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Archive for November, 2010

Multiple Currency for Volusion

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Volusion misleadingly advertises that it supports multicurrency.  What I mean by misleading is that it can display different currencies on your website as long as you manually enter an exchange rate into your control panel’s configuration.   But when the customer check’s out, Volusion will only process the payment against one merchant account at a time

As a consequence, the following is not possible:

You want to have two merchant accounts: one for Canadian transactions where it settles payments in CDN, and one for American transactions where it settles payments in USD.   If your Volusion customer is Canadian, then Volusion should process his payment against the Canadian merchant account.  If your Volusion customer is American, then Volusion should process his payment against the American merchant account.

The example above is not possible because Volusion only let’s you associate one merchant account at the time of setting up your online store.

We haven’t found a solution to this problem.

How Magento and BigCommerce, other shopping cart systems, solve the problem are that they allow you to bind multiple merchant gateways to the system. So you can add beanstream, paypal, moneris etc… When the customer checks out, they can choose which gateway they wish to pay with. I wish Volusion could do the same thing.

Written by John Lai

November 30th, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Big Commerce – 3rd Party Affiliate Solution

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Big Commerce does not come with a built-in affiliate solution.  So I went ahead to evaluate 3rd party affiliate solutions that might work.  Of all four solutions I tried, I was unsuccessful in integrating them.  Clearly, there’s a business opportunity here.  Here’s my report on the four I tried: – I got to the page that let’s me create an integration profile for interspire (big commerce).  I filled out the form and pressed a submit button.  I’m thrown back ot the start page, with no “success message”, BC snippet code, or anything to indicate that I actually created an integration profile.   I can’t figure out how this works…UI is terrible – This is a great piece of software, but it doesn’t support big commerce.  I ended up using it with another shopping cart system called magento.


omnistar affiliate tracking – Fiddled around with it for 30 minutes. Trying to create an affiliate profile, I get a blank page.  I was on the phone on hold for the entire 30 minutes…never got in touch with a sales agent. – I can’t figure out how to try a demo

Written by John Lai

November 28th, 2010 at 7:57 pm

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Big Commerce vs. Volusion

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I spent the past couple of days evaluating a couple ecommerce SAAS: Big Commerce and Volusion.

Big Commerce Advantages:

1) Better designs to choose from for store front
2) The CMS is slightly more intuitive
3) Can have multiple merchant account gateways for check out (great if you need separate merchant accounts for USD and CDN)

Big Commerce Disadvantages:

1) Poor support – All my phone calls/voice mails are left un-answered.   I get email responses in about 24 hours.
2) No built-in affiliate network solution

Volusion Advantages:

1) Great support – I get immediate answers to my phone calls.  When using their live online chat, it generally takes about 5 minutes to text with an operator.
2) Built-affiliate network solution

Volusion Disadvantages:

1) You can only bind one merchant account at a time.  Chance are, you’ll need to settle in one final currency.
2) CMS isn’t very intuitive to use
3) Designs for stores are a bit dry.

Written by John Lai

November 28th, 2010 at 7:50 pm

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The most difficult people to communicate with

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I find that in consulting, the easiest people to communicate with are people who know nothing about what you do and people who know a lot about what you do.  If you’re adept in your work, it doesn’t take much to convince either party of your expertise.  You can give the former a short and simple explanation and they will take your word for it.  You can give the latter a short and technical explanation and they will get the idea.

The people who are most difficult to communicate with are the people who know a little bit about what you do.   They know just enough to criticize what you do, but they can’t actually do what you do.

Written by John Lai

November 8th, 2010 at 10:56 am