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Volusion Founder on Growing Traffic for Smaller Merchants

Volusion Volusion Kevin Sprolessold its Mozu enterprise platform geared to large merchants in the fall in order to focus instead on its roots: serving small- and medium-sized (SMB) sellers. Along with the launch of “Volusion 2” (V2), the company brought back its founder, Kevin Sproles.

The returning CEO said Volusion’s smaller size makes it nimble in the way it approaches customer service. “We are able to spend quality time with each customer,” Sproles told EcommerceBytes.

As a result, he said Volusion has increased the average revenue for customer stores by over 8% in the past year and expects that number to rise as it rolls out new features. The average active merchant generates over $216,000 in annual revenue.

Marketing can be a challenge for small businesses – Volusion offers tools from advanced SEO features to simple social media management from within the Volusion dashboard, with actionable data and reporting.

“We also have a dedicated Marketing Services organization within Volusion that has helped many of our customers grow their businesses through SEO, PPC, SMM and CSE efforts. We’ve also kicked off a near-term goal to help first-time merchants get their first sale as soon as possible. We feel this will be a huge differentiator for new entrepreneurs that join the Volusion ecosystem because we will deliver and coach on that promise within their first month of becoming a customer.”

We asked Sproles what advertising platforms he advised small merchants to use, such as those from Google, Amazon, and eBay.

“All of them,” he said, “plus content marketing platforms such as Medium or Ghost, email marketing tools such as Mailchimp, image-based marketing or advertising such as Pinterest or Instagram, integration with Amazon and eBay, PPC through Adwords and Bing, social ads through Facebook and Twitter, influencer platforms such as YouTube, and many other tools that entrepreneurs nowadays can use to help drive growth.

“The most critical piece would be making sure the data is there to support marketing decisions, and we always recommend setting up Google analytics, possibly alongside deeper analytics platforms such as MixPanel, to truly understand which channels are performing the best.

“We’ve found that the best strategy here is to understand each merchant’s business and then determine the advertising platform based on the competitive landscape and total marketing budget.”

Sproles said the new V2 platform is an easy-to-use, out-of-the-box solution to help merchants get set up in minutes with no technical expertise necessary. It offers custom design features, secure hosted checkout, and mobile optimization.

Volusion partnerships allow small businesses to easily add advanced functionality to their site, he added. “The new platform currently integrates with Shippo, PayPal and Stripe, which will soon be followed by Amazon, Square, Zapier, Yopto, Xero and other apps and integrations that drive growth for our customers. V2 was actually built from the ground-up with integrations, apps and extensions in the foreground of our thought process.”

A version of this article appeared in the June 8th issue of EcommerceBytes 411.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.