Volusion Review Highlights
Comprehensive e-commerce tools (with almost 80 Apps if you need more tools).
24/7 support (phone, online chat, email) – reachable any time.
No transaction fees at all – so you can keep all your profits.
14 Days Trial
There are plenty of other Volusion reviews available on the internet nowadays, and that’s not surprising at all.
Volusion is one of the larger e-commerce online store builders that allow you to start selling your products without being a technical nerd at all.
After all, who has time to learn all that technical knowledge when you really ought to be focused on growing your business instead!
Volusion, like other capable e-commerce online store builders, allows you to do just this – focus on selling – without getting bogged down with dealing with your servers or worrying about how to connect your shopping cart to your website.
Volusion currently powers over 40,000 online stores and has enabled its users to sell over $17 billion over the past 15 years. So we know these guys are not “one hit wonders” and are here to stay.
Having said that, in our view, there are pros and cons to Volusion (just like any other online store builders out there), and we’ll discuss those in detail in this review.
Click on the following links to read the specific sections:
VOLUSION REVIEW – TOP 3 PROS AND CONS
- Comprehensive Ecommerce Tools – Volusion gives you a very comprehensive set of tools so you can build a very capable online store. All these tools are included in their monthly plans, and the higher the plan you subscribe to, the more tools you have access to. You can set up hundreds of products, receive 24/7 support, templates, mobile ecommerce, social media tools, automatic tax rates, eBay / Amazon integrations, Deal of the Day, Customer Loyalty Plan, newsletters, etc.
- 24/7 Live Support – Volusion makes it easy for you to get help when you need to. They offer 24/7 support via phone, online chat, and email. Their existing support pages are quite comprehensive already, offering both text and video tutorials. But if you need a bit more handholding, you can connect with a live person get help. The last thing you want is for your store to run into problems in the middle of the night and can’t find any help.
- No Transaction Fees – While some other online store builders charge you a transaction fee for their lower plans, Volusion does not charge you any fees per transaction so you get to keep all your profits. Note that you will still need to pay a payment processing fee (which is charged by your payment processor), but Volusion doesn’t charge you any fees. However, I’d also like to point out that you do have a bandwidth limit that you cannot exceed, and if you do, you’ll have to purchase more bandwidth. I believe is one of the trade-off’s of no transaction fees (more about this under the “Cons” section).
- Bandwidth Limit (unknown charges!) – Although Volusion doesn’t charge you a transaction fee, they do limit you with their bandwidth restrictions. What’s bandwidth? Simplistically, when someone (a person, a search engine bot, just anything visiting your site) visits your website, it takes resources from Volusion to power your website to display content (text, images, etc) to your visitor – that sucks up bandwidth. So the more visitors you have, the more bandwidth they will use up. If they visit more pages, that also uses up your bandwidth as it takes more resources to load your pages. Further, if you have a lot of product pictures, that also uses up your bandwidth a lot faster. If you have a large download file, that uses up bandwidth too! Once you exceed your available bandwidth, you’ll have to start paying Volusion to “buy” more “power” to keep your store up and running. What’s confusing is that they don’t tell you how much you have to pay for additional bandwidth. So I think they can do a better job with being more transparent here. I think this is why other top ecommerce builders (such as Shopify) charge transaction fees so that they give you unlimited bandwidth (they will waive the transaction fee for higher plans). It’s quite unpleasant to get a bill from Volusion about bandwidth overages, and you can’t quite verify how they came up with the number (it’s like exceeding your mobile data plan – it’s almost impossible to verify their calculations). At least with Shopify, you can actually compute the transaction fee (the fee % x your sales). If you expect to get a lot of traffic, watch out for bandwidth overage charges!
- SSL Certificate – With other online store providers (such as Shopify, Bigcommerce), your monthly fee includes the use of an SSL certificate. SSL certificate protects the privacy of your customers when they are inserting confidential information when they are in your checkout cart. If the checkout page is not protected, online shoppers are savvy enough to leave. With Volusion, you have to pay for your own SSL certificate which can range from $90 to $1,000 per year. The basic certificate is $90, and if you want more powerful protect, it starts to get pricey. I’m not sure why they don’t include this in their monthly plans, but it’s definitely something Shopify or Bigcommerce is better at.
- No Blogging Function – Content marketing nowadays is absolutely crucial if you want to grow your online store. This means that you have to consistently provide valuable content to your target market in order to build trust and interest with your company. If your prospective customers don’t find you helpful, and therefore the trust is not there, it’s going to be hard sell. One of the best ways to provide valuable content and build trust is through a blog. You can write interesting articles to gain interest from your prospective customers, and if they find it helpful, they’ll start to trust you (much easier to sell to people who know & like you). Volusion does not have a built in blogging function which is a big drawback if you want to grow an audience. You have to build your blog elsewhere (as in a separate website), then connect it to your Volusion store. So your blog and your store will not be integrated.
VOLUSION IS IDEAL FOR….
Volusion is ideal for you if you want to build an ecommerce website, but you don’t have time or the technical skills to mess around with codes and integration of tools.
They provide all the tools to help you add products, market your business, charge your customers, manage your inventory, shipping etc. You don’t have to know any codes to do all this.
Volusion caters to a broad range of industries, such as apparel, beauty & health, food & beverages, jewelry, automotive, electronics, etc. Pretty much anything you can sell online.
They have dedicated templates that you can use across different industries, so you can choose from them which will help you get your store launched without worrying as much about design (more on templates below).
EASE OF USE
As mentioned, Volusion enables non-techie people to be able to build a very capable online store. So if you’re deathly afraid of programming or anything technological related, or if you’re just way too busy growing your business (and living your life), then Volusion can be helpful here.
Inserting products, managing your inventory, uploading images, etc, all without having to touch any codes.
However, if ease of us is really important to you, you should take a look at Shopify which in our view is the best online store builder available today.
Nevertheless, Volusion is a good store builder as they do all the “heavy lifting” work for you with their software, so you can focus on other parts of your business.
TEMPLATE DESIGN OPTIONS
Volusion currently has 359 ecommerce focused templates for you to select from. So you have a very broad range of choices that can be helpful no matter which industry you are in.
Some of their templates are also mobile responsive so it helps you optimize your customers’ shopping experiences across desktop, tablet and smartphones.
Some of the templates are free, and some are paid. For paid templates, they can range from $50 per template all the way up to $895 per template, which is quite expensive!
They currently have 82 free templates and 277 paid templates. Of the paid templates, 79 of them are $895 per template. They also only have 23 mobile responsive templates.
In our view, premium templates from Shopify are a lot more attractive looking and they range from free to $180 per template, which is much more reasonable than Volusion’s template offerings.
Also, Shopify has about 160 mobile responsive store designs (versus only 23 for Volusion) for optimal shopping experiences across different viewing devices, which is a lot more than Volusion.
So while Volusion does give you hundreds of design options, if design and mobile friendly shopping experiences are priorities for you, then Shopify will give you a better experience.
VOLUSION APP STORE – GIVE YOUR STORE A FEATURES BOOST
Volusion has an App Marketplace that gives you an additional 80 apps to bolt on to your store.
Most of these tools are not built by Volusion, but are built by other software tools provider, so you can think of these tools as extensions to what is already provided by Volusion. Also, because the Apps are built by other dedicated tools provider, they are specialized tools to help you expand your store.
These Apps range from integrating your accounting software, email / newsletter software, customer support tools, marketing, shipping, fulfillment, inventory management, etc.
So while Volusion does provide some of these tools, if you want to get even more specialized tools, these Apps can be helpful.
Some of the Apps are free, and some are paid, depending on the Apps’ provider.
These Apps are also built to integrate seamlessly to your Volusion store, so you don’t have to worry about the technicalities of adding them to your store.
Shopping with mobile devices is a growing trend. People are embracing it and so should you!
As such, it’s important to ensure that your online store is mobile friendly. The easiest way is to get a mobile responsive template so that you know your visitors’ experiences are optimized.
However, as mentioned above, Volusion only has a small selection of mobile responsive templates (Shopify has a lot more options). For the other non-responsive templates, you have to create a separate mobile-friendly version of your store, which can be time consuming. That’s why getting a responsive template can save you time here.
Volusion also allows you to manage your store with their Mobile App. It’s free for you to download and you can get sales data, process orders, ship products with this app. This allows you to be able to run your store even when you are not in front of your computer.
SUPPORT / TUTORIALS / COMMUNITY RESOURCES
Volusion Customer Support
Volusion offers 24/7 customer support for you. You can contact them through the phone, live chat on their website or through email.
Volusion Tutorial Resources
Volusion also has a comprehensive knowledgebase, which comes with video tutorials whenever you have questions. Screenshots in their help articles also helps guide you along the way.
If you can’t find a solution for your problem, you can always reach out to a live person through the phone, live chat or email.
Volusion Community Forum
Volusion doesn’t have a forum where you can ask questions and interact with other users. I think it’s a bit of a drawback as a forum is a good place for other users (business owners) to exchange business questions and suggestions.
Having said that, you can only rely on Volusion’s support staff to answer questions directly related to Volusion. If you have any other questions about online businesses, there isn’t a forum to facilitate this.
HOSTING, SECURITY AND BACKUP OPTIONS
As mentioned in the “Pros and Cons” section above, Volusion limits your bandwidth usage and this can be problematic if you have a lot of visitors, a lot of webpages and if you use a lot of high quality product graphics which uses bandwidth.
If you exceed your bandwidth allowance, you will have to purchase more bandwidth to ensure your store remains up and running.
The problem is two-fold:
1) Volusion doesn’t publicly disclose how much they charge for extra bandwidth
2) It’s almost impossible for you to precisely calculate how much bandwidth you used since there are many factors impacting bandwidth usage
So in my view, transparency is a bit “foggy”.
I do prefer Shopify’s model in that they charge you a transaction fee for each sale you make (this transaction fee is waived for higher plans), but at least you know and can re-calculate how much this transaction fee is (whereas you can’t with Volusion – you just have to pay the bill).
With Shopify, you can have 10 million visitors and your store won’t be interrupted at all.
Just like other online store builders, Volusion manages the entire hosting process for you so you don’t have to worry about knowing how to do this yourself.
They’ll ensure that all the servers are up to date, and that your store is up and running at all times. This way, you can focus on growing your business instead of the tedious technical work to keep your store online.
As for security, as mentioned in the “Pros and Cons” section above, you have to purchase your own SSL certificate either through Volusion or other vendors. This is an additional $90 fee per year (versus other ecommerce builders such as Shopify and Bigcommerce, who include the SSL certificate as part of the plans so you don’t have to pay extra).
PRICING – IS IT WORTH THE INVESTMENT?
Volusion offers you 4 monthly plans: Mini / Plus / Pro / Premium.
As you move up on the plans, you get more ecommerce tools to build out your store. Also, you get to upload more products, and you get more bandwidth to power your store.
If you sign up to their annual plan, you get 10% off the monthly fees.
Volusion offers you a 14 trial period, so you can test out their platform for free before committing to a paid monthly plan.
Once you get to the Pro or Premium plan, you get some really advanced tools such as eBay or Amazon integration. So if you sell products on either one of those platforms, you can manage your eBay or Amazon product listings all through Volusion. This will save you a lot of time instead of managing them separately.
You also get “Deal of the Day” and “Customer Loyalty Plan” with the Pro and Premium plans. Those are quite helpful in driving more sales as a lot of consumers like daily deals (who doesn’t like a good deal?) and the loyalty plan can promote brand loyalty.
So just with those 2 features, if used properly, you can potentially earn more money in return than the incremental monthly fee you pay Volusion to upgrade your plans.
VOLUSION REVIEW – CONCLUSION / RECOMMENDATION
Based on this Volusion review, I think Volusion is a pretty good ecommerce store builder. They give you all the tools you need to build a functional store, without you having to worry about programming or any complicated technical tasks.
They have a lot of design templates for a broad range of industries, and an App Market so if you can extend your store’s functionality.
Their 24/7 live support is also very helpful when you have questions in the middle of the night (phone, live chat and email support are all included).
However, the biggest drawback in my view is the bandwidth limitations and that you never know how much more you have to pay if you exceed your bandwidth limits. That to me is quite worrying. Other online store builders such as Shopify give you unlimited bandwidth so you don’t have to worry about paying anything extra.
Also, the fact that you need to purchase your own SSL Certificate to ensure that your customers’ confidential information is protected is a bit odd. Other online store builders include this as part of their monthly plans. I think Volusion should wrap this into their plans as well instead of asking you to buy it separately.
Lastly, they really need to consider integrating a blogging function into their platform. It’s quite standard nowadays for ecommerce stores to have a blog where they can promote their services, brand, products, and also provide valuable industry related knowledge to build trust.
All in all, while Volusion isn’t perfect, but who is? They’re a decent e-commerce store builder and hopefully they’ll address some of these points to make them even better. In my view, Shopify is still a much better online store platform at the moment.
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