy Tasks

Clients that come to us from Volusion, Magento Enterprise, and custom-built platform solutions all express the same frustrations: it’s too difficult to do what should be low-difficulty tasks.

Why is creating a new product such a pain?

Why can’t I integrate my preferred ERP or shipping provider?

Why are product SEO fields so difficult to edit/update?

Why can’t I change the design of my checkout page?

I’m not going to try and hide my intention here: at Blue Stout, we believe in Shopify Plus as the best fully-hosted platform option and recommend it to our clients when we think it’s a good fit. That’s why we’ve chosen to become a Shopify Plus partner for ecommerce development.

I could go through the hundreds of reasons we recommend it (I’ll mention a few in this post), but I want to focus on YOU. So, let’s focus on one, key element of Shopify Plus that directly impacts your company’s ability to scale: the ecosystem.

Here’s Why You Need to Care About Your Ecosystem

In technology-speak, an ecosystem is essentially a “complex network or interconnected system”.

Essentially your ecosystem is the ONE piece of your business that, if well-oiled and humming, can throttle you into growth.

Your ecosystem consists of:

  • The solution itself (product, cost, performance, support)
  • The people that can understand and work with the solution (developers, designers, marketers, third-party services)
  • The technologies that can integrate with the platform (applications)
  • The solution company and how it impacts your business (platform road map, long-term goals for the product)

Chances are, your current platform ecosystem is detracting from growth. Common problems we see with our clients are:

  • Platform response time
  • Buggy or low-performing apps
  • Frustrations with the API flexibility
  • Never-ending development costs
  • Difficult for marketing team to use
  • Maintenance costs rise with scale

All of these scenarios meet the same ending: WASTED RESOURCES.

If you could recoup the funds spent on solving the problems caused by these outlined issues, you’d have a significant amount of capital to feed back into your business, allowing you to pursue growth more aggressively.

You can’t grow while you’re plugging up the holes of a leaky ecommerce platform.

Bottom line: it’s inefficient.

Now I’d like to talk a bit about why we think Shopify Plus is the most efficient choice in ecommerce platforms. It may or may not be right for your business, but hear me out and hopefully I’ll give you some clarity:

Shopify Plus Allows – AND ENCOURAGES – You to Grow

Earlier in this post, I touched on the importance of your platform’s ecosystem – it’s network. As long as this is strong and healthy, your business will be, too.

Your ecosystem ensures your business has everything it needs to be fed and keep growing at a healthy pace.

At Blue Stout, we believe that Shopify Plus has created an optimal ecosystem for its clients for three main reasons:

1. They Don’t Penalize You For Growing!

As you begin to grow, you’re going to necessitate more stability from your platform. Increasing traffic and increasing orders requires more.

Other platforms limit or put restrictions on growth and actually penalize you for your success. Volusion limits your bandwidth: you are restricted to 1GB on the ‘Mini’ plan; 3GB on the ‘Plus’ plan; 10GB on the ‘Pro’ plan and 35GB on the ‘Unlimited’ plan. (source)

With Shopify Plus, there’s no limit to sales volume, number of products, or bandwidth a store needs to keep up with growth. This means that Shopify Plus can handle 500k hits per minute with ease. (source)

Additionally, in comparison to other enterprise ecommerce platform solution, BigCommerce, Shopify Plus does NOT charge it’s customers a higher monthly fee once they surpass a certain amount of orders. Shopify Plus users are locked-in to a flat fee, regardless of how many orders they have.

This benefit alone shows that the actual company – Shopify Plus – wants you to grow. They encourage it!

In my opinion, this is one of the strongest selling points of Shopify Plus compared to other enterprise platform solutions.

2. Their App Marketplace is Higher Quality & More Robust

When you need to find the best solution for your store’s unique needs, you have to turn to a third-party application or build something custom.

Both are plausible solutions and will apply to you regardless of what platform you’re on.(Yes, even Shopify Plus merchants do custom development – like Stowaway Cosmetics custom kit builder.)

But the truth is, leveraging third-party applications is oftentimes the more efficient route to take. And this, again, is where the strength of the platform ecosystem comes into play.

Technologies like BigCommerce, Volusion, Mozu, and Shopify Plus are responsible for providing their merchants with apps that can solve their problems.

Here’s a breakdown of each platform’s app marketplace size:

Obviously, Shopify Plus has worked to develop their ecosystem more than other platforms. By increasing the amount of third-party applications available to integrate with your ecommerce website, Shopify Plus is allowing you to boost your growth strategy.

Having more options of application integrations reduces the need to delve into unnecessary custom development.

And, we have heard from several Shopify Plus merchants (like Julie from Stowaway)  that one of the best features about the platform is it’s “ability to play well with others”. An extremely flexible API makes integrations smooth, so you can worry less about building “workarounds” for or “band-aiding” your site and instead focus on your growth strategy.

3. They’re Taking The Most Painful Step of Replatforming & Giving It To You FREE

As I mentioned above, after doing many replatforming projects with our own clients, the data migration is always one of the most time-consuming and delicate steps.

Delicate because you are moving ALL of your product, customer and order data!

We’ve heard horror stories of clients getting a botched data migration job and suffering site outage, loss of ranking in SERPs, and significant revenue loss in the site downtime.

Luckily, we’ve never had that happen at our agency (fingers crossed) because we take replatforming seriously and understand the domino-effect that one misstep can have.

Shopify Plus treats the data migration process as seriously as we do, and are excited to be able to offer this big piece of the replatforming process for FREE. And they’re even throwing in up to 6 months of service for FREE if you make the switch!

I’ll just call it like I see it (and I can say this since we’re an official partner): the free data migration is an attractive customer acquisition tactic from Shopify Plus. Yes, they want you to come to their platform and they’re giving you something for free so you will.

But quite honestly, this is an opportunity for you to save some money on what could be costly initial replatforming steps while moving over to a solid platform solution.

With their ever-growing list of merchants, you can still get on board and join the ranks of other fast-growing ecommerce companies. Migrating your data for free is just another way for you to skip ahead in the TSA Pre-Check line. (See how I brought that full circle?)

Vet Your Platform Solution Choices & Decide for Yourself

Ultimately, this post argues that Shopify Plus is the ecommerce platform that cares about its merchant’s growth and has baked that into the SaaS product they deliver at a fixed price.

I’m not going to argue that Shopify Plus is the silver bullet for all ecommerce companies, because I don’t know your unique challenges and needs.

What I DO know is that I believe in the mindset and roadmap development the company has put behind their product. As an ecommerce development firm we’ve seen major improvements for our clients who’ve switched.

Ultimately, you should research your options and make your choice when you feel you have enough data to make an informed decision.

Hopefully, after reading this post you understand exactly how Shopify Plus can accelerate your growth and how you can jumpstart it with the initial step of free data migration.

If you have any questions about this FREE offer leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you answer them.

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Allen Burt Allen Burt is the CEO & Founder of Blue Stout. A design and development agency that builds applications to power commerce and drive user engagement. Follow him on Twitter.