Does anyone use MIVA merchant 5?
HOWARD subscriber Posts: 3
edited November 2015 in Building A Website That Works
I just bought Miva Merchant 5. It looks easy to use. Does anyone have any experiences? Any recommendations, tips or tricks? Thanks!
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In any case, an ecommerce solution can be the best thing and the worst thing to implement, at the same time. I highly recommend getting your hands on documentation, print if possible, and cracking it open and reading through it. Even if you`re hiring someone to make and customize the website for you, it`s important that you know the basic workings of the software so you can save time and money by doing much of it yourself.
I took a look at the online demo and some documentation as a courtesy. The XML compatibility will help you in the coming years as that format becomes more popular and easy to use. The language it`s coded on does worry me in that you may need someone specialized or Miva itself to help you get the site the way you want it. Hard-coding is a must no matter how much good the administration panel or graphic design is.
If you can give me some details on what you`re trying to do, who`s doing it, and your product, I can give you a better idea of the work involved. The most important thing once you get used to using Miva is to set up a procedure for getting inventory data and updating it on a regular basis. One thing is to make sure you have things like product SKUs and the like so search engines properly index your business inventory.
You have a good start then. Supply chain data integration and simple text-based data formats mean you can train someone into your business in a matter of days because the information is simple and being handled by multiple trained parties. A few solid pieces of advice. I apologize if you`ve heard them already or if they seem too elementary.
- Shopping search engines now accept spreadsheet-based/csv format inventory data which means advertising and searching for leads just got that much better.
- Make sure your shipping operations are firmly integrated into inventory information. Customers will often want to know where their package is before it arrives and reducing errors such as shipping the wrong item or a typo in the ship-to address are critical.
- Run the website through as many error-checking bots as possible for deadlinks and code errors. Checking the site yourself is a great first step, but every potential customer has a unique OS/browser/ISP configuration. While it is their responsibility to make sure their computer is compatible with your business, it is your necessity.
- Make sure customers know they can search by keywords, multiple keywords, manufacturer SKUs or your own system. One of the leading reasons people abandon an order before going to the shopping cart is a weird categorization system for products.
- Get feedback. Even the most professionally designed five-figure-budget website has flaws and the most researched low-budget website can beat it if it has the right function. There`s a reason most people search on Google and not Yahoo and most people look for jobs on Craigslist and not Careerbuilder.
TJG: I`d like to answer both your questions if you don`t mind.
1) You need to be online. While you can certainly compose and fix the database offline, the changes can only be applied when they`re uploaded and being connected means you can make immediate changes to any errors. When you`re first working with an ecommerce platform, there will be a high rate of human error as you get used to the automation.
2) Unfortunately, I don`t think I`ve ever heard of any ecommerce platform that allows the drop-shipping options you`re describing. The problem is that most major distributors will simply NOT allow you such unfettered access to their systems. Most will also not have a company-wide policy for how their sales reps handle e-mail orders. And the minor ones typically don`t have the capital or people to set up a complicated system. You`ll have to manage multiple-vendor drop-shipping with some manual intervention.
However, if you do develop a very significant relationship with your distributor, you can develop a custom software package that does let you do what you want done. In the meantime, the best answer is to pre-order items that tend to be shipping together a lot and create split orders (giving you a chance to create product bundles to boost revenue). To tell you the truth, even large resellers such as Office Max, Dell, or Circuit City aren`t able to coordinate with distributors well even if they did spend the money. You can either pre-order or make custom software that tells whoever`s doing the shipping that there is a distributor conflict.
The biggest advantages of these e-commerce software programs over a plain .html site is the one-button-fixes-all uniformity. It can automate things that are prone to human error but it can`t prevent it and a distributor that refuses to play nice is one of those problems.
I still find it funny that so many people in IT and business think open source ecommerce solutions can`t do what they want. You basically have a small army of people who know how the software works, can tell you in technical or Layman`s terms how it works, and have a vested interested in doing so. While the business incentives of trying something without having to pay (ever) are very appearant, the technical incentives are more hidden.
You have that small army of programmers constantly developing add-ons and plug-ins for a product that are also typically free. Customizing the website also becomes easier because there`s no license that prevents from modifying this or that. The fact that the language itself is open source, such as PHP or MySQL, means that the skillset required to use the languages is not limited to just this software unlike proprietary solutions, or even to ecommerce. For anyone who has worked in website design or IT, they can certainly appreciate having expertise that can keep them afloat through layoffs or clients who often drag out payment.
What do you mean by token?
How much did you have to pay for the add-on modules for Miva? I`ve worked with open source ecommerce solutions where the add-ons were all peer-created for free. While they took the occaisonal 30 minutes to jury-rig, they worked as advertised.
You can check them out at http://www.zen-cart.com</A>
It`s nice to see someone who uses open source e-commerce. I do recommend you try out Zen Cart. It`s based on the OSCommerce software but was upgraded by a team of developers with more options, security, backend control, and add-on integration. Many sites who used OSCommerce are transferring over to Zencart because of the increased community support, documentation, and add-ons.
You can check them out at http://www.zen-cart.com</A> Zen cart is Alright, I have dozen templates that you could choose from if anyone is interested. I haven`t heard much about ZenCart, and how it`s doing, but I know that for OScommerce, I have the Never released Technical Manuals, and Users Guide.. One thing I do like about OSCommerce is the way it integrates to any web site.... I offer it for free with my web hosting packages..I have so much faith in it that I offer it as a standard feature with my E-commerce Web Hosting plans only for $19.99 a month
I am new to the community and came across this thread... I wanted to let you know that I have customized a few miva websites now that they have upgraded to the new 5.5. This new version allows for much easier customization of design. If you are a UI designer like myself I am sure you have found that programmers can be a little flighty so this new version puts much more power in my hands to keep the project with no external people to throw a wrench into the development of the site...
But here is also some new information... I have come across a web company that specializes in getting miva 5.5 sites off the ground in less than 5 business days... I have to admit that this makes it difficult for me to be profitable in my business as I charge upwards of 1500 dollars to develop a miva 5.5 custom designed site...
They cost less than $500 + a very reasonable hosting fee... I looked into the company and honestly I hope they come up with an affiliate program cause they do a great job... everyone should check them out and post back what they think...
The company website is - www.merchantdesigner.com
I have spoken with the owner George Silas and he is very customer oriented and really cares about this service... he even said he was wanting to be the "Apple of Miva Merchant" so for loyalty and street cred... could you tell him that Nathan Reedy referred you lol!
Really people... check out the site and watch some of the video's... I think you will be impressed and might make Miva your new ecommerce platform from now on.
For Backend Miva 5.5 Instructional Videos Using Merchant Designer - Youtube Channel: