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 ecommerce 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 ecommerce 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 30,000 online stores and has enabled its users to sell over $26 billion worth of goods over the past 18 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, access mobile responsive themes, offer subscription billing to customers, mobile ecommerce, social media tools, automatic tax rates, eBay / Amazon integrations, Deal of the Day feature, Customer Loyalty Plans, newsletters, etc.
- 24/7 Customer Support – Volusion offers several ways for you to get help when you need it. They offer support via phone, email, and – if you need a bit more handholding – you can even connect with a live person to get help or schedule a call back at a specific time. The last thing you want is for your store to run into problems in the middle of the night and then you can’t find any help.Their existing support pages are also quite comprehensive, offering informative articles, guides, webinars and video tutorials.
- 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 this is one of the trade-off’s of no transaction fees (more about this under the “Cons” section).
[UPDATE (Nov 2017) – Volusion now also offer personalized fixed-fee bandwidth pricing options for merchants who prefer more peace of mind. This can be handy if you expect your traffic to grow or want the freedom to upload more content/products.]
- 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 ‘bandwidth overage charges’ to “buy” more “power” to keep your store up and running. What’s confusing is that unlike similar ecommerce platforms, Volusion limits your bandwidth by plan, then charges you an extra $7.00 per gigabyte of additional bandwidth you use each month. Considering their cheapest plan only provides 1gb of bandwidth (roughly enough for 15 visitors per day if viewing 5 product pages with 3 images on each page), you might see costs soar if your site starts to grow and you don’t necessarily want to upgrade to a higher cost plan. I think this is why other top ecommerce builders (such as Shopify) charge transaction fees so that they can 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 just like it’s not very nice receiving a big bill after exceeding your mobile data planIf you expect to get a lot of traffic, watch out for bandwidth overage charges!
- SSL Certificates Cost Extra – 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 $89, and if you want more powerful protection, 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. Creating fresh, relevant content for your store or website is also important for improving your ranking in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and getting found by customers. One of the best ways to provide valuable content,build trust, and create fresh content for Google to crawl and index is through a blog. It’s an easy way for you to add new and interesting content 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 – instead you’ll need to host it on a subdomain of your site, which can be fiddly if you are not too tech savvy. For me, it would be much easier if I could simply blog alongside running my store, as it’s not very convenient at all having to use other platforms to do something that is offered as standard by Volusion’s competitors.
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 HTML coding and tool integration.
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 codingto do any of this.
Volusion caters to a broad range of industries, such as apparel, beauty & health, food & beverages, jewelry, automotive, electronics, etc. – they’re a useful platform for pretty much anything you can sell online.
They have dedicated themes that you can use across different industries, so you can choose from them one that will help you get your store launched without worrying as much about design (more on themesbelow).
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 offers 39 ecommerce focused themes for you to choose from. This gives you a good variety of choice that can be helpful no matter which industry you are in.
All of their themes are mobile responsive, which helps you optimize your customers’ shopping experiences across desktop, tablet, and smartphones.
Some of the themes are free, and some are paid. Volusion’s paid themes all cost $180, which is about the same as Shopify so not too bad in the scheme of things! It’s worth pointing out that ecommerce templates tend to cost more than standard website templates as they are equipped with more features and are designed to help you sell.
They currently have 11 free themes and 38 paid themes. These are all responsive and can be customized in the editor, so you’re not limited exactly to the pre-prepared designs and can put your own spin on things.
In our view, premium templates from Shopify are more attractive looking and they range from free to $180 per template, which is about the same as Volusion – so it’s worth comparing the available themes on both platforms before committing to either.
Also, Shopify has about 160 mobile responsive store designs (versus Volusion’s 49) for optimal shopping experiences across different viewing devices, which is a lot more than Volusion.
So while Volusion does give you a good choice of themes and lots of additional design options, Shopify is the better choice because it gives you such a large pool of templates + themes to play with.
VOLUSION APP STORE – GIVE YOUR STORE A FEATURES BOOST
Volusion has an App Marketplace that gives you an additional 60apps 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 cover things such as:
- Integrating your accounting software
- Email / newsletter software
- Customer support tools
- Inventory management
So while Volusion does provide some of these tools, if you want to get even more specialized tools, these Apps can be helpful.
Some are free and some are paid, depending on the App provider.
These Apps integrate seamlessly into your Volusion store, so you don’t have to worry about the technicalities of adding them.
Shopping with mobile devices is a growing trend. People are embracing it and so should you!
This means it’s important to ensure that your online store is mobile friendly. The easiest way to achieve this is with a mobile responsive theme or template so that you know your visitors’ experiences are optimized.
As mentioned above, all of Volusion’s themes are now mobile-responsive so you should have no trouble selling your goods through a laptop, a mobile phone or a tablet. This can be a real time-saver in the long run. Volusion describes itself as now being a ‘mobile-first’ ecommerce platform, which is reassuring. Bear in mind though that despite the fact that 100% of its themes are mobile-responsive, this still only amounts to 49 themes in total, whereas Shopify provides you with a lot more template options to consider.
Volusion also allows you to manage your store with their mobile app. It’s free for you to download and you can use it to access sales data, process orders, and ship products. This allows you 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. You can contact them through the phone, live chat on their website or through email.
Volusion Tutorial Resources
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 on each of its plans 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.
They have introduced personalized, fixed-fee pricing models if you’re concerned about overage charges – but you will need to contact Volusion directly to find out about these.
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 charges $7.00 per additional gigabyte of bandwidth you use each month, so costs can rise rapidly if you have a sudden spike in traffic or have a lot of image and content heavy webpages.
2) It’s almost impossible for you to precisely calculate how much bandwidth you might use month-to-month because there are many factors that can impact bandwidth usage
So in my view, this isn’t an ideal way of working as it means you may have to compromise on design in order to not be charged extra money each month.
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).
Volusion does give you the choice to choose your own level of SSL protection, but each level of SSL certificate does essentially the same thing – helping to encrypt your site and protect you and your customers’ data. You may require additional cover or support if you grow rapidly, but otherwise it’s easier just to have the SSL certificate included in the package rather than adding another level of complication to things.
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-day 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 than you would be paying out to Volusion for your premium plan each month
For its top tier ‘Premium’ plan, Volusion provides you with a dedicated Account Manager who will help you setup your store. This takes a lot of the stress out of tasks like choosing the right design and theme, uploading products to your site, sorting out shipping options and ensuring your tax configurations are all in place. It doesn’t come cheap at $135 per month, but if you’ve got the cash to invest, then having such personal support can be a real help.
VOLUSION REVIEW – CONCLUSION / RECOMMENDATION
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