10 Reasons Your Volusion Store Needs Custom Development
Brand Labs is about a lot of things, but our real bread & butter is custom ecommerce development. Yes, we design Volusion sites. Yes, we build ecommerce apps. We do a lot of things for a lot of online merchants, but custom development is the one thing we do that gives our clients an undeniable edge. We say “undeniable” because when your store has something that your competitors don’t have, you’re ahead of the game before the shoppers even arrive. By definition, you’re more prepared to serve their needs. You’re more prepared to earn their trust. You’re more prepared to win.
… but maybe you don’t think you need custom development on your site. After all, Volusion does a good job of providing a feature-rich platform. Why not just do what you can with what you’ve got? Well, off the top of our heads, we can think of ten reasons…
- You’re unique.
No matter what Volusion introduces, they don’t know you personally. They don’t know the exact thing that you need to express your individuality properly. They don’t know your particular value proposition. That’s not a failing on their part, it’s simply a fact. You are uniquely qualified to identify your store’s specific needs and to act on those needs.
- You’re not doing everything you can with your Volusion store. You know that smart phone in your pocket? You’re currently using about 4% of its total capabilities (we may have just made that figure up). That phone can do amazing things and you’re using it primarily to text people that you’re running late. Your Volusion store is like that. It can do amazing things that you’re currently not using. Are you using the Deal of the Day function? Is your mobile store set up properly? Are you doing everything that Volusion allows you to do out of the box? Probably not. So, if we may continue to use the smart phone comparison: even though your phone is capable of doing a lot of things that you aren’t using, you still paid extra to download Angry Birds because it was a specific need that you were able to identify and address (i.e. your deep need to throw birds at pigs). Custom development is like that. You should definitely try to use all of the great functionality that’s built right in to Volusion, but just because you’re not, that doesn’t mean that you can’t add some features of your own. Custom development for your Volusion store is just like apps for your iPhone.
- You’ve got ideas.
Just because we’re ecommerce experts (and Volusion is filled with ecommerce experts), that doesn’t mean that we (or they) have thought up every single thing than could ever possibly be thunk. You have insight. You have a plan. You know things about your business that we don’t, but we definitely know how to act on your ideas. Don’t let your ideas die in your head.
- You’re probably right.
You know that one thing that you think you know better than anyone else? That one annoying thing that seems so simple and would make your life as an ecommerce merchant so much easier? Or make your store more successful? You’re probably right. Why not fix it instead of just letting it drive you insane?
Read the rest of the list after the jump…
- Your store needs it.
The biggest misconception about custom development is that it’s strictly for huge businesses. After all, if you could have built a store from scratch, you would have, right? Not necessarily. A lot of huge businesses (including some of our clients) have chosen Volusion as a base to build on, essentially creating custom stores that utilize Volusion as a robust content management system. On the other hand, we’ve also worked with tiny mom & pop shops that want to use Volusion for all it’s worth, but also want to distinguish themselves by taking that extra little step to serve their customers better than their competition. Custom development is for everyone.
- Your competition is doing it.
The ecommerce marketplace is completely saturated. No matter what business you’re in – no matter how unique your personal business model is – you have competition. In some cases it’s just sort of general, big-box competition (like Amazon & Target.com) but it’s far more likely that there’s someone out there doing nearly the same exact thing you are. Ecommerce is becoming a game of degrees, so you have to exercise every advantage you can. If you don’t have an advantage, make one. If you can’t figure out how, find someone who can. Don’t lose the game by not playing it.
- You want it. Having something that you can call your own is empowering. There’s just something about personal ownership that satisfies in a way that’s difficult to describe without sounding shallow, but you know that if your website did that ONE thing that you really wish it would, you’d feel better. You’d show it off. You’d explain it to people who didn’t understand it. You’d go out of your way to find people who did understand it so that they’d be properly impressed when they saw it. From a business standpoint, this is the absolute worst reason to engage in custom development on this entire list, but you also know that it’s true. The website that you’re currently on is loaded with good information and useful features, but one of our very favorite things about it is that little rollover banner at the bottom of the page that lets you know with very little effort that we’re Google Analytics and AdWords Certified. It’s so simple, but it does what it needs to do very gracefully and it’s one of the first things we want to show people when we’re showing off the site. Custom development doesn’t need to be big to be satisfying. It just need to fill a need and be ever so slightly awesome.
- You’re losing sales.
Chances are that if you’ve ever had an idea about improving the service on your store, it’s been as a reaction to a client need (or at least to a perceived client need). So you’ve recognized something that your clients expect or want from you. That’s an important step, but if you don’t act on it, you may as well close up shop and send your clients off to find your replacement, because that’s just how fickle the shopping public has become. It’s not even that they’re fickle, actually. It’s just that it’s become incredibly easy to shop elsewhere. In the olden days, if you were shopping in a store and you reached some sort of hurdle, you’d probably just overcome it and finish your purchase because backing out would require physically leaving the store, locating an appropriate alternative using the meager resources available to assist your search, physically go to the new store and hope that the shopping experience was better. It used to be a pain in the butt to switch stores mid-purchase. Now it’s a click away. One, single speed bump and the customer is gone. They won’t even think about it. They’ll just leave and never return. If you know where those speed bumps are and you’re not removing them, you should probably just put up a page full of links to your competition because it will be more useful to them than your store is. (Man, that sounded harsh, but it’s a cruel world and we wouldn’t be doing you any favors by coddling you – but still we feel bad about it.)
- Your favorite stores do it.
There’s a darn good chance that the online stores that you visit frequently are the ones that are doing everything right. You’re in the business, so you’re savvy. You can recognize the difference between a standard template and one that was uniquely crafted with care, knowledge and understanding. There are people out there who aren’t quite as savvy about the ins and outs of ecommerce – we call them customers. They don’t necessarily recognize the tiny minutia of thoughtful template design, they just know that a well-built one inspires confidence and brand loyalty. When they find a unique feature that’s intended to ease the transaction process, they respond by transacting. They respond by returning. They respond by adding that store to their mental list of personal favorites – just like you do.
- You will do it eventually. If you’re clever and lucky enough to stay in business for years at a time, you’ll develop a better understanding of your customers’ needs and desires. That knowledge is meaningless unless you act on it. We can guarantee you (based on years of experience with hundreds of clients) that those needs will involve custom development. It’s simply inevitable. It’s a product of being smart about your business. You will simply know what needs to be done and you will know that in order to be where you want to be, you will have to make that thing (or things) happen. You’re going to do it eventually and if you’ve been in business for a while already, there’s a really good chance that “eventually” is actually “now.”
For all of these reasons and oh so many more, you should consider your Volusion store’s custom development needs today. After all, the best time to fix a problem is before it becomes a problem. Wait! That’s an 11th reason! And it’s a really good point! Proactive is better than reactive! Dang it. We are not going to rewrite this article. Just trust us. There’s a ton of reasons to get your custom dev on. We even have a handy list of case study examples of custom Volusion programming that we’ve done for our clients. We guarantee that if you click through and read the page, you’ll have at least one Ah-Ha Moment.
… wait! That page has 13 more reasons. Dang it! Okay. Let’s just all pretend that this article is called 24 Reasons Your Volusion Store Needs Custom Development. Agreed?