Volusion was founded in Austin, Texas, by Kevin Sproles, and has been in business since 1999. They provide a fully cloud-based ecommerce shopping platform. The company offers all the basic functions needed to operate your own online store, as well as some features that set them apart from their main competitors. In this Volusion review we'll talk about all the goods and bads.
Famous Volusion clients include companies such as Intel, 3M and Slickwraps and they currently power more than 40,000 online retailers. Many consider Volusion to be one of the top ecommerce platforms, read on to see what I think about their features.
Volusion Review: Features
One of the reasons why this platform is so popular among store owners is the fact that it has many features built directly into the dashboard. In other words you don’t need to purchase costly add-ons through a separate app store. For example, Volusion provides everything from variant pricing to rich text product descriptions. The built-in SEO is pretty easy to understand, and the integrations with places like Amazon Marketplace and eBay are far more intuitive than Shopify and Bigcommerce.
With the live and abandoned carts feature, store owners can quickly gain an overview of which clients are currently completing an order, as well as which clients have abandoned their cart. Volusion encourages you to send emails to the customers who have abandoned their carts, however unlike other platforms that offer this as an automatic process, you need to send these emails manually, and if you have a lot of customers then this can quickly become a rather time consuming process.
If you are away from your computer, then you can monitor your store on the go. This is thanks to their native iOS and Android apps that allow you to check incoming orders as well as keep tabs on inventory levels.
Growing your business is a big part of Volusion, seeing as how it it provides simple social management along with awesome tools for selling on places like Instagram and Facebook.
One feature that I personally became a fan of is the fact that you can process phone orders directly from the dashboard. In other words, if you have a contact number listed on your site, then customers can call you and place their order in person, all you need to do is open the console and enter the required information. While Shopify offers something similar with their POS solution, they don't offer processing of phone orders directly from within the admin panel.
Mobile capability is a strong suit from Volusion, from responsive templates to mobile-optimized checkout modules. This means that shopper and store owners alike can easily navigate Volusion stores from any device.
Volusion used to have some more unique features, but it's done a great job of honing in on the ones that matter most to merchants. With that approach, you can see that the user experience has improved, and beginners are more likely to find Volusion approachable.
Some other incredible built-in features include:
- A rewards program
- Gift certificates
- Purchase orders
- Advanced shipping
- Much more
Volusion Ease of Use
The first time I entered the dashboard I was pretty impressed, the interface is clean and easy on the eyes. More importantly it is simple to navigate.
Volusion used to only have a few “get started” guides, but all of that has changed. Not only do you receive some awesome support videos in the dashboard, but the primary steps for building your site are highlighted in the main area. For example, you can click on buttons for choosing a design, uploading a logo and adding products.
Furthermore, you constantly have an eye on the status of your website. Volusion offers several reports right on the dashboard. This way you can see if sales are going well and if anything needs to be changed. Other than that, you have direct access to buttons for orders, customers, inventory, marketing, design, reports and settings.
To make it easier for users, Volusion has recently launched a helpful video series that walks users through key areas of the setup for their new Volusion stores.
Volusion Review: Pricing
Volusion offers four different pricing tiers. The cheapest plan, Mini, will only cost you $15/month while their most expensive plan, the Premium plan will cost $135/month. All plans come with free, responsive themes, powerful editing tools, drag and drop tools, 24/7 support, helpful resources and social media integrations.
The cheapest plan allows you to add 100 products to your store while the most expensive allows an unlimited number of products. While the cheapest plan only comes with 24/7 online support all other plans also offer phone support. Unlike AmeriCommerce you can't manage multiple stores within the same dashboard, however, if you run multiple stores hosted on Volusion then you can apply for a 10% discount on each additional store. Furthermore, if you pay up front for a full year you will also receive a 10% discount.
In the past, customers were complaining that they were charging $25/month to remove the “Powered by Volusion” link at the bottom, however thankfully this is a practice they have since abandoned.
Overall, the pricing seems reasonable for a startup, seeing as how you can test out the Mini plan and upgrade from there. The product limits are concerning though, because places like Shopify let you have unlimited products for all plans.
Volusion Review: Templates and design
Volusion has done a complete overhaul of its themes, mainly removing older ones and focusing more on quality than quantity. The first time I reviewed Volusion, I was very disappointed in the quality of their free themes, however thanks to recent changes that is now completely a thing of the past.
Volusion now offers 38 premium and 7 free themes, all of which you can access and install within a minute. The theme have features like homepage slideshows, page builders, social sharing, newsletter signup forms and infinite scroll.
The designs are far more modern than they used to be, allowing Volusion to compete with the likes of Bigcommerce, Squarespace and Shopify in design.
As you can see below, the guys at Volusion has definitely spent a lot of time and effort on updating their themes. The free themes they now offer look just as stunning as some of their most expensive themes, this means even small businesses can have a stunning looking web store without breaking the bank.
Also, every premium theme goes for $180, making it much easier to wrap your head around how much you're going to pay.
Volusion used to only offer editing through HTML/CSS and a rather basic visual designer. That's changed with the addition of a drag and drop editor. Not even Shopify has a drag and drop editor, so that's pretty cool.
It's also worth noting that many of the Volusion templates, both free and premium, have mobile responsive capabilities for the optimal performance across all devices.
Adding new products to Volusion is relatively easy. The only part that can cause confusion is the Advanced Info area. Other than that, you basically go in and punch in all of the product details like the title, photos, descriptions and pricing.
The Advanced Information has things like advanced shipping, pricing levels, stock and more. It's nice to have all of these, but not every merchant is going to use each feature. That said, Volusion does a good job of hiding the advanced tools unless you need them.
Volusion SEO & Marketing
All pricing tiers come with advanced SEO built right into the store. Thanks to SEO optimization, you can quickly earn snippet displays where potential shoppers can quickly see things such as star ratings, product pricing and stock status directly from the search engine results. Similar to Shopify and BigCommerce you can easily sell your products through your own personalized Facebook store.
This means that while customers are looking through their feeds they can view and purchase your products without ever having to leave Facebook. Another way of reaching more clients is through their integration with Amazon. When people search for a product on Amazon your products will appear in their search, and you can easily start selling products through the online store. Similarly, you can sell your products through eBay, this allows you to reach over 100 million new potential customers. You can easily manage inventory of both Amazon and eBay directly from your Volusion dashboard.
Keep in mind that Shopify doesn't have eBay support unless you pay for an app.
Unlike some other platforms, Volusion auto-generates sitemaps for customers, which helps search engines scan your site easier. Volusion also has built-in shopping feed capabilities so merchants can list products on major shopping engines like Google Shopping.
Read this other post if you want to learn more on which is the best ecommerce site builder for SEO.
Payment wise you can accept payments from more than 30 different processors. This includes PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.Net, which is a popular payment processor in Europe. You can also sign up for a Merchant account and accept credit cards directly through Volusion.
The company doesn't charge any transaction fees, but as with most other platforms you still need to pay a transaction fee for accepting third party processors. If you sign up for the “in house” payment processor, called Volusion Payments. This requires you to call Volusion to figure out a fee for your business. It often involves them contacting multiple lenders depending on whether or not this is your first business.
Before you start operations of your store, you will need to sign up for a Volusion SSL security package, these range between $89 for a year to $149 for two years. Furthermore, you can sign up for Semantic SSL certificates, these however do cost much more and start at $399 for a year if you are located in the United States, and $499 if you are located elsewhere.
If you have read our Shopify review you will notice that all their pricing plans come with free SSL, which is why I was rather surprised to see this platform charging almost $100 for something I can get for free with other companies. One thing to keep in mind however is that Volusion does offer true custom SSL certificates per store, while other companies such as Shopify offer a shared SSL.
You may be wondering what the difference is between a dedicated and free SSL. With a free (or shared) SSL the shoppers get redirected to a different domain for checkout, whereas the dedicated SSL (offered by Volusion) keeps the checkout on your own domain.
Finally, Volusion is known for its best in class hosting, 99.9+% up-time performance and its in-house hosting, which is ideal for keeping your site secure. In short, Volusion takes security quite seriously.
Volusion Customer Support
Volusion offers some of the best support in the industry. The company provides 24/7 live support via phone, chat, or email, to all pricing plans, except for the mini plan which only gets 24/7 online support. Furthermore, Pro and Platinum members get priority support, which translates into shorter wait times.
I decided to give their live chat support a try and asked a few questions about their security measures. My questions were answered in a professional manner within minutes, and much to my delight within 30 minutes of the chat I was actually contacted over the phone by a member of their support staff. He asked if I needed any additional support and gladly clarified any questions I had. He even sent me an email with more information.
After having contacted hundreds of different ecommerce platforms in the past, I must say this is the first time I have ever received a follow-up call. The company also offers access to an extensive knowledge base filled with video tutorials and articles to help you get your store up and running.
In addition to their video tutorials they also operate a YouTube channel and a community forum. For the developers among their users, they also offer access to a Dev Wiki, where you can find code samples that can easily be incorporated into your storefront.
Since the first review, Volusion has continued adding members to their support team, this in return helps reduce the wait time and improves customer satisfaction.
There are some great features offered by Volusion that I found to be a positive. But overall I just wasn't really happy with the platform as a whole. I liked the fact that I can easily accept orders over the phone directly within the dashboard, however, I was a little disappointed with their templates as well as the fact you need to purchase SSL certificates. I would recommend you give their free trial a run. You can also read my Shopify overview or BigCommerce overview to see if these platforms offer what you are looking for.
During my initial review, I mentioned several things that annoyed me a little. This included the fact that their free themes looked like something from the 1990's, however thanks to their recent updates I really think their themes are now on par with some of the other ecommerce platforms. My suggestion would still be to give their free trial a spin, that way you can easily see if the features meet your needs.