A shop in minutes, a business for life. JadedPixel, developer of Shopify, is certainly not exaggerating its tagline, you really can set up your online store in minutes.
It all started a year ago. I had zero experience on working with e-commerce system. I always thought it had to be customized by someone who had absolute knowledge of programming that supports the system, whether it was PHP, ASP, anything. Surprisingly, it only took a few days to fully understand how the themes work and I could create a customized theme in a few days. Note, you can start building your online shop using the provided default themes.
Just like stated above, it is super easy to learn and create a new theme. It uses its own Liquid templatling system for dynamic content, but believe me it is easy to understand. Of course you still definitely need to have at least an understanding of (x)HTML, CSS and basic programming algorithm.
This is also one of the biggest point why we love it so much. The look and feel is very clean. AJAX support makes it possible to drag and drop to sort your products.
The first place you need to go when you are experiencing any problem or bug is their forums which can be a good or a bad thing. The good thing is there are so many nice and skilled people on the community that will gladly share their knowledge and help you out. The bad thing, you just sometimes need a direct respond and explanations from the developers and it may take a while to get their attention.
Shopify is growing along with your business. There are countless updates and new features that have been added since the first time we use it, and they plan to keep on doing it. Although there are some features that we wish they should have added, but not yet. They listen to their customers, so I am sure one day they will be added.
Shopify offers a very unique pricing. You only pay a very reasonable monthly fee plus a small percentage of your transaction fee (ranging from 0.5% to 2%). This makes sense, if you want to start your first online business you possibly do not want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollar each month. You can check their detailed pricing plans here.
I have worked partially with other systems since then, nothing is as simple as Shopify. It really stands with its concept, to make everything as easy as possible. For a small and medium business, Shopify is perfect! But if you need more detailed features like bulk shipping update, more flexible coupon code creation options or customer membership, you might have to wait until they include them to the system.