Competing with Giants: Key Insights from MivaCon 2017

Springtime in San Diego means three things: longer days, ephemeral blooms, and warmer weather. For those of us at Miva, March holds a special place in our calendars.

This last week industry leaders, business owners, and savvy pros flocked from all around the country for MivaCon, our annual ecommerce conference. Held at the Hyatt Regency in the beachside town of La Jolla, CA, conference goers were treated to 70 degree weather and a healthy dose of vitamin D. And though the place and the patrons shift each year, we always leave with a familiar sentiment—that electric charge from three days swapping ideas, sharing trends, and innovating solutions with fellow influencers in online business.

Whether this year’s conference was your fourth or you’ve yet to step foot into your first, MivaCon 2017 served up something for everyone in ecommerce. Here are our key takeaways from the first day of keynote speeches at MivaCon 2017 San Diego.

Slay Your E-Giants with Eric Yonge

The first day of keynotes saw CEOs and small business owners; CTOs and solution engineers; software developers and digital strategists tackling the big challenges facing ecommerce today.

Eric Yonge kicked off Thursday morning with an inspired keynote on how to get the edge over your competitors be it the shop down the street, a stagnant internal culture, or yes, Amazon.

“Remember the lessons you learned when you first started out but don’t lose the big picture of where the brand can go.”
Eric Yonge, President and Creative Director of EYStudios


The key to beating your competitor, Eric posed, is not in focusing on their size, but on the strength of what you have to offer: your unique edge which has less to do with price; everything to do with personality. “The areas you opt to go easy and cheap [in your business] are the areas your giant will exploit.”

“Your E-Giant has reputation. You have relationships. They have plans. You have passion.”
Eric Yonge

Of strengthening your company’s personality and relationships, Eric posed the following:

  • On company culture: “First, win your culture war. You can’t have a strategy that’s incompatible with your culture.”
  • On asking the hard questions: “Stop asking ‘what can we all agree upon here?’. Start asking ‘how can we be better?’ ‘How can we advance the relationships we have with our customers?’”
  • On leveraging fear: “Where does your giant fear to tread? Go there.”

Architecting future success with miva

The leadership team at Miva then took the stage and built upon Eric’s narrative with a two-hour keynote led by Rick Wilson, President of Miva, Inc. Rick discussed specific and big-picture ways to tackle one’s “E-Giants”—from controlling the customer experience to controlling the margin, to creating a seamless user experience for both retail shoppers and wholesale ones, to the effectiveness of subscription ecommerce, and more.

“There is a way for you to beat the giant if you use your expertise in your market and combine it with technology to do things that weren’t achievable before.”
Rick Wilson, President, Miva, Inc.


Rich Rauscher, EVP of Miva, Inc. and Brennan Heyde, VP of Developer Relations both addressed the future of the Miva platform and services. Rich emphasized a customer-centric culture, starting with an improved TAC—Miva’s team of troubleshooters working round-the-clock to ensure the best customer service experience possible. Brennan provided an overview of what’s ahead with Miva, revealing two gorgeous new ReadyThemes, the new subscription service MivaPay, and an upcoming Town Hall conversation series this fall featuring Rick Wilson, among other updates.

Miva’s Creative Director Danial Dashtizad built upon our prior Q&A, urging businesses online to utilize design and technology to their advantage.

“How do you compete with giants? Offer a level of personalization that’s exclusive to you that Amazon can’t. [The success of your business] will always come back to that one thing: your customers’ emotional connection to your brand. All the technology in the world won’t save Uber if they continue to have these PR fiascos.”
Danial Dashtizad, Creative Director, Miva, Inc.


Finally, Rick closed out the morning with a look at the next 20 years of ecommerce, speaking to:

  • Where to go from the imagination economy we are currently in
    • “You dream it, we’ll architect it.”
  • The importance of merging B2B/B2C/B2D
    • “This unified experience is what’s going to help you stay ahead of Amazon and other competitors.”
  • The difficulties of knowing exactly what will happen 20 years from now
    • “If you connect with your customers in a way that’s unique to you, [you’ll always stay ahead].”
  • High-efficiency automation and integration of all software to create a unified experience and reduce overhead

Were you at MivaCon 2017? If so, what key insights did you carry away from this first day?

Even if you missed it, you’re in luck: we livestreamed each keynote on our Facebook page. Slay E-Giants with Eric Yonge then follow up with the MivaCon17 keynote.