This is my free and in-depth Volusion review with pros and cons so that you can determine if their ecommerce platform suits your needs for selling online.
In a world full of hosted ecommerce platforms, we are the first to admit that choosing the right platform is tough. A lot of the online store builders offer all sorts of tools and things can get confusing.
In my mind, whether you are looking to create a new online store or expand your existing business, Volusion offers everything you need to start.
What is Volusion? Is it for me?
Volusion is a hosted ecommerce platform with over 15 years of ecommerce experience. Over 40,000 online shops use Volusion to run and manage their ecommerce business. In addition, their platform has helped merchants process over $21 billion in sales.
For a monthly fee, you will be able to use Volusion to create an online store and sell products online.
Because it is a hosted ecommerce platform, Volusion handles all of the technical stuff behind the scenes – things like hosting, platform updates, etc. You will not have to buy a hosting account.
The platform is very flexible and user-friendly, so it will fit the needs of a lot of businesses out there. As you can see in the image below, even larger online stores trust Volusion for ecommerce.
And, by not having to pay for transaction fees, you will be able to keep more of your profits.
The only problem with Volusion is the amount of bandwidth you get with each plan. Large stores with a lot of traffic will quickly exceed their bandwidth and incur additional fees. Fortunately, they offer an Enterprise solution that is more than capable of fixing the bandwidth problem.
No matter the size of your business, I believe that Volusion is a good candidate for ecommerce.
Pros of using Volusion for ecommerce
1. Instantly design an online store with free and premium responsive themes
By having a professional, elegant, and clean design, you will build trust and credibility with your customers. Also, the overall design of your store / website has a direct effect on your conversion rates.
Just imagine if Amazon and eBay had a messy look, millions of shoppers would probably not shop there.
Thankfully, Volusion offers you 13 free and responsive themes that you can instantly add to your online store.
In addition, they offer 27 premium themes, ranging from $50 to $180. While this sounds pricey, just remember that it is a one-time fee and you will be able to use the themes forever.
All of the themes can be edited to your liking using a simple file / template editor. Since it is not a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, you will have to spend some time learning how to work with HTML and CSS.
From the design page, you can add a store logo and favicon. You can also create and manage navigation menus and other site content.
2. Create unlimited product options
You can add unlimited photos and videos to all of your products. In addition, you can add product variants such as colors, sizes, textures, etc.
3. Sell products with recurring billing
Whether you are selling software licenses or subscription services, you may have to charge recurring fees. And with Volusion’s recurring billing feature, you will be able to just that.
Go to “recurring billing” that is located under your orders tab in the admin dashboard to set up and manage the recurring billing features.
Volusion is one of only a handful of ecommerce platforms that offers recurring billing for free. With other ecommerce platforms, you need to install a recurring billing app that you need to pay for.
4. Rank higher with solid search engine optimization tools
All of Volusion’s plans offer built-in SEO options. You will be able to use multiple schema.org markup snippets (things like product star ratings, product pricing, and product availability) that will be visible on search engines.
By adding these markups, search engines will understand your site structure and content properly.
You can also add friendly store URLs, meta page titles, and keywords that will further strengthen and optimize your online store.
5. Easily add powerful features from the app store
This is one of the most useful elements of using Volusion for ecommerce. They offer an app store full of third party apps that you can purchase (some are free) to add extra functionality to your online store.
Whether you install a free or premium app, you will automate a lot of the business tasks. This will allow you to have more time to focus on other parts of your business.
For example, you can install an email marketing service and send newsletters to your customers, add live chat functions to improve your customer service, and add a customer referral program to increase sales.
Volusion already includes basic functions for most of these areas, but the apps are there to streamline your business.
You do not have to purchase or use any of the apps above to run a successful business, but they are there in case you need to use them later on.
6. Automatically recover abandoned carts
On all plans except “Mini,” Volusion offers abandoned cart reports. This feature helps you identify shoppers who added products to their cart but didn’t complete the purchase.
By accessing this feature, you will be able to contact your customers and attempt to recover those lost sales.
On average, abandoned cart reports and other sales recovery features are able to recover about 15% of lost sales.
This is quickly becoming a must-have feature for online stores because this feature makes it easy to salvage sales.
I found this to be a big advantage of using Volusion because many other platforms do not offer this feature right out of the box.
7. Sell products with mobile commerce
If you do not have a store that is optimized for mobile shoppers, you are probably losing money – a lot of it. Every year, there is an increase in the number of shoppers that use their mobile and tablet devices to purchase products online.
As mentioned above, a lot of Volusion’s themes are already responsive and optimized for ecommerce.
Volusion offers a free mobile storefront and checkout tool that automatically optimizes your store for mobile and tablet devices. This feature is automatically enabled, so you do not have to adjust any of the settings.
By having the feature enabled, your customers will have a user-friendly shopping experience.
In addition, Volusion offers a free mobile app that you can download and manage your business on the go. By using the mobile app, you will be able to add new products, view orders, track store performance, etc.
The app is free to download, but it is only compatible with iOS and Android devices.
8. Hosting, security, and backup options for your store
As mentioned above, Volusion is a hosted ecommerce platform, so web hosting is included with all plans. While you do not have to purchase web hosting to use Volusion, I recommend purchasing a custom domain name for your store (the best place to buy a domain name is NameCheap).
Their web hosting servers are optimized and built for ecommerce and utilize the latest content delivery network technology.
Additionally, their hosting servers are monitored 24/7 and offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee, which is the industry standard. The best part is that they manage the entire hosting process, so you will have enough time to focus on other aspects of your business.
A lot of you will process credit card payments through your store, so you will need a SSL certificate to protect and encrypt the information that is transmitted through your store. While Volusion does not offer a free shared SSL certificate, they offer premium SSL certificates (ranging from $89 to $399) that you can purchase.
Volusion offers an automatic daily back up feature where they store your products, orders, inventory, and other store information on their data centers.
All of these extra ecommerce features discussed above are included in your monthly plan with Volusion.
9. Keep more profits with no transaction fees
Volusion does not charge any transaction fees. You are free to sign up for any plan and use any payment processing service without having to worry about being charged additional transaction fees.
No matter what ecommerce platform you use, you will incur transaction fees from your payment processing service. However, these fees are not charged by Volusion. Every payment processing service will give you a list of fees that they charge.
10. Accept payments from multiple payment processors
Volusion offers dozens of payment gateways that you can use in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. These include PayPal, Stripe, Bean Stream, Sage Pay, Authorize.net, Skrill, etc.
Cons of using Volusion for ecommerce
1. All plans offer limited bandwidth
Bandwidth is the amount of traffic space that your website uses – and it is usually measured on a monthly basis. When potential customers visit your store, when they access or view the graphics and other content on your store, it takes up space – that space is called bandwidth. So in theory, the more visitors and content you have, the more bandwidth your store will use.
This is one of the biggest drawbacks of using Volusion for your online shop. Their smallest plan (Mini) offers 1GB of bandwidth while their largest plan (Premium) offers 35GB of bandwidth.
While this is not an issue for smaller stores, large online stores will quickly go over these limits and incur bandwidth overage fees. As of the time I wrote this Volusion review, current bandwidth overage fees are set at $7 per GB.
So in theory, if you go over your bandwidth limit by 5GB in a single month, you will be charged an extra $35 for that month. In order to avoid these fees, you will need to upgrade to a larger plan.
Fortunately, there are measures that you can take to reduce your monthly bandwidth usage such as:
- Choosing the correct file type (jpg and gif are the best) and avoid using large product photos.
- Hosting your downloadable files and videos on a free, online third-party service (YouTube is the best for hosting videos).
- Avoiding the frequent usage of the product import / export tool as these files can be large.
2. No built-in blogging platform
While Volusion offers a simple integration with third-party blogs such as Blogger and WordPress, they do not have a built-in blogging platform.
And, if you add an existing WordPress or Blogger blog to your store, Volusion offers poor analytics implementation. Adding any type of tracking to your blog needs to be hard-coded in all the page templates, which can be confusing.
Most other hosted ecommerce platforms offer a built-in blogging platform that they host for you.
3. Not appealing to a lot of stores
As mentioned above, Volusion has over 15 years of ecommerce experience (founded in 1999) and hosts over 40,000 online stores. While these sound like great numbers, they are not.
Just look how their platform compares to other leading ecommerce store builders.
Shopify (see my Shopify review) began offering their ecommerce platform in 2006 and they now host over 325,000 stores. On the other hand, BigCommerce (see my BigCommerce review) started in 2009 and now hosts over 100,000 online stores.
As you can see by comparing the numbers above, a majority of shop owners are building their online stores using a different ecommerce platform.
While the statistics above do not mean much, it is a clear indication that Volusion is no longer an appealing online store builder users turn to for ecommerce.
Customer support and resources
Volusion offers a 24/7 customer support department. You can reach them on the phone, live chat, and email.
In addition to the support above, Volusion offers you free access to their ecommerce blog, support guides, and video tutorials. They also provide you with a list of certified Volusion experts that can help you with design and other business functions.
When running an ecommerce business, you can expect to run into problems at some point. That is why support is an important function of any business.
Thankfully, Volusion has you covered with their 24/7 support access.
Pricing – Is Volusion worth the investment?
Volusion is a premium hosted ecommerce platform that has a monthly fee. So, if free is what you are looking for, Volusion is definitely not for you.
But, if you want a complete, all-in-one ecommerce store builder that can help you create an online store, sell products worldwide, and automate a lot of the administrative business tasks, Volusion is an excellent candidate to consider.
If you can find even the smallest reason to justify the idea of paying a monthly fee for an online store builder, Volusion should be on your list of platforms to try.
In terms of pricing, Volusion plans range from $15 for the Mini plan to $135 for the Premium plan. There is a 10% discount that is applied to all annual plans (e.g. the $135 Premium plan would be discounted to $121.50 per month).
In addition to the four plans above, Volusion offers an Enterprise solution for large online stores that need more resources. It is a custom plan that is built around your business.
Volusion offers a 14-day free trial that you can sign up for and determine if the platform is for you. Your credit card is not needed for the free trial period. And, if you see that the platform is not for your business, you can always walk away without any financial loss to you.
So, if you want to run and manage an online business, but also want enough time to spend with your family, Volusion is worth the investment.
Volusion Review – Conclusion and recommendation
In conclusion, I feel that Volusion is an excellent candidate for building an online shop and selling your products online. Specifically, I am impressed with two unique things:
- Recurring billing – if you are selling software license or subscription services, recurring billing is a must. Volusion offers this feature with all of their plans for free. Other platforms usually charge an extra fee for a similar feature.
- Transaction fees – unlike other ecommerce platforms, Volusion does not charge any transactions fees. You can sign up for any plan and use any payment processing service without incurring any extra fees.
In order to manage a successful online shop, you will need a strong ecommerce platform that is capable and flexible enough to support your business needs.
So, if you need an ecommerce platform to sell your products online, Volusion needs to be on your list of things to try.
Volusion offers a 14-day free trial that you can sign up for to determine if it suits your business needs without any financial loss to you.
What are your thoughts on using Volusion for ecommerce?