Volusion might not be as massive in the eCommerce industry as Shopify or BigCommerce – but in the right circles, it has its customers and fans. With a history of over two decades, and currently actively used by over 30 thousand online retailers, it’s a strong player in the market.
Should you join the ranks of this platform’s users? Just how much exactly does Volusion have going on for it? I gave this eCommerce platform a test to find out – and certainly, discovered some great things that more advanced online retailers will enjoy.
Volusion is a great choice for building data-focused online stores, and can absolutely handle those selling hundreds of products and their variations at once.
On top of that, the super simple management dashboard allows anyone plenty of creative sales boosting without breaking a sweat. It lets you process orders, add and remove shipping options, and create discounts or sales at the click of a button.
Another thing I love is that Volusion lets you integrate drop shipping features if you want to. This means that you can sell without having to worry about stocking anything or processing any orders.
I also love the in-depth analytics that Volusion offers. Analytics is (obviously) a massive part of every online business. And seeing a very thorough analytical dashboard available at the very forefront of the platform, and it being available for everyone, no additional apps and subscriptions required, really paints a pretty picture. If you’re all about analytics, you’re going to love what Volusion does.
However, I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for everyone.
Despite what Volusion itself is saying.
The reason? Unfortunately, Volusion’s website builder lets them down a bit. There are only a handful of free themes available, the premium ones cost nearly $200 dollars, and editing your own site I can only describe as “needlessly complicated”. There certainly are builders that let you do a lot more, by working a whole lot less.
However, if you’re more of a “from scratch” type of a pro, good news – HTML and CSS editors are readily available and you can switch your theme up instantly.
In other news, the Volusion Marketplace will let you add extra features to your store by connecting apps and plugins. It offers 73 different apps – and while that isn’t anywhere close to the biggest number in the industry, you can do pretty much everything – dropshipping, accounting, reviews, you name it.
Ultimately, Volusion offers some great features, including a range of comprehensive analytics and inventory management tools. And while there are issues, it’s still not a bad builder. But if you’d like to know more – let’s get into this Volusion review and see things in-depth.
eCommerce with Volusion will cost you between $29.00 and $299.00 per month – with discounts available if you pay annually. All plans include zero transaction fees, unlimited bandwidth, a secure checkout, and access to the full store builder.
Other Volusion reviews have suggested that these plans are a bit expensive, but they’re actually very similar to the ones offered by industry giants like Shopify and BigCommerce. Like most eCommerce providers, Volusion doesn’t offer a free plan, but they do let you try their products out with a two-week free trial.
The Personal plan comes in at just $29/month, and is the best choice for small stores that are just starting out. It lets you list up to 100 products, sell up to $50,000 worth of stock each year, and includes simple inventory management and social media integration features.
The Professional plan is more expensive at $79/month, but it starts to unlock more advanced features. It lets you list up to 5000 products, sell up to $100,000 worth of stock per year, and add up to five staff accounts. It also unlocks product reviews, abandoned cart reports, and the ability to take phone orders.
The Business plan ($299/month) offers solutions for all but the largest online stores, allowing you to list unlimited products and sell up to $500,000 each year. You will be able to integrate your store with external marketplaces, create customer loyalty programs, and add advanced shipping calculators.
Finally, the Prime plan offers enterprise-level solutions that are customized according to your needs. Prices vary according to the exact features you want, which means you will need to speak to the Volusion team to find out more if you want this level of service.
A lot of Volusion reviews suggest that the store builder is both hard to use and very limited. Let me tell you – it ain’t that dramatic.
Sure, Volusion may be a little difficult to master at first, and there’s not much design freedom. But the lack of freedom is swiftly compensated by CSS and HTML editing features, and the visual interface of the platform is fairly simple once you get the hang of it.
Signing up with Volusion, for instance, is a matter of minutes. I didn’t have to provide any credit card or other payment details to access the 14-day free trial, which is something I really like.
Once I finished the signup process I was taken straight to the Volusion store editor, where I selected my theme and pretty much got straight into the editing process.
Now, Volusion certainly isn’t the most customizable eCommerce website builder out there. In fact, it’s probably one of those in the bottom half. It lets you change your content, but the layout of your site is pretty much confined to the layout of the theme you choose.
On the other hand, one good thing is that you can switch themes easily without having to repopulate your content – something that some other eCommerce providers don’t offer.
I was also impressed by how easy it was to add products to my Volusion store. I simply had to upload photos, add a product name, code, description, and price, and click save. Volusion also gives you the ability to bulk upload products if that makes things easier.
You can also edit products, add categories, and manage product variations from the inventory management tab. This makes it easy to keep track of everything that you’re selling, even if you have quite a large offering.
Finally, I found the Volusion dashboard quite easy to navigate. The dashboards homepage gives a great overview of your store’s recent performance, while the tabs at the top give you quick access to pretty much everything you need to edit and manage your business.
Unfortunately, Volusion really lacks a decent selection of themes. It provides 45 themes – which might not sound too bad – but only 11 of them are free. The other 34 themes cost $180 each, which is quite a serious premium to pay.
However, it’s worth noting that all of these themes are well designed, with full responsiveness and mobile optimization included. You can also edit all of your HTML and CSS code, so it is possible to customize most things if you really want to.
You will find that there are a few great niche templates, but not many. If you can’t find one that suits your store then you might have to use a basic generic design.
Ultimately, the lack of templates that Volusion provides is an area where they could really improve. If you’re looking for an eCommerce store builder that gives you access to a lot of pre-designed themes and templates, Volusion isn’t a good choice.
Since it’s a dedicated eCommerce store builder, Volusion websites come with some of the best features in the industry.
Let’s see at some of the real money-making features.
For one, I was very impressed with the range of data collection and analytics tools that Volusion provides. It pretty much tracks everything that you could ever want to know. This includes things like advertising campaign performance, who buys what, and how many people abandon their cart before completing the purchasing process.
This data is presented in an easy to read and follow format. You will find basic stats shown in graphs on the homepage of your Volusion dashboard, while more in-depth data can be accessed via the reports tab at the top of the page.
You can generate reports for many kinds of things, on various time periods. Whatever stats you need, Volusion can deliver.
Ultimately, if you care about getting the data – Volusion has a great in-house option for you to choose.
I also like the range of marketing features that Volusion offers. For starters, it lets you connect a range of external marketplaces, including Facebook, Google, eBay, and Amazon, making cross-platform selling simple.
It includes a range of great SEO tools, helping your site rank well on the search engine results pages. At the same time, email marketing is made easy with Volusion’s automatic mailing system, while you can promote certain products or categories with flash sales and discounts. You can also integrate MailChimp, Constant Contact or some other applications.
For me, Volusion performs pretty well on the marketing front. All of its marketing features can be found in one simple place, making it easy to manage your campaigns and increase your sales.
Finally, Volusion also offers a range of other great eCommerce features that are comparable to those offered by industry leaders like Shopify and BigCommerce.
Its inventory management system is very intuitive, it lets you set up informational pages to boost your SEO rankings, and it lets you integrate dropshipping if you want to. You can also add and manage customer reviews, generate barcodes, and customize the way your products are displayed.
I particularly love the Volusion mobile app, which makes it super easy to manage your store whenever you have a bit of spare time. It lets you do everything from editing your store’s appearance to managing your inventory and processing orders.
In order to get an idea of the eCommerce platform’s performance, I ran two quick tests on my store. Unfortunately, Volusion’s performance wasn’t all that good.
First, I ran a GTMetrix load speed test. As you can see in the image below, both the PageSpeed score and the YSlow score are quite low, suggesting problems with my store’s optimization. The full page load time was 4.9 seconds, which is simply a bit weak. Normally, I’d expect such an eCommerce site to load in less than 3 seconds.
I also wanted to see how my store stood up under high visitor loads. Using a LoadImpact performance test, I tested how it responded to 50 virtual users (green line in the image below) over a period of ten minutes.
Unfortunately, it didn’t do all that well again. The server response times (blue line) varied a lot, increasing to over one second at times. This tells me that the servers (or their optimization) that Volusion hosts their stores on aren’t very good.
Through this Volusion review, I’ve found that it’s a great eCommerce provider for people who want access to a range of powerful data analysis and inventory management tools. However, it has some issues with design and performance.
However, when it comes to eCommerce features I was impressed with what Volusion has to offer. It gives you access to some great marketing tools, a powerful mobile app, and all of the basic selling features that you would expect from a major eCommerce provider. Not offering digital sales was a disappointment, but not a deal-breaker.
Volusion fell down on two fronts; performance and design flexibility. It only offers a limited number of templates, and most of these are expensive premium designs. Similarly, the store editor is very limited, and only really lets you customize things in line with the theme that you’ve chosen. I did find it quite easy to use, however.
On the performance front, Volusion did badly. Its page load speeds and server response times were high, suggesting that there might be a few problems with both its core code files and its hosting servers.
Volusion is a decent choice for aspiring online store owners who want access to powerful inventory management and analytics tools, but it certainly isn’t the only option available. Here are a few alternatives that you should consider if Volusion’s drawbacks are simply a bit too much.
If design flexibility is a priority for you then Wix is a great choice. With one of the world’s best drag-and-drop website builders and decent eCommerce features, it lets you build a highly customized store. Besides, it’s quite perfect for beginners.
One of the world’s leading eCommerce providers, Shopify offers nearly everything Volusion does – and just a little bit more. A pro-oriented solution, it’s used by a lot of major companies to do major business.
Focused on supreme simplicity, SITE123 is a website builder that allows anyone to make an online shop in a matter of minutes. And it’s also a solid option for those on a slightly stricter budget.