Volusion is one of the oldest ecommerce website builders around.
Created in 1999, Volusion 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. This makes it a good choice for more traditional stores who want to focus on physical products and analytics tracking, but less suitable for creative, brand-driven stores who need more creative control over their online storefront.
So how many people are using Volusion? 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 wild world of ecommerce, should you respect your elders? Or are there younger, more up-and-coming alternatives that will better fit the bill of your ecommerce business’s unique needs? To give you some context, here’s a snapshot of our top five recommended ecommerce builders, based on this year’s extensive research:
Volusion Competitors: Market Leaders
Every store has different needs, which is why it’s so important to find the right builder for your specific goals. Now, let’s dive into what exactly Volusion is, what its pros and cons are, and most importantly, if we recommend it for your business. Let’s go!
Volusion is an ecommerce platform that provides software and services for online businesses. With Volusion, you can create, design, and customize a website, then start selling through it: managing products and inventory, processing payments, and handling all other aspects of doing business online.
Here’s a look at Volusion’s main pros and cons, to help you decide if it’s right for you:
✔️ Volusion supports a huge range of payment gateways: including PayPal and Stripe, plus digital wallet options such as Amazon and Apple Pay.
✔️ Volusion supports more than 1,000 apps through Zapier: allowing you a wider breadth and range of customization options.
✔️ Volusion has a mobile app: so you can manage your online store, on the go, from your mobile device.
✔️ Volusion comes with an excellent feature set: including the ability to add “suggest products” videos, a key win over its big rival, Shopify.
❌ Volusion isn’t user friendly: we had a real hard time customizing our Volusion test website, and dragging and dropping isn’t as intuitive as it is on ecommerce builders such as Wix and GoDaddy.
❌ Volusion isn’t affordable: its cheapest plan, $29/month, is almost double the price of Wix and Squarespace’s most affordable plan.
❌ You can’t sell digital products through Volusion: so it won’t be suitable for ecommerce stores with this business model.
❌ No blogging functionality: which sets Volusion miles behind ecommerce website builders such as Wix and Squarespace, which do offer this.
❌ Poor help and support options: phone support is only available on Volusion’s most expensive two plans, although email and 24/7 chat support are available to all users.
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, we have to admit – so did we.
Volusion drops you into the site builder without much fanfare or fuss, but – equally – without much guidance as to how to do things. Compared to Wix’s drag and drop interface or Squarespace’s emphasis on clean lines and minimalist designs, Volusion meets the eye as a cluttered, complicated mess: with too many different elements jostling for our attention, and not enough explanation to go with.
And it’s not just our team who struggled with Volusion’s site builder interface. 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. Elements don’t move when you click on them and try to reorder and resize them. And undertaking simple tasks is, well, not so simple.
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Volusion has a 14-day free trial – no credit card required, just a few details about you and your business – and four 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 out of 5 for value for money.
For truly great value you’re better off with Square Online or Wix.
Wix’s cheapest pricing plan, for example, is $16/month – almost half the price of Volusion’s most affordable plan. Squarespace also starts at $16/month, and matches Volusion’s offer of a 14-day free trial. As for Square Online, you can get started – and get selling – for free.
What’s more – and unlike most website builders – Volusion doesn’t offer discounts for annual billing. The only prices available are the ones above, when you pay month-to-month.
Looking for value for money in your ecommerce website builder, then? Unfortunately, Volusion doesn’t offer it – and you’re better off looking elsewhere.
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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.
Despite its lack of blogging functionality, Volusion does offer a few staples when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
You can enter meta titles, descriptions, and keywords, and even – for the more advanced SEO brains – override default meta tags with HTML coding, allowing you to create custom meta information that search engines will love.
Volusion uses industry-leading AES-256 encryption algorithms to secure your data, with equally sound approaches to payment collection.
You’ll also benefit from its in-depth approach to cybersecurity, that means your network traffic goes through a firewall, and must also pass through a comprehensive intrusion prevention system. This protects your website from a range of different types of cyber attack – and allows you to sell safely and securely.
Payments, 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.
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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.
One noteworthy feature is that Volusion lets you change templates anytime you like, which other builders such as Wix or Squarespace don’t allow. 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 8am and 7pm CST. The number is (800) 646-3517.
The only catch? You’ll need to be on either a Business or a Prime plan to access it. If you’re on Volusion’s cheaper pricing plans – so, the Personal ($29/month) or Professional ($79/month) options – you’ll need to access your support another way.
How? Well, Volusion does offer email support – and you can fire an email with your query to firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, you can get in touch with Volusion via live chat, accessible round the clock via your Merchant Center dashboard.
Oh, and Volusion’s help and support doesn’t include social media, so don’t bother trying to get in touch via Facebook, Instagram, or X!
That said, you can still access Volusion’s Help Center, 24/7, regardless of whatever pricing plan you’re on. It contains a wealth of guides, FAQs, and step-by-step how-tos to help you get the best out of Volusions’ solution. (And, as we discussed earlier in our Volusion review’s ‘ease of use’ section, chances are you’ll need all the advice you can get!)
Overall, Volusion scored an unimpressive 1.7 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! Instead, we recommend Wix, which scored highest for help and support in our research with 4.1 out of 5.
Volusion is best for businesses with time and tech-savviness looking to set up a comprehensive, scalable online store.
Due to its lack of blogging functionality and inability to sell digital products, it won’t be right for writers looking to build a content empire – or those planning on selling ebooks, online courses, or something similar.
Volusion also isn’t best for those on a budget, owing to how expensive even its most (ostensibly) “affordable” pricing plans are. Nor will it be right for website builder newbies who need more help and support – particularly phone-based – as they build out their online store.
However, Volusion will suit those looking for a wide range of ecommerce tools and features, as well as site owners who need to be able to manage their online store while on the go, through a mobile app. It’ll also suit business owners looking to process their payments through a wide variety of methods, and connect to a litany of different third-party apps to boost their store’s functionality.
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, Volusion 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 out of 5 for a reason. It doesn’t let you blog, the storefront is confusing, and its help and support could be so, so much better – particularly if budget constraints mean you’re forced to opt for one of its cheaper pricing plans.
Volusion doesn’t have an overall niche, either – meaning it won’t draw a crowd from specific, targeted businesses looking for particular, sector-oriented features to boost their business and brand.
In a nutshell? Volusion is not one of the best ecommerce website builder options, but it does the selling stuff well.
So if you want a well organized store with some nice inbuilt features, and have a bit of money to spend – but don’t have time to get creative – give Volusion a go.