If you’re looking to make a buck online, finding the right e-commerce platform is key. The category is packed with competition, but Volusion stands out from the competition with its zero transaction fees, many marketing tools, and third-party integrations. Although those are welcome features, Volusion’s non-enterprise plans aren’t quite as robust as those offered by Shopify and Wix Stores, our Editors’ Choice picks for e-commerce services. Still, the service has many elements that may appeal to small businesses.
Volusion’s E-Commerce Packages
Like a few other e-commerce platforms we’ve reviewed, Volusion is a platform where you build a shop that’s hosted on the company’s servers (in other words, you can’t add it to a WordPress installation). If you want to try before you buy, Volusion offers a free, 14-day trial run that lets you set up a store and test transactions. Shopify and Wix Stores offer a similar test time, while BigCommerce one ups them all with a slightly longer 15-day trial.
You Can Trust Our Reviews
Volusion has four available packages, though the top-tier one is a custom plan intended for Enterprise-level customers. The Personal plan starts at $29 per month, and offers a single staff account, the ability to sell 100 products, and online support. The $79-per-month Professional plan lets you sell up to 5,000 products, and delivers five staff accounts, phone-based help, newsletters, phone orders, and abandoned cart reports. The Business plan (a massive $299 per month) supports unlimited products, 15 staff accounts, Amazon and eBay integrations, third-party shipping calculations, and batch order processing. All plans let you set up a Facebook store, use a mobile app to manage your shop, and create slideshows.
A while back, Volusion had monthly data transfer caps, but that’s no longer the case; every account now has unlimited monthly data transfers. However, the company’s taken one step forward and one step back. Now, there’s a gross revenue limit for every plan. Personal, Professional, and Business have $50k, $100k, and $500k annual limits, respectively. In contrast, PinnacleCart only has revenue restrictions on its Standard plan, and that limit is $250,000. Shopify has no sales limits. Unlike Shopify, Volusion makes you pay for a SSL certificate (starting at $149 per year).
Building a Store and Accepting Payments
Creating a Volusion store is a simple affair—at least in the beginning. We didn’t need a credit card for the trial period, which is a plus, and Volusion’s interface is easy to navigate. The service has a navigation bar for Orders, Customers, Inventory, Marketing, Design, Reports and Settings. It’s simple to add products to your database, but if you have questions, click a field’s question mark icon for more information. Volusion starts with a few products already in the database, which is a nice touch, and the built-in search tool makes it easy to find products already listed in the system.
Then things get complex. The Add Products page is split into three sections: Basic, Image Management, and Advanced Info. Image management lets you keep track of the product images. Volusion dumps everything beyond product name and basic description into the Advanced Info section, including details about pricing, shipping, SEO terms, and third-party integrations. This gets confusing, and even overwhelming. We much prefer BigCommerce, Shopify, and Wix Stores’ simplicity.
Volusion offers more than 100 free templates and paid templates. The e-commerce service supports a decent number of third-party app integrations for expanded functionality, but BigCommerce and Shopify offer way more apps. Volusion now lets you edit templates without tweaking raw HTML, which is a nice update. That said, you can still alter the HTML and CSS code, if you so choose.
We really like Volusion’s built-in features, such as eBay integration, coupons, wish lists, customer reviews, and one-page checkout. You can also use the built-in affiliate management system to create affiliate marketers (similar to the Amazon Associates program) to drive traffic and sales to your store. The abandoned cart feature is particularly nice, as it lets you see which customers stopped shopping partway through, or which customer still has items in the shopping cart. With most e-commerce services, including Shift4Shop and Shopify, you use third-party tools to set up loyalty programs. Volusion offers the MyRewards program right out of the box.
We were able to build a Volusion shop during our trial period, but the process was much more involved and time-consuming than what we experienced testing the competition. It required a lot of effort to figure out what to do regarding domain names. For example, we had trouble discerning if we should point our existing domain name to the shopping cart application or if we should simply register a new domain. A wizard would’ve been mighty helpful. In addition, Volusion’s website builder lacks the ease of use found in Shopify and Wix Stores’ products.
To collect payments, you can use one a third-party payment gateway, such as Amazon Payments or PayPal, or select Volusion’s in-house Merchant Services app. Like Shopify, Volusion has the ability to accept credit card payments offline, if, for example, you want to take them over the phone. Volusion also lets you set up recurring billing, which is handy if you’re selling subscriptions.
Using a Volusion Store
An online store isn’t just inventory pages and order forms. For example, Volusion’s dashboard displays product statistics, such as total sales and top products. Plus, you can use Volusion’s customer relationship management (CRM) system to communicate with customers, see order histories, and track support queries. If you want to create a blog to communicate with customers, you must set up a separate blog and link to it. Sadly, Volusion lacks an integrated blogging tool.
As customers, we found it easy to navigate our Volusion storefront. We like that you can add items to the cart and keep shopping, instead of going straight to checkout. Volusion has responsive pages, so you’ll be able to shop in context on desktop and mobile.
Decent Customer Service
Volusion offers 24/7 support for all plans, but keep in mind that the Personal tier only has live chat support—no phone assistance. The service has a comprehensive knowledge base and video tutorials that help when you can’t get someone on the horn, and the search tool is good at turning up relevant pages. However, we would have also liked a user forum, such as those offered by BigCommerce and Shift4Shop.
When it comes to receiving pricing information, you must speak with a sale support team member because the customer support team doesn’t seem to know about the different fee structures. We were disappointed to discover that sales team’s live chat was frequently unavailable in the middle of a work day. Customer service chat was responsive, in comparison. Still, we found it easy to get someone in chat even at 1 a.m. on a weeknight, and the phone support representative answered all our questions.
Good for Small Businesses
Volusion has good marketing tools, doesn’t charge transaction fees, and unlimited monthly data transfers with each plan. It’s a fine service for online shopping novices, but revenue limitations may impact your growth (and the website builder’s interface has several rough edges). Check out Shopify and Wix Stores, our Editors’ Choice picks, for more well-rounded e-commerce experiences that give you online store room to grow.
For more on e-commerce, check out Building an E-Commerce Website: 8 Technical Aspects You Need to Know and How to Secure Your E-Commerce Website.
Juan Martinez contributed to this review.
The Bottom Line
Volusion is an e-commerce platform that has many features small businesses need to create well-designed online stores, including marketing tools, a helpful knowledgebase, and zero transaction fees.
Like What You’re Reading?
Sign up for Lab Report to get the latest reviews and top product advice delivered right to your inbox.
Source By https://www.pcmag.com/reviews/volusion