3 Ways Miva Merchant is the Donald Trump of eCommerce

Originally written during my internship at Atlantic BT, but then I liked it too much to tone it down.

If you’ve been following Magento eCommerce at all, you might have noticed some of the attack emails Miva Merchant has been sending out. You might have seen the following ad:

This ad, sent via email campaign, continues to say,

“Updating crucial security patches is infamously slow on Magento, commonly breaking the functionality of mods and plug-ins. The tortured development history of Magento means that every back-end integration requires an expensive custom build and painstaking IT maintenance”

Miva’s smear campaign on Magento doesn’t stop there. In the company’s own article Miva vs Magento Enterprise, they make the claim that running a Magento Enterprise site is roughly twice the cost of a Miva platform, and not worth the cost. In another email they claim:

This tactic seems familiar.

Inflammatory statements? Attacking their opponents by name?

Via CNN

Whatever your opinion on him, Trump’s strategy is trademark. He consistently hits with an insult or an inflammatory statement BEFORE getting to his platform and whatever “secret sauce” he’s pitching. If you look at Miva ads, it’s the same thing. Even if you ignore the attack ads and look at the features of Miva being highlighted, it’s eerily familiar. Actually, with some help from Trump Ipsum, I can guess the language of the next Miva Merchant email campaign:

“Let’s make eCommerce great again. That’s what people want, they want eCommerce to be great again. If Miva wasn’t a cloud based platform, perhaps I’d be dating it. Don’t listen to wicked Magento. The only card they have is the enterprise card. I think the only difference between me and Magento is that I’m easier to update and my platform is more beautiful. I’m speaking with Miva Script, number one, because I have a very good language and I’ve scripted a lot of things. The best eCommerce platforms are made in Miva.”

More than what they’re insulting, there are aspects of the platform that Miva isn’t representing well at all. It’s not just the campaign being waged against Magento that reminds me of Trump. Based on the software, it’s a lot more similar to Shopify than it is to Magento. Miva, because it is Saas based, limits your ability to do custom features and custom setup. Like Shopify, it’s a solid platform but it’s not likely to attract larger businesses that would use Magento. These businesses that they’re targeting in the email campaign are likely to want a custom set up and a unique look and feel— you’re not going to find that with Miva.

It just doesn’t make sense. Here are 3 other reasons Miva’s marketing is like the Trump Campaign.

1. Misrepresenting Their Level of Success

Via CNN

A core tenant of Donald Trump’s campaign is how successful he is as a businessman. Like some of Miva Merchant’s claims, it’s a bit of a stretch. As the Cheat Sheet reports, while he does have a net worth of 4.5 billion, that’s still “not enough to place Trump among the top 100 richest people in the U.S”. There are A LOT of businesses and entrepreneurs more successful and richer than he is. In addition, Polifact finds that Hillary Clinton’s claim that Donald Trump has bankrupted his business 4 times is “mostly true” because he has actually,

“filed Chapter 11 six times, four times within two years in the 1990s, once more in 2004 and once more in 2009”.

Miva has made similar claims about their eCommerce platform. From their rhetoric of how much better they are than Magento to their claim of making businesses “thrive” instead of struggling to set up Magento, you’d think they’d have nothing but success. Right?

On their website, it says that “Miva customers have processed over $100 billion in online sales since 1997”, though apparently not recently. When you look at the numbers, Miva doesn’t even make the top 10. You won’t find the platform on most lists comparing eCommerce platforms. According to numbers by Datanyze, since the beginning of this year, Miva Merchant gained 83 customers and lost half of them. In the month of July alone, Magento gained 160 and lost 26. More specifically, Magento is used by over 125,000 online stores and powers 26% of the Alexa Top 1 Million sites. Even when you put Miva head to head against WooCommerce and Shopify, it falls short. Only 0.2% of eCommerce sites have been using it this year. Want the exact numbers? That’s just 2,332 businesses. There are 431,736 people in the city of Raleigh. That means that if somehow all the Miva Merchant users from this year lived in Raleigh, they would represent just 0.5 percent of the population.

Like many of Trump’s claims about every candidate he’s been up against, it’s easy to wonder why Miva thinks it can criticize other eCommerce platforms at all.

2. Emphasis on Appearance

Via CBS

Donald Trump and Mike Pence did their 60 minute interview on gold chairs. Not painted gold, made of gold. Whether you look at the inside of the Trump home, any of his businesses, or through any of his speeches, the Trump brand is all about looking rich.

Miva Merchant, even looking at the language it is written in, is also more about the look of an eCommerce website than the structure behind it. Miva uses a HTML/CSS-based content management system to allow business owners to create and manage their eCommerce websites. That comes with the capability upload and edit product descriptions and images, track and manage incoming and outgoing inventory, and securely process customer orders.

While Magento has similar customization features, there is more emphasis on structure. Using MySQL database management system, PHP, and elements of the Zend Framework, it applies the conventions of object-oriented programming and model–view–controller architecture.

So what’s the difference?

Magento is a better program for people that have systems in place that want a platform to help organize those systems. That means that sites that use Magento will also have people in place to manage that infrastructure and handle all of the aspects of using the more database and function heavy platform. Miva is half the cost because it’s better for people starting from scratch. If you’re looking for more of a backbone, something that your team can use to run a larger business, forget using Miva.

3. They’re Obsessing about size

Via ABC News

It’s hard to forget the GOP debate that was all about size.

Donald Trump isn’t the only one fixated on size. Miva Merchant is half the cost, probably because it’s for businesses half the size (or less) of the ones using Magento. Although it claims it is a better solution for Enterprise than Magento, its strength lies in small business. Miva Merchant is entirely cloud-based, which is ideal for smaller businesses who lack the infrastructure needed to host the kind of software needed to power a successful eCommerce enterprise. In addition, it excludes some areas of commerce. In fact, Miva doesn’t host for retailers with soft goods, meaning services or downloadable products.

Magento is made with larger businesses in mind. Yes, managing the code base, all the updates and patches, and troubleshooting for security can be complicated. It also just takes more to run an enterprise level business. For a large business processing all the payments it does and managing that scale of inventory, you need a platform built for growth. That kind of growth can’t live in the cloud. You need more than HTML and CSS for that. From managing the Databases, to keeping it secure, you need a team to keep it going. Only Magento’s high power and functionality can handle all of that. That can’t be measured by hand size.

The Bottom Line

Trump comparisons aside, Miva Merchant does have aspects that Magento needs to improve. One thing Miva excels in is providing helpful support and customer service to all of their customers, no matter what package they select. For Magento, this simply isn’t true. Despite the strength of the platform, Magento Community customers are pretty much on their own and even Enterprise users have a hard time getting the help they need. Magento can be very expensive and can break stores. On the other hand Miva also has a bad record in terms of hidden charges and surges in cost. Magento may be expensive, but at least you know what the price is going to be.