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When downgrading your e-commerce website is a good thing

Sometimes downgrading your e-commerce website is a good (and necessary) thing.

A quick history:

Rocky Mountain Recumbents

Rocky Mountain Recumbents (formerly known as Spring Creek Recumbents) had been using Miva Merchant for several years. For those that don’t know, Miva Merchant is a high-end, enterprise-level e-commerce platform. As they say, “it’s the Cadillac” of e-commerce systems. Read my blog post from 2015 on Miva Merchant’s then new version 9.

Miva Merchant

Here are just a few of the amazing features found in Miva Merchant:

  • mass edits (e.g. edit all products on one page, such as inventory)
  • export and import anything
  • lots of sales options (e.g. coupons, gift certificates, etc.)
  • bookmark admin pages
  • shop as customer

Most of the awesome features found in Miva Merchant, the folks at Rocky Mountain Recumbents weren’t using, such as all the product promotion tools. If you’re a somewhat small store, Miva Merchant can be affordable starting at $79/mo., but there are less expensive options out there if you don’t need all the bells and whistles.

That’s where WooCommerce for WordPress enters.

WooCommerce

The Downgrade:

In late 2017, Rachel, at Rocky Mountain Recumbents, asked me if it made sense for them to stay with Miva Merchant even though they weren’t using the vast majority of its features of if they should downgrade their e-commerce website. After a candid discussion, I recommended that if they weren’t going to use the features that make Miva Merchant great, it made no sense to keep paying for it. We began discussing WooCommerce for WordPress and how it’s different from Miva Merchant. WooCommerce has the basic features, such as the ability to create a product, put a product on sale and create a coupon. For Rocky Mountain Recumbents, they just needed the basics, and that’s what WooCommerce for WordPress offers.

Rocky Mountain Recumbents was able to save over 30% every month by switching from Miva Merchant to WooCommerce for WordPress.

So what’s the downside?

Setting aside the features Rocky Mountain Recumbents weren’t using in Miva Merchant, there are just a few features they might miss:

1. WooCommerce is a slower compared to Miva Merchant. Most Miva Merchant storefronts I built would load in about 1 second. Without caching enabled, WordPress sites load in around 3 seconds.

2. Mass product edits takes longer in WooCommerce. For example, in Miva Merchant, you can show all products on one screen and add unique inventory levels for each product. In WooCommerce, you can show all the products on the screen, but the inventory change is the same for them all. In other words, change all inventory levels to 3.

WooCommerce mass product edit

3. Product attributes (e.g. Colors, Sizes) are a little less clean and quick in WooCommerce.

4. Product support would be a challenge if we hadn’t purchased a WooCommerce add-on. (you only get support from WooCommerce if you purchase one of their add-ons.)

In Summary:

I don’t blanket recommend one shopping cart system over another. It’s important to keep your own needs in mind when you’re shopping around for an e-commerce platform. In this particular instance, downgrading from Miva Merchant to WooCommerce for WordPress was an appropriate thing to do for Rocky Mountain Recumbents.

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