Oaky, sorry for the caps, but Miva is a crappy program. We give Miva accounts on one of the packages at the hosting company I work for and it is nothing but a pain... People always have trouble with it.
Not only that, but their backend navigation is the most horrific thing I have ever seen.
they are the largest shopping cart for a reason. additionally, they charge a premium compared to the free carts such as OSC and the like. you would think having to pay for it would impact its market share, but that would not appear to be the case.
don't get me wrong. i'm new to this whole thing, but i have been using Miva for a year or so. it isn't the best, but none are. it appears that 5.0 is a giant step in the right direction. no more need for OpenUI, easier customization, and much more. additionally, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of modules to help improve Miva.
now, if anyone can provide anecdotal reasons (beyond "this one is better than Miva") for not going with Miva, i would be most appreciative. i have a couple of different domains hosted with different hosts. these domains have Miva, OSC, Mambo (and the plug-in cart available for it), and a few others. i am in the process of redesigning my website and cart, and i would really like to have some good information so i can make an informed decision.
I have experience with a couple of sites that I started from scratch using Miva.
I would say that choosing a web host that specializes in Miva is essential. That way you won't have to buy the Miva software yourself. For hosting you can expect probably around $40 to $50/month. From the two sites I've done, I would estimate approximately $1,000 to $2,000 in add-on modules. Both of my sites cost a bit over $2k and have in the neighborhood of 20 to 30 modules purchased from 3rd party vendors.
Depending on the functionality you want for your site, you would probably could get away with significantly fewer modules.
For Miva hosting, I use Hostasaurus....and they've been the best I could hope for.
My next ecommerce site will use OSCommerce or one of the other carts mentioned in this thread, just because I want to be able to compare them to Miva.
I can honestly say that Miva 5.0 is a decent program. The original Miva (4.x) was not that great because of the way it handled data (no real database support). The new one, however, is much nicer and a lot more stable. The frequent data crashes are a thing of the past and I think that they have made significat progress.
Compared to OSCommerce, Miva has the upper hand for me because with a valid license you have access to a very well informed support center (in America) that will help you solve your problems and get you rolling, something that OSC doesn't have.
Then again, you have to pay for Miva, but what's $500 for a shopping cart if you have a good business plan and can expect to pay for it in a month.