Miva Fast Track Helps SMBs Set Up Shop Online

By Devin Comiskey | Posted May 11, 2006

Small- to medium-sized businesses looking to either test the waters of the Internet pool or maintain full control of their online store now have a new solution to consider. Miva, Inc., makers of the popular Miva Merchant 5 e-commerce platform, recently announced that its Small Business Division has launched Miva Merchant Fast Track. The new platform is specifically designed for smaller, Web-based businesses.

"We've spent a lot of time in the e-commerce arena, we talked to a lot of customers and got a feel of what they were looking for. We found that one of the major focuses is the need for simplicity in the management and creation of a store. But many features in Miva Merchant 5 are never used or are too complicated for some people. Fast Track is a streamlined version, with a simple interface to get online," said James Harrell, vice president and general manager of Miva Small Business Division.

Harrell said Fast Track still has same modular architecture as Merchant 5, so third party developers can still add functionality. Merchants are limited to selling 100 products in five categories with this platform. There is currently no upgrade path for merchants that surpass the 100 product limit, he said, but the company is working on such a solution.

"Miva Merchant 5 is our primary product, with 110,000 installations. But the focus of our small- to medium-sized business development is to provide a full suite for SMBs to monetize their Web businesses," he added.

"Miva Merchant Fast Track lowers the barrier to entry for small businesses that want to start selling online, delivering a solution that gives them an immediate Web presence and a potentially long-term revenue stream," he said in a released statement. "Miva lets the growing pool of small businesses worldwide launch an online presence and deliver products and services to its customers in an easy and efficient manner."

According to Miva, Fast Track is built for customers that need a simple and powerfully designed solution without broader comprehensive features or the increased data limit like Miva Merchant 5. The new software package offers an intuitive interface with five steps to get a new online storefront up and running:

  1. Build the Store:Design the foundation of the online store — customize fonts, colors, layout and key settings
  2. Stock the Store:Manage a product catalog with detailed descriptions and product images; control product inventory
  3. Set up Business: Determine payment methods and specify shipping options
  4. Run the Store:Track best sellers, revenues, orders and storefront traffic; manage orders, process payments and handle customer accounts
  5. Market the Store: Advertise with popular integrated services such as search and e-mail marketing and leverage Pay-Per-Click advertising through Miva Media's Ad Center

Harrell says that Fast Track is available for $595 from Miva Central. The platform is also available through hosting partners who set their own prices. Pricing is expected to average $45 per month.

The company has two providers signed up so far, and discussions are ongoing with hundreds of other hosts to provide Fast Track.

Harrell also sys he considers eBay's ProStores and MonsterCommerce as MIVA's primary competition in the SMB e-commerce market, as they both offer similarly tiered Web commerce services.

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