What is Volusion?
Volusion is one of the leading hosted ecommerce platforms. They focus on providing a full toolkit for ecommerce owners who want a hosted solution. Their features lean towards the operational side of an ecommerce store (ie, inventory management, customer management, etc) over marketing-led features.
On the spectrum of ecommerce solutions, Volusion lives on the end that is all-inclusive and provides everything you need to start, run and grow your online store while providing your own online “space” that you control and can customise.
This is very similar to Shopify in terms of how the service is provided, however it is a lot more bespoke, with a base price for base services and ‘bolt-on’s’ available for modules required after that. It also allows for a far greater management of products, categories and cross ties/related products and even the design of the site can be far more in depth.
This is a platform for the mid tier of user experience and manageability, offering far greater levels of control than Shopify but far less than Magento. It is the perfect platform for a side business that you want to grow and make your sole form of income moving forward and will allow huge growth as you work on expanding.
Pro’s and Con’s
Built-in Education & Services
There’s no shortage at all of how to guides and courses to help you run your online store. And there is also no shortage of freelancers, design agencies, and specialists who can help with design, development or marketing.
The problem usually associated with setting up an online store is Curation and Specialisation. – researching information that applies specifically to your store can be hard to find. Finding and vetting a freelancer that knows your store’s platform can be even tougher (and expensive if you choose the wrong one).
Using a company that has built-in materials and highly trained account specialists can justify the extra cost of using a platform, and this is where Volusion really excels. Not only do they do the store setup email sequence and knowledge base much like BigCommerce and Shopify, but they goes a step further with their account specialists – they really take a direct interest in your store and getting it set up exactly right. Even stores at a smaller price point seem to get a good bit of attention one on one with an agent. This is the result of a long established player in the field of hosted ecommerce!
Customer Support & Onboarding
Customer support with Volusion in terms of help with their product (the back end systems and interfaces that run the store) is prompt and efficient. However, they do not offer any assistance what so ever when it comes to anything not provided by them. For example, if a page is not displaying correctly or images are not laid out as you would expect, you will have to go to the designer/developer to get that sorted. Similarly, you will not be able to get a designer or developer to help you with a Volusion systems issue. Not because they don’t want to, but volusion keep those cards very close to their chest!
It can difficult to compare all of the costs for the running of a new online store – no matter what type of solution you choose. But even among all-inclusive ecommerce platforms like Volusion, it can be frustrating figuring out what price compares to what since no one’s tiers align at all.
Here’s how Volusion stacks up on each compared to direct competitors.
Monthly pricing – Volusion is very competitive at the top and bottom tiers. In the middle tiers, they cap products and don’t include some features vs. other options on the market.. The middle tiers can be competitive or not depending on if you have a lot of products or plan on using those features offered over lower tiers (Amazon/eBay marketplace).
Transaction fees – Volusion does not have transaction fees on any tier, where almost all other’s do.
Credit card fees – Volusion offers a service called Volusion payments with low fees. It is very competitive when compared with Shopify, in addition to integrating with other processors.
Add-on fees – this is where Volusion really falls down. To start, they cap your bandwidth at all tiers. Bandwidth with how much data can be transferred between Volusion’s server and your customer’s browser means you can quickly run out of allowance if you underestimate what you need. Once you go over your bandwidth…you start getting charged for overages. These can rack up quickly to.
And lastly, unlike Shopify, Volusion requires that you purchase an SSL certificate for on site credit card processing – these usually run at approximately £75 per year. While this is both wanted (and needed), having it as an extra needed from somewhere else just adds to the work needed and makes it just that tiny bit harder to manage.
If you would like to get in touch with us to discuss design of your Volusion store or any non technical help and services (SEO, Product management, import/export etc), click here to have a chat. Alternatively, to be take to Volusion’s ‘FAQ’ page for some more information, click here.