You may not know the Volusion name. However, odds are better than even that you’ve used one or more sites that use their design and technology. Per the company's own research, 185 million orders -- worth a total of 26 billion dollars -- have passed through Volusion sites. Although they specialize in ecommerce, their roster of services doesn’t stop there.
A list of the industries Volusion does not serve is likely to be shorter than listing the many types of clients using their sites. In short, if your business consists of selling nearly anything that can legally be sold online, there’s a good chance that Volusion has experience in your niche.
What Makes Volusion Unique?
As is common these days, Volusion offers DIY design, SEO, and site maintenance. That can seem daunting for first-timers or those migrating from other platforms. However, relative to other services (like GoDaddy) and solutions (like Magento), Volusion tends to be more intuitive and easier to understand.
Among the many features offered by Volusion:
- Responsive themes
- Intuitive WYSIWYG editor
- Custom navigation and slideshows
- Custom product displays
- Easy product sorting and categorization
- Custom domain support
- Full access to site CSS
- Secure checkout, SSL, configurable firewall, and other security features
- Robust CRM and newsletter options
- Abandoned cart monitoring
- Simple product imports via CSV
…and much more.
Going Mobile with Volusion
If you’re frustrated by a site that doesn’t display properly across different browsers and devices, you can imagine how your customers feel. What’s more, sites that aren’t properly mobile responsive can incur a penalty from Google, dropping your site in the search results and making it even harder to stand out from your competition.
Volusion sites are dynamic, intended to display properly on a full range of devices and browsers. The mobile version of your site is generated automatically. While this limits options if you want a mobile site that looks or works much differently than its desktop equivalent, it also results in fewer headaches for those who don’t code or would prefer not to take their chances. Another feature we like: in contrast to some competitors – GoDaddy comes to mind – Volusion doesn’t limit mobile functionality by pricing tiers.
While mobile responsiveness is important, SEO is absolutely vital. As with every other aspect of the service, you can handle your own keyword research, as well as your on-page and off-page SEO. You also have the option to outsource your SEO either to Volusion or a third-party contractor who has been vetted by the company.
This does incur an added expense, but it’s worthwhile. Getting up to speed on SEO best practices can be difficult, and it’s further complicated by the fact that there’s a vast trove of outdated or worthless information available; the time saved having someone who can separate the wheat from the chaff makes the investment worthwhile.
Support is available on all pricing plans, with the pricing tier determining the kind of support available. Online support is available on all plans, but is the sole option available to Mini subscribers. For Plus subscribers, online support is augmented with phone support. That continues to the Pro level, but Pro subscribers have priority over the lower tiers. Finally, Premium subscribers get support via a dedicated account manager. See below for details on pricing plans.
Is Volusion the Right Source for Novice Designers?
We’re comfortable recommending Volusion for novices. The designs are template-based, and the editor is specifically designed for ease of use. What’s more, the template library offers numerous options, making it easy to find something that’s appropriate to your niche and your sense of style alike.
Of course, template-based designs can be a double-edged sword. Some users note that the degree of customization isn’t all that it could be. That’s a common complaint among users of template-based designs regardless of the company, and may stem at least in part from the fact that the company tries to keep its designs mobile responsive.
As with SEO, amateurs finding themselves a bit lost while getting their site together can fall back on Volusion’s own designers, or from vetted outside contractors. This also entails an additional cost, but can be worthwhile if you’re looking to cut back on your aspirin consumption or if you want a site done faster than you might be able to cobble it together yourself.
Volusion Pricing: Worth the Money?
The pricing listed below is for hosted ecommerce only. Added services like SEO, design, or app integrations will incur an added cost. The service is free to try for 14 days with no credit card required, and can be billed monthly or annually thereafter with no transaction fees.
|100 Products||1,000 Products||10,000 Products||Unlimited Products|
|1 GB Bandwidth||3 GB Bandwidth||10 GB Bandwidth||35 GB Bandwidth|
|Online Support||Online/Phone Support||Priority Support||Account Manager|
|Secure Checkout||Secure Checkout||Secure Checkout||Secure Checkout|
Volusion Pros and Cons
Price: Pricing is more expensive than GoDaddy’s $29.99/month ecommerce tier, but only at the Basic level. The reason for this is that pricing climbs rapidly, but as it does, so too do the options offered. Relative to dedicated ecommerce companies, however, the pricing is highly competitive.
Bandwidth Billing: As you’ve seen from the pricing breakdown above, each tier has bandwidth limits. Under normal circumstances, the bandwidth provided for each plan is sufficient. However, if you’re hit with a sudden spike in traffic – from a new product launch, a successful Kickstarter campaign, or your business being featured on the evening news – you’ll incur fees for bandwidth overages. What’s more, businesses with small product lines but high traffic may find themselves having to opt for a higher-tier plan to rein in bandwidth overages. This is in contrast to providers like Shopify, which charge on a transaction basis that’s easier for some businesses to budget around (and to verify).
Design: The problem here isn’t the number of templates available; as noted above, there are plenty – enough so that you may well run out of ideas before you run out of templates. However, the templates aren’t geared toward those of us who like to color outside the lines.
So why is this a toss-up? Because sometimes fewer options is a good thing. That’s especially true if you’re new to design and doing this yourself. However, those constraints can also help more experienced designers from implementing every last design element, flyout, and dongle they can think of simply because they can. The simplicity keeps the focus on your product and your customers.
The Bottom Line: Is Volusion Right For Your Business?
Because many enterprise-level ecommerce businesses rely on in-house designs and IT, you won’t find the likes of Amazon or Walmart running on Volusion. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; after all, if you’re running an SMB, you want the backing of a company that understands the challenges you face on a day-to-day basis. There’s no shortage of ecommerce solutions available, from WordPress-capable ecommerce plugins to powerful competitors like BigCommerce. Volusion’s range of services, ease of use, and competitive pricing makes them a compelling option for your next (or first) ecommerce site.As with any business – online or otherwise – there are some rough edges, especially from a design standpoint. However, with a seventeen-year track record, it’s clear that this is a company that’s still growing and evolving. Volusion is a good point of entry into ecommerce, but is also powerful enough that higher-volume businesses won’t feel as though they’re saddled with a “light” solution.