All In One Shopping Cart Solution – Volusion Review

By Yaro Starak
30 Comments

Volusion Shopping CartHave you ever had to make the choice for your business of what shopping cart to use? Yeah, me too.

At first it’s quite tough when you know nothing about each of the different service providers, not to mention all the different types of shopping carts and software packages.

Do you need a merchant account or shopping cart software? Do you host on your server or use an external provider and why can’t you just use Paypal? (incidentally, I do just use Paypal now).

Today I’ve got a review for you of another all-in-one externally hosted shopping cart system, called Volusion, although Volusion appears to be much more than just a shopping cart.

One thing about doing these reviews is I never have enough time (or desire) to test or read about all the features of a site. Given only a few days to write the review is not a huge window of opportunity for testing, so I want to be clear right from the start, this review is my thoughts based on reading what the Volusion website states and my own experiences hunting around for a shopping cart provider. I cannot verify the quality of the service based on actually using it.

All in one solution

If you are a beginner at ecommerce the offer presented by volusion is a solid one – they will host your site and provide you with all the ecommerce tools you need to sell online.

On the surface this is a good thing. You only have to deal with one company for everything. Normally I’d be suspect of the quality of the hosting servers, but Volusion uses RackSpace, which has a great rep based on what I have read online.

The only issue with this is the “eggs all in one basket” syndrome. Once you become dependent on a company like this you are well and truly dependent. That may not be an issue if the service is good, but given the restrictions of time on this review I can’t verify whether that is the case. I couldn’t find any conclusive commentary online about Volusion services besides the standard few grumbles here and there, but there was praise too (no company has a 100% spotless online record).

Volusion has a nice looking site, some solid credibility boosters in the form of industry awards for best shopping cart software and says all the right things like “search engine optimized” AND they have a 14 day free trial too.

I was most impressed to see that they have a blog with a pagerank of 7, no doubt because their own site has a pagerank of 8, clearly demonstrating some SEO expertise. The fact that they are using blogs for reviews also demonstrates to me that they see the power of the blogosphere, demonstrating their knowledge of current trends in the online marketing industry. They also feature a ton of solid testimonials and a collection of high profile clients, including Barack Obama 08 campaign.

The pricing structure is good, with an entry level plan starting at $20 a month, going up to a $100 platinum unlimited plan. They offer SEO services and also “traffic services” as they call it, which is Pay-Per-Click advertising and yes, they are a certified Google AdWords expert too according to the website badge.

All in all, on the surface of it, the website is convincing, professional, has all the right credibility tools and is a company I would at least trial if I was in the market for a shopping cart solution and perhaps more, given they seem to do just about everything. I’d make sure I was sure of what I wanted, do my research first and then start my trial and ask all the questions then to be certain I knew that Volusion was going to meet my needs today and in the future. This would also be good a good time to test their support and see how thoroughly they respond to questions.

I sometimes worry about companies that appear to do *everything* well. I prefer specialist experts at one thing – like Perry Marshall for AdWords, or Jeff Walker for product launch – but there is still room for companies to offer all the services and do a good job, but in this case I just can’t vouch for Volusion based on experience. There are often inherent problems with jack-of-all service providers, but looking through the features of the Volusion website, they certainly have their game together based on their website presentation.

Yaro Starak

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30 Comments

  • At present I just use PayPal too, even if I don’t like the percentage they take for their service. Did someone mention Google Checkout? Anyway, having weighed up the pros and cons of using a shopping cart I’m satisfied with PayPal for now.

    All the best Yaro.

  • I’ve used Volusion’s LiveChat and that’s worked very well for my e-commerce sites. I was actually thinking about using their shopping cart/checkout product, but I haven’t had enough time to tinker with it yet. However, their shopping cart/checkout solution looks very promising. It’s built on the same framework as their LiveChat (ASP.NET) and if their LiveChat solution is any indication, I’m sure their shopping cart/checkout offering would be well worth the money.

    I do agree with you in saying that putting far too many eggs in one basket is a very risky proposition. I’ve always kept hosting and domain services separate, and that extends to other services that I use (analytics, etc.) but I think having my LiveChat and shopping cart/checkout solutions from one company such as Volusion is well worth the minimal risk.

  • i used Volusion for several years, and i can vouch for their software. their inventory and store management is great, and so is their support. you have the ability to completely customize the html of your pages as well.

    the only thing i didn’t like was their built in affiliate software, but providing such control over all of your pages, you can use any 3rd party solution.

    support is grade A.. they’ll hang out with you on the phone until whatever you called about is resolved. it’s rather simple to use QuickBooks with this site. in general, it’s designed to managing your business the way business is meant to be managed.

    and yeah, RackSpace is top notch too.

    i wouldn’t worry about Volusion being “do everything well” company, because the things they do are all connected. it’s their business to provide ecommerce solutions, and they know if your site isn’t successful you won’t remain a customer long. much like internal departments in any corporation, they have specialized teams for SEO, support, development, etc,.

    they’ve got all the eggs necessary to provide the right service. they’ve hired the right employees, and they’ve got their act together.

  • and no, i don’t work for volusion. haha i just noticed you’re writing a sponsored review, but i don’t get the feeling you’ve been a customer.

  • The pricing you list in the review is just the first month intro. pricing. The price after the first month is from $29.95 – $197 month.

  • Feve – No, I’m not a customer and as I mentioned twice in the review my opinion was based on the website presentation and my own experience looking for shopping cart providers. I cannot vouch for the quality of their services, however if I was looking for their service they would definitely appeal and would trial them.

  • Excellent posting Yaro,

    I especially liked the part where you discussed “…There are often inherent problems with jack-of-all service providers…” From working with various development companies and others that promise the moon and stars this i notice happening more and more… the people that they do work for must be confused as to what they do exactly.

    As for Volution, I may need to review this service and pull it apart from a technical standpoint just to see how it truly stacks up.

    Excellent content as always Yaro!

    Luc

  • Glad you liked it Luc!

  • I know someone who is using volusion, and I wonder what is the difference with 1shoppingcart?

  • joceb

    I have worked on numerous volusion sites(graphic designer). I can say from my own personal experience and based on my clients comments, that volusion is really good. They have exceptional customer service, and I think is pretty easy to use. Volusion is expensive overall, specifically its monthy fees, its design services and I believe it is $10,000 to purchase the software. I get a lot of work from clients to customise one of the free templates they offer, rather then paying volusions design fees that can be well over $2000.

    As someone who has used the cart a good deal I can say that I cant really fault the product, I think the big question is if its worth it. Thats something you will have to decide for yourselves.

  • [...] Yaro is much in the same boat as I am, in that he has had very little time to prepare a detailed review from a long-term customer perspective, but some of the comments he has so far received seem very positive. [...]

  • Yaro, you have a brief but very helpful review as usual. I have been a loyal reader of your blogs, but didn’t find the time to comment more often.

    Before I decided to move my business to Volusion, Andy Bear’s review was the only one out there. Now, you have a wonderful review about Volusion added to the list. But both Andy and you are not customers of Volusion, and I wanted to write a detailed review of Volusion as a customer.

    As we all know, you get more depth insight and information about a software when you become a customer.

    I hope my review will help biz owners who are looking for more information about Volusion and other shopping carts. Here’s the link:

    Volusion Shopping Cart Review

  • Yaro,

    Thank you for writing this review. We just came out with version 5 of our software, which now includes XML integration, shipping label printing from the backend, a more direct Quickbooks export, as well as a more css driven layout. here’s the list of the newest Volusion features:
    http://www.volusion.com/version_5_features.asp

    Although our software is an “all-in-one” solution, we have worked hard this year to improve our ability to integrate with other systems. Our improved Quickbooks, XML and Stonedge integrations allow customers more freedom than ever before. We also give customers full html access, enabling customers to use various reporting and affiliate tracking tools.

    I am new to your blog, but I look forward to reading more posts. Keep up the good work.

  • I have been looking for an all in one solution for my clients that I can really rely on and seems like I may have found a good one. The ability for live chat and calls is important to my customers who need a little hand holding at times. I love the fact that the intergration with Quickbooks and as a web developer that can easily edit a template for my customers, well this sounds fantastic! XML and Stonedge integration is really where it is at these days, and being able to customize a site for a client makes this program miles ahead of lots of the competition.

    Having full html access, and good reporting with affiliate tracking tools will sure make my sites easier to monitize. So I am going to check out the newest Volusion features, and let you know how it goes. Remember a software/cart application is only as good as the hosting and cart combined. Up time and fast transaction processing plus all the other bells and whistles make this sound like a great program to check out, a higher price than other carts, but PayPal is getting to cost me more and more each day. Thanks for the tips!

  • Chris

    I’m considering switching over to Volusion and leaving Channel Advisor, they basically lock you out of being able to design your store and the only way to get it done is to pay them thousands of dollars for a template, any time you need a new page, thousands of dollars, I also find it strange that only one company knows how to make Channel Advisor store templates.. they’re probably owned by Channel Advisor. Makes sense, lock your customers out of any design abilities and make it so they can buy incredibly expensive templates… bravo on that monopoly.

  • Wilbur

    I used Volusion for over a year, had multiple sites there. We stopped using them once the sites started to respond very slow. We hooked up monitoring and would get notified every time the site went down. When we reported this info to Volusion we got a canned response of ” We will check it out” then “Everything seems to be fine on this end”. We began to ask our customers and many said that at times they had issued with the site. This was across multiple sites not just one.

    This is a very typical problem when choosing a hosted Ecommerce, they cram as many stores on a server as they can. If you choose a Budget plan watch out that will be even slower.

    In my option their customer service is horrible, slow servers, and my Credit card Company said they are not PCI compliant as they claim.

    There are much better Ecommerce solutions out there. I won’t list they as it will look like an advertisement.

    • Wayne

      We are having problems with Volusion support. They have a generic response to specific problems we raise. They have not been very helpful. This is many due to the people you deal with have a very low technical understanding of the Volusion system. It is clear our businesses technical team are far more advanced in knowledge than Volusion in understanding problems and how to fix them.

      Wilbur I think it is important to list the ‘Better eCommerce’ solutions that you raise.

      This is a very good review of Volusion from Small Business Arena by Kirtok and has 121 comments which most are extremely helpful.

      Including one from Josh who used to work at Volusion.
      http://www.smallbusinessarena.com/volusion-shopping-cart-review/comment-page-3/#respond

  • I have been looking into a good shopping cart tool and this one has seen some big reviews on several blogs so I think I will take the plunge. Thanks for the updates.

  • Wanted to let everybody know that Volusion no longer uses Rackspace for hosting. They now self host. FYI.

  • I switched our company to Volusion after years of self hosting and designing, everything about them is good, UNLESS you do a lot of business online and have a lot of traffic. Firstly the max bandwidth you can sign up for is 50G after going through 200 gigs our first month and getting hit with $10 a Gig charge on top of the $200 set up cost and the $300 a month fee you can see why this would be a problem. This was also a slow month, we have used the same amount of bandwith in the last two weeks alone. They won’t or aren’t willing to offer and higher bandwidth packages so you are at the mercy of never knowing what your site will cost you on any given month.

    The second problem with their site, is that if you do a lot of shipping and we ship about 50-200 packages a day, we need any easy way to generate labels. Volusion does not integrate with UPS at all. You can export your orders to a CSV file and then import to world ship, but if you have orders coming in live all day you can’t do this all day long.

    After only two months we are in the process of switching to 3DCart, after extensive testing and very expensive lessons learned from using Volusion, 3dCart looks like a very favorable solution, and although they don’t advertise a high gig plan on their site they did tailor a plan that will give us 1000 gigs a month, allowing us not to have to worry about what our fixed costs will be monthly. Their system is fully integrated with both FedEx and UPS for easy and quick one click shipping in the admin panel right from the order without any exporting and importing.

    So if you do a lot of sale and ship alot, stay away from VOLUSION!

  • After spending the entire day trying to update FTP to work, I wanted to save all those using Volusion the misery of what I had to do today. Volusion Stores don’t allow you to Blog with FTP. They force you to capitalize one of the username words which makes it not work in Blogger. I should have been making money cleaning carpets instead fighting with this. http://www.MagicWandCompany.com Yes, a Volusion website. So this post doesn’t get to old today’s date is January 23, 2010.

  • We’re considering Volusion but are probably going to decide against it since they insist on hosting the website. Thoughts?

  • [...] and formsContact:Dan Janal952-380-1554Minneapolis (Vocus) January 22, 2010 Entrepreneurs, small business ands other companies that are new…ering free setup for new clients. MyEasyOnlineStore.com will help Internet newbies get up and [...]

  • Deano

    Their credit card processing went out on Thursday December 22, 2011, which means my Volusion store can NOT process credit cards during the Holiday season!

    Right now it is December 24, 2011 and our store still can NOT process credit cards. Their support does not provide any answers or solutions, the problem has NOT been fixed, and Volusion does not any plan in site to fix the problem. They blame it on someone else of course, but I hold the person who sends me my merchant services bill responsible, which is Volusion.

    Their support is horrible, and does seem like a bunch of high school kids who try to give you some IT dribble that offers nothing in the form of support or problem solving. They used to be good, I don’t know if they had some personnel cutbacks in the last two years or what, but I would not reccommend Volusion any more.

    My New Years resolution is to find a new web hosting company for my e-commerce store.

    I have simple needs, an e-commerce provider whose Credit Card servers don’t go down, and allow my customers to buy things. Imagine your store can’t run credit cards, and the people in charge of support do nothing about it.

    Happy Holidays everyone!

  • steve

    STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY. THEY WILL RIP YOU OFF , YOU ARE WARNED! they will bill you then when you have a problem their customer service is rude and worthless. and dont even bother asking for a refund for services not rendered. they will simply say no like this

    Hello,

    We will be closing this ticket. Your cancellation will be effective at the end of your current billing cycle and we will not be providing compensation.

    Sincerely,
    Kris F
    Volusion Billing Manager

    rude ass holes…

  • I highly recommend to not use Volusion due to several factors. They will price you severly for bandwidth overage. You can login to see how much bandwidth you have used but in my case they did a bait and switch by listing that I was over and so I changed my plan to get more and the next day I looked and it was half what they said it was the day before. The biggest complaint I have about them and the reason I will be leaving them is constant downtime due to being on a shared server.

  • Julia

    I am just starting up my business and was thinking of using Volusions as they do seem to offer everything you would want but from reading these reviews and others elsewhere I am not sure now. One of the reasons is that if i wanted to leave and go elsewhere they would keep my whole store, which i have a serious problem with. I must be honest i am a total beginner with all of this i.e. shopping cart, in fact everything that goes with opening up a store and it can be very confusing and scary as you dont want to go with the wrong company or lose money when you only have a small amount to start with. Can anyone give me any advice as to where to start and who to start with? I would appreciate all comments. I like all that Volusions is offering so if i can get what they are offering elsewhere even with several different providers i don’t mind, as long as i own my own store and the information is private with security.

    • GG

      Try 3dCart you will be much happier, better service, better pricing, much better customer service. Had to leave Volusion after only 2 months it cost me nearly 10 thousand dollars , a hard lesson learned. Don’t make the same mistake.

      • Julia

        Thanks but the only thing is i am in the UK so would need a company that has a base preferably in London.

  • Volusion is a very good shopping cart. I understand that many shopping cart owners will disagree with the fact that Volusion charges fees for bandwidth overages. Volusion can charge this amount with the number of subscribers they have. Finding a solution can be difficult for site owners with the amount of images their web store uses, however services like bandwidthdiet.com or Amazon S3 or CloudFront.

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