LA Serves Up Style and Success with Volusion Ecommerce Software

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Flexible platform allows personalized plate design business to grow quickly, selling 20,000 plates in less than two years

I don’t think we would have grown as fast without Volusion. Their platform gives me the flexibility to expand product selection and give customers endless options.

News Facts

  •     Volusion, the leading provider of shopping cart software and services for online merchants, today announced its award-winning software platform powers, the successful online retailer of personalized melamine plates recently featured on the CBS Early Show.
  •     In just two years, La sold more than 20,000 custom plates.
  •     Owner and plate designer Lara Hazelett Shelton's high-style designs can now be found on the dining tables of many A-list celebrities, as well as the First Family's.

Finding Flexibility

  •     A teacher for more than 8 years and mom of two young boys, Lara was looking for a flexible business that allowed her to stay at home and raise her children.
  •     Lara is an avid collector of china and loves to entertain family and friends with fabulous place settings. Once she had children, she wanted to continue entertaining in style, but with kid-friendly material. She decided to launch an online business selling stylish melamine plastic plates that can be individually personalized in a number of ways.
  •     Not being a technical person, she needed something that was easy to use and didn't require a programmer or web designer. Selling deeply customized products required a flexible platform enabling shoppers to choose from an endless variety of designs, colors, fonts and patterns.
  •     Lara researched several shopping cart providers and found that Volusion offered the flexibility she needed to provide shoppers unlimited product options as well as everything else she needed to open an online store.

The Right Platform

Lara tested out the Volusion software using the company's 14 day free trial and found it to be extremely user-friendly. She launched a fully functional ecommerce site within one month without relying on expensive design firms or internal technical staff. Lara now sells more than 20 different patterns that can be customized with 16 colors, 8 fonts and an endless number of monograms. The platform allows her to easily add products and new categories to the site without requiring coding. Volusion offered the following features and benefits that were critical to the success of the project:

  •     Customer Service – Free 24x7 customer support allowed Lara to call for help at any time of day. She also found the Volusion training videos and ecommerce consultants to be invaluable.
  •     Integrated SEO – Easy to optimize ecommerce software resulted in top Google ranking for target key words.    
  •     Color Swatch Functionality – Lara loaded swatch images that represent her products’ color options. This features makes is easy for customers to quickly view plates in different colors.
  •     Product Zoom – Enhanced merchandizing feature allows La Plates customers to instantly magnify product details.
  •     Easy Drag & Drop Category Management – Lara was able to easily reorganize her category structure with Volusion’s drag and drop category manager.
  •     Integrated CRM – With an advanced ticketing system and all-in-one admin area, La Plates can manage the entire order process and customer experience from a single area of the store.
  •     Unlimited Scalability – The easily-scalable architecture with advanced load balancing and dynamic resourcing helped La Plates meet its demanding spikes in traffic garnered from national media coverage.
  •     Mission Critical Hosting – With 100% redundancy, virtualized hardware-independent systems, and continuous data backups with data clustering, Volusion offered La Plates the same technology infrastructure that powers systems for financial institutions.
  •     Stringent Security – Data is secured against theft or manipulation with integrated IP blocking, 24x7 surveillance and advanced encryption. PCI/CISP certification also ensures maximum protection of card-holder data. Volusion provides La Plates with a guarantee that their customers’ credit card information is securely collected, protected and stored.

Spreading the Word

Once Lara's online business was up and running, getting the word out was equally important. Lara implemented a number of marketing tactics that have proven successful:

  •     In addition to the Volusion built-in SEO, Lara uses the Volusion e-newsletter tool to keep her clients up to date on new designs and products.
  •     Lara also understands the power of public relations. She proactively reached out to press to share new product information with home décor and parenting publications such as Southern Living, Bazaar, Cookie, Self and Lucky, as well as the CBS Early Show.
  •     Getting noticed by "preppy" and "mommy" bloggers has proven successful in increasing online sales. Lara accomplished this by sharing her sales pitch to top blogs that cover new products.
  •     Landing celebrity endorsements has certainly been beneficial to business. Lara has friends in Los Angeles who've delivered La Plates to celebs for special occasions or displayed their products for award shows like the AMA's or the Grammys. When a celebrity stops through her hometown on a book tour, she'll drop by with a La Plates original for them. According to Lara, once celebrities love your products others are sure to follow suit.

Supporting Quotes

  •     "I don't think we would have grown as fast without Volusion," said Shelton. "Their platform gives me the flexibility to expand product selection and give customers endless options."
  •     "I didn't have a set business plan and the flexibility of the Volusion software has allowed me to add new products and market them appropriately as my business has grown," said Shelton.
  •     "Volusion's SEO tool is great. I'm not a technical person and I've gotten a lot of SEO. We're currently ranked five using our Google keywords," said Shelton.

About Volusion

Volusion is the leader in e-commerce software for online businesses. Over the last ten years, thousands of companies have used Volusion to succeed online, including market leaders such as Disney, Motorola, Chicago Tribune, Michigan State University and Crutchfield. For more information about Volusion, please visit

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Olga Kazakova


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