Web.com Review: E-Commerce (3 stars)
A Tale of Two Imperfect E-Commerce Systems
With Web.com, you have 2 imperfect e-commerce systems to choose from. The first one, e-store builder, comes with the Website + Marketing package. It's easy to set up and use, but doesn't have as wide a variety of options and won't let you use a merchant account (meaning you can't charge credit cards yourself online). The other one, Miva Merchant, comes with the Website + Marketing + E-Commerce package. It has a great variety of options, but also a much more confusing system and it has a number of bugs too.
Since there are 2 e-commerce systems to review, we've reviewed each one separately.
Easy Product Uploading with E-Store Builder
E-Store Builder makes it easy for you to set-up your e-store and add products. You can set up products one at a time or upload multiple products at once using a CSV spreadsheet. Conveniently, you can also export your products to your hard drive. Adding images is done on a separate page, but it's no bother to do so.
PayPal Catalog Well Integrated into E-Store Builder
If you're only ever going to use PayPal as your payment system, E-Store Builder's catalog and shopping cart combination is a good one with a wide variety of product options. While it doesn't provide as many product options or payment methods as Miva Merchant, it provides much more than the typical Paypal e-commerce set-up. Your catalog is designed to fit into the design of your website.
There are 6 different catalog layouts to choose from. Also, you can create different categories and sub-categories for your products. You can also create product options that will appear as a drop-down selection box next to your product. If you want to put your products on sale, there is also the option to include a sale price.
Only One Shipping Option and One Payment Method with E-Store Builder
You can only offer one shipping option with one price with the option to offer an extra charge for each additional item. You can use the Paypal global shipping charge or you can override that to account for packaging. And of course, because it is a PayPal-based e-commerce system, you can only use PayPal as your payment method.
E-Store Builder uses the PayPal shopping cart to complete purchases. It has an integrated set-up so you don't have to go back and forth with PayPal to get your shopping cart set up. You can't alter the colors to make it look more like your website, but the bigger disadvantage is that you can only use PayPal to make transactions. All the shopping cart options are the same as is offered through Paypal. Visit PayPal.com for more info.
Miva Merchant is Much Harder to Use
The main problem with Miva Merchant is that it is different technology so it has a different layout from everything else in the builder. While it does have a number of set-up wizards that are easy to use, but some of them limit your options, like the payment configuration wizard. If you have to set something up manually, it's practically impossible to figure out without help. It has a string of categories and subcategories that are confusing to click through. Even the customer support rep agreed that it was complicated.
A Look at Miva Merchant
When you click for support, you're taken to Miva's support network much of which is not free. It's also hard to figure out which set of online docs to use because there are several options. Our recommendation is this: if you need help, call Web.com phone support, though you might be on hold awhile.
Limited for Looks but Not for Product Options
There are only 4 different color schemes to choose from. It's up to you to pick one that matches the design of your site. It is easy for customers to search through with a category and sub-category system as well as a search box.
You can set up very detailed descriptions of your products with the option to set up multiple pages of descriptions if you so choose. You can also add product options using radio buttons, drop down boxes or checkboxes, and even add images for the different options available.
Miva Merchant Provides a More Professional Shopping Cart
Miva's shopping cart matches the color scheme of your catalog. It is more professional-looking because it appears directly on your site rather than opening a new window or taking you to an off-site payment system. It also provides the option for customers to set up an account to make purchases easier in the future while giving you the added benefit of being able to track their purchases. You can also set up an affiliate program to help promote your products.
Miva Merchant Shopping Cart
Miva Allows Plenty of Shipping Options
You won't be at a loss for shipping options using Miva Merchant as your e-commerce system. You can offer flat rate, base + weight, minimum weight shipping, UPS & Fedex (complete with shipping calculators), weight table-based shipping, quantity-table based shipping, and price table-based shipping.
It also allows you to add a handling fee and apply additional charges for confirmation of the customer's transaction.
Lots of Payment Options with Miva
With Miva Merchant, you can use a merchant account through a wide variety of options for payment gateways. You can also use PayPal, COD, and checks (standard or electronic). You can even send a receipt and invoice to customers. If you want a range of different payment options though, don't use the payment configuration wizard. This only allows you to use one of the Miva payment options.
Reach for the Phone if You Need Support
If you're having trouble setting up Miva Merchant, don't bother trying to use the online documentation. It will just confuse you as there are 6 different documentation options to choose from and we're not even entirely certain which one you're supposed to use. And don't pay for the Miva support packages because you can get help with Miva by calling Web.com's free phone support.
eStore Builder and Miva Merchant
Good Product Promotion Tools
Both eStore Builder and Miva Merchant are integrated with eBay and Amazon.com, making it easier to upload your products. You can update your bids, shipping, payment methods and more all from your website. The benefit is that you don't have to do this set up twice, you just do it once from your builder.
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