the key benefit that I see with Shopify is that it cuts out all infrastructure costs … there’s no monthly hosting fee, there’s no initial server setup fee … there’s no setting up your own apache or lighttpd etc. ...
On top of that, ( I can only presume ) Shopify is being built to scale … which is something that your infrastructure would have to be designed around too. To get the same level of infrastructure that’s behind a shopify store ( again, I don’t know the details, but expect ) you’d have to expect your client to be shelling out $100 + per month for a dedicated machine.
In that sense the % looks pretty good … If the store is slow, costs are 0 – so it’s really great for dipping into the pool.
If the shop takes off, then it’s time to start making deals with the credit card companies.
Oh yes, I’m not knocking the value of the pricing model, I think it’s more than fair, especially for the reasons you mention. The % model is certainly excellent for the shop owner, no question.
What I’m really asking is from the perspective of the web developer who is creating the store on behalf of a client, especially a client who is technically clueless. I’m finding it tough to see how their charging for creating the store, designing, template creation, etc. would work.
I suppose (just thinking out loud) it makes sense that there would still be a charge for that set-up, design and implementation work, but the 3% charge would be for the server setup, monthly hosting, infrastructure, etc, that you mention, which frankly I’m happy for someone else to do anyway! I don’t understand people who have an issue with the fact that Shopify is a hosted solution : )