5 Ways Miva Makes Product Customization Easy for Merchants and Shoppers
Today we’re going to explore Miva product customization features. If you’re just tuning into Miva, you may be surprised to learn that it’s been called “the elder statesman of ecommerce platforms.” And with good reason. The company launched as a basic shopping cart in 1997. In the twenty plus years since, they’ve evolved with ecommerce. Today retailers discover Miva in a sweet spot: in some ways, the platform is a bridge between Shopify and Magento.
The developers at Miva have created the platform to be equal parts stability and flexibility. Miva’s core software is written in a scripting language called MivaScript. However, the developers have compiled the Miva software to prevent other developers from accessing the source code. This is how they secure the platform’s stability. The core platform is updated 3-4x/year.
Regarding flexibility, within Miva, a store owner or developer can access the Page Template files that control the look and feel of the store. The template files are bundled together in what Miva calls Ready Themes.
Miva is a SaaS provider, and like Shopify, the company hosts the platform themselves. As a result, retailers do not have to rely on a third-party hosting solution. Yet, similar to Magento, merchants can go wild with customizations. To be clear, Shopify offers plenty of customization for the majority of businesses out there. But for businesses with millions of SKUs, for example, the robust customization of Miva and Magento is appealing.
We asked the team at Miva how the platform facilitates product customization, and they shared the features here. From our vantage point, they make it easy for retailers to offer customization, and at the same time, really simple for shoppers to create personalized products. Here’s how.
1. Miva’s Product Visualizer
As a prelude to building a product, Miva retailers can help customers imagine their purchase through a product visualizer. While product visualizers are not a native feature, Miva’s powerful template language (Miva Template Language) allows merchants to build custom tools right within the Miva platform. This includes efficient methods for creating product visualizers and product builders with popular languages like Angular JS and integrating them with the store through Miva Template Language.
The logic capabilities of Miva Template Language allow product customizations by the user on the front end to trigger actions within Miva on the backend. For example, with Decorative Film’s product visualizer, customers begin by browsing various scenes where a decorative film can be applied. Within these scenes, shoppers can review the company’s entire catalogue of films. When they select a film, it instantly overlays on the scene, allowing the viewer to visualize what each window cover looks like. Once they find their favorite, they select it, and click Add to Cart straight from the visualizer tool.
Next up, for a different experience, we’re ready to build a custom product. We’ll start simple and go from there.
2. Miva’s Basic Product Kit
Miva’s basic product kit allows shoppers to bundle together their own collection of single attribute products. Note: this means that there’s only one choice for each product. For example, with the products pictured above from Classic Car Stereos, customers are only choosing the size of the radio. They’re not choosing both the size of the radio and its wattage. They are only making one choice.
Classic Car Stereos gives shoppers the option to bundle together three different products: a radio, kick panel, and amplifier for your classic automobile.
Furthermore, they’ve made this bundle appealing to customers. By buying everything at once, they save over 15%. Classic Car Stereos gets the benefit of making a big sale and moving a substantial quantity of inventory. At the same time, with this all-encompassing order, their customers really get to know their products. Smart.
3. Miva’s Advanced Product Kit
Miva’s advance product kit builds upon the basic feature. It works similarly, only now customers can further customize their product bundle. In other words, the products in the bundle have multiple attributes. Customers can make more than one choice per product.
In the BTO Sports example above, the company has bundled a jacket and pants together. They make the combo really interesting by allowing customers to select their size, preferred color, and even add their own name/design to the jersey. BTO Sports gives the added incentive of a 1/2 off price discount, too.
On the Miva backend, this is typically created using a comma separated list of product codes in a custom field, conditionally outputting those options on a page if the field is not empty and using a multi-add to cart function. (We’re happy to explain more on this, but for readers who know backend functionality, we’d thought you’d like to understand how this comes about.)
4. Miva’s Build a Bundle
With Miva’s Build a Bundle, merchants can offer a step-by-step upsell experience. (Reminder: an excellent way to increase average order values!)
The Build a Bundle begins from the product detail page. Take a look at this example from ID Wholesaler. Here we have a card printer, and right under Add to Cart, the page shows the option to Build a Bundle. Click on this, and we’re led to a selection of printer ribbons and cartridges that we can easily add to our order.
This can have all sorts of applications. As ID Wholesaler demonstrates, it’s particularly useful for B2B sales. Bundling items that shoppers use together makes perfect sense. It’s helpful to the shopper, as she won’t need to figure out which ribbon goes with the printer. And it’s beneficial to retailer by increasing the AOV.
5. Product configurators with Miva
The product configurator is the most customized of all the options here. A fantastic example of it in action is at NHS Fun Factory where people can build a custom skateboard. Similar tools running on other platforms often require separate plug-ins or apps that do not properly communicate with backend systems. However, Miva handles this differently. Here the Miva Template Language allows the NHS Skateboard builder to properly decrement inventory on the backend, even though customers see everything bundle as a single product (a finished custom skateboard) on the front end.
Miva created this customized experience using Angular JS, a product feed that allows a shopper to select each part of a customizable product (or product assembly) from the catalog. Then, when they hit add-to-cart, Miva adds all of the products to the cart individually in the background. The basket page is then “spoofed” to show the customer a single product for the configured group. Best yet, the customer doesn’t even know about the inventory coordination on the backed. They’ll be happy when their only concern is fulfilled–getting their custom skateboard exactly as they designed it.
Are you curious to learn how your site could offer a more personalized product experience with Miva? Command C is now an enterprise level agency partner with the platform. We see that retailers’ ability to customize products is one of Miva’s many advantages. Let’s talk about your retail business, and see if Miva is the best fit for your site.