One of the main things you will notice when visiting Volusion.com is how much they emphasize security and up-time. The company boasts PCI compliance which involves strict adherence to the rules and guidelines of protecting customer’s sensitive credit card information. Volusion also talks about a guarantee of 99.9% up-time or basically a promise that your eCommerce store will always be up and running. After all, if your online store is not functioning, it’s hard to sell anything.
Volusion.com has an interesting background history. Kevin Sproles, founder and CEO started the company in his bedroom while still in high school back in 1999 using only the allowance he received from his parents. He started out building websites for clients and whenever he made a little bit of money, he’d put it back into the company for advertising or for upgrades to the platform.
Sproles was joined by Clay Olivier (present COO) in 2003 when Olivier left Dell computers to open his own store with Volusion. He loved the platform so much that he became an investor and opened an office for Volusion in Austin, Texas, hiring sales reps and a marketing team to promote the company.
By January of this year, Volusion had climbed to the success of hosting over 40,000 stores and has secured $35 million in financing to spend mostly on Mozu which is an eCommerce platform that works seamlessly across different channels of commerce – online, mobile and storefront. Additionally, part of the $35 million in monies raised will be used to prepare Volusion to enter the world of public trading on the stock market within the next year or so.
As far as building your eCommerce store with Volusion, you have 357 template theme choices. Eighty of those are free and 70 of those are priced at $895. The rest of that number are priced from $595, $150 and then down to $50. All the themes are beautiful and very professional looking, so choosing a store template should not be hard.
Store theme templates are filtered in the right hand column of the page in the eCommerce template browsing page. So you can filter your viewing by color, price preference, category and the industry that your business is in. It’s nice that you can browse these choices even before you join the site or commit to any price packaging. Most people like to see what a store has to offer before they commit.
Speaking of price packaging, the four price options aside from the 14-day free trial are the Mini at $15 a month, the Plus at $35 a month, the Pro at $75 a month and the Premium at $135 a month. All of these packages offer unlimited file storage and no additional transaction fees above the 2.15% fee through Volusion payment processing.
The price varies begin with GB bandwidth usage (1, 3, 10 and 35) and the number of products allowed ranging from 100, to 1,000 to 10,000 to unlimited respectively by price. One obvious company blunder that you will immediately notice within the price differences are varying amounts of support offered depending upon the package you purchase.
The Mini package buyer gets online support via chat, email and referrals to self-help materials. The Plus package comes with online and phone support including hands-on expert personalized assistance. However, the Pro and Premium package buyers get priority support which includes all of the above and with priority call routing and shorter wait times. So, basically the company is telling you that if you are not a high paying customer, you will have to wait longer for help. Incentive to purchase a more expensive package? Maybe…or maybe not.
All plans include social media tools, a Facebook store, automatic tax rates and a converted design of your eCommerce store into mobile. One pretty cool feature included in the Pro and Premium plans is the integration with Amazon, eBay and other third party applications. This feature makes your products immediately available to literally hundreds of millions of active online shoppers giving your eCommerce store the online reach that will be compared to none.
All plans except the Mini include the abandoned cart feature with customer information so you can possibly recapture these lost sales and the ability for customers to leave ratings and reviews. Everyone knows the value of a good review. Additionally, the Volusion website seems to offer a great deal in the way of help should you get stuck in the process of building your eCommerce store. The website offers video tutorials, how-to guides, webinars and an eCommerce blog for the purpose of helping newbies get proficient with online selling.
Some of the applications available to integrate with your eCommerce store are logo design, slideshows, a custom designed Thank You page, Contact Us page and Error Page displaying some creativity and humor. These apps are not cheap however, ranging from almost $300 up to $500 or more for each application. For example, you can have a custom designed Shopping Cart Check-out experience that carries your brand name and logos on it for an additional $795. Or you can get unique, custom designed check out buttons for only $595. These features are optional and more than likely cater to the larger enterprises.
If you are interested in switching from your present eCommerce store hosting company over to Volusion, they have made the process easy with the ability to import your store products. Start by backing up your present store information. Next, initiate your free 14-day trial and then import your products, customers and any other data you wish to bring aboard.
You can even bring your present store design over for an extra fee or you can start fresh with one of Volusion’s template designs. You will need to transfer your domain name over and your SSL security certificate or purchase one from Volusion. Volusion.com also has a handy mobile app so that managing your store and selling from your smart phone is super easy. Volusion.com definitely has more pros then cons when it comes to owning an eCommerce business.