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. 

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

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."

Comments | 7 Responses

  • I had 3 stores with Volusion. I moved two of them to another cart last year and am moving the last site now. The issues mentioned in this article are just the latest problems. The problems actually began a few years ago when they began hosting the websites on their own in house servers. It has been a failure but Volusion invested so much money into the move, they refuse to go back to Rackspace. This was told to us in their forums. We experience almost daily downtime. Merchants complain but Volusion will not resolve these issues. They even made their forums private so potential merchants could not see the problems before signing up. Merchants are now starting to fight back and are creating their own "problems with volusion" websites, such as volusionissues.com, as well as a few others. If you are considering Volusion, I would think twice.

  • This is the norm is seems for Volusion. I have two stores with Voluison and I am in the process of moving both because the sites are down frequently. Problems started when they started hosting internally instead of staying with Rackspace. They have been trying to fix it now for three years and just can't manage to keep the sites working. On top of that the support staff knows next to nothing and often give out what could be damaging advise. My thoughts are the only people who should use Volusion are my competitors.

    • What cart platform are you moving to instead? I was considering recommending Volusion for a small online store a friend is building (about a dozen products only), but am open to recommendations. Would like something that is mobile and social friendly as well.

  • Please following up on this article. The Volusion hosted platform continues to have check out issues making it impossible for our customers to check out. Further they just had yet another major outage yesterday April 17 and today impacting most of their customers. So users of Volusion's shopping cart e-commerce platform have been losing revenue and customers since late Feb. The Volusion private forum is loaded with posts from unhappy customers. Even Volusion's Facebook page features hundreds of complaint posts. Thus far the owners have not provided an explanation. Further they refused to compensate the merchants for their losses and they have any denied any refund requests. They are in direct violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Some customers are suggesting that a class action suite be filed along with filing complaints with the Texas Attorney General's Office. Other clients are making arrangements to move their sites to another platform as quickly as possible. To make a move is difficult for the them because they have spent lots of money building out on the Volusion specific format. If you simply sign up for a free trial you can get access to the Volusion Forum and read about all of the problems being posted. I personally think it would be a great story. You could interview some of the people from the Forum and also try to get information and answers from Volusion management. Either way it would be a well read article as I am certain the disgruntled Volusion customers will pass it on to everyone. Thanks

  • Well that is not it, from July 1 to July 4 there has been outage during the night from 2am to 9am where most merchants are sleeping and some not even noticing, customers cannot login and pay on Chrome which is used by over 60% off people, they do not get it resolved, keep giving excuses "our IT people do not work during the night" this is no excuse if it happened only once ok but for 3 days in a row........... common for the fortune they cost everymonth losing so much $$ for there customers something should be done asap , I have to say i will have to change hosting companies as its becoming a joke with them

  • 7/9/12 Sites crashed again today, have been down since 3:30pm. Not only the front-end but the back-end and the Volusion forums as well.

  • 7/9/12 Volusion Crash update: UPDATE: The connectivity issue we are currently experiencing is due to a power outage at our data center in which the automatic transfer switch (ATS) malfunctioned. This in turn prevented the redundant generators from restoring power. Once power is returned to the datacenter, restoring full functionality can take 2-4 hrs. We are working closely with our upstream provider to remedy the issue as quickly as possible. As always, further updates will be provided as they become available.

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