The two biggest hosted shopping carts (or e-commerce platforms if you want to impress girls) offer incredible feature’s, years of development and award winning customer service. This review will have to look at how each feature is implemented to split the difference.
So what price difference’s are there ?
Look and Feel – Front End
If you have a designer on board that is going to customize your shop or integrate it into your existing design – skip this section now. I am going to say some truly awful things about the templates in Volusion and if you aren’t going to use them you might as well save yourself the blushing.
8 years ago you would have punched a designer in the mouth if they delivered you a online store looking like the one’s Volusion saddle’s you with. I hate every single one of them. They are horribly dated, poorly optimized, visually upsetting and atrocious to work with. Given the quality and quantity of Volusion‘s client roster I expect better – quite frankly it is an insult that they would even offer these disgraceful templates, free as they are.
BigCommerce on the other hand have dropped some serious cash getting some beautiful, clean and very usable templates created. You could very easily go live with one of the free templates or you could very simply get one made by giving your designer FTP access to your site. Yep, FTP access to your hosted shopping cart – perfect 10 points to BigCommerce, go straight to the front of every developer and designer’s list with this feature.
See a gallery of Free BigCommerce Templates
Look and Feel – Admin Area
I like the look of BigCommerce (it is identical to Interspire), it is clean, modern, intuitive and packs a lot of information and remains easy on the eye. Volusion is a little squarer, a touch old school but just as effective. I doubt there is enough between these two to hold one above the other so let’s call this a draw.
Search Engine Optimization
Both offer the ability to specify the Title, Keywords and Description fields.
By default Volusion uses ugly query string’s and Product Id’s but it can be configured to “look” a little better – but it is a weak hack reminicent of the crappy SEO offered by osCommerce and her bastard offspring.
BigCommerce comes to the table with some pretty clean URI’s using the product name as the page (replacing spaces with dashes) – there are some weird results if you use special character’s or punctuation, but you shouldn’t be using them at all.
BigCommerce also integrates with Google Website Optimizer for all your testing and analysis
Both offer Gift Certificates, Electronic (downloadable products), coupons, their own payment gateway product (only available to US customers), newsletters – there really is not much to split them at this level.
The big difference is what BigCommerce is looking to offer in the next release (version 6). Things like multiple warehouse, drop shipping, Mail Chimp integration, pre-order, back order, iPad and iPhone support and eBay integration
Both have been around for at least 10 years in some form or another and generally have good histories and reviews, the next 12 months will be telling as Big Commerce tries to muscle in on territory that has usually been safe with Volusion.
Customer Service and Support
Lots of awards, lots of happy customer’s. We have had no trouble getting support to help us or sales to call us. We would love to know your experience with either company – leave your comments below.