Volusion was founded in Austin, Texas, by Kevin Sproles, and has been in business since 1999. Volusion provides a fully cloud-based ecommerce 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 (past and present) Volusion clients include companies such as Intel, 3M, and Slickwraps. It has processed over 185 million orders for Volusion customers. Many consider Volusion to be one of the top ecommerce platforms, so read on to see what I think about the company's features.
Volusion Review: Features
One of the reasons Volusion 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.
However, the new one-page checkout is tested and shown to decrease the number of abandoned carts in your store.
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 provides simple social management along with awesome tools for selling on places like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Some of these integrations and social tools are provided in the actual platform, but some of the time you have to install a Volusion app to get the functionality. Regardless, there are plenty of solutions for you to extend your website.
One excellent feature is the option to 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 (read our Shopify review) 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 shoppers 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 nice built-in features include:
- A rewards program
- Gift certificates
- Purchase orders
- Advanced shipping
- Much more
As for the new version 2 of Volusion, we're starting to see some additions that old and new users will enjoy.
For instance, customer reviews are now standard on all Volusion sites. There's also a Zapier integration for creating your own combinations (Zaps) with your email, or sites like Facebook and Slack.
Volusion Review: 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.
Version 2 of Volusion has added quite a few elements that make it easier for the user to get set up and selling online. The first benefit is the streamlined onboarding, where you're presented with a process for rapidly selecting themes, adding products, and launching your online store.
Dropshipping With Volusion
With the popularity of dropshipping, Volusion has responded to the call with a complete dropshipping integration system. The dropshipping app is completely free and lets you search for products to sell in a wide range of categories. I'm in love with this app, since all of the products are curated by Volusion, so you have a smaller chance of getting stuck with bad suppliers.
Also, the product selection seems to be quite large, meaning that you can decide on the type of store you want to run, or make a network of shops.
The Site Editor has also seen improvements with the Version 2 launch. Overall, it lets you make changes to your site on the fly, without having to rely on only your computer.
Along with enhanced image features and the ability to purchase your postage directly through Volusion, this Version 2 release is sure to be a big one for both users who craved more from the Volusion user interface, and the company itself.
Volusion Review: Pricing
Previously, Volusion used to have 6 premium pricing plans to choose from.
Unfortunately, things have changed.
In September 2018, the business restructured to simplify its prices, and stay in line with some other competitors like BigCommerce and Shopify. While there's a 14 day free trial to get you started again, you'll have fewer options to choose from when you decide to splash your cash.
The four premium plans now start at a price of $29 per month for the “personal” plan and range all the way up to custom pricing with Volusion Prime.
One bit of good news about the updated Volusion pricing plan, is that it's quite a bit cheaper if you're willing to pau annually. In fact, you save 10% on annual plans.
Whether you choose to go for the annual or monthly package, here's what you can expect:
- The Personal Plan: The cheapest of Volusion's pricing plans is $29 per month. That gives you all of the essential features you need to jump into eCommerce, including secure payments and social media integrations. If you're just getting started online, selling products as a hobby, or flogging home-made goods, then the personal plan is fine for you. You won't be able to have more than 100 products listed on your store, so it's no good for bigger brands.
- The Professional Plan: At first glance, the Professional plan seems like quite a jump up from the personal plan. However, you do get a significant boost in features. For $79 per month, you can access a range of advanced features, including abandoned cart reports, phone orders, a CRM system and integrations with eBay or Amazon. If you need newsletters for your customers, or a review section for social proof, this is the plan for you.
- The Business Plan: If you really mean business, then you may need to upgrade even further, to the Business plan. This strategy can support stores that earn up to $500,000 per year in online sales. With the power to sell an unlimited number of products, this is crucial for any company looking to make a real profit. Features include everything from 3rd party gateways, to deals of the day, and a dedicated success team.
Volusion Prime Pricing
One of the most interesting changes that appeared as part of the Volusion restructure is the new “Prime” plan. This is the custom pricing level that's specifically designed to help companies form the perfect eCommerce solution for their needs.
You're going to need to pay for the privileges you get with the Prime plan, but the benefits include plenty of unlimited features, and a host of upgrades that you can't get anywhere else. You will need to submit a request for a personal quote to figure out exactly how much you'll need to pay.
- Quality custom service and support from the Volusion Team
- Sandbox developer and editing features
- Unlimited restores for your shopping site
- Site speed server resources
- Unlimited staff accounts
Plus, you get everything you would have got in the Business plan built-in.
The functionality of the Volusion Prime account is designed to support any store as it grows and transforms. Additionally, having a Sandbox means you can test all of your changes to your eCommerce site before you publish them. You'll even be able to maintain loading speeds during the busiest parts of the day.
The most impressive thing about Volusion Prime is the help and support you get. This is the only plan that delivers true VIP support. If you need assistance from multiple experts to take your store to the next level, then this is the plan you've been looking for.
Volusion Review: Additional Pricing
You know the costs involved with each Volusion plan – but what about those little extras?
There are no hidden bandwidth or transaction fees to worry about with Volusion, but there are some expenses that you may need to be aware of, including:
- Credit card processing fees: This is a charge that comes from the payment gateway you use for your transactions – not Volusion. That means you'll need to find the payment gateway supported by Volusion that's right for you. One option is to use Volusion payments – the in-house gateway that charges around 2.15% on transactions. There are no set-up fees to worry about at least.
- SSL certificates: An SSL certificate is crucial for any website that tries to sell products. It will help to put your customers' mind at rest, and it should support your ability to rank with Google too. Most of the time, SSL certificates come free with eCommerce sites. However, with Volusion, you'll need to pay an $89 one-off fee.
- App costs: If you want to access some extra power for your store, then you might end up perusing the app marketplace. The Volusion app marketplace offers a wide variety of free add-ons, as well as a handful of paid integrations too. Keep the costs of these additions in mind when you're setting out the budget for your eCommerce store.
- Fraud protection: For customers who want to go above and beyond to protect their store, Volusion offers support in protecting yourself from credit card fraudsters. You can add a Volusion Fraud Score plan to your site to defend yourself either at a basic level ($12.95 per month), a standard level ($29.95 per month), or a deluxe level ($49.95 per month).
Volusion Free Trial
Finally, each Volusion store is given a 14-day free trial for you to test out the software and see if it's right for your company. I've also found that Volusion occasionally has discounts and sales for customers in their first months, and the sales team is generally friendly and flexible.
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 themes 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.
Volusion Review: Inventory
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.
Finally, when your customers come to your store, the taxes are automatically generated for all inventory. The reason for this is because Volusion built a wonderful tax-rate engine for Version 2 of its software. This means that you don't have to do any of the number crunching or confuse your customers if the taxes weren't to show up.
Volusion Review: SEO & Marketing
In terms of marketing, the customer reviews are sure to improve how people see your products. It's also nice to see that Mailchimp integrates directly with the Volusion platform for capturing new emails and including forms on your website.
Furthermore, you can create deals and discounts in the dashboard so that your customers are more likely to buy from you. As for the settings, it allows you to set discount and deal dates, along with the percentage or dollar discounts. Quantity-based deals are also possible if you plan on doing something like a Buy One Get One special.
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.
Volusion Review: Blogging
When you're comparing Volusion to other ecommerce options, it's important to make sure you consider all the features you're going to need. For instance, having the option to sell products from a good-looking site is great – but how are you going to attract people to your company, and keep them coming back for more?
Some competitors like Shopify offer a feature out-of-the-box that Volusion is unfortunately missing – blogging. A blog is often a key part of running an online store, as it helps you to build an effective strategy for inbound marketing.
Although you can always embed a third-party store like WordPress into your Volusion store – this takes some work and involves messing around with your DNS settings to make sure that everything works well. Essentially, with an integration, you'll be creating a blog on an impressive-looking subdomain, but it's an extra headache that you might not want to deal with.
Saying that, many ecommerce stores might offer blog options – but they're also very basic. You might decide that implementing WordPress is the best way to get all the features and functionality you want to develop your content strategy anyway.
Volusion Review: Payments
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.
As Volusion Version 2, you can accept payments from more modern processes such as Google Pay and Apple Pay. In-store payments are also possible for retail stores with ecommerce shops as well.
Keep in mind that although you can integrate with many gateways, the only built-in ones are Stripe and PayPal.
Volusion Review: POS System
Like many competitors, Volusion provides a POS (Point of Sale) solution which you can use to sell products from a brick-and-mortar store. If you're selling in-person for any reason – either in a local shop or at an event, then a POS solution will set you up with credit card swipers, barcode scanners and other tools you can use to make the most out of your Volusion environment.
Unfortunately, unlike Shopify and other competitors, you won't be able to process orders from a tablet or smartphone – you're going to need a computer, as there's no app dedicated to the Volusion POS.
On the plus side, the Volusion POS system does allow store owners to quickly manage and complete orders direct from their store admin area, using the functionality of their online store to make sure that customer check out with ease. Point of Sale is a very convenient feature for those operating a brick and mortar establishment.
You will also need to set up a special configuration with your POS if your online store has an SSL certificate – which can be a bit of a headache. Getting everything to work properly means forcing the secure cart and checkout variable.
Volusion Review: Selling Digital Products
Of course, you don't necessarily have to stick with physical products if you want to start making money with a Volusion store. There's a huge market out there for products like digital downloads and eBooks too. Volusion didn't used to support the sale of digital products, but now it offers a range of ways to set up your digital sales.
You'll need go to your Products section in the Admin area to get started and click “Add” to begin creating a normal product. Under the basic info section, in the weight field, make sure that you enter a 0, and adjust the shipping cost to 0 too.
Under advanced Info, you can add the download filename field, which will allow you to upload a digital file from your computer which you can sell through the Volusion dashboard. When someone purchases the product and their transaction goes through, they'll be permitted to access the download. You'll need to mark the product as “shipped” to give your customers access to their new product.
This may seem like a bit of a confusion work-around at first, but it's a relatively simple way to sell digital products overall.
Volusion Review: App Marketplace
On the one hand, the Volusion platform comes with more than 900 features attached to it, which means that you probably won't need to buy any additional software to help you run your store – particularly if you've chosen the right pricing package.
However, as your company begins to grow, and you find yourself looking for additional functionality, you may decide to explore the capabilities offered from third-party solutions. Volusion offers access to these integrations through a dedicated app marketplace, where you can find dozens of integrations with tools ranging all the way from WordPress.org to JustUno.
For companies that have some developer knowledge in their team, there's also the option to access the Volusion API which allows other third parties to work with your store. In other words, there's basically no limit to what you can integrate with the right development help. There are even helpful guides available from Volusion to get you started.
For those without an in-depth knowledge of the API environment, there's always the option to check out some of Volusion's pre-established integrations with major merchants like:
- PayPal Express Checkout
- Sell on eBay
- Google Merchant Center
- Sell on Amazon
Volusion Review: Security
In the past, you would have had to sign up for an SSL security plan that cost far more money than it should have. Nowadays, Volusion provides most of its security tools for free.
To start, the secure domain checkout keeps all transactional information and credit card information under wraps. Therefore, your customers know that a hacker isn't stealing their information, and you won't have any breaches in your system.
Volusion is PCI Certified, so all credit card information is stored in the most secure way possible. Sometimes when you configure an opensource solution, like WooCommerce, the PCI Certification doesn't come along with the plugin. Therefore, this is a huge advantage for those who don't want to seek out or pay for things like PCI Compliance or SSL certfiicates.
A free SSL is also provided when you sign up for Volusion. There's no additional cost like Volusion used to charge, so this is yet another reason why this Volusion Version 2 is quite the improvement.
One thing to keep in mind is that Volusion does offer true custom SSL certificates for stores, 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 Review: 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.
Volusion review: FAQ
Still have questions about Volusion?
We've got you covered. Check out this FAQ part of our Volusion review.
Which is better Shopify or Volusion?
There's no one-size-fits-all answer to that question – it will all depend on what you want to accomplish with your online store. Volusion is a great tool for selling products – particularly if you're a small business that's just getting started. However, many would argue that Shopify is better due to:
- No limits on products or sales
- Better dropshipping features
- Blogging out of the box
- Wider range of SEO features
- Bigger selection of templates
- Simpler CMS and user interface
On the other hand, Volusion does have
- Excellent customer service
- API so you can build your own integrations
- No transaction fees
- Various advanced features for those willing to pay the price
Who Should Use Volusion?
If you're looking for an eCommerce solution that provides a lot of support for people just getting started in the business world, Volusion is a great choice. It comes with no transaction fees to worry about on any plans, as well as email marketing tools, affiliate program solutions, and other excellent features (provided you're on the right plan).
What are the best features of Volusion?
Volusion offers a range of fantastic features include:
- Integrated POS system
- Smart and beautiful themes
- No-code selling solutions
- Inventory management and payment collections
- Integrations with powerful apps like MailChimp and PayPal
- Optimize your products and site for search with SEO
- Accept online payments through various gateways
- Excellent customer support (on the right plans)
What are the best alternatives to Volusion?
Shopify is probably the best known online store builder on the web. If you want a full suite of e-commerce tools, this platform provides you with everything you need and more. Shopify has powerful customization features that enable you to bring your vision to life. From inventory and store management to marketing and SEO tools – this online store builder provides everything you need to create, market, and manage your e-commerce site.
Shopify is as developer-friendly as it is newbie-friendly. You can modify the HTML and CSS of your store, and it also includes a full blogging platform for content marketing.
Finally, this platform provides users with detailed analytics that help you track the success of your store. Shopify is an exceedingly scalable solution, which is one of the many reasons why it's used by businesses of all sizes – including larger enterprises.
But, all this functionality comes with a price tag:
The Basic Shopify plan starts at $29 a month, but you get tons of features for your money. For additional support and more staff accounts, you can upgrade to the mid-range Shopify plan at $79 a month or the Advanced Shopify at $299 a month. This entitles 15 staff members access to your Shopify account, the advanced report builder, third-party calculated shipping rates, and up to eight store locations. For more info check out our Shopify reviews and our Shopify pricing guide.
BigCommerce provides all the essentials for designing your online store. But, like Shopify, if you want to extend its functionality, you can download and use a variety of plugins.
Like all leading e-commerce platforms, it includes features that help you drive traffic. That's as well as reporting and analytics tools that enable you to monitor the success of your shop. It also provides a significant number of themes that can be customized with their advanced framework, which also grants you HTML and CSS access (which is handy for the developers among us!).
BigCommerce supports multichannel selling and has the most built-in features of any eCommerce platform. Its terminology and advanced features make it a less beginner-friendly, however.
Pricing for BigCommerce starts at $29.95 a month, which permits you to sell unlimited products with no transaction fees. The plans scale up to $299.95 a month, which unlocks priority support, price lists, and unlimited API Calls. For more info check out our BigCommerce reviews and our BigCommerce pricing guide.
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that empowers you to sell through your WordPress site. You can download it for free and integrate it with any existing themes and plugins you're already using. Its open-source nature permits you to create new extensions, integrations. It gives you complete control over the look of your store (providing you have the coding know-how).
WooCommerce is best suited to existing WordPress users that know how to use its tools. The plugin isn’t as extensive in features as other online store platforms but can be customized and expanded upon through external plugins.
As we already mentioned, WooCommerce can be downloaded for free, but you’ll need to shell out for web hosting and a domain. You might also encounter additional costs if you want to purchase a premium theme or paid-for plugins.
4. Sellfy – For Selling Digital Products
Sellfy is an easy-to-use online store builder that works exceptionally well for selling digital products and subscriptions. Its basic plan lets you sell an unlimited amount of products. You can embed Sellfy onto your existing website or create a store from scratch with its powerful customization tools. The set-up can take as little as five minutes.
You can sell virtually any digital product, including ebooks, videos, audio, and music, and other files like PSD, which makes it an excellent platform for digital creatives.
Sellfy also provides marketing and social media selling tools to help grow your audience. Not to mention, you can also track your success with their analytics suite. Compared to its competitors, a limited number of payment gateways are available – you can only offer customers PayPal and Stripe.
Sellfy is a more affordable alternative than the other solutions we've listed. Its basic Starter plan starts at $19 a month, with 0% transaction fees and unlimited products, so long as you sell less than $10k worth of goodies. You can push this limit up to $200k with the Premium plan for $89 a month. This also activates priority support, free migration, and 50,000 email credits. Check out our Sellfy review for more info.
5. Square Online Store – Free Online Store
Square provides a free online store and payment processing solution. This is an excellent option for anyone with sporadic sales or for businesses only selling at certain times of the year.
The Square Online Store is well suited to physical retailers that also want to utilize other Square products. Namely, because it incorporates payroll and point of sale functionalities and can help you manage your inventory. The online store can be launched at no monthly cost, but you'll face transaction fees of 2.9% + 30 cents per sale on their basic plan.
However, you can upgrade to a paid-for plan which unlocks additional features, as well as the use of a custom domain name, and the removal of Square's branding. The most important tools are the abandoned cart emails and customer reviews – these come in super handy. Their cheapest paid plan starts at $12 a month, which ranges up to their most expensive plan at $72. Check out our Square Online Store review for more info.
Volusion Review: Conclusion
There are some great features offered by Volusion that I found to be a positive. Volusion has added so many features in its second version that we're excited to see how users respond. I would recommend you give their free trial a run. Overall, the themes are great, you can integrate with US-based dropshipping suppliers, and you don't have to worry about limiting your product uploads anymore.
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.