Volusion Review 2014
The company was founded by Kevin Sproles in 1999. Volusion’s headquarters are located in Austin, TX in the United States. Ever since its launch, Volusion remains one of the most popular shopping carts in the industry. Their shopping cart hosts over 40,000 online stores and its’ merchants have processed over $14 billion in sales.
The company has built a solid reputation and is known all over the world. It has been featured in Mashable, New York Times, and Entrepreneur.
Sure, it is not a perfect shopping cart platform, but what solution is?
»Advantages: No transaction fees, unlimited storage, industry best reputation, inexpensive, and decent set of features.
»Disadvantages: Limited bandwidth, bandwidth overage fees, lower priced plans limit certain features, and outdated templates.
»Recommendation: I am a huge fan of Volusion and have always recommended their shopping cart. I only ask that you choose a plan that has enough bandwidth and some room to grow.
OVERALL VOLUSION REVIEW RATING: 9.42 out of 10
Hot Volusion Features
- Automated Newsletters - The newsletters are a great way to spread promotions and keep customers coming back. Fortunately, Volusion has automated newsletters that can be emailed to customers that opt in. Additionally, their easy to use wizard guides users through the process of creating and sending their first newsletter. There are several options that can be manipulated; including newsletter subjects, descriptions, and the ability to target specific customers.
- Deal of the Day - Enabling the “deal of the day” is a great way of keeping customers coming back and attracting new ones. This option allows store owners to offer a certain product that is advertised on the homepage or sidebar. The deal of the day is catchy and shows the time when the deal will expire or run out of stock.
- MyRewards - The Volusion shopping cart goes above and beyond by offering a point system known as “MyRewards.” This system rewards customers for shopping at your store and allows them to rack up and redeem these points for future purchases. The store owner has full control over the point system and can disable the system altogether.
- Affiliate Program - The affiliate program might not be a feature that all store owners need. Generally, an affiliate program can bring leads to the store and increase overall sales, considering that you have a large product base and decent commission rates for the affiliates. This program is not recommended for small stores.
- Live and Abandoned Carts - This feature enables store owners to view a complete list of live and abandoned carts and send follow-up emails to customers that abandoned their shopping carts. However, the follow-up emails have to be manually sent to customers and might end up costing you a lot of time, if you have tons of abandoned carts. Nonetheless, this feature will definitely bring back some of those lost sales. Fortunately, their abandoned cart feature is free and it is available of all of their plans.
Free Trial Period
As of today, Volusion is offering a 14 day free trial. The free trial asks for your name, phone number, email address, and phone number, but does not require a credit card. During these two weeks, you are free to design and configure your online store. However, you are not allowed to launch your online store until you enter a valid credit card and choose one of their monthly plans.
I am a big fan of “no credit card required” because you are not attaching and committing yourself to anything. So sign up for a free trial and give them a try, if you do not like it, simply cancel it.
Cost of Volusion
Like BigCommerce and Shopify, Volusion’s pricing structure will meet the needs of most store owners, both large and small. Their plans start at an industry best of $15/mo. The only thing that I do not like about Volusion is bandwidth limitations. All of their plans come with limited bandwidth and this is the reason that draws users away from them. However, if you sign up for a plan that has enough bandwidth, you shouldn’t worry about it.
Here is a better look at their plans:
- Mini Plan - $15/mo., 100 products, unlimited storage, 1 GB of bandwidth, no transaction fees, and online support.
- Plus Plan - $35/mo., 1,000 products, unlimited storage, 3 GB of bandwidth, no transaction fees, and online & phone support.
- Pro Plan - $75/mo., 10,000 products, unlimited storage, 10 GB of bandwidth, no transaction fees, and priority support.
- Premium Plan - $135/mo., unlimited products, unlimited storage, 35 GB of bandwidth, no transaction fees, priority support, and a dedicated account manager.
Note: Volusion charges $7 per gigabyte for going over your monthly bandwidth.
For the ones that are wondering, the Premium plan is their best overall plan for medium and large stores. It costs $135/mo. for unlimited products and storage, along with a massive 35 GB of traffic. The plan does not limit any features and comes with an dedicated account manager and priority support. It is a bit pricey but I feel that these additional features offered will be useful, especially to people that are just starting out.
Shopping Cart Features
In terms of features, Volusion offers a wide range of standard features, both built in and obtained through their plugin section. Additionally, their standard features cover several key categories such as store management, search engine optimization, marketing, and others.
Here is a brief look at some of their standard features:
- Designing Your Store - Includes website builder with free and premium templates. Upload custom logos and favicons. Complete control over HTML and CSS files.
- Managing Your Store - Store orders are processed through the admin dashboard. Other than the checkout page, the entire store is mobile ready. Full control over inventory. All plans entitle you to several email accounts.
- Configuring Products - Unlimited product options, images, and videos. vZoom technology for product images. Import and export products in bulk. Sell physical products, downloads, services, and more.
- Marketing Your Store - Sell on Facebook, Amazon, and eBay. Run Enable promotions using the “daily deal” feature and offer discounts and coupons to customers. Built-in newsletters. Keep customers coming back with MyRewards and an enticing affiliate program. Customer reviews and social sharing buttons.
- Optimizing Your Store (SEO) - Advanced SEO tools enable you to control META tags, headings, and keywords. Product ratings are featured on search engines.
- Tracking and Reporting Tools - Volusion provides store owners with tons of reports on sales, visitors, and conversion rates. You can also view best selling products and top customers.
- Payments, Taxes, and Shipping - Accepts payments on your store using PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, money orders, checks, and more. Automatic or manual tax calculations. Shipping rates can be in real-time, flat-rate, fixed-rate, or free.
- Hosting and Securing Your Store - Average uptime of 99.9%. Hosted on SaaS servers. Level 1 PCI certified.
For a complete list of features, be sure to visit Volusion.
Quick Launch Wizard
Volusion automatically creates an online store for you and loads it with sample products, categories, and pages. There is a “quick start wizard” that guides users through a simple process of choosing a template, adding products, and uploading a logo.
Yes, the wizard is simple and convenient, but I would strongly recommend that you add inventory through the regular products tab as it gives you more control over product options.
As mentioned earlier, products and categories are automatically added for you so that you see how everything works. These products can be deleted. I found it simple to add real products to the store. The wizard that guides you through creating products is organized into three sections; basic info, image management, and advanced info. This is a plus for all the newbies out there that are creating products for the first time.
Furthermore, their advanced info section is the place to optimize products for search engines, create product specific sales and discounts, add custom shipping rates, enable recurring billing, and maintain product inventory levels. Most of these sections are great for users looking for different options for individual products.
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Okay, most of you are probably wondering about their template selection. Honestly, I was surprised by the amount of templates that they offere, both free and premium. Most of the templates are professional and ready for an ecommerce store. Additionally, Volusion offers templates for over ten industries including apparel, electronics, and home and garden.
Furthermore, all of their templates can be edited using HTML and CSS. I could be wrong, but I was not able to find a function to upload a custom template or even to download and edit one of their templates offline. While most newbies will not care about this option, I feel that advanced users will find it helpful to have the ability to upload custom templates or at least edit them offline.
Adding a Custom Domain to Volusion
In terms of search engine optimization (SEO) and for a better customer experience, you should always obtain a custom domain to use with the online store. Yes, it is an extra cost, but it is vital for the success of the store. Generally, the default Volusion store will have the following URL, http://storename.volusion.com/. I will be the first to say that you DO NOT want your store URL to look like that.
For the ones that prefer their default URL, there are no additional steps to complete. However, the ones that want to have a user friendly store; it is easy to point the store to a custom domain. To do this, simply log into your “My Volusion” dashboard and the DNS records should be on the left. Now, log into the place where the domain was purchased and update the name servers.
That is it, you now have the store pointing to a custom domain. If you do not have a domain and would like to register one, NameCheap has domains starting at $3.98/yr.
Apps and Extras
Need extra features? For the ones that end up needing a bit more than what is offered, Volusion offers additional features in their app store. In terms of selection, they have both free and premium third party plugins in the app store. Furthermore, all of these plugins are easily installed and integrated with your online store.
The above image shows what you can expect to find in their app store.
Better Business Rating and Social Media
Volusion has kept an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau since 2001. Having an A+ rating with the BBB might not mean much to most, but it can give you a general view of what you can expect in terms of service and support.
The company has over 37,000 Facebook likes and over 33,000 Twitter followers. Looking at their social media profiles, there is nothing that would make me not recommend their shopping cart. Obviously, there will always be mixed reviews on their software.
Volusion Support and Resources
The Volusion support team can be reached via phone, live chat, and traditional email ticketing. Their support team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for certain contact methods. Some of their contact methods may also be limited for certain plans. It is best to look at the plan features to pinpoint the contact methods available. Additionally, their support page has tons of free tutorials, guides, and frequently asked questions.
On the other hand, Volusion has been hit with negative reviews that are aimed at their support team. Most of these reviews state that their customer support lacks the knowledge to answer certain questions. Others even state that the call holding is extremely long and not worth the wait. Honestly, I cannot sit here and say whether these statements are true or not. I just know that I did not experience any bad support while using Volusion.
Why Should You Use Volusion?
I am constantly being asked this question and the answer is very simple. Whether you want to believe it or not, but Volusion is still a dominant force in ecommerce, despite all of the negative feedback they have been receiving. If you are not confident about going with Volusion, you might want to take a look at these:
- Their shopping cart comes packed with built in features and tools.
- No transaction fees – yes, that’s right.
- Their shopping cart plans start as low as $15/mo.
- Tons of free and premium templates.
- Simple admin dashboard and navigation.
Volusion Review: Conclusion
Overall, the Volusion software has done so much to stay on top of the best shopping carts. As with all ecommerce software, there can always be improvement. I always recommend signing up for a their free trial to give yourself time to test of the software. Generally, the free trial will give you an idea if their shopping cart is right for you.
Fortunately, Volusion has a free trial period of 14 days. Give it a try and see if it suits the needs of your online store. If not, simply cancel it and that is it.
What do you think about Volusion? Do you see them as a contender among other top shopping carts? Do you plan on using their software?