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
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.
It is simple just as all mobile stores should be. In other words, it works – out of the box.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
I ended up creating a custom export as the existing solution was not robust enough for my client.
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.’