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Shopify vs. Squarespace: Choose Your Own Winner

  1. Intro
  2. Shopify Quick Overview
  3. Squarespace Quick Overview
  4. Shopify vs. Squarespace: Which Platform to Choose?
    1. Ease of Use
    2. Customizability
    3. Extensions
    4. Marketing Features
    5. Sales Features
    6. Security
    7. Analytics
    8. Design and Templates
    9. Customer Support
    10. Pros and Cons
    11. Pricing
  5. Bottom Line

Intro

At first glance, creating a website, and especially an online store, can be a strenuous task for a person who does not have the right technical knowledge. However, when you get down to it, this task is not so difficult.

Whether you are just taking the first steps in the field of eCommerce or want to build a large and profitable online store, it is important to choose the right platform for your project. Today there are a huge number of various eCommerce platforms for any type of online store. I will not analyze all of them but would like to dwell on the issue of Shopify vs. Squarespace. Thanks to both platforms, anyone can create their own online store in a couple of hours without the help of specialists. Ok, Shopify or Squarespace? Which one should you choose? What is the difference?

Let’s check the features of each platform in terms of ease of use, customizability, templates, primary pros and cons, etc. This way, you will better understand which of the two platforms suits you best.


Shopify Quick Overview

Shopify is the perfect platform to build any kind of eCommerce website!

User

Shopify has revolutionized eCommerce for everyday sellers. Prior to Shopify, there was no software platform for eCommerce that would allow beginners to quickly and easily create beautiful full-fledged online stores.

Shopify templates are high quality and fully optimized to increase conversions. The servers and infrastructure of the service have been optimized specifically for eCommerce.

The Shopify settings panel makes it easy to view all the components of your online store in one place. Here you can customize your store settings, view orders, and customer information, add/remove/change products, etc.

Shopify offers three variants of eCommerce tariff plans. Each more expensive tariff offers additional features and a lower cost for processing payments. You can upgrade your tariff at any time as your business grows.

The instructions are simple and clear - you just use already familiar icons and Drag-n-Drop technology. If you need more help or information, the knowledgeable support team is pretty easy to contact.

Shopify is a truly first-class eCommerce solution, and we will dig into the platform in more detail further.


Squarespace Quick Overview

Squarespace is the most intuitive, cleanest website builder. I use it for every client.

User

If you are looking for a convenient website builder that can help you to start your business online, then Squarespace has all the tools and functionality to create a good and professional website. The beauty of Squarespace is that you do not need to be a proficient coder, and with very basic skills, you can still get a modern website with little to no effort.

The design and layout of each Squarespace template is incredible. Each looks and works like a work of art that offers visual reproduction of colors, images, and patterns.

Except for the stunning templates, you will be happy to discover beautiful customization and numerous quality features. Though Squarespace is a perfect solution for small and medium-sized businesses, it still supports an unlimited number of products and transactions. Pricing is decent, and you still get what you need.

Squarespace does not have an app store, but the built-in features are pretty impressive, and it keeps adding high-profile integration solutions to compensate for the lack of an app store.

Is Squarespace or Shopify the right tool for you? Let’s find out.


Shopify vs. Squarespace: Which Platform to Choose?

Ease of Use

Shopify is a convenient and easy to work with platform for eCommerce. It offers a nice, modern, and clean interface. To create an online store, you do not need the help of designers and developers. This platform has many ready-made themes to help you make a beautiful online resource. It does not require special skills from the user. Shopify features many customized plugins, extensions, and an intuitive admin panel.

shopify ease of use

This is a great solution if you are a newbie in web design and take the first steps in online sales. The simple and intuitive Drag-n-Drop design allows you to grab, move, and drop the elements while creating a web page. Users find the platform very intuitive and user-friendly.

Squarespace eCommerce review shows that the system has more powerful creative tools, so it is more section-based and still a bit tricky to navigate.

squarespace ease of use

The admin panel is clean and modern; on the left side, there is a menu tab to go from page to page. Things get complicated if you are trying to do something more creative and complex.

Well, Squarespace is definitely not the easiest to use website builder, but it is still rather intuitive and thoughtful.


Customizability

Shopify makes it possible to drag and drop sections, but it gets more complicated with individual elements within a section. Product pictures and text blocks are usually fixed, defined by the theme you have picked up. In fact, with Shopify, most of your design decisions are made the moment you choose your theme. To add more personalization, you can edit HTML and CSS on the Shopify Admin page. While Shopify limits personalization, your online store will still look professional and attractive.

shopify customizability

Squarespace, on the other hand, touts its design diversity as one of its strongest points. Users can mix and match various design elements to create a Squarespace online store that is custom and unique. With Squarespace eCommerce functionality, you can add HTML using a Code Block, and CSS using their CSS Editor. Users enjoy more control and flexibility compared with the competitors.

squarespace customizability


Extensions

Shopify App Store can offer a large number of various extensions (over 1,200) to boost your sales and build effective marketing campaigns.

shopify extensions

Powerful apps keep track of all your customer interactions, allow you to strengthen your sales and marketing strategy, enhance payments and security, and much more. Among the most popular ones are Oberlo, Kit, etc.

Check out the app store to choose the right option to enhance the functionality of your online store.

Squarespace does not offer its own plugin marketplace to spice up a website. Squarespace integrations are built right into the platform and enabled through the settings.


Marketing Features

Shopify offers great SEO and marketing opportunities. With built-in search engine optimization features, your website will be easily found in all popular search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Various marketing, accounting, and shipping apps will help you sell more and efficiently.

The company offers customizable H1, header, and meta tags. Also, all URLs are optimized for SEO.

To boost your marketing campaign, Shopify has created a discount coupon generator to promote your products on different social networks.

Finally, the form to collect the e-mails is quite simple. While it integrates with basic e-mail options, many eCommerce stores get to the app store to find a more appropriate add-on. Shopify lets you both create e-mail campaigns directly from your admin page and use appropriate apps.

Squarespace's SEO and marketing features are pretty nice. You can edit page titles, meta descriptions, create custom URLs, and they all include XML Sitemap files and valid XHTML code. It offers full social media integration so you can connect with customers via Twitter, Facebook, and other sites.

Also, you can promote your products and services on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Squarespace has added an advertising pop-up to attract customers' attention.  Driving engagement is easy with branded marketing e-mail campaigns. Every site includes Squarespace E-mail Campaigns.

Since Squarespace is quite new to eCommerce platforms, it does not have specific eCommerce and marketing applications to extend the functionality of stores. So now the marketing platform is limited to the built-in features only.


Sales Features

With both Shopify and Squarespace, you can work with various product options (size, color, weight). You are not limited to the number of SKUs or products, so you can run a relatively large store with the platform.

In regards to the product presentation, Shopify offers zoom-effects for your product pictures, videos, and all kinds of external apps for photo and video galleries or customer reviews.

Within Squarespace, you can add images and videos in the ‘read more’ section. Squarespace Inventory management is simplified with the ability to send delivery notifications and process returns from the admin panel.

As the default payment gateway, Stripe is integrated with Squarespace and serves as the primary payment solution on your site. However, you also have the option to upgrade with PayPal or Apple Pay. All major credit cards are accepted regardless of the payment gateway.

Shopify supports a number of payment methods, including PayPal, Shopify POS, offline payments, and Apple Pay. Transaction fees are accepted for the hundreds of other gateways they support.

Shipping zones around the world, updating inventory, and printing shipping labels are about both Shopify and Squarespace. You can get carrier calculated shipping rates with Squarespace for $40 (Advanced Commerce plan) while the Advanced Shopify plan costs $266/month. At the same time, you will discover a good choice of shipping apps for Shopify.


Security

Reliability and security of transactions during each interaction with the online store is the key to stable sales and trust of users. Score one point each in terms of security. Both platforms initially offer a free SSL certificate, which means your store is protected.  Moreover, you can enable 2FA (2-factor authentication) to add more protection to your accounts.

The good thing is that Shopify and Squarespace are closed systems controlled by their developers.


Analytics

What sites direct traffic to your store? What countries and cities are your visitors from? How effective was last year’s marketing campaign? What products are the most popular?

Shopify offers excellent analytics tools. You can view, analyze, and export sales reports by location, employee, or customer. Export product reports to see what products are sold perfectly and what products are not. Integrating your site with Google Analytics will give you even more tools to compare and analyze.

Squarespace also provides its own software to analyze stats in terms of the revenue, conversion, and behavior of the clients. However, the platform does not provide stock monitoring alerts.


Design and Templates

50+ premium and 10 free templates are available for the Shopify platform. Large sliders, large photos, lots of clean space, stylish menus, and logos are included. The templates are built without any complex effects, but still look great.

shopify templates

The cost of the premium templates varies from $100 to $180. Their quality is better mainly due to the variety of structures used.

You can scroll the designs, watch their demos, and read the descriptions. Moreover, you can select multiple templates and then switch between them from the control panel.

Squarespace templates are a perfect choice for weddings, eCommerce, photographers, DIY websites, fashion, etc. The Squarespace eCommerce templates look gorgeous. You will find 90+ options for your online project. If you are the owner of a Premium Plan, you can enjoy CSS and HTML editing opportunities.

squarespace templates

You can always get to the external marketplaces to pick up creative Shopify themes. They are highly professional and attractive to get your business to the next level. I will show a few examples below.

Apparelix - Clean Multipurpose Shopify Theme

Apparelix - Clean Multipurpose Shopify Theme

If you want to start an eCommerce business, an attractive and trustworthy website is what you need. Apparelix is the all-in-one solution to create a stunning website, whether you have a large number of products or a single product inventory. Numerous features and tools are available within the package.


LiveStock Cosmetic Store Shopify Theme

LiveStock Cosmetic Store Shopify Theme

The LiveStock Cosmetic Store Shopify theme is specially crafted for beauty, cosmetics, spa, health, fashion, clothing, and other multi-purpose stores. This solution looks perfect with use of color combinations and clean, professional design. Awesome features and a color editor allow you to design the website to match your preferences and needs.


Reroom - Furniture Store Multipage Clean Shopify Theme

Reroom - Furniture Store Multipage Clean Shopify Theme

Stop your search with this sophisticated Shopify theme for your furniture and interior décor store. It is simple, yet well-designed and has an eye-catching theme with a number of useful features. Reroom has a full Shopify eCommerce plugin pack and provides customers with a pleasant shopping experience.


Customer Support

Shopify offers a few channels to provide customer support - e-mail, live chat, and phone assistance available 24/7. The agents are knowledgeable and helpful.

Squarespace has an extensive knowledge base for building websites, and its eCommerce documentation is growing rapidly. The platform offers free 24/7 e-mail support. Live chat is also available, and the chat line is open from 4am to 8pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Squarespace tech support does not include phone support.


Pros and Cons

Shopify

Pros Cons
  • Selling products on multiple channels
  • Supports over 100 payment processors
  • Excellent site performance & security
  • Sell both digital and physical products
  • Extensive self-help documentation
  • All the necessary features
  • Useful add-on to enhance the store
  • Great customer service
  • Advanced features at a higher price
  • No e-mail hosting
  • Pricing
  • Content marketing

Squarespace

Pros Cons
  • A great choice of gorgeous templates
  • Great analytics system for non-eCommerce specific builder
  • Ease of use
  • Basic tweaks to colors and typefaces are allowed
  • No app store
  • Limited payment options

Pricing

Shopify

Basic Shopify

All the basics for starting a new business

Shopify

Everything you need for a growing business

Advanced Shopify

Advanced features for scaling your business

Monthly price $29 $79 $299
Online credit card rates 2.9% + $0.30 2.6% + $0.30 2.4% + $0.30
In-person credit card rates 2.7% + $0 2.5% + $0 2.4% + $0
Transaction fees Shopify payments = 0.0%

Other processors = 2.2%

Shopify payments = 0.0%

Other processors = 1.0%

Shopify payments = 0.0%

Other processors = 0.5%

Number of products Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
24/7 support Yes Yes Yes
Discount codes Yes Yes Yes
Blogging Yes Yes Yes
Free SSL Yes Yes Yes
Gift cards No Yes Yes
Detailed reporting No Yes Yes
Abandoned cart recovery No Yes Yes
Advanced reporting No No Yes
Real-time shipping No No Yes

Squarespace

Pricing plan Monthly plan ($/month) Annual plan ($/month) Savings (%)
Personal $16 $12 25%
Business $26 $18 31%
Basic $30 $26 13%
Advanced $46 $40 13%

Squarespace Website Pricing

Personal $12

Per month billed annually or $16/month-to-month plus applicable taxes

Business $18

Per month billed annually or $26/month-to-month plus applicable taxes

Unlimited Bandwidth and Storage

Mobile-Optimized Websites

Basic Website Metrics

Free Custom Domain

SSL Security Included

24/7 Customer Support

Limited to 2 Contributors

Unlimited Bandwidth and Storage

Mobile-Optimized Websites

Advanced Website Metrics

Free Custom Domain

SSL Security Included

24/7 Customer Support

Unlimited Contributors

Professional E-mail from Google

$100 Google Ads Credit

Promotional Pop-Ups

Fully Integrated eCommerce

3% Transaction Fee

Mobile Information Bar

Complete Customization through CSS and JavaScript

Premium Blocks and Integrations

Squarespace eCommerce Pricing

Basic $26

Per month billed annually or $30/month-to-month plus applicable taxes

Advanced $40

Per month billed annually or $46/month-to-month plus applicable taxes

All Features from Business Plan

Sell Unlimited Products

No Transaction Fees

Mobile-Optimized Website and Checkout

Free Custom Domain

SSL Security Included

24/7 Customer Support

Unlimited Contributors

Powerful Commerce Metrics

Inventory, Orders, Tax, Coupons

Label Printing via ShipStation

Integrated Accounting via Xero

Checkout on Your Domain

Customer Accounts

Products on Instagram

All Features from Business Plan

Sell Unlimited Products

No Transaction Fees

Mobile-Optimized Website and Checkout

Free Custom Domain

SSL Security Included

24/7 Customer Support

Unlimited Contributors

Powerful Commerce Metrics

Inventory, Orders, Tax, Coupons

Label Printing via ShipStation

Integrated Accounting via Xero

Checkout on Your Domain

Customer Accounts

Products on Instagram

Subscriptions

Abandoned Cart Autorecovery

Advanced Shipping

Flexible Discounts

Gift Cards

Let’s Summarize

Shopify Squarespace
Pricing $30-$300 $12-$40
Project type eCommerce for small and medium business (1,000-20,000 items to sell). Landings for an average number of products. Originally this is a platform for blogging.
Customer Support 24/7 E-mail, chat, phone E-mail and chat
Ease of registration + +
Onboarding + +
In-built templates 10 simple templates with a few styles to choose from.

Templates are crafted for online stores mainly.

A great number of free templates (about 70) for any topic. The templates are oriented more on creating blogs, online magazines, and portfolios.
App store + -
Scalability + +
Adaptive design + +
E-mail marketing + +
Optimized server + -
Admin panel + +
Payment gateways More than 70. Many third-party payment gateways are available. PayPal and Stripe
Web analytics + +

Bottom Line

Choosing the right platform for your eCommerce project is a very important step in the website building process. So, is Shopify or Squarespace for eCommerce your best choice?

Squarespace service is less expensive and more intuitive. It still did very well in this comparison. The settings allow you to integrate this service on all the available platforms. Shopify is a platform that handles a store from 1 to 20,000 products, with a focus on server optimization, data protection, and eCommerce process optimization.

Choose the best online store builder based on the project itself and your expectations. Still confused? Do not hesitate to leave your questions and feedback in the comments section.


Shopify. The Quiet Revolution In ECommerce? [Free Ebook]

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Natalia

A freelance copywriter, who has a great interest in writing, content-related stuff, traveling, and photography. She is always mastering her writing skills to synthesize the essence of any business ideology in an easy-to-use nugget of words to get people to feel, think, or respond. Instagram.

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