Practical eCommerce counts over 300 different shopping cart platforms. In this, our “Cart of the Week” feature, we’ll profile—but not evaluate—a specific shopping cart and ask its management about strengths and weaknesses. We’ll then ask a customer about the cart, too.
This week, we asked Clay Olivier, COO at Volusion about his company’s hosted shopping cart platform. We also asked a Volusion customer, Julie Mikolajewski, who is the web and marketing coordinator at Marquette University’s Spirit Shop, for her thoughts about the cart.
Based in Simi Valley, Calif., Volusion has been in business since 1999 and has over 10,000 active merchants using its software, including world-famous businesses like Disney, Pez, and Crutchfield as well as small family operations. Volusion even powered President-elect Obama’s campaign store. Recently, the Inc. 500 named Volusion the fifth fastest growing software company in 2008.
For small or medium sized retailers, Volusion uses a tiered pricing structure based on the number of products on a store’s digital shelves. If your store carries 20 products, you’d pay $29.95. At 100 products, your monthly total would be $49.95. To post an unlimited number of products, you’d pay $197.00 each month for Volusion’s Platinum Plan. Larger businesses can purchase tailored solutions, but will need to request a price quote.
PeC: Describe Volusion’s greatest strengths.
Olivier: We are constantly adding new features and functionality and a great strength is having a team that can meet our client’s needs, which has helped us to become an industry leading ecommerce solution. Our developers work around the clock to design and implement new features, based largely on requests from the people that know what’s needed most- our clients. We also have an extremely scalable solution, so a business can grow and expand with ease. Also in regards to ease, we’ve created an easy to build and easy to use solution. Our clients can take care of their business, rather than worrying about their business being taken care of.
PeC: Describe Volusion’s greatest weaknesses.
Olivier: That’s a tough one. It’s a nice feeling to not have anything come to mind when asked that question. If I had to state a weakness, I would say that it would be not having enough time to implement every feature that is requested. We’ve been growing at such a tremendous rate, so the main features and functionality that are most important are our major goal while some smaller features that only a handful of store owners want takes more time to implement.
PeC: Explain any plans you have for future shopping cart development.
Olivier: The latest version of our solution will include new features, new functionality and new third party integrations. Most recently we released Social Store Builder, which lets clients sell online directly from their MySpace or Facebook profiles and we also released vZoom, which lets client’s customer’s scroll over images to instantly see enlarged product images. We’ve also begun work on a new mobile platform.
PeC: What are the top three reasons an online merchant should pick your solution?
Olivier: If I had to name three, I’d say features, support and the fact that it’s an all in one solution. Volusion offers more features and functionality than any other shopping cart on the market. Our solution includes hundreds of built-in features, like complete SEO optimization, top marketing tools, product features, and the list goes on. Whether you’re selling dog clothes or running for president, we have you covered. We also have free live support, available at all times. When you have an issue that needs to be addressed, you’ll talk to a live person based in-house at either one of our U.S. offices. In June 2008, we won The Stevies for Best Customer Service Team. Another top reason is the fact that we offer an all in one solution. Everything the client needs from marketing tools to shipping integrations is located in their ecommerce solution, which includes a website and built in shopping cart. We designed the solution to be easy for the client to setup, and once it’s set up, it’s easier for the client to manage their entire online business from a single location.
PeC: Is there anything else you want our readers to know about the Volusion shopping cart?
Olivier: Volusion has received some great awards this year. Online merchants picked Volusion over industry giant Yahoo! Small Business for the second year running, when we beat over 300 available shopping carts to win the 2008 Small Business Computing Excellence in Technology Award for “Best Ecommerce Storefront.”
From a Customer’s Perspective
Julie Mikolajewski, web and marketing coordinator, Marquette Spirit Shop.
PeC: Why did you choose the Volusion solution and how long have you been using Volusion?
Mikolajewski: Marquette Spirit Shop began using Volusion’s Platinum Plan in 2006. When researching ecommerce solutions, I looked into what other colleges and universities were using for their sites. Through that research, I found Volusion.
PeC: Describe the Volusion’s greatest strengths.
Mikolajewski: We needed to be completely integrated from processing and charging orders to inventory management and marketing and shipping. Volusion was able to cover all these areas in a simple, easy to use way.
PeC: Describe Volusion’s weaknesses.
Mikolajewski: The only weakness I can think of is generating certain reports easily. It can take some time to create specific reports.
PeC: Is there anything else you think our readers should know about Volusion?
Mikolajewski: Outside the greater Milwaukee/Chicago area, it is very hard to find Marquette clothing and gifts. We wanted to reach out to MU alumni and fans across the U.S. Volusion allows us to reach out to those fans coast to coast. We also wanted to be able to provide more Marquette clothing and gifts to MU alumni and fans. With Volusion we are able to put up an unlimited amount of items. When we started our Volusion website in 2006 one of our goals was to be able to double the business our outsourced provided did within two years, with Volusion, we doubled it within one year.
Other Volusion Customers
Volusion Quick Facts
- Hosted solution
- Costs $29.95 to $197.00 or more monthly
- More than 10,000 active customers
- Founded in 1999