The Crunch: Customers are at the core of every decision made by Volusion, an e-commerce software platform that provides an all-in-one solution for companies within the SMB market. Volusion’s focus on serving clients is clear from the start, with a streamlined process for setting up web stores. The platform includes a vast library of video and article resources that answers every question an entrepreneur might have when taking a business into the online marketplace. Volusion never charges transaction fees for online sales and has four easily upgradeable pricing tiers that serve every level of e-commerce site with the built-in features that make sense for businesses of every size. Thanks to the recent sale of its enterprise-level platform, Mozu, Volusion has unleashed additional resources to serve its SMB customers.
As a blocker for the Hellcats in the Texas Roller Derby league, Hunter is known by her fans as Glitterotica.
Uninspired by her day job as a landscape architect, Hunter decided to go all in on her passion and pursued a dream of selling roller derby gear and apparel. Medusa Skates was born in her garage in Austin, Texas, but Hunter took her business to new heights when she decided to begin selling her brand online. Creating an e-commerce site through Volusion has proved profitable for the entrepreneur.
Volusion, which is also based in Austin, is a software company that focuses on providing customer support and an all-in-one solution for its e-commerce customers. Many other do-it-yourself website builders require expensive add-ons that can quickly inflate an initially affordable rate. Volusion gives merchants everything they need to build professional sites without the need for extensive coding knowledge. Simply put, Volusion allows merchants to focus on selling products.
“We have a robust set of applications that are included in everything from our smallest plan to our largest,” said Sarah E. Lewis, Partner Marketing Manager for Volusion. “We give everyone what they need to be successful from the start. We believe in providing the best possible product at the best possible value.”
In researching this article, I started a 14-day free trial with Volusion to explore the ins and outs of e-commerce site building through their software platform. Minutes after registering, my phone rang. I answered, and to my surprise, a Volusion representative was on the line, welcoming me to the service and inquiring if I had any questions about getting my web store set up. Full disclosure: I don’t actually have an e-commerce business, but if I did, Volusion’s service would have quickly won me over.
This hands-on support coupled with monthly subscription tiers that cater to web store owners at each stage of growth provide entrepreneurs with what they need to run a successful online business.
Medusa Skates has experienced 30.8% year-over-year growth since starting a web store through Volusion, and Hunter now has an impressive retail storefront in Austin. Her company’s success has stemmed from the burgeoning popularity of roller derby and several years of successful online sales made easy using Volusion’s software.
Hunter wasn’t an e-commerce expert when she started her business, but when setting up a web store through Volusion, that isn’t among the requirements.
A Customer-Centric, Streamlined Approach to Creating Web Stores
When going through the process of creating an e-commerce site on Volusion, it’s apparent why the company is so popular with entrepreneurs, including its approximately 40,000 small- and medium-sized business subscribers.
“We provide every major solution for a seamless retail customer experience, no matter how niche: calculating tax for overseas clients, integrating all major inventory needs, providing an array of shipping applications, and more,” Sarah said. “We have 75 modern design templates, secure hosting, and over 900 features.”
After registering, not only do you get the personal touch that comes with a phone call from an actual human being, you get a landing page that takes you through setup with step-by-step instructions. If anything is unclear, it’s simple to get your questions answered through that initial phone call. If you’re more of a do-it-yourself type, Volusion’s vast, searchable library of support resources includes video and text tutorials on virtually everything that goes into site design, setting up, and running a web-based retail business.
“Our customers rely on us to help them set up their stores seamlessly, which we strive to do for each and every merchant,” Sarah said. “We also offer an extensive online library of resources so that customers can dive as deep as they can into their own marketing efforts. We are here to help them regardless of their demand complexities, and will continue to be there for them every step of the way.”
Included in the “Getting Started” tutorial package are videos on establishing your brand, designing your store, setting up inventory, preparing to accept payments, setting up tax and shipping, and processing your first order.
Volusion’s business model revolves around helping customers thrive as entrepreneurs so it goes the extra mile in helping drive its clients’ success. In a sense, you could consider them business partners, especially because Volusion relies so heavily on customer feedback to drive its own decision-making.
If an e-commerce site grows to the level where it needs more advanced features, Volusion makes it easy for store owners to upgrade between subscription tiers to get what their businesses need to thrive, whether it be tools for web design, marketing, payment processing, or secure hosting.
Volusion doesn’t charge transaction fees on any sales made through their software, and all four plans include file storage, mobile commerce, responsive templates, mobile app, a Facebook store, and automatic tax rates.
How a Teen’s Startup Has Led to Over $24 Billion in Merchant Sales
It sounds far-fetched, but what if I told you a company that has helped merchants reach more than $24 billion in sales spawned from the mind of a high school student in California?
“Our founder Kevin Sproles created Volusion in 1999, at the age of 16,” Sarah said. “Even at a young age, he realized that e-commerce didn’t have to be a cumbersome experience and went on to develop one of the first forms of shopping cart software.”
Kevin was a strong student but opted to forego college and grow his business, which, at the time, was a custom web development company. In 2001, he refocused on creating a hosted e-commerce platform and rebranded as Volusion.
Now a leader in the industry, his company’s growth is a result of a series of solid business decisions, but the most important has been maintaining an intense focus on helping clients.
“Everyone at Volusion works in tandem to look after our customers,” Sarah said. “Whether it’s our CEO mapping out large-scale solutions, or our Services team providing SEO and site design services, each member of our team plays countless roles with one overarching goal: helping the customer succeed.”
Volusion’s company culture revolves around six tenets:
- We help breed amazing founders
- We keep it simple and move fast
- We always solve for the customer
- We put people before everything else
- We share openly and are transparent
- We favor autonomy and take ownership
Sarah said Volusion’s customers love the technology and ease of use built into the software platform, which has helped them focus on running their businesses instead of being preoccupied with tech issues.
“For them to be experts in their fields, we need to remain experts in ours,” Sarah said.
With the Sale of Mozu, Volusion Now Concentrates on Better Serving SMB Clients
Hunter at Medusa Skates has enjoyed the benefits of chasing her dreams and partnering with Volusion to grow her business through an e-commerce solution that is just as simple to use as it was to set up. This ease of use allows her to focus on her true passion.
“I started to think about how much I loved roller derby, and if there was a way I could stay involved even when I’m past skating,” Hunter said. “Once I started the garage store and had products online, it grew into, ‘Wow, I really, really, really enjoy this.’”
In 2013, Volusion launched Mozu, an enterprise-level e-commerce platform, to support some of its customers who were reaching annual sales of over $5 million. Once Mozu had success launching sites that were generating over $100 million in annual sales, Volusion decided to sell it to e-commerce vendor Kibo Software in 2016.
“With the sale of our enterprise platform, Mozu, we now have more resources to make Volusion even better,” Sarah said. “We plan on taking full advantage of this new opportunity, primarily by listening to customer feedback and making changes that revolve around what we hear from our merchants.”
Kevin returned to his role as CEO earlier in 2016 after spending four years as company chairman, and Volusion has made more personnel changes to help improve an already successful core product.
“We recently implemented a new chief technology and chief product leadership structure, and we’re building a world-class product and engineering team,” Kevin said in a press release. “We are a customer-first brand, and we now have the right resources to make our services even better.”
With a more singular focus, Volusion’s all-in-one e-commerce software platform appears poised for growth in the SMB sector.