Great Analytics Features
- Lots of payment methods
- Great analytics tools
- Mobile app
- Cannot sell digital products
- No blogging function
- Poor help and support options
Volusion is one of the oldest ecommerce website builders around. Created in 1999, it lets you pay the bills, without the creative frills. What do we mean by this? Well, in summary, it has some great selling tools, but tricky design features.
So how many people are using it? The numbers are pretty respectable: it’s the chosen platform for roughly 30,000 online stores, and has churned through 185 million orders since it first launched.
But in the world or ecommerce, should you respect your elders? In other words, what’s so good about Volusion?
Most recently, Volusion has updated to ‘V2’, a new operating system that brings with it some UX (User Experience) improvements. Firstly, it has a much clearer inventory system, so it’s really easy to manage your stock.
But, most importantly, it provides tons of useful data, analytics tools, and payment options. So you can see where its strengths are already.
Also, in an attempt to keep pace with ecommerce leaders like Shopify, Volusion has focused on bringing business features and site-creation tools together, by starting the user journey in the storefront editor.
However, while the business tools are ok, they’re nothing too exciting. There’s no niche offering, it doesn’t let you blog, and you need to constantly switch between the front and back end to build your site. Overall, it’s for lovers of data, not design.
How did we come to this conclusion? At Website Builder Expert we combined some of our own expert analysis with thorough user testing, which you can read about here.
Overall, we gave Volusion 3.3 stars out of 5. Read on to find out why…
In short, Volusion is pretty easy to use – if you have no interest in designing a website’s appearance.
But – and it’s a big but – if you want to design the actual website first, it’s very challenging. Most users in our testing found it simply too hard to navigate the front end.
And it’s not just us who think that. Here’s what one user had to say about Volusion’s ease of use:
There is just an utter lack of clarity over how to do things. It was just overly complicated.
For example, to edit text boxes, you need to find a strangely secretive blue button on the right hand side. And undertaking simple tasks is, well, not so simple.
The big question here is, what do people actually think of Volusion? Is it the best ecommerce website builder out there?
The answer is not quite. As we’ve said, it’s great for data-driven users, but lacks the actual website building traits. And the people we tested agreed, with one person saying:
Use Volusion for the inventory and analytics features they provide, not the customization or web creation.
Another common flaw that came up was Volusion’s identity crisis. It tries to convince you it can build websites (by starting the free trial at the storefront), but it’s clear Volusion’s strengths are at the back.
One user summarized this issue with a suggestion:
Volusion should just direct you to the dashboard, where all the issues I encountered could be removed. Don’t put someone in the storefront if you are not capable of creating a site like Wix’s.
As we can see, in terms of creativity, Volusion isn’t up to the leading standards of the website builder industry. But it does the ecommerce stuff fairly well. And most of our users felt the same way.
We’ve established Volusion is best for purely selling products. So, naturally, the ecommerce tools are very good. Let’s go over our favorite features:
First of all, we love the product videos option. It’s a really handy feature that helps improve customer experience. But who should use it? Well, any business with great visuals – such as clothes retailers – would stand to benefit.
Volusion also offers a ‘suggested products’ feature. This is a key win against its rival Shopify, which relies on third party integrations for the same function.
However, with Volusion, you cannot sell digital products. This really narrows down the types of business that should use it for example, if you’re looking to sell ebooks, music, or digital art, you should definitely look elsewhere.
Need to sell on the go? Volusion lets you manage your online store from your phone with its excellent mobile app. So you can check inventory, update prices, or snap product photos straight from your phone!
Third party apps
Best of all, though, Volusion wants you to customize your store as much as possible. How does it do this? By supporting 1,000+ apps through Zapier, covering everything from accounting to customer management.
Payment, transaction fees and shipping
Volusion supports a wide range of payment gateways, including PayPal and Stripe. It also caters for more tech savvy customers with digital wallet options like Amazon and Apple Pay.
However, some options, like Square, need to be integrated with Zapier. But it’s quick and easy to do.
Within all of Volusion’s price plans, there are no transaction fees. However, usual credit card charges will be applied per payment.
And let’s not forget shipping. With Volusion, you can personalize invoices and packing slips with your own logo and text. Your customers will definitely appreciate the personal touch!
One issue with Volusion is that it doesn’t provide a blogging platform, which usually comes as standard with ecommerce builders these days. Why is this a problem? There are a few reasons. Blogs not only let you promote products and services, but they really help you rank higher in search engines.
While you can link your blog through a sub-domain, it’s time-consuming. As a business owner, do you need that added stress? We doubt it.
Volusion offers 11 free themes, plus 34 paid themes costing $180 each. How does that compare with its rivals? There’s not too much difference: BigCommerce and Shopify both provide 50+ premium designs, costing $145-235 and $140-180, respectively.
But what do Volusion’s themes actually look like? First of all, they’ve been recently polished. They look much better than before the V2 update, but aren’t quite as sleek as those offered by Squarespace.
Also, the templates are very feature-specific. So, unless you find a theme to suit your business, you’ll have to pick a non-industry focused design. It’s not a huge problem, but it’s far from ideal.
Another win over Shopify – Volusion lets you change templates anytime you like. This means you can mix up your online store’s appearance without worrying about repopulating your content. They do it all for you!
As with all technology, you’re bound to experience some minor issues. And for all your Volusion solutions, you can schedule a call with their support, or simply call them between 7am-10pm CST.
Every price plan except the Personal plan (we’ll get into the prices later) comes with 24/7 personal phone support. They don’t do emails, either, because they want to help you through direct contact.
However, if you’re on the Personal Plan, you can only get help online. This doesn’t include social media either, so don’t bother tweeting!
Overall, Volusion scored an unimpressive 1.7 stars out of 5 in our research for its help and support. So if great quality support is important to you, think twice before committing to Volusion!
Volusion has a 14-day Free Trial, and five price plans:
- Personal ($29 p/m)
- Professional ($79 p/m)
- Business ($299 p/m)
- Prime (custom)
In our ecommerce website builder testing, Volusion’s price plans averaged as the most expensive. This isn’t so bad if you get tons of features for your money, but Volusion only scored 2.5 stars out of 5 for value for money. For truly great value you’re better off with Square Online or Wix!
Need some advice? Here’s our article on ‘how much does a web site cost?’.
With the most extensive inventory of any website builder, Volusion well and truly focuses on data. While the excellent analytics tools let you manage and scale your business easily, it’s by no means the best ecommerce option. Shopify is the all-round champ.
In other words, it sits in the middle of the pack in all areas, apart from sales. Its standout strengths include product videos, the number of payment gateway options, and the suggested products feature.
However, we’ve only given Volusion 3.3 stars for a reason. It doesn’t let you blog, the storefront is confusing, and its help and support could be better. It doesn’t have an overall niche, either.
In a nutshell? It’s not one of the best options, but it does the selling stuff well. So if you want a well organized store with some nice inbuilt features, but don’t have time to get creative, give Volusion a go.