November 25, 2014

The Revolution of Volusion eCommerce Software: A Hands On Review

ecommerce software

I recently migrated a small business client to Volusion for their eCommerce solution. Going into it, it seemed like it would be the right decision based on their budget and needs. However, it’s hard to know for sure until you actually put the eCommerce software through a real life test. With this review, I’d like to give you the benefit of what I discovered.

Before getting into the conversion, I prepared myself and the client for future sacrifices we would be making that were common with leaving a custom eCommerce shopping cart to a plug-and-play eCommerce shopping cart solution. We anticipated some loss of flexibility. However, what we discovered was a strong trade-off, because we gained features and certain activities became much easier using Volusion.

Why did I move a customer from a custom cart to an out-of-the-box solution? Here is a quick summary. As a small business, the reasons will look familiar.

  • The customer could not afford a programmer.
  • Things were starting to break from lack of TLC (i.e., there was deferred maintenance and enhancement of the site needed)
  • The site was NOT mobile friendly … this is an understatement and the need was non-negotiable.

It took me less than one month to launch the replacement store. My client is ecstatic about the new store including the look and feel (their greatest concern). The store has been live for over 3 months with no major issues.

Below is my list of pros that makes me a Volusion evangelist, as well as the realistic list of cons.

Pros of Volusion eCommerce Software

Design

My client’s greatest concern was the look and feel of the new store matching their existing site. I had no budget for custom design or a premium template.  While I am sure a custom design from Volusion would have made the difference seamless, the free version was a success for my client.

Mobile Store

It is simple just as all mobile stores should be. In other words, it works – out of the box.

volusion mobile store

Reviews

The ability for customers to submit review is automatic and comes with a follow up email after each order.

Product Catalog Insertion

I simply exported out my old store and put it into the new store. There was still quite a bit of manual work to be done but that was only because of the new features we wanted to take advantage of. I wanted to take full advantage of the SEO capabilities.

Payment and Shipping Options

Very easy to initiate. It was nice to see PayPal and Google Wallet as standard options.

Pricing

There are several add-ons with additional charges, but nothing I didn’t expect based on my experience with other store launches. For instance, I knew I would have to pay extra for an SSL certificate. What was a nice surprise is when they refunded me the SSL cost when the client needed to change to a different sub-domain. There are no transaction fees.

Customer Support

This is the best feature of Volusion. Their phone customer support is great.  If I had any questions, they were answered within minutes. There was not one single negative experience with their phone support. You will understand why I emphasize phone support once we get to the cons list.

Cons for Volusion eCommerce Software

User Interface

The user interface is not intuitive. This is why I had so much experience with their excellent support team. I highly recommend upgrading to the Gold Premium Support even if it is just for the first month.

Exports

Unless you are a programmer, you will not be able to create custom exports/reports. I was able to hack my way to success for Quickbooks, an affiliate data feed and fulfillment house file. Quotes from a programmer were over $5,000 … certainly not in my client’s budget.  You will want to be creative when it comes to exporting data to other applications.

Technical Support

Technical support can only be reached via email. My experience with technical support was negative. There was a delayed response time. I experienced push back on each email.

Quickbooks Integration

I ended up creating a custom export as the existing solution was not robust enough for my client.

eNewsletter

My client is sticking with Constant Contact for the email newsletter. I was hoping to save money by using Volusion but the email marketing functionality is not there yet.

Bottom line:  No solution is going to be perfect.  Everything involves tradeoffs.  But considering all the features gained for the price, as well as the speed to implementation, Volusion was a good solution.

I hope this hands-on review provides you the insight to make your shopping cart decision. I recommend Volusion if you are a small business owner with no IT personnel and are willing to stay ‘in the box.’

10 Comments ▼

Stephanie Robbins


Stephanie Robbins Stephanie Robbins is the owner at Robbins Interactive, an eRevenue consulting agency specializing in launching small businesses online. She manages the integrated online presence for all her clients including affiliate marketing, social media, search engine marketing, store management and brand monitoring.

10 Reactions

  1. Wow that’s such a powerful software. I have worked for an online store and it is about time that it changes its E-commerce software so that it can become compatible with new devices. Thanks for sharing. I will definitely recommend this to them.

  2. Hi Stephanie, thanks for the great review. We published one of Volusion back in 2010, but it sounds like the product has been enhanced since then, too.

    – Anita

  3. Volusion is a shopping cart that has stood up to the test of time. And for good reason. Easy interfaces for both end users, plenty of themes, easy checkout pages, SEO options, and e-mail marketing options make Volusion a good choice for business owners and e-commerce owners. One of their sources of revenue that have been profitable for them have come from charging for bandwidth overages. Average Volusion shopping cart owners can pay hundreds of dollars if visitors download more than your allotted traffic from Volusion. For this issue, I recommend a solution like bandwidthdiet or Amazon S3.

  4. A lot of ecommerce site builders offer professionally-designed templates that are both pleasing to the eye and can improve a customer’s overall shopping experience. Just like in a physical store, a cluttered and disorganized display will leave customers frustrated and empty-handed, whereas a streamlined and enjoyable buying process will encourage purchasing.

  5. I don’t understand WHY Volusion offers reoccurring billing option when it actually doesn’t work!!! My husband worked almost a year on his business with Volusion to get where he is today and now Volusion let him down. This is extremely disappointing and totally unprofessional.

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