Launching your online store? Shopify and Squarespace are some of the best eCommerce platforms for building an online home for your business.
Using an eCommerce platform is perfect for large companies, newbie online merchants, or brick-and-mortar shops transferring to the digital world. There are 266.7 million digital shoppers in the US, which is projected to increase yearly. Plus, the sales of eCommerce stores grew to $870 billion in 2021. Imagine your potential sales if you start an eCommerce store!
Choosing between Shopify vs. Squarespace can be challenging. Find out what fits your needs and the pros and cons of these two eCommerce platforms in 2023.
SHOPIFYAll-in-one eCommerce Website
3 subscription options starting at $29/month
Additional 50% discount if signing up for yearly plan
Starter plan available at $5/month - create a store through Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, WhatsApp, etc.
98 free & premium templates
Themes are online store focused
Thousands of apps available that are suitable for every eCommerce store
Built-in credit card processor called Shopify Payments
3 subscription options starting at $23/month
Additional 25-30% discount if signing up for yearly plan
Personal package available at $16/month - suitable for blogs, portfolios, etc.
110 free & premium themes
Sleek and modern themes but not all are focused on eCommerce
31 Squarespace extensions available to integrate into shop or website
Owner must be integrated with Stripe & Paypal
Table of Contents
What is an eCommerce Platform?
An eCommerce platform is a fully functioning online store where sellers upload and showcase their products or services to enable purchasing over the internet. It allows retailers to market digital assets, services, or physical products online.
The eCommerce providers include website builders and tools for running a business, like accounting, customer support, management systems, payment processing, and other systems to seamlessly run an online store.
Shopify vs. Squarespace: An Overview
Shopify and Squarespace are among the most popular eCommerce providers worldwide. As of 2022, there are about 4 million Shopify websites and 2 million Squarespace websites.
Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce website where anyone can start an online store for their products or services.
Squarespace is a website builder that helps individuals and businesses to develop an online presence. Users can build personal websites or eCommerce stores.
Squarespace was originally created to publish content, while Shopify was built for eCommerce. Now, Squarespace includes online stores in their platform and has become a popular choice for businesses.
Let’s see how the two websites function as eCommerce stores.
Shopify vs. Squarespace as eCommerce Platforms
Shopify has been in the eCommerce industry for more than a decade. It’s easy to assume that it will be the winner of the two eCommerce platforms since it is considered an eCommerce giant.
However, businesses have different goals and models. We’ll review the two eCommerce providers to help you choose which one fits your business requirements.
Shopify has five subscription options, and Squarespace has four packages. Here’s an overview of the pricing for the two.
These are the three standard Shopify plans for merchants:
- Basic – The Basic plan is suitable for businesses with simple inventory and management requirements. It allows at least two staff accounts and provides essential reporting tools.
- Shopify – The Shopify Business plan includes multiple inventory locations, five staff accounts, and professional reports.
- Advanced – This option is valuable for larger businesses with multiple locations and more staff admin accounts. The advanced option allows up to 15 staff accounts + a custom report builder.
Shopify also has alternative options: the Starter and Shopify Plus.
- Starter ($5/month) – This option is suitable for those who want to create a store powered by Shopify through their Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, email, SMS, WhatsApp, and other platforms. It provides a great check-out experience for your customers.
- Shopify Plus ($2000/month) – Shopify Plus is like an extension of the three standard Shopify packages. It’s suitable for higher-volume businesses that earn around $1 million annually.
Shopify does not charge transaction fees unless you use a third-party payment system for your store. Learn more about Shopify pricing.
For a limited time, Shopify is offering a 3-day free trial AND $1 per month for the first 3 months.
The first option on Squarespace is the “Personal” package which doesn’t allow users to build an eCommerce store. It is suitable for blogs, content creation, portfolios, and other personal use.
The next three allow users to establish an online store.
- Business – Provides vendors with the essential tools to sell online and has a 3% transaction fee on sales.
- Basic Commerce – Ideal for beginner online store owners since it includes professional tools for starting and managing your shop. This plan doesn’t have transaction fees.
- Advanced Commerce – Provides all the best Squarespace tools suitable for larger businesses and doesn’t charge sellers for transactions.
View the Squarespace full pricing list.
Shopify’s basic plan wins when it comes to the fundamental features. Shopify provides abandoned cart recovery and multi-channel integration. This doesn’t exist in Squarespace’s basic plan.
Squarespace offers a cheaper Advanced Commerce option if you need affordable and professional tools for larger businesses. However, Shopify’s packages are more diverse.
As a seller, you need to review the entire plan based on your business needs and goals. You can try Shopify or Squarespace for free for 14 days with no credit card required. Your site is private during the trial period, so experiment with the site and see if it’s suitable for your business. After your trial expires, choose a plan that suits the size and stage of your business.
Customization & Ease of Use
Shopify and Squarespace are both user-friendly. The designs of the websites are responsive for desktop, mobile, and tablet use. Whether you’re a beginner or not, you can easily navigate these eCommerce platforms.
- 98 free & premium templates
- Drag-and-drop option
- Themes are online store focused
- Doesn’t have live edit
- 110 free & premium themes
- Easy to tweak color, typeface, and add images
- With built-in integration with Unsplash and Getty Images
- Drag-and-drop option
- Sleek and modern themes but not all are focused on eCommerce
- With live editor
When it comes to customization, Squarespace takes the cake. It has a more flexible editor because it is created to build all kinds of websites. It’s perfect for eCommerce stores that want a versatile website.
You can have the basic homepage, gallery, and store or add extra pages like a tour date page, appointment booking, portfolio page, and content creation.
Squarespace also offers a list of sections like headings, galleries, images, videos, and so on. This way, users can add or remove any section they like to their website. It also has a visual editor so you can see the changes on the page instantly.
Shopify is also easy to use but has fewer editing options than Squarespace. It is ideal for sellers who want to keep the visitor’s attention on their product. It’s simple to use– just drag the elements anywhere on the website.
Editing the text for your website appears on a different page. Click “Save” and then view the page to see your edits.
Both Shopify and Squarespace provide great customization options.
Squarespace is a wonderful choice if you want to focus on adding services, appointments, and other pages that might be helpful for your business. It gives a more reliable and streamlined option because it offers more website page tools. It also allows users to design with less restriction.
Shopify is great for product selling or social selling. If that’s your focus, investing in a Shopify store can be good for you.
Shopify and Squarespace have the core features of an eCommerce platform: order database, processor, payment section, cart, checkout, and product database. If you need more tools, apps can help build and manage your online shop.
In Shopify App Store, you can browse thousands of apps suitable for every eCommerce store needs. Examples include restocking alerts, live chat, email marketing, and more.
Squarespace has a similar shop called Squarespace Extensions. It currently has 31 extensions you can integrate into your shop or website. Although Squarespace lacks choices for the apps, they provide the essential extensions to manage and optimize your online store.
Shopify wins. The platform shows that it is an all-in-one eCommerce website. It is evident in the range of apps and plugins available for building an online store. The app store is excellent for functions you want to add later on.
Payment Processing & Tax
Having a diverse payment option is significant for shoppers and merchants. More payment options mean more customers can enjoy shopping in your store.
That’s where Shopify excels. Shopify has a built-in credit card processor called Shopify Payments. It includes tons of payment options, and they allow 113 currencies. It’s the better option for merchants who want to cater to more customers.
With Squarespace, the business owner needs to be integrated with Stripe and Paypal (payment processing companies). Squarespace eCommerce provides fewer options for international clients for currencies and payment options.
On a side note, setting up state, federal, and province-specific taxes can be a very complicated task. Shopify makes it easier and faster. Shopify has automatic state tax rates on its platform for sellers in the US, UK, EU, Canada, Australia, and more.
Squarespace takes longer to process because you have to manually enter your details (unless you’re from the US).
Shopify wins because it is less time-consuming for sellers to set up payment methods and sales tax.
Security & Customer Service
Shopify and Squarespace guarantee high-quality customer support and security.
Both platforms can be reached for help through email and live chat. Shopify has a slight edge because they also offer 24/7 phone support.
These websites include free SSL Certificates which are essential to make sure that data from the store and their customers are encrypted.
Both platforms provide the fundamental security and customer service needed for an eCommerce store.
Shipping & Inventory Management
Shipping and inventory management are crucial for every eCommerce store. Luckily, Shopify and Squarespace have reliable features for this.
Shopify has an advanced shipping option. It has everything an online store will need like its own printable shipping labels, partnership with leading carriers like DHL, USPS, or UPS, and dropshipping tools. Shopify’s app store also has several dropshipping apps to connect directly to suppliers.
Squarespace also offers dropshipping tools and allows sellers to use label printing. If you’re from the U.S., you can use their Carrier Calculated shipping from UPS, USPS, FedEx, and DHL’s websites to help estimate the rates based on weight, location, distance, and package size when shipping the products.
Managing your inventory is another important aspect of an eCommerce platform. Both Shopify and Squarespace allow you to edit stock levels, bulk edit products, filter products, and update product availability.
If you want an advanced and smooth-sailing shipping process, Shopify is the better choice. They also offer seamless integration with print-on-demand and dropshipping apps.
Build Your eCommerce Store Today
If you’re creating a store that needs a more robust set of eCommerce features, Shopify should be your choice. As showcased above, Shopify excels with physical products and setting up a store where you can showcase hundreds or thousands of items. At the same time, their Basic plan allows seamless selling on social media without a website. The platform also has a payment processor that allows businesses to sell to more audiences.
You can sell tons of products on Squarespace, too. The site also caters to other businesses like content creators, restaurants, coaches, and more. If you want your business page to have more than just an eCommerce store, Squarespace can be a good choice.
Setting up an online store can be challenging. We hope you narrowed it down to what matters to your business.
Featured Image Credit: Pexels.