“MivaCon is our favorite time of year because we are able to meet the customers that we interact with all the time but never see. It is really a time to step back and re-imagine the potential of ecommerce. Everything that we do is to try and help storeowners and developers with improving the success that they already have in ecommerce with Miva Merchant.” – Russell Carroll, CEO of Miva Merchant.
At MivaCon 2014, President of Miva Merchant, Rick Wilson goes over the biggest features that have come out this year and announces the biggest update to Miva Merchant since 1997: Miva Merchant 9.
2013 has been an interesting year for Miva Merchant. We’ve had to do two things simultaneously, which was challenging. Miva was building a version 9 platform, as well as putting out a ton of new features for Miva storeowners and developers.
In 2013, Miva Merchant put out 14 new critical features, integrations and updates, including:
- Shipping Rules
- Built-in Google Analytics
- Sign in as Customer
- Variant Import
- Manage Orders filter for customers
- Using an Outside Mail Server
- Canada Post Module
- New Amazon Payments (inline Checkout)
- PayPal In-Context Express Checkout
- Support for Bill Me Later
- Intuit Merchant Services (Formerly QuickBooks Merchant Services)
- Admin Session Management
- Bootstrap Responsive Framework
- Custom Fields
- Bootstrap 3.0 Responsive Framework
The unsung hero of the new features this year was the new custom fields module. First and foremost, this feature gives you advanced control over the Miva admin. It also allows you to start adding your own admin tabs and grouping the data together. You can use all sorts of custom fields, such as: text areas, text boxes, drop downs, radio buttons, and image uploads. With the new custom fields, now you can do product, order, customer, category and basket. You can virtually build any business process you can dream of from the back-end of Miva with these fields and control them from the Miva admin.
Bootstrap creates an online framework that allows themes to be applied across multiple devices. This is a critical part of the future of out-of-the-box web design for Miva Merchant. This is now one of the options when building a Miva Merchant store. You can install it and instantly have a responsive theme from scratch. You don’t have to worry about mobile or tablet optimization with the responsive framework, since it is incorporated into the design. It is designed to take a bootstrap CSS and lay it on top of the framework to create a responsive website.
VermontGear.com was one of the first Miva Merchant stores to start using the new framework, and they have seen a great response from this new design. This is an example of the power of responsive frameworks, and we will be investing a lot more into this in 2014. If you are a Miva web developer, this is definitely something you should be taking advantage of.
Download the Bootstrap Responsive Developer Framework today for free.
What’s New for Miva Merchants in 2014?
New Miva Central
We will be building a whole new Miva Central this year. In 2001, when it was first launched, Miva central was the first ecommerce app store in modern times and has since grown into a multi-million dollar business. It has given storeowners the ability to extend the functions and customizing capabilities of Miva Merchant. This year, we are going to rebuild it from the ground up.
Developer Training Series
We have completely revamped the developer training series as a self-paced program, and we’ve added free developer accounts. If you want to learn Miva Merchant, you can actually get a free hosting account and learn at your own pace. We also have storeowner training in addition to developer training. This is a fantastic resource designed to make your world a better place, and it is all free.
We will be launching our first owned Miva Merchant themes this year. All of the new themes coming forward will be designed on the Bootstrap responsive framework.
Web Developer Support
We will be investing heavily in 2014 into web developers, the people who make your businesses run, with expanded and new developer support training materials. The vast majority of successful ecommerce storeowners use web developers, so this will be beneficial to all.
We have already held our first MeetUp, which was a smashing success, and we will be hosting them all over the country this year. Our next MeetUp will be on March 27th. If you want to be a MeetUp brand ambassador we will sponsor it for you.
New Billing System
If you’re on our hosting platform, we are rebuilding and getting rid of Parallels Plesk and ModernBill. The new billing system will be launched in Q3 of this year, and the new control panel will be launched in Q1 of 2015.
The New MivaMerchant.com
We’ve found that people who are interested in making important decisions about running their business are not afraid to read. The new version of MivaMerchant.com will focus very heavily on the different types of merchants. We will ask you where you fit. Are you a “Starter Merchant,” “Professional Merchant,” or and “Enterprise Merchant?” We’ve taken a longer-form approach to providing the right questions, the right answers, and the right discussion points about how Miva Merchant fits for each unique business.
Native Multi-Marketplace Support
The structure of this feature is designed for multiple marketplace support. EBay and Amazon are the driving forces of ecommerce in the United States, so these two platforms will be our initial launch partners for this feature. We will be adding additional marketplaces in order to help you sell where people are buying. You can have one single master inventory, and you will be able to push Miva inventory to multiple marketplaces. You will be able to control and manage the listings from the Miva admin. If you want to, you will be able to bring orders back into Miva for order processing. We expect the eBay portion of this feature to go into beta relatively soon.
Miva Merchant 9
Miva Merchant 9 is the most significant upgrade to Miva Merchant since 1997.
Our CTO, Jon Burchmore, recently described Miva Merchant 9 as a “race car that has been entirely disassembled across the ground in the garage. We need to put it all back together, test it heavily, and get it out the door.”
Secret Sauce: Easy to Upgrade
What makes Miva Merchant 9 so significant is that you will not need to re-build your store. It does not matter if you are on MMUI or CSSUI; if you are currently running a Miva Merchant store, when this releases, you will be able to hit a button and have Miva Merchant 9 instantly. This is unparalleled in the ecommerce space. Most of our competitors are either highly limited, multi tenant SAAS solutions or open source solutions. For example, Shopify has publicly said that they will not add a feature unless 90% of their users will use it. The problem with that is your business is probably not 90% similar to your neighbor’s business. With platforms like Shopify, you have a limited feature set, so you don’t have the same flexibility that you may need. Miva Merchant is here for real businesses doing real volume and really succeeding in the market place.
In contrast, open source solutions allow you to do anything with them. You can customize them as much as you’d like, but once you take the source code in OS Commerce, you don’t have OS commerce anymore, you have your own platform. So when the next big thing comes out and you try to upgrade, you have to start from scratch. With Miva Merchant, you can do an in-place upgrade, and you do not have to worry about getting stuck. Our prime directive with Miva Merchant 9 is to continue releasing new critical, cutting-edge features without ever breaking a store. We are incredible excited about what is in store for Miva Merchant 9.
Here are just a few of the exciting new features in Miva Merchant 9:
- New Home Screen
- Designed for Multiple Devices
- Simplified & Organized
- Multiple New Navigation Features – History, Bookmark, and Search
- Faster Operating & Less Clicks
- Fully Integrated Support Process
- Customized Reporting
- More Effective Design for Processes
- Interactive Batch Lists
- Screen Resolution Optimization
- Persistent Navigation
- Logical Processes
- New User Interface
- Data Management for Imports and Exports
- Marketing Command Center
- And many more…
The developer beta of Miva Merchant 9 starts next month. Merchant 9 will go live for all users during Q3 of this year.