It’s a shame that only a handful of big names dominate each of the software niches. Whether it’s SEMrush or AhRefs for SEO and keyword research, Hootsuite for social media, or Salesforce for CRM, these giants hog the spotlight from all the other great options out there.
Nowhere is this truer than eCommerce and Shopify. Shopify is a great option, but it’s far from the only player in the industry. One of the biggest names you may have never heard of is Volusion.
Since 1999, Volusion has helped more than 30,000+ merchants conduct $28 billion in sales across its stores. The website and eCommerce store builder are easy to use, full of functionality, and affordably priced. And they’ve recently had a major UI update, so if you tried them out in the past and weren’t a fan, this is a good opportunity to give them a second look.
Is Volusion better Shopify? Should you switch your current eCommerce platform to it? Discover what you need to know in this ultimate Volusion review.
What Is Volusion?
Volusion dates back to 1999. Founder Kevin Sproles was just 16 when he started a business coding shopping cart for burgeoning web platforms. It’s hard to remember that far back, but these were the earliest days of online shopping. Since then, he grew the business into the broad and dynamic eCommerce platform that it is today.
Volusion focuses on SMBs in particular and includes a variety of tools to transform your eCommerce vision into a reality. You can begin the Create kit, which consists of a variety of customizable templates to use for your website.
From here, you can use a variety of tools that enhance the buying experience, make it easy to track invoice and inventory, and expand your outreach through a variety of lead generation techniques.
Connectivity is the key to Volusion, so there are plenty of native third-party integrations along with an API for developers. Finally, pricing is flexible with plans starting from just $15/month working all the way to robust offerings for enterprises. Some of these larger clients, by the way, have included huge names like Intel and 3M.
- Site builder
- Lead generation
- SEO-optimized sites
- Marketing tools
- Abandoned cart reports
- 99.9% uptime guarantee
- Email marketing
- Secure checkout
- Catalog management
- Inventory management
- Multi-store management
Getting Started With Volusion
Volusion offers a no credit card required 14-day free trial. To get started, simply enter your email account and set an account password. You’ll then be taken to your admin panel, where you can begin designing your storefront or check out your dashboard.
The platform is really straightforward to use. It also includes onboarding materials, including a video and a checklist to make sure you have everything you need for your ideas to go live.
Once your store is complete, you can begin listing products and services in your catalog as well as import them via CSV. What’s really cool is you don’t need an established customer base to start seeing sales.
Volusion helps you drive traffic and achieve SE rankings through SEO tools and integrations with Amazon and eBay marketplaces. Setting up payments is easy as well though you’ll need to use a Zapier integration if you plan to use Square (though that’s easy enough to do!)
Volusion has three main pricing tiers, primarily based on the volume of sales your business makes. As your business grows, you get bumped up into the next pricing tier. This also gives you access to more features and better customer support tools.
Here’s a breakdown of what you get at each membership tier:
- From $29/month
- Up to $50,000 year in sales
- 1 Staff account
- Unlimited file storage and bandwidth
- Unlimited products
- Automatic tax calculator
- Integrated dropshipping
- Manual orders
- Online Support
- Up to $100K in annual sales
- All Personal features plus
- 5 Staff accounts
- Bulk order processing
- Fulfillment centers
- Advanced discount engine
- Competitive shipping rates
- Online and phone support
- From $299/month
- All Startup feature plus
- $150/month in “Quick Wins” credits
- 15 staff accounts
- Dedicated success team
- Traffic growth consultation
- Premium shipping rates
- Priority support
How does this stack up with Shopify? While Shopify does have a cheaper entry plan at $9/month, this won’t give you a full-fledged eCommerce store. You have to be at least on the similarly priced $29/month basic plan.
The area that gets tricky, though, is the price caps that Volusion puts on its plans. Shopify doesn’t have these. So, if you’re good on the Basic plan, you can stay there for $29.99/month even if you gross $500K+ or year. It would be nice if Volusion offered this, but most people doing those kinds of sales are going to need the advanced features the more expensive monthly plans provide anyway.
Volusion is packed with features. The whole point of it is to be a comprehensive solution for everything you need to launch your eCommerce platform.
Here are some of the main things you’ll do with Volusion:
1. Site Design And Templates
Volusion offers 40+ free and premium themes you can install to build your site. Designing your website from here is easy. You can upload product photos, insert descriptions, and take advantage of stock photos from Splash to get a fantastic-looking platform in no time.
Volusion thrives at the back end of eCommerce. You have a wide array of inventory features that other eCommerce builders don’t offer. The first is product videos, which are a great way to show off product features.
In addition, ‘suggested products’ is another great option you can only get via third-party integration on Shopify. Likewise, inventory management and other offerings are also excellent.
Volusion can accept payments from 30+ processors, including PayPal and Stripe, along with Authorize.Net, which is a popular processor in Europe. With a Merchant account, you’ll also be able to accept payments directly. Further, with the newest Volusion, you’ll be able to use Google Pay and Apple Pay along with accept in-store payments for those with brick and mortar locations.
4. Digital Products
In the past, Volusion didn’t support digital products. If this turned you away in the past, pay attention because it now does. The setup is a little unusual but not too difficult. You add a product, and in advanced info, add the download file name and upload the respective files. You’ll also have to mark the product as “shipped” to allow customer access to it.
It’s a little strange at first, but easy enough to get the hang of and deploy for a variety of uses.
Dropshipping is the new normal for many eCommerce platforms. Just look at the many dropshipping apps and solutions out there, from Spocket to Funnel Genie. Volusion offers an easy-to-use and fully integrated Fulfillment Service apps so you can ship products directly from your suppliers. Do note this feature is currently only available in the US.
Important Note: No Built-In Blog
This isn’t really a feature so much as an absence of one. Volusion doesn’t include a built-in blog. We all know how important blogs are for inbound marketing, so what are you supposed to do?
You’ll have to link your blog through a subdomain while using a CMS like WordPress. While this isn’t the most difficult thing in the world, it’s definitely an inconvenience, and once less added stress, you don’t need on your plate.
Who Should Use Volusion?
We didn’t go into the scores of other Volusion features. The best thing about it, however, is the extensive inventory management tools. It gives you powerful analytics and allows you to truly see the data.
However, in everything aside from sales, it sits in the middle of the pack. While the templates are helpful, they’re pretty average. Likewise, plan pricing is actually in the middle to slightly more expensive than the other options out there. Finally, while it does have integrations, there are plenty of tools there have more options and thus more flexibility.
Basically, it does the selling part very well. So, if you want a decent looking shop focused on analytics and sales, but don’t have the time or interest in creating a truly unique platform, then Volusion might be the right fit for you.
Is Volusion Worth It?
Volusion is a solid option for building an eCommerce platform. Is it the best? No. But it is a great option for businesses focused on sales and who really need all the data to see how well they’re doing. It’s definitely a good option for those new to the eCommerce world.
And its plans are both affordable and flexible. While the sales caps are a little annoying, they are not that restrictive. It’s a low investment too. Between the free trial and $29/month basic plan, you can give it a try for a few months for less than $100 to see if it’s the right fit for your needs. If not, it’s easy enough to export your data and take your business elsewhere.
- Huge range of features
- Mobile app
- Accepts many payment methods
- Excellent analytics tools
- Supports dropshipping
- Easy to use
- Open API
- Great customer support
- Selling digital products is a little clunky
- No built-in blog
- Fewer integrations compared to Shopify
- Sales limits based on plans
Of course, there is Shopify. So, which is better? It’s honestly a toss-up. Many people will gravitate to Shopify naturally since it’s the most popular option out there.
Some of the reasons to use it over Volusion include multi-currency support, built-in blogging (though it could be better), more apps and integrations. But Volusion has no transaction fees on any plans, fewer limits on products, and great inventory management tools. It’s a bit of a toss-up.
If you have a WordPress site, though, it’s worth looking into WooCommerce.
What Is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is a free plugin for WP that integrates with your themes and plugins. It doesn’t offer as many features as Volusion or Shopify, but it’s an effective tool for WordPress users, and did we mention it’s free?
You’ll still have a few associated extra costs (like a domain and hosting), but it’s definitely a good value. If you’re a WP fan and want to keep everything in that ecosystem, then you should definitely check it out.
All of these options do offer either free plans or free trials, so check them out to see which one is best tailored for your eCommerce needs.
Volusion: The Verdict
Volusion makes it easy for anybody to create an eCommerce platform. They offer a wide feature set that is particularly sales and inventory-management driven. If you don’t need the most unique looking platform on the web, but still want powerful eCommerce tools, then be sure to give this software a shot.
Ease Of Use
Volusion is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that focuses on SMBs. It includes a variety of features such as site design, templates, dropshipping, digital products, and more. Volusion also allows for plenty of native third-party integrations as well as an API for developers. Read our ultimate review of Volusion and see if you should switch to this eCommerce platform.