Volusion Review 2016: Updated

Volusion Review

e-commerce solutionsVolusion is one of the most popular eCommerce shopping cart platforms available today. Volusion has around 500 employees and approximately 40,000 merchants. They have clients ranging from newbies to very big companies such as intel, 3M, National Geographic, and the Chicago Tribune. Here are the quick points and a Volusion Review.

Quick Points on Volusion

  • 100% Cloud: They are a completely cloud based solution. This means you don’t have to deal with web hosting. It’s all taken care of for you. You’ll get better pricing on hosting this way. But what’s even more important is that you can bet that Volusion monitors their uptime like a hawk. At the slightest hint of a problem they will fix it so you don’t have to.
  • Payment Processing: A payment gateway is provided for you. You can get your own payment gateway but why would you want to?
  • Online Tools: There is an online dashboard to manage your products, inventory, customer orders and much more. It’s clean and easy to use.
  • Beautiful Websites Using Templates: Plenty of free templates for your website are available. You can make a beautiful and professional looking site with no technical skill.
  • Pricing: There is a price range and package to suit any budget. Their cheapest plan starts at $15 a month. This also includes a 14-day free trial.

Background

Volusion is based in Austin, Texas. They have been in business since 1999. From the beginning they realized the benefits of a full cloud ecommerce shopping cart. It is one of the most popular solutions out there. The features they offer include a website builder, web hosting, product catalogue, checkout, payment processing, order management, customer management, newsletters, and much more. They stay on top of the ecommerce market and were among the first to enable mobile optimized storefronts and the ability to use Facebook to sell products. Face it. Most of the web traffic today is social media so you need to be in there selling your products or you won’t be successful. But don’t worry. Volusion has got you covered with a Facebook store. We envision that they will also add hooks into Instagram and Snapchat at some point in time. You’ll find many websites that are doing a volusion review. We hope you find our volusion review helpful and let us know by leaving a comment or question below.

Pricing

All Volusion plans come with a 14-day trial. There are no setup or cancellation fees either. The prices listed below are for monthly subscriptions. If you want to pay an annual fee you’ll get a 10% discount.

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Mini Plan for $15/Month

This is their cheapest plan. But it’s got a lot of value. Here is what you’ll get.

Unlimited storage

You’re limited to 100 products and we think that’s enough as we explain below. But you’re not limited on storage. This means you’ll be able to upload many product images and write long descriptions and sales copy for your products.

No transaction fees

If you choose to use a payment gateway that you have selected, there are no transaction fees in this package. If you use the Volusion payment gateway you’ll pay approximately 2.15%. This is not a bad deal and you won’t have to hassle with a payment processor.

1GB Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the amount of internet moving in and out of your store. When you get a visitor there is bandwidth consumed. 1GB is a lot for a store that is just starting out so it should be sufficient. Once you get to several hundred visitors per day you will want to upgrade. There are bandwidth over charges. The charge run something like $7 a month. Some merchants have complained about this but if these are live customers it’s a good sign that your business is growing when you get these charges. To get rid of the charges you just upgrade to the next package.

100 products

You’re limited to 100 products in this introductory plan. But that may be enough for you. Why? 100 is actually a lot of products. Do you look through 1000’s of products when you shop online? Probably not. We will add some data from studies here later but we believe that most customers look at 20 products or less when they shop online. So we think that 100 products for $15 a month is a good deal.

24/7 online support

Some software companies and ecommerce companies hold back on support for their cheapest package but not Volusion. You’ll get 24 by 7 seven support with a live person. There is also solid online knowledge for you to help yourself.

Free templates

Templates are available to help you get up to speed with a great looking website quickly. To take a look at some of the templates click here. If you want more templates you can also buy a premium template kit. This gives you the option to use many other templates that have been professionally designed and coded for Volusion. This kit will run you over $1500. But there are sales from time to time. And so please check the pricing. Also know that if you were to hire a designer you might pay a lot more than this. So all in all we think this is a pretty good deal that gives you many options for the look and feel of your online store. Some Volusion reviews are not as kind to the free templates and premium templates but we’ve looked at the selection in detail and find them to be quite robust. Either way, please look at them yourself and decide if you like their look.

Mobile store

Well over half the ecommerce traffic is on mobile devices (phones, tablets) so you need a website that automatically adjusts to fit the size of the phone or tablet. Not only does it need to fit the size of the screen but it needs to look good and help you make a sales. Volusion does all this by providing a mobile optimized site.

Facebook store

With over a billion people Facebook is a monster and you need to get your store in there. Volusion provides the hooks and tools for you to do this. You can even use Facebook advertising to push visits to your store.

Social media tools

Social media helps you market and communicate your products using social media. You need to do this as the majority of traffic on the web is social media.

Plus Plan for $35/month

The Plus Plan has all of the Mini Plan features and more.

Unlimited storage

You’ll keep the unlimited storage and you’ll need this because this plan has 1000 products.

No transaction fees

There are still no transaction fees in this plan when you use a payment gateway that you have selected. If you use the payment processor that Volusion has selected you’ll pay 2.5% per transaction. This is generally an acceptable price and you won’t have to deal with negotiating with your payment processor.

3GB Bandwidth

3GB is a lot of bandwidth. To use all this bandwidth you’re getting thousands of visits to your store per month.

1,000 products

1,000 products is plenty and this number allows you to test many different variations of the same product. You’ll also be able to run seasonal campaigns, sales and much more. You won’t be constrained.

24/7 online and phone support

What’s different from the Mini Plan is that now you’ll have phone support to help you. This can be handy to explain complicated issues or to get some specialized help online.

Free templates, Mobile store, Facebook store, Social media tools

These tools are the same as in the Mini Plan and so there’s not much more to describe here.

Abandoned cart reports

This is a new feature that is not available in the Mini Plan. Your customers often will go to check out but not complete the purchase. In fact, studies show that roughly 75% of shopping carts are abandoned. This feature by Volusion helps you understand your cart abandonment by providing statistics. You will also know who the customers are so that you can message them.

Ratings and reviews

Amazon.com made ratings and reviews into a must have for ecommerce. So this is a great feature to help make sales. Customers like to look at reviews. It’s social proof that you’re a good business with a good product. You will want to monitor your ratings and reviews and reply back to customer questions and comments. This gives you the opportunity to provide more personalized customer service than the “godzilla” of ecommerce called amazon.com.

Newsletters

You will want to get your customers or site visitors on a list. This is so you can communicate with them over time and tell them about new products that you have. There are solutions that you can buy separately but Volusion includes a newsletter solution in this package. So we recommend that you it. Generally you will want to send a newsletter at least once a month. You may want to increase the frequency if you have frequent sales or important information that is beneficial to your customers.

Pro Plan for $75/month

Unlimited storage
No transaction fees

10GB Bandwidth

This is a serious amount of bandwidth. At this point you will have thousands of visitors to your site. You may be a well known brand or you are living the internet dream and become very popular in a short amount of time. Congratulations!

10,000 products

10,000 products is a lot. Now we all know that Amazon.com has millions of products. But don’t compare yourself with Amazon because you’re focused on a niche or several niches but you’re not a general store retailer like Amazon.com. We think 10,000 products is plenty and be sure that you’re watching your inventory carefully.

24/7 priority online and phone support

The support you get now is prioritized and you’ll go to the top of the phone queue.

Amazon and eBay integration

Selling in other places besides your store is critical. For one thing, Amazon and ebay have more brand recognition than many of us. So when we sell in their stores we get customer traffic. We then form a relationship with these customers we acquired on Amazon and they become our customers. We communicate our website and products and get the customers on our email list. So this is why selling outside of your own store in ebay and Amazon is important. Having said that Volusion makes this straight forward by giving you modules to use to do this.

API access

API access is probably something you won’t need. But it’s there in case you want to programmatically (using software) upload products, change prices, adjust inventory levels and etc. This is something that a software engineer would integrate or code for you.

CRM tools: Customer Relationship Management Tools

Staying in touch with your customer is absolutely critical to success. Multiple tools are provided so that you don’t need to invest in a separate solution to do this for you.

Premium for $135/month

This is the grand daddy of all packages offered. You are unlimited in everything that you do. No product limits. No storage limits. What’s more is that you’ll get a dedicated account person to help you.

Unlimited storage
No transaction fees
35GB Bandwidth
Unlimited products
24/7 priority online and phone support
Dedicated account manager

You will need to purchase a yearly SSL certificate before you can start doing business in your website. They offer the most affordable one, coming in at $89 per year and they offer SSL certificates by other companies.

What is it like to sign up and use Volusion?

You only need an internet connection and an updated browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari) to run enroll in Volusion and get started.

After you sign up, you are automatically logged in to your dashboard, which is filled with demo data. From this demo dashboard, you can either get started or mess around with settings, or you can click on suggested links, or watch a tutorial video. It’s good to take a little time to watch the tutorial videos. These help you understand how to use the dashboard and will save you time and frustration. There is also a “Getting Started Guide,” which brings you to a more systemized procedure for all the things a new user will need to know.

Adding Products

Products were easy to add. If you’re just plugging in some basic product info, you won’t get bogged down in information overload. But there are also advanced settings when you need them. Searching through orders, customers, products, and vendors is easy with their search feature. If you’re familiar with the Magento administration screen you’ll fall in love with this one because it’s much easier. In general, if you’re sick of Magento you’ll love Volusion because they do so much for you.

Useful Features

We’ve picked the features that we believe to be the most important.

Merchandising

You’re selling products so you want all the tools you can get to do this job right. They don’t skimp on tools and you’ll get more with Volusion than you will with most other ecommerce solutions.

Unlimited product options

If you’re selling t-shirts you’ll have different sizes and colors of the same t-shirt. These are called product variants and you can do as many as you want. Most ecommerce solutions will limit you here but Volusion does not.

Integrated one-page checkout

You want check out to be easy for your customer. The more steps or friction you put into this the more cart abandonment you will have. In Magento, for example, the out of the box implementation is a two to three step process. Volusion makes this one page. One and done. That’s what you want.

SmartMatch technology

Another great feature which detects which product option combinations are currently in stock and only displays those combinations on the front end. This is very helpful. In most solutions, you will need to set a buffer stock level such as 5 products. When your inventory reaches 5 items or SKUS the product will no longer appear in your inventory. If you set this to zero you run the risk of several people buying the product when you don’t have inventory. Selling inventory when you don’t have it can lead to refunds, chargebacks and hassle. The SmartMatch feature alleviates this problem so that the cusotmer only sees what you have in-stock.

Marketing & SEO

Marketing tools are important. But rarely do shopping carts think this through and provide these features in a thoughtful and intelligent manner. You’ll be delighted with the features provided by Volusion.

Daily deals feature
eBay integration
Ability to create coupons and discounts
Gift cards support
Built-in customer reviews and feedback functionality
Wish lists support
Abandoned/live cart feature
Built-in affiliate management system
Built-in SEO features

Customize all meta data, create search engine friendly URL’s, auto-generated 301 redirects, canonical links, edit robots.txt, create manual 301 redirects and generate an XML sitemap within the admin section, customizable 404 error page

Built-in “MyRewards” loyalty rewards program

Give points to loyal customers that they can then use for discounts on future purchases or cold hard cash

Reporting

Web analytics
Order reports, RMA reports, product view reports, category view reports, CRM ticket reports

Mobile

iOS support for iPhones and iPod Touch
Android Wear support
Improved Mobile Checkout experience

Management

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
Manage inventory
Manually create orders with POS

Recurring Billing

Volusion is one of the only carts to offer a recurring billing feature. For those of you that offer membership or subscription type services this is a compelling feature. You’ll be able to charge monthly, weekly, yearly or daily payments.

Web Design

Volusion offers approximately 120 free templates but only 23 of them are “device responsive.” This means that they automatically detect the screen size you’re using (between phone, tablet, and desktop) and display correctly. If you don’t want to go with a free template, you can always purchase a premium one. Prices range from $50 to $900.You can browse all the templates by thumbnail, or you can narrow your search with the filters.
As far as editing is concerned, there’s a built-in template editor that lets you change your raw code within the admin interface (no need for FTP access). You’ll be able to edit the HTML and CSS of some of your templates. There is also a WYSIWYG layout manager for easy customization.

Integrations and Add-Ons

The solution integrates with some well known ecommerce solutions such as email, drop shipping providers and accounting providers and more.

Shipwire
Yotpo
Doba
71 lbs
Xero
FreshBooks
MailChimp
Constant Contact
Quickbooks

Payment Processing

Volusion offers an “in-house” credit card processing service called Volusion Merchant Services. The cost is 2.15% per transaction, plus $3.41/month PCI compliance fee. There was once a monthly minimum to meet, but that criteria has been removed.

If you don’t want to go with the Volusion/First Data combo, then you can always go with another payment processors. Volusion is compatible with a large number of payment gateways.

In order to be PCI compliant, you’ll need to purchase a SSL certificate for your web store. Volusion offers the most affordable one- a 1 year SSL for $89.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Volusion offers 24/7 live human support via phone, chat, or email, to all packages or plans above Mini. Pro and Premium plans get priority support.
Phone – 1-800-646-3517
Sales Email
Live Chat

In addition, Volusion has the following resources to help you:
Knowledge Base
Webinars and Video Tutorials
Social Media Profiles
Dev Wiki

Other Features

Daily Deals Module
Abandonment Shopping Cart management
POS and Phone Order Feature
Customer Relationship Management Feature (CRM)
Automated Back-Ups
Mobile Friendly
Ability to Sell Digital Downloadable Goods
Compatible with Many Payment Gateways
Unlimited Product Variations

Security, PCI Compliance, Backup, Redundancy, Performance

PCI Level 1 certified
Volusion Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Manage account permissions for different users
100% redundancy of all network hardware, systems, and data

Automatic daily back-ups are done for you so you can recover if there is a problem. In addition there are hourly data backups.

Learn More