I haven’t always been interested in e-commerce, nor have I always been a web developer. I have been, however, fortunate enough to be someone who has lived in world without e-commerce solutions geared for small businesses. How does that make me fortunate? Why would anyone be happy to have lived in a world without e-commerce solutions? Simply put, it has brought me and so many others to Miva Merchant.
In 2001, I began working in e-commerce and graphic design. I was working with a custom-built e-commerce solution that was extremely sensitive, delicate, and quite frankly afraid every time I needed to update the database or make a simple change. I can’t be too harsh on this software given I was new to this “online” world having only built simple web pages on “free” accounts and learning HTML in my spare time. Most importantly, this e-commerce solution did bring in a lot of sales to a company who went online only four years earlier.
Over the next two years the business continued to grow as did technology. We were a mail-order company long before the internet and had realized the importance of online commerce. As our business grew, our e-commerce solution was growing stale, became harder to maintain and was lacking updates and features. Because it was a custom-made solution, expandability wasn’t an option.
In early 2003, i took it upon myself to find a solution. I literally met dead end after dead end. Everything was extremely expensive and I kept wondering about the teams of people and amount of expenses all of the major players in the online industries were investing to create these robust, full-featured websites. I managed to speak with a few providers who offered 50k solutions; well out of our investment option range. Out of desperation, I even purchased an off the shelf “web store” piece of software which left me convinced there simply wasn’t a viable solution for a small business.
I was still very green to e-commerce and probably wasn’t looking in the right places or simply educated enough to know what I was looking for. The truth is, I’m glad I didn’t … or wasn’t. As I was looking to start my own personal web site, I went looking for a domain and web host. Some simple searching landed me with a company who just happened to offer e-commerce solutions as part of their packages. Curiously, I began to inquire. At the time, I believe, the cost was around $24.95 a month and the package included an e-commerce package called Miva Merchant. It would allow unlimited products, full control over your database, product attributes, built-in shipping rates/options, secure pages and most importantly a working shopping cart! Admittedly, I was skeptical. However, for $25 a month, I took a chance—with my own money.
In 2003, I discovered Miva Merchant and never looked back.
Convincing my company to upgrade, we launched a full-blown Miva Merchant site in late 2003. I was amazed of what I was able to do with it. Along with the help of the 3rd party community, I managed to create a completely custom look and feel, implement little tricks and functions that were necessary to our business and watched our online presence grow.
As I continued to grow in e-commerce development, and as our online business continued to grow, so did Miva Merchant. I was almost enthralled by the Miva Merchant community. I could ask almost any question and get more than one answer or suggestion. It is a community built on users and users helping users who loves the product. Miva Merchant, as well as the community, continues to grow. Monthly prices have changed, hosting providers have expanded, and Miva Merchant own business model becoming “software as a service” has evolved. What hasn’t changed is Miva Merchant’s commitment to it’s product, it’s community and it’s development.
As someone who is not a Miva Merchant employee or as someone who is not being compensated by Miva Merchant in any way, I can confidently state that Miva Merchant, along with the Miva Merchant community and developers, is an affordable, easy to manage, complete and robust e-commerce solution providing the most in-demand features and options allowing your business to stand along side the major online e-tailers.
This may sound like discovering Miva Merchant in 2003 was like discovering America or the Fountain of Youth, but I feel certain that others have had similar experiences. If not, perhaps I am the only one where Miva Merchant makes me feel like a kid on Christmas.
I have been working with Miva Merchant since 2003 and have since help build other e-commerce businesses. My latest e-commerce project is a site dedicated to music education featuring digital downloads of both audio and e-books. See what I’m currently working on (jazzbooks.com and dreamchasermusic.com) and see what others have created using Miva Merchant.
www.jazzbooks.com – working development by jason
www.dreamchasermusic.com – working development by jason