March 2, 2012, 4:36 PM

Volusion scrambles to revive stalled shopping carts

An effort to update connections to payment gateways kills checkout for retailers. 

Lead Photo

Volusion Inc., a provider e-commerce platforms to small and mid-size online retailers, was still fixing its connections to several payment gateways on March 2 following a technical glitch that started Thursday, Feb. 23, which has left many of its e-retailer clients unable to process credit card orders.

“Clearly, this is a big problem for any online business owner, and we understand the difficulties caused because of it,” Volusion says in a statement to clients that was forwarded by a company spokeswoman to Internet Retailer. Volusion has more than a dozen clients listed in the Internet Retailer Second 500 Guide and two in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

The spokeswoman said the problem “impacted credit card and order processing for a subset of our customers,” but declined to be more specific or say how many retailers had been affected.

A number of Volusion clients have posted comments about the problem via the Twitter messaging service. “not processing credit cards, @miirbottles is losing funds for wells by the minute,” tweeted Bryan Papé of Miir, an online retailer of water bottles.

A Volusion e-retailer client who asked to remain anonymous told Internet Retailer on March 1 the vendor had provided good technology and service in the year since he migrated his web site to Volusion, but that since Feb. 25 his customers were unable to complete online purchases. “They can put stuff in their shopping cart, but they can’t check out,” he said. Today, he says some customers have been able to complete their purchases, but some others still have not. “Hopefully they are getting closer to the fix. It is unbelievable that this has been going on for as long as it has.”

The retailer adds that, as a small merchant, he has been able to recoup most sales that customers couldn’t complete online by working the phones with customers 16 hours a day this week. “For larger retailers that receive a lot of orders per day, I don’t know how they handled it,” he said.

Volusion says the problem started after it began to update its “middleware integration layer” that provides for data transfer between Volusion’s technology and several online payment gateways, including Authorize.net, Skipjack, Realex, Linkpoint and PayPalPro. Those gateways connect to such major payment card networks as Visa and MasterCard. Authorize.net is a unit of Visa Inc.’s CyberSource; PayPalPro is a service of eBay Inc.’s PayPal payment services unit. Efforts on March 2 to get immediate comments from payment gateways were unsuccessful.

Volusion said on March 2 it was continuing to address the problem. “Most of the issues have been corrected, but we are addressing isolated instances with urgency,” the spokeswoman said.

On March 5, Volusion said some of its merchants were still experiencing difficulties. A spokesman for Authorize.net, however, said the company was "processing without incident."

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