As an online seller, you have many options for tools you can use to organize and enhance your online business. Miva Merchant, one of the most well-established e-commerce Web store platforms, prides itself on being a "one-stop shop" for every part of the online selling process.
In this article we'll take an in-depth look at the Miva platform and its features, so you can see if it's right for your business.
Our average client is doing approximately $650,000 annually in direct online sales from their website
Who uses Miva now?
Founded in 1996 as the HTMLScript Corporation, Miva Merchant has adapted its services to remain relevant with the ever-changing e-commerce landscape.
Miva's software features are extensive, including everything from store design and the checkout process to search engine optimization and product management. We spoke with Rick Wilson, Miva's president, to understand how small-to-medium-sized businesses use Miva.
"Miva specifically caters to larger SMBs," Wilson says. "Our average client is doing approximately $650,000 annually in direct online sales from their website (not counting other channels like eBay and Amazon or brick-and-mortar).
"Our sweet spot is online merchants doing between $100,000 and $10 million in annual online sales," he continues. "But, of course, we have customers just starting out doing virtually no sales. Our largest customer will break $100 million in online sales in 2014."
The e-merchants who would benefit the most from the company's services are those with "large product catalogs, unique inventory and generally people who don't fit into the typical out-of-the-box 'software as a service' solution," Wilson says.
Miva offers a variety of services
Miva's services can be specifically tailored to merchants' needs. The large gap between the smaller and larger scale SMBs shows that all types of sellers can use Miva's services.
Wilson adds that most of the company's clients are DIY customers who use specific Miva tools to further enhance their businesses and sales.
We do everything from helping Taylor Swift sell her merchandise to helping PictureItOnCanvas enable its customers to upload photos from Instagram
"We support both DIY retailers, who do it all themselves or use their own technical experts," he adds. "We also have a full in-house Professional Services team available to work with our clients. From a statistics basis, 98 percent of our customers are DIY, but we do build and maintain sites for approximately 2 percent of our customer base.
"For those who choose to use our Professional Services, we can handle virtually anything," Wilson continues. "We do everything from helping Taylor Swift sell her merchandise to helping PictureItOnCanvas enable its customers to upload photos from Instagram and get a custom printed iPhone cover.
"The management and organizational tools Miva provides help to centralize a seller's marketplace listings, which can make the whole process run more smoothly," he adds.
When asked if sellers increase their sales while using Miva's services, Wilson again cited the difference between a DIY client and a business that uses its full, in-house Professional Services team.
"We recently helped Marketviewliquor.com move from a home-grown platform to Miva, and sales on the new site are up roughly 28 percent," he says. "We had similar results with a from the ground-up rebuild of BTOSports.com and many others. So if someone hires our Professional Services team then, yes, I'd say that's normal. If a DIY client follows our best practices, they'd likely see similar results.”
Choices separate Miva from the rest
So what separates Miva Merchant from other platforms that provide similar services? Merchants have many choices such as Magneto, BigCommerce and Shopify. Wilson differentiates the Miva experience in several ways.
"Really the things that separate Miva from the competition is the ability to:
- Scale your business. Not only is our uptime unparalleled, but we allow you to streamline your business, too.
- Stay up to date with the latest technology. Miva is flexible and leaves the merchant in control, so when something new comes along, you're not stuck waiting for us to implement it.
- We solve the pain and hassle of upgrades and updates while providing a true enterprise platform. On many of our enterprise-grade competitors, upgrades and updates are feared, fear that the store will come down, fear of having to do a full site rebuild. Miva solves all of those challenges. We guarantee your store won't go down when upgrading, and that allows you to stay secure and up to date without jeopardizing your business."
Not only is our uptime unparalleled, but we allow you to streamline your business, too
Additionally, Wilson says all features are available in all versions of Miva Merchant and its core feature list includes thousands of items and is many pages long.
Should you use it?
Understanding the constantly changing e-commerce world and refining its services is a priority at Miva. A lot is new these days at the company, Wilson tells us. Miva Merchant Version 9 was set to release in early November as of this writing.
"It's our latest generation platform with a whole new touch-friendly and modern administrative interface that makes it faster to run your site," he says. "It also has built-in native support for multi-channel marketplace selling, a new and robust merchandising engine, and an easy to use point-and-click theme builder to assist non-technical do-it-yourself customers in getting up and running in hours without knowing any HTML."
To learn more about Miva, check with other sellers whom you respect. Facebook's eCommerce Group is a good place to start.
Note: Ethan Schepp contributed to this article.