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Shopify Plus Vs. Visualsoft

We always start out any content we produce on this subject by laying our cards on the table - we’re a committed Shopify agency - that’s where we chose to build our expertise and that’s how we’ve become one of the best end-to-end Shopify Partner agencies around. That being said, we always try to be fair and - as much as anyone can - impartial. 

Visualsoft has been an important player in ecommerce since ecommerce became a thing, and over the years they’ve established extensive expertise, carving out a niche for themselves between the SaaS platforms and the more bespoke options available - as a kind of SME+ platform. Unfortunately, however, the pace at which their competition has moved has found their niche increasingly well catered for by Shopify and others.

Throughout this page, we have broken down the platform as best we can (with publicly available information) to help you decide which of the two is right for your business. If you need any further information, or want to speak to us further - you can always get in touch.

  • Visualsoft breakdown
  • Final thoughts & comparison table

Visualsoft

The Visualsoft platform is probably the longest standing of those in this ebook - founded in the UK back in 1998 (the same year as Google, to give you an indication). However, despite their early arrival, the platform has never managed to capture a major share of the market, though it has provided a platform for many UK commerce SMEs over the years. Visualsoft the agency (as opposed to the platform) has also, as of May 2024, announced that it will begin providing Shopify solutions for customers in addition to its own platform offering.

Integrating

As a privately owned and developed solution, it’s difficult to give any real integration information - though, from their own documentation and our experience, they deal with in-process extension, so brands looking for integration will need to be prepared to have such integrations developed (though it’s likely you’d build through Visualsoft, who will almost certainly have solutions ready built for previous clients). There is an app store available for Visualsoft, but it falls considerably behind competitors - with only basic integrations available. 

3rd Party integration

Visualsoft claims to offer comprehensive integration with Amazon and eBay but, again, this integration is built into any eventual website rather than using apps. In this instance, therefore, we’re likely looking at similar in-process extensibility as some of the larger platforms - which does tend to increase cost of ownership, though with Visualsoft generally the developer and platform, it’s - as with the above - likely that there are pre-built solutions for many of the integrations an EU based brand would need.

Innovating

Innovation is one area where Visualsoft trails - but mostly because of the size of the organisation. It’s far easier to remain at the cutting edge of technology when you’re employing thousands of front and back end developers. That’s just not something that Visualsoft can do. However, as with Adobe and other in-process platforms, once the platform has worked out a solution, it can be incorporated into the platform as a whole - making it relatively easy for brands to incorporate new offerings and integrations.

Native functionality

All Visualsoft’s functionality is native due to the way it operates, but it does tend to lag behind some of the major players - especially those with larger app ecosystems which will work to develop solutions far faster. However, native functionality is still extensive on the Visualsoft platform and can, again, reach your needs with sufficient investment.Description

Optimising

As with much of the Visualsoft (and many of the in-process extension platforms), you can get out what you put in - and Visualsoft sites rely on Google Analytics, so you’ll not need to master another reporting platform. 

Visualsoft and SEO

According to research conducted by the platform, Visualsoft outperformed Shopify and BigCommerce against Google’s CWV metrics. As the company is part platform, part agency, we would expect that SEO performance should really be baked into the platform, but there have been no in-depth comparisons for performance with the other major platforms.

What we can say is that the standard SEO features are available and reasonably easy to manage - meaning you can amend page titles and meta descriptions, canonical tags and redirects - which are the basis for many of the fundamental aspects of technical SEO and, as we’ve mentioned before, there is a lot you can accomplish with in-process extensibility, provided you have the money to invest.

Internationalisation

Visualsoft provides multi-language support, though you’ll need to make sure you translate and upload your content for each territory (which, to be fair, is often the best approach anyway). In addition, the platform integrates well with international shipping platforms and supports multi-currency payment. The work to move into other territories is slightly more complicated than with others - but Visualsoft does operate in this area at a similar level to other enterprise solutions, despite lacking the size and investment of some of its major competitors.

Accessibility

Again, as with Adobe Commerce, the options to ensure WCAG compliance are only limited by your budget. While there are no apps available that can help you to reach such levels of accessibility - having the platform builder so close to the brand is a benefit, in that they will be familiar with many of the requirements and may have already built solutions.

Selling

Again, the problem for Visualsoft and its checkout is the size of the organisation and the amount of investment they can reasonably make into the various aspects of the platform. Despite this, the checkout still performs at around the mid-level mark compared with its competitors.

Payment options

Visualsoft supports a wide range of payment gateways, including Klarna, PayPal, Sage Pay, Worldpay and the number is growing all the time. 

Pricing

While it does have the standard custom quotation option, Visualsoft also provides clear pricing for three initial tiers. However, at the level we’ve dealt with for the rest of the platforms, it’s likely that brands will need to concern themselves primarily with the custom tier, or the Scale tier at least (£900), which probably places it at approximately the same initial cost as BigCommerce, while transaction fees are in the same area as WooCommerce.

Need help deciding where to go?

We've dissected the top ecommerce platforms (and sprinkled in some migration advice) and put it all into our Big Bumper Book of Commerce Migrations.

Shopify vs. Visualsoft

Features Shopify Plus Visualsoft Winner
⭐️Rating (G2) 4.4 (4,263 ratings) 4.3 (2 ratings) Shopify
Pricing $2,000 per month (approx. £1,635) with flexible options for complex, high volume businesses. Base offering is future proofed from a technical perspective and easy to augment with apps. Rumoured ceiling price is approximately $40K or around £33K. While it does have the standard custom quotation option, Visualsoft also provides clear pricing for three initial tiers. However, at the level we’ve dealt with for the rest of the platforms, it’s likely that brands will need to concern themselves primarily with the custom tier, or the Scale tier at least (£900), which probably places it at approximately the same initial cost as BigCommerce, while transaction fees are in the same area as WooCommerce. Shopify
SEO Provies easy control over sitemap.xml and robots.txt, easy integration with Google tools, automated canonicalisation, meta data (titles, descriptions and alt-text) and provides easy integration with further third-party SEO apps and tools. What we can say is that the standard SEO features are available and reasonably easy to manage - meaning you can amend page titles and meta descriptions, canonical tags and redirects - which are the basis for many of the fundamental aspects of technical SEO and, as we’ve mentioned before, there is a lot you can accomplish with in-process extensibility, provided you have the money to invest. Shopify
Security SSL certification, PCI DSS certified, and other security measures available SSL certification, PCI DSS certified, and other security measures available Draw
Themes 125 themes available, including 11 free options, each of which is further customisable using both code and WYSIWYG builders. Visualsoft doesn't provide a theme store, but there are themes on offer sites like Dribbble which can then be customised. The primary route for brands using Visualsoft is for a site-build through Visualsoft themselves. Shopify
Shopping Cart Free abandoned cart saver available, 100 payment gateways plus Shop Pay, Shopify's secure payment processing solution. Offers native integration with several payment gateways, including Klarna, PayPal, Sage Pay and Worldpay. It also integrates with third-party tools to provide cart extensibility. Shopify
Ease of use Quick and easy to get started. Requires fairly extensive onboarding, but is reportedly reasonably easy to maintain. Shopify
Apps 8,000+ Visualsoft offers no searchable marketplace for app integrations, though it definitely offers app-like integrations (including several of our tech partners). While the Visualsoft offering is likely to be smaller, they may have pre-built solutions for many of the integrations an EU based brand would need. Shopify
Core Web Vitals Excellent performance as standard, with additional speed optimisation apps available. Back in 2019, Visualsoft partnered with Google to improve site speed and performance with some exceptional results. While Shopify's ongoing investment and optimisation may give it the edge, 'out-of-the-box' Visualsoft performs better. Visualsoft
For social media Easy of integration with social media platforms - including native selling options:

- Facebook (Shop Pay enabled)
- Instagram (Shop Pay enabled)
- Google
- Tiktok (first to market)
- Youtube Shopping
- Twitter Shopping
- Twitch
- Linkpop
- Pinterest
As with the app store, there are no catalogues of integrations available that we've been able to find. However, that doesn't mean there aren't any, and Visualsoft's dual role as developer and platform means that there are likely extensive options for social media integration available during the build process. Shopify
For blogging Extensive functionality available for building and customising your brand's blog Extensive functionality available for building and customising your brand's blog Draw
Headless & Headless Hosting Available with unique React-based Hydrogen framework and Oygen hosting solutions. Currently no headless option. Shopify
Native customer growth toolkit Shop Pay, Shop App, Shop Cash, and Audiences are all included, as well as guaranteed access to any new releases and features. Visualsoft is a highly customisable platform - again, due to the unique position of Visualsoft as platform and developer. However, there is no 'growth kit' per se. Instead, you'll be relying on the expertise of the developers to provide the tools you need. This is not necessarily a negative, but makes it difficult to research prior to a migration. Shopify
Checkout Checkout extensibility and one-page checkout. Very flexible to make customisations to your checkout, by using the UI Components and Branding APIs. Integrates with several third-party tools (Mailchimp, TrustPilot, Dotdigital and more) to provide cart extensibility. Shopify

Final thoughts

Shopify comes out as a clear winner across the vast majority of important features, functions and offerings that commerce brands need to help achieve immediate growth, but also future-proofing for their continuing growth. However, it is not always cut-and-dried and Visualsoft does offer an excellent service to its more than 800 brands and often only falls only slightly shy of Shopify in comparisons.

Unfortunately for the Visualsoft, Shopify has become a behemoth and is capable of investment levels that are levels of magnitude beyond Visualsoft, and it is this ongoing improvement and refinement of the Shopify platform that allows us to comfortably recommend brands choose it over the competition.

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