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Miva Merchant Review

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Miva Merchant Review

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Date Established
1995
Location
San Diego, CA
Liz Hull

Liz Hull

Liz Hull is a writer for Merchant Maverick. In her three years with Merchant Maverick, she has tested and reviewed over 40 eCommerce platforms and published two ebooks on the topic of online selling. Liz has also been published in Startup Nation and Home Business Magazine Online. Liz has a BA in English and Spanish from George Fox University.



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25 Comments

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Keith

    We ditched Miva after a decade when they changed the pricing structure. We settled on 3DCart. I’m not saying it is the best for everyone, but we like it and it is MUCH faster for us to list products and it integrates with our StoneEdge order management system. We lost a couple of features we liked and gained additional, but in the end, 3DCart is MILES ahead of Miva’s criminal pricing practices.

    1

      This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

      Mike

      Wow, Thank God for customer feedback. Too many articles praise these companies without doing their research.

        This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

        Rebbie88

        It’s great if you are an advanced web designer. I’ve never worked with shopping cart software and I don’t recommend this if you have no experience. Pain the ass if you ask me. A million videos and no idea which ones are for what you need. IF you need that many videos it’s not easy software. I’m not paying them $75 per month to learn how to use the software especially when all I have is ONE product to set up. I wasted THREE WEEKS!!

        2

          This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

          Liz Hull

          Hi, Rebbie.

          Sorry you had such a frustrating experience! If you’re only looking to sell one item on your site, you might look into Ecwid. Ecwid plugs into any website with an HTML/JavaScript editor, and if you’re selling under ten products, it’s free! It’s also very easy to learn and use on a daily basis. You can find my review of Ecwid here.

          You also might try BigCartel, which is geared more toward artists who are looking to sell a few items. They also have a free plan if you’re selling fewer than five products.

          Hope things turn out better for you in the future!

            This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

            johnag

            Shopify: The best startup site for your small businessAfter a long search for the best ecommerce website builder, I finally settled on Shopify. Shopify is great site to start out with if you own a small online business. If you have no experience with web design, like most new business owners, this will be perfect for you. The entire site is user friendly too, no messy html codes. Shopify’s best features are the templates, the app store and its customer support. These three things became the deciding factor in choosing Shopify and I can’t be any happier with my decision.Professional Templates:The key to having a successful online business is having an eye appealing website. The better your site looks, the more trustworthy it looks, which helps drive sales. One of the first things I noticed about Shopify is the professional looking templates they have to offer. I was only a couple of weeks into my business and it looked like I was well established thanks to the appearance of my website. Not only do the templates look good, but there are well over 100 different ones to choose from. The only downside is that some of the best templates do cost extra money. If this option isn’t for you though, shopify has more than enough free templates to choose from, which is what I started with.Online App Store:Another great feature is Shopify’s App Store. The store includes hundreds of apps that helps you market and manage your business. All of the apps are automatically integrated with shopify, which makes them much easier to use. Similar to the templates though, some of the apps cost extra money. Some are one time payments and others you have to pay on a monthly basis. Some of them are really worth the money though. As a small business owner, you’re not going to have a lot of employees so having apps to make up for that is perfect. I downloaded my first app and before I knew it I had over 20. They’re really beneficial, trust me.Great customer support:Lastly, Shopify has great customer service. Many ecommerce sites advertise that they have good customer support, which I have found to be very untrue. I have never experienced a support system as great as Shopify’s. They have a true 24/7 anytime support system and I know this from personal experience. I called at 3am one time and a customer service rep solved all of my problems by walking me through each and every one. For people who are just starting out there are going to be roadblocks and a lot of questions so having someone who’s there to help at your disposal 24 hours a day is a great feature to have. I can’t say enough good things about this.All in all Shopify is your best option when looking to build your ecommerce site. It’s easy to use, professional, it has cutting-edge features and its customer support is hands down the best out there. I hope this review was helpful and I wish you the best in your ongoing business endeavorswww.olshoppers.com

            5

              This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

              Dan

              CROOKS! Couple days before Thanksgiving, Miva sent us an email about their new pricing structure based on our gross revenues. Our monthly fee would increase FROM $59 PER MONTH TO $1,540 PER MONTH!!! This is outrageous! How do they dare? Next day, they sent an email offering a special deal at $599 per month if we sign up for 2 years. Extortion! After over 10 years with Miva, we will switch asap.

              1

                This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                Karen

                I completely agree. Our fees went from $1200 per year to $18,000!! They base our fee purely on revenue. the number of products we have in our store, the number of seats we need, the bandwidth we use and the storage we require are equivalent to a $149.00/month store.They waited until about 30 days to give customers notice so it was too late to move our store into another shopping cart. Absolutely ridiculous. We were forced to sign for another year.On top of the MIVA fees, MIVA does not provide many features in their product, so 3rd party modules or apps are required. That’s similar to other carts, but with MIVA the apps are very expensive, out of date and limited in quantity and support. Want a Facebook login function on your site? It will cost you $595.00! Need data feeds to export products to Google, Amazon, Rakuten, etc? You’ll have to do it manually. In my opinion, the lack of basic functions bulit into MIVA and needed for today’s eCommerce is stunning.I literally spent hours arguing with their head sales guy about MIVA’s offerings and how they have not kept up with other carts as far as look, feel and functionality. In defiance, he sent me links to 3 stores that they consider their best examples of the new MIVA 9 in action. The sites were hokey, had many formatting errors on mobile and looked dated. I couldn’t believe that they considered this their best examples. Also, MIVA is very difficult to use. Don’t go for this product if you don’t plan to spend money on professional developers to assist you in any kind of customization (which you absolutely will need). I’ve been using MIVA since 2004 and as a legacy customer we were told that we simply need to completely re-do our website so we can take advantage of the new MIVA 9 functions. I can tell you this – if I have to re-do my website I am certainly not going to do it in MIVA. I have used 3dcart, Shopify and Volusion. The functionality, themes and add-ons in these 3 products all blow away this product. I will be likely moving this MIVA site over to Magento asap.

                1

                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                  Karen Jones

                  MIVA contacted me after posted this review. I agreed to edit my post but I am unable to do so; instead I am posting this follow up. But first I would like to say that nothing I wrote is false in my current store or experience as it stands now.

                  To be clear, I do not use many of the new features in MIVA 9 because in order to do so I would have to rebuild my store. I am therefore admittedly not familiar with some of them. I believe that MIVA is difficult to use compared to carts like Shopify but MIVA is more customizable than Shopify which is a benefit. The cost of add-ons vs what is now built-in to the product is something that should be researched by a potential buyer of MIVA before committing to a year-long contract with them. I do feel however, after using other carts, that I have a high cost of add-on modules for my MIVA store as it stands now.

                  I would encourage anyone thinking about MIVA to educate themselves about the available themes, add-ons or “apps” and the cost of implementing them. For example, as I stated earlier, the Facebook login implementation is 595.00 and I do not see any feed capabilities. I invite MIVA to chime in on this post if I am incorrect on this.

                  I am obviously a disgruntled customer relating to the extreme price increase and lack of warning/opportunity to do anything about it. I believe it should have been a more fairly implemented incremental price increase. MIVA’s customers are businesses…businesses who have budgets to plan, a plethora of other business expenses, financial commitments and employees to pay. Such a percentage increase in pricing can significantly affect a business in a very immediate way.

                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                    Rick Wilson

                    Karen,

                    I appreciate your willingness to add some clarity to your post and acknowledge you’re not really taking advantage of much (if any) of the improvements of our software we’ve added in the last 10 years since you built your site.

                    We have multiple ways to handle feeds. There are built in feeds for eBay and Amazon, our Enterprise Connect tools allow you to connect to any ERP, CRM, Fulfillment House or really any other system on the web. Our various batch reports can create custom feeds. In addition there are a few third party add-ons that usually run about $50 one time that provide an easy to use interface for one off feeds. Finally in our next release we’re expanding the variety of ways we can do feeds, including point and click ones for Etsy and Google Shopping as well as a simplified one off feed manager for custom feeds.

                    Finally you reference things like Shopify, the average Shopify store is only doing $20k a year in online sales, their median store is only doing about $5k, with approximately 80% of their users doing 0 – $1k a year in sales. Which means you’re literally much more than 50 times bigger than their average client and could never realistically use standard Shopify (which is still very expensive relatively speaking with all the add ons you’d need) to run a business of your size.

                    If you even could run on something like Shopify (and I’m doubtful you could), you’d have to be on their Enterprise plans with start at the same price as the plans we just put you on.

                    In other words, if you research the proven shopping cart/ecom platforms (and not the no name brand stuff that hasn’t proven it will be around in 3 years), you’ll find that while I understand your frustration in our change in pricing, our product is still the best value on the market for what you get and far cheaper than our closest real competitor of Magento Enterprise and roughly the same price as Shopify Enterprise and BigCommerce Enterprise (which for a store your size would be your only viable options, if they even work).

                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                      Rick Wilson

                      Also the Facebook Login is a service we offer (essentially an installation fee), which is why it’s almost $600 because it takes on average 5 hours per site to install.

                      The module used for that service is free and available in our App Store as a download along with instructions for how to do it yourself if you’re capable of doing it yourself.

                        This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                        Ilya

                        Organization Name: De Wine Spot

                        Rick, get real. I run my store on Shopify which has TONS of integrations and I do about $1MM in sales annually. I get by with their standard plan just fine (I am NOT on their Shopify Plus plan). They have themes upon themes which makes your 12 themes a joke. They accept Bitcoin. They are really easy to set up and get going. Most business owners really want the ease of use – most lack skills or desire needed to properly utilize your platform. It’s great that you are going after enterprise customers platforms, but now you are playing in NetSuite’s backyard. MIVA is clearly not geared towards small business even with revenues up to $1-2 MM annually. An average small business store will also not be able to handle your prices which are simply not competitive. You either compete with Shopify or market yourself as a platform for an enterprise, which Shopify is not.

                        • Organization Name: De Wine Spot
                        Mike

                        Magento you say? Now you are really just showing your ignorance. Some of your points are valid but postering by naming every eCommerce site you can think of only shows you have no clue. If you have a $149/month site as you say, then why oh why would you consider Magento? Shopify is what you are looking for. Learn from your mistakes.

                          This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                          Devin

                          New pricing structure based off gross sales is criminal. TERRIBLE company that should not even be in business. They won’t be fore long, thank goodness.

                          1

                            This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                            David Hart

                            I’ve used miva since 2002. At that time there weren’t many options for the setup we needed. We’ve been working on moving to Pinnacle, but having seen v9 (and having a dedicated server and licensed version of miva) we’re seriously considering staying. Looks like they lept over pinnacle since we last checked. Still have things to review, but pinnacle’s lack of dimensional shipping api really steams me. They have all the product size fields to do it, and acknowledge it’s misleading, but still don’t offer that function. Merchant Marerick – great and balanced review. We’re a pretty large user so it works for us – or may once I’m finished looking at v9.3. Haven’t been able to get an answer about custom urls. we spent a lot of time creating 5000 very seo friendly and relevant links that I need to use that go right into pinnacle’s custom url field.

                            4

                              This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                              Rick Wilson

                              David,

                              If you need a Miva question answered, feel free to email me at rwilson at miva dot com.

                                This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                                Holly Nelson

                                I have been building eCommerce websites since 1996. I started with the first version of Miva, called Cool Kat. Recently Miva launched version 9 and by the end of this year, even more on-board features and functionalities will be in place, including full integration with marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. Having developed 100’s of stores in many platforms, I remain loyal to Miva for these reasons: SECURITY (never been hacked), FLEXIBLITY (start up to enterprise), and CORPORATE CULTURE. You name one other platform where it is possible to be personal friends with the CEO, the COO, the VP, and the Director of Development. No platform is perfect, but no platform is better than the people at the top. At Miva, the people at the top are wise, accessible, and professional. And they truly listen to people’s input.

                                5

                                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                                  Rick Wilson

                                  Let me see if I can straighten a few things out here.First Erik, please confirm you got your refund. We reached out to you many many times to ensure you received it, and I believe last I heard it was complete.Second we have something better than free trials, we have permanent free developer accounts you can play with all you want. You just can’t sell anything from them. Go to http://www.miva.com/videos and click Developer and sign up for a free account forever.Finally we do not charge $700 for Mobile. All of our new sites come with free Responsive Themes (that are based on very high end custom sites we built for that matter). The only time we charge $700 is if we’re doing a custom “bolt on” to an older store and that $700 is purely time and materials. We even provide the instructions for how to do that exact thing yourself for free on your own time if you want.

                                  5

                                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                                    Bert

                                    Been with Miva for over 10 years. Had a meeting recently with the owner Rick Wilson concerning the new licensing fees. Found him arrogant, rude and he made it very clear he only cares about a small percentage of his customers. I have never spoken with the owner of the company that cared less about his clients. I will be leaving Miva very soon and hope to see them crumble. If you are looking for a company that is honest, fair and will not charge you a ton of fees, look else where. Go to a company that will appreciate your business. This company is not Miva.

                                    1

                                      This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                                      Joe Langlois

                                      We have been using Miva since Miva 4, 5, 5.5, now 9. We have dealt with many obstacles. After years and finally getting going good with Miva 5, Miva 9 comes out. We upgrade and it’s all new again. Some better. Some things don’t work. But the main complaint is the high cost of an additional seat, the ability for more than one person to work on the site at one time. We have a lot of maintenance all the time. Things that aren’t profitable but have to be done. Mostly price updates. $50 per month per person is exhorbitant. Up to 5 at a time for $50 seems reasonable but Miva has not responded to me. We need to start looking for another shopping cart program unless Miva offers another option for small businesses to survive.

                                      3

                                        This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                                        Jacqueline Sylvia

                                        I am a developer with a very small portion of my clients require ecommerce sites. However, since 2000 I had been a loyal promoter of Miva. This has now all changed due to what I consider unscrupulous practices with their price changes on October 15, 2014. They sent out a deceptive email announcing the changes and did not provide sufficient notice. Then in January I received a bill that was an increase in price of 100%!!!! A $200 monthly increase! It’s outrageous and I feel that I’ve been robbed.

                                        They claim they changed the way they are billing and going for a SaaS model. However, if it were “software as a service” the end product would be portable. That is the software could be swapped out and the end product still usable in a comparable software product. I can take my Photoshop .psd and use PaintShop Pro. I can still open my .pdfs, I can swap out my QuickBooks and still get a P&L statement…. This can’t be done with Miva.

                                        My clients were using the product in a way that it was sold to them and we were baited by Miva’s advertised rates. My client did not change the way they were conducting their business from October to November or December, but the Miva price sky rocketed. My clients put their entire business on the line for the Miva product and they are locked in because of the huge investment in time and money in man hours populating this ecommerce store. They just can’t up and switch, and Miva knows this.

                                        So what do they do? They stick it to the very people who stood by them and promoted their wares. To make matters worse, I feel they baited and switched this last project of mine. I had many questions due to the nature of my client’s products and called and discussed their needs with the Miva reps. Never once was there a mention of a price structure change, not once and evidently they had this new scheme in the works for a considerable amount of time. So my clients got locked in. And as a developer recommending the Miva, they pulled me in and I unwittingly helped them perpetuate what I consider highly unethical tactics. I truly do, and I am extremely offended by their conduct.

                                        Rick Wilson, President of Miva has had to post two blog articles after he was confronted about these tactics on the forums. http://extranet.miva.com/forums/showthread.php?114430-50-per-additional-simultaneous-Administrative-User/page29&p=427494#post427494 Thou dost protest too much Mr. Wilson… If your business practices were above board and customer friendly you would not have to exhaust such efforts convincing us otherwise. Mr. Wilson stated he thought me unreasonable because I could not agree with his underhanded philosophy and I let them know clearly how offended I was by being brought into their game. Well if not wanting practice what I consider unethical business is unreasonable, then I am the most unreasonable person on the planet. (He even said I probably felt foolish and embarrassed by selling my clients his wares and he got that right!) Miva Merchant’s business practices = ZERO stars.

                                          This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                                          JS

                                          I was just charged $200.00 more this month with no itemization. They refuse to do anything and have not yet provided an itemized account. I have clients with Miva and have been with them since 2001. Unethical and they know clients are locked in… it’s not like swapping a program as the entire store is locked in. I will never ever use Miva for another client.

                                          1

                                            This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                                            Ryan Sheldon

                                            We are in the process of leaving Miva Merchant for Drupal as they have recently started billed our company for $350 in fines PER MONTH because it is not practical for our company to upgrade from Miva 5.5 to Miva 9 during the holiday season. Under Miva 9, we are only allowed to have one IT manager logged in at a time, they are now selling “Seats” for $50/each to have more employees logged into the store. They incorrectly estimated we were using 7 “Seats” on the OLD license and proceeded to fine us for $50/each x 7 per month. We must continue to pay this fine until our Drupal commerce site is fully operational. Miva has us trapped for now, but we will be out of this unethical billing practice soon. I strongly suggest looking at alternative options if you are considering Miva Merchant. This is not the first time we have had billing issues. In the past, they were very accommodating because we have used their software for 12 years. Our company attorneys are considering a class-action suite against Miva Merchant as a review of their license agreement we are under does not include any form of “Seat” licensing fees. They claim they are entitled to the new fines under their “Price Increase” option in the license agreement. My advice: RUN!

                                            1

                                              This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                                              Melissa Nyssen

                                              I used Miva for 10+ years and would agree with the other reviewer regarding billing and ethics. Beware of excessive fees that are charged without explanation or reason. I was charged $40 per month extra for usage I did not use, according to their records, and they refused to refund. After their refusal, I switched to BigCommerce, and am fairly happy and amazed with features that were included. BigCommerce is years ahead of Miva, I wish I would of switched a long time ago.

                                              1

                                                This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                                                Michael

                                                I agree with Melissa, Miva’s new extortion pricing policy is ridiculous. They now charge $50 per month “seat” fees. If you don’t upgrade, they fine you $50 a month.

                                                1

                                                  This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

                                                  Karen Miller

                                                  Excellent review. I should have paid more attention to the part where they haven’t refunded your credit card after you cancelled during the trial! I cancelled after two weeks, and they dragged their heels, told me I had to provide this and that, and then after no response for a week, told me that “no refund is due”, although they graciously offered to not charge me in the future! No explanation as to why.I called their billing support and they said they would “look into it” and let me know what they could do for me. I have sent them a screenshot of their guarantee page, where there are no conditions or fine print exclusions listed, and assured them that I will dispute the charge if a refund is not forthcoming. I’m sure a lot of busy merchants overlook the part where they say “No refund is due”, or neglect to follow up to see that the refund is issued. This alone is something I consider a serious concern.The reasons I decided to cancel however were due to function. I could not do the things I want. Most notably, there is no way to duplicate a product, as when you want to create a very similar product and just make a small change. Their support was sluggish at best.I was also unhappy with the way you have to pay (a LOT) extra for things others include, such as a mobile interface. Everyone uses smartphones today, so this is essential. Had the cart been otherwise up to snuff, I would have forked out the $700 they want for this, but that’s just ridiculous. I give them a D- for that piece. I should have been more skeptical that they don’t offer a free trial like almost everyone else does. Failing to respond promptly to a cancel and refund request gives me serious concerns about their overall ethics, and certainly validated my decision to go with a different solution.

                                                  2

                                                    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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