Volusion was founded in Texas in 1999, so has been around for longer than most of the other SaaS platforms EcommerceIncome has posted reviews on. Volusion claims its merchants have achieved 15 billion USD in sales since its start, which is 5 times more than Bigcommerce claims its stores have generated (3 billion). There are some big companies running Volusion stores, such as Intel and 3M. There are more than 40.000 Volusion stores at the moment. In short, Volusion is one of the biggest SaaS players out there in e-commerce land. Read on to see if Volusion is the right solution for you.
Volusion’s plans range from 15 $ per month (“mini” – 100 products/1 GB bandwith/no phone support) to 135 $ per month (“premium” – unlimited products/35 GB bandwith/priority support with dedicated account manager). Comparing the plans it becomes clear that Volusion tries to cater for both the starting e-commerce entrepreneur and the biggest multi-million online businesses. We will make some concluding remarks below on whether we believe Volusion succeeds at this perceived effort, but to make comparing with the other e-commerce platforms easier we will focus here on the 35$/mo “plus” plan (1000 products/3 GB bandwith/phone support).
Until recently, Volusion always left its logo on its online stores with the text “powered by Volusion”. To remove it, you had to pay 25$/mo. Luckily they stopped doing that.
From the “Plus” plan up, Volusion offers abandoned cart reports. This is a nice feature, the only drawback is that the software doesn’t send an automated e-mail but just gives you a notification. Manually e-mailing every single potential customer who abandoned their shopping cart may be too time-consuming, especially when your business grows. Also, we are a big fan of automating everything that can be automatized.
Another nice feature is the good integration with Amazon and Ebay. It is, however, only available starting from the Pro package at 75$/month.
This is a recurring theme with the more interesting features that Volusion has on offer: only if you pay at least 75$ per month and choose the Pro package you can enjoy them. Other “Pro” features include the “deal of the day” with which you can encourage customers to keep checking back. With the Deal of the Day you can pick a product and offer a limited discount, if you wish you could even add a countdown timer next to it. With the “Pro” package you can also use the MyRewards program which allows customers to gain points when they succesfully made a purchase. Perhaps one of the most interesting “Pro” (and “Premium”) features is the possibility to take phone orders and register them directly in the dashbord environment. Some customers prefer to place an order on the phone or just don’t feel shopping online is secure.
While these may or may not be features you would like to use, there are most likely third-party integrations you would like use. Volusion only allows API access for the Pro and Premium packages. This is a serious drawback and one of two reasons seriously arguing against using anything less than the Pro package. We will discuss the second reason below.
Volusion claims to offer 76 free templates, but a look at their template store reveals that many designs are duplicated to become up to 5 “unique” designs – with the only change being the colour (see for example Bar, Bar – Blue, Bar – Green, Bar – Red, Bar – Silver). Many of the free templates look outdated.
Moreover, adaptions to the design are not so easy to make. You need to use a simple text editor, which is not WYSIWYG. Both the lack of a good choice of free templates and the difficulty of the editing may necessitate a new store owner without programming skills to spend extra money on a paid template and a designer.
It is wonderful that Volusion offers a very affordable plan at 15$/mo for the beginning e-commerce entrepreneur. It is a pity, however, that those who are likely to be new to e-commerce and therefore likely to need a helping hand most, can’t phone Volusion as this plan only includes online support.
That said, Volusion offers one of the best support available in the industry with 24/7 for all the other plans.
Bandwith Overage Charges
Volusion offers a set amount of bandwith with every plan. When you use more than this amount (3GB for Plus, 10GB for Pro) you will need to pay 7 $ per extra GB used. Besides the fact you can’t make use of API in the Plus package, we would argue that with the bandwith overage charges you better choose for the Pro package, which will cost you 75 USD per month or 810 USD per year – a significant investment for many starting e-commerce entrepreneurs.
Before you launch your store and start trying to generate your first sales, you need to make it secure. Other than most other e-commerce platforms we have seen and discussed here on EcommerceIncome, you need to sign up for a Volusion SSL security package separately (included in Shopify and Bigcommerce). These packages range between $89/year to 199$/three years.
To Conclude: A place among the “Big Three”?
In EcommerceIncome’s view, among the SaaS solutions we have discussed so far, Shopify and Bigcommerce top the bill. Is Volusion up there with them, to form the “Big Three” of Ecommerce? In theory it could be, as it has interesting features, reasonably good support and it has been around and successful enough to earn the label of a thoroughly tested product. In practice, however, for the starting e-commerce entrepreneur we find that the deal is not good enough. You will need at least a Pro package to really benefit from Volusion’s advantages and then you still didn’t secure a special or good-looking design. But of course, register for a trial version and decide for yourself!