Ecommerce Platform Comparison: Miva VS Shopify

A tiny shopping cart with boxes in it, next to a wallet in front of an open laptop. Overlaid are the words: Which is the best ecommerce platform?

Which is the Best eCommerce Platform?

How do you choose an ecommerce platform for your business? It’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons of each option. Let’s compare two popular choices, Miva and Shopify, to help you decide which platform is best suited for your business needs.

Miva VS Shopify:
eCommerce Platform Face Off

Why these two? They represent very different models. Both provide high-quality, responsive websites that offer excellent user experiences across all devices. Miva is known for its customization and its many integrated tools and features. Shopify is known for its accessibility and for empowering anyone to be an entrepreneur. 

Miva 101
High-Powered eCommerce Platform

Miva is a robust ecommerce platform, first launched in 1997. It offers a range of features designed to help businesses create and manage online stores. Some of its key features include:

  • Flexible design options:
    • Miva allows for highly customizable storefronts based on the type of shopper, offering the freedom to create unique online shopping experiences for various groups of wholesale and retail customers.
  • Powerful, built-in tools:
    • Miva offers numerous tools to help you drive traffic to your store, make sales, and manage inventory. That means native support for easy navigation, faceted search, upselling, bundling, kit builders, interactive product visualizers, and using one storefront to sell B2B and DTC (or B2C) with custom pricing for different groups of customers.
  • Integrated payment options:
    • Miva integrates with various payment platforms, making it easy to ensure secure payments with the lowest processing fees.
  • Scalability:
    • Miva is scalable, meaning it can grow with your business. Miva can accommodate your needs whether you’re just starting or have a large online store.
  • 24/7 Support:
    • Get help whenever you need it by email or phone.
  • App Store:
    • Miva has an app store for additional functionality options for their clients. All the apps are tested by Miva to ensure they work well on the platform.  

Miva is Best for:

  • Mid to Large Businesses
    • Miva is a perfect choice for mid to large businesses that need a highly customizable ecommerce platform. Its flexibility allows for tailored solutions to meet the specific needs of larger operations.
  • Businesses with Complex Requirements
    • If your business has complex requirements, such as multiple storefronts, ERP or OMS integration, extensive product catalogs, or unique pricing structures, Miva’s advanced features and customization options make it a suitable choice.
  • Businesses Requiring Advanced Marketing Tools
    • Miva offers powerful marketing tools, making it a good choice for businesses that prioritize marketing strategies like SEO optimization, email marketing, and social media integration.

Common Critiques of Miva:

  • Complicated
    • Some users complain it’s too hard to figure out (or requires a developer).
  • Pricey
    • The base price is significantly higher than Shopify’s base price.

User-Friendly eCommerce Platform

Shopify is another popular ecommerce platform, launched in 2006, known for its ease of use and extensive features. Some of the key features of Shopify include:

  • User-friendly interface: Shopify is known for its user-friendly interface, making it easy for beginners to create and manage an online store.
  • Extensive app store: Shopify has an extensive app store with thousands of apps that can help you enhance your store’s functionality.
  • 24/7 customer support: Shopify offers 24/7 customer support through email and online chat, so you can get help whenever you need it.

Shopify is Best for:

  • Small to Mid-sized Businesses
    • Shopify is an excellent choice for small to mid-sized businesses due to its user-friendly interface and easy setup process. It’s also scalable, allowing businesses to grow without switching platforms.
  • Businesses with Limited Technical Expertise
    • Shopify’s user-friendly interface makes it a perfect choice for businesses with limited technical expertise. You don’t have to be a web development expert to create and manage a Shopify store.
  • Speedy Site Builds
    • If you need to get your online store up and running quickly, Shopify is a great option. Its pre-built themes and easy-to-use interface make it possible to launch a professional-looking store in no time.

Common Critiques of Shopify:

  • 3rd Party Apps
    • Shopify let’s developers create apps to improve functionality for their customers (although they collaborate on creating some with larger software developers). The app store is crowded. There are nearly 1000 apps just for email marketing. Email integrations, inventory management, and many other features depend on 3rd party apps which vary widely in cost and quality. Some run slowly. Good ones often come with high monthly costs, potentially ballooning the price. Most apps collect massive amounts of customer data as well.
  • Poor Customer Service
    • Customer Service is often impersonal. They do not offer phone support for ecommerce sites. Shopify uses online chat, and email. Some users complain that it takes a while and may not be helpful.
  • High Merchant Fees
    • Payment Processing is on the costlier side with no discount for debit card sales and a flat rate charge on every transaction.
  • Limited Design Options
    • While there are a number of themes available, the sites generally lack options for customization.

Let’s Compare These eCommerce Platforms:

  • Ease of Use 

    • Shopify is known for its user-friendly interface. This makes it easy for beginners to set up and manage an online store. Miva, on the other hand, has a steeper learning curve. Miva recently added a drag-and-drop page builder although it is generally more challenging for beginners without experience.
      • Advantage: Shopify 
  • Customization 

    • Miva offers more customization options, allowing you to create a unique storefront. Shopify offers some customization but is more limited in comparison.
      • Advantage: Miva
  • Support

    • Miva has 24/7 phone and email support while Shopify offers ecommerce sites 24/7 chat and email support. Shopify doesn’t offer phone support for ecommerce sites.
      • Advantage: Miva
  • Functionality 

    • Miva has numerous features that allow integration of things like an OMS or ERP, Inventory Management, SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, and 3rd party logistics.  Shopify relies on apps to provide these features. Many of the apps are from 3rd-party developers. Some function poorly. Most have an additional monthly cost. Miva also has an app store (for customers who require functions not native to their platform). The apps are of higher quality and are tested for performance by Miva.
      • Advantage: Miva (by a hair)
  • Scalability 

    • Both Miva and Shopify are scalable. They can both handle large volumes of traffic, and spikes in traffic due to sudden notoriety. Larger businesses may benefit more from Miva due to the enhanced features they offer. Shopify may offer those features through 3rd party developers, however that will mean additional costs after finding the right apps in a crowded marketplace. 
      • Advantage: Toss Up
  • Speed

    • While both ecommerce platforms have great service, Shopify’s reliance on applications developed by 3rd parties tends to slow down load times for their sites. Miva’s native support for many features, along with their higher quality app store means that comparable websites should load faster using Miva.
      • Advantage: Miva
  • Pricing 

    • Pricing for both platforms varies depending on your needs. Shopify offers a range of pricing plans starting from $29 per month (with additional monthly fees for 3rd-party apps), while Miva’s pricing is not publicly available and varies due to size.
      • Advantage: Toss Up (depending upon business size/complexity and functional requirements)

Which eCommerce Platform is Best for Your Business?

Here are 4 Things to Consider When Choosing:

  • Complexity vs. Simplicity
    • If your business requires extensive customization and advanced marketing tools, Miva is a strong contender. However, if you value simplicity and quick setup, Shopify seems more suitable.
  • Size and Growth
    • Consider your current business size and anticipated growth. Miva is better for established businesses with complex needs, while Shopify is great for smaller businesses looking to expand.
  • Budget
    • Both platforms offer various pricing plans, so assess which aligns better with your budget and expected ROI. Shopify has a lower cost of entry, but the price will grow depending on the features one wishes to utilize. 
  • Technical Expertise
    • Your team’s technical capabilities should also be considered. Miva requires more technical knowledge but provides better support. Meanwhile, Shopify is more user-friendly but has slower, less personal customer assistance. 
  • Both Miva and Shopify are powerful platforms. While each has robust features and benefits, the best choice for your business will depend on your specific needs, size, expertise, and budget. But if you need a partner to help with your new ecommerce site, Tayloe/Gray can guide you through the entire process from concept to design to delivery. Drop us a line.