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Shopify vs Squarespace - Ecommerce Functionality and Everything Else You Need to Know

Shopify vs Squarespace - Ecommerce Functionality and Everything Else You Need to Know

Online presence is of great importance today. It can make or break your business. 

With the right tools, a web presence can add a lot of value to your online store. It can act as a place where you can deliver information about your product and services, share what you do best, and provide detailed information about your products for easy access. 

Today there are many platforms and solutions out there that can help you build your website effortlessly like Shopify and Squarespace. But what should you use - Shopify or Squarespace?

Both Shopify and Squarespace have stood the test of time, proving that hosting your own eCommerce stores can be a risky, yet lucrative venture. 

In fact, when making the decision between Shopify vs Squarespace, the crux of it all is that your needs will dictate which one is right for your online store. 

If you're looking to start your own online store, this article should give you an idea of what to expect from these two platforms.

Outline

I. What Are Shopify And Squarespace?

Shopify is a platform that allows you to sell your products online and manage your store. It's best used by individuals or businesses looking to sell physical products or services. It is a powerful eCommerce platform built specifically for online merchants.

Shopify

It makes it easy for anyone to create an online store. It offers everything you need to sell online and build a business, including its eCommerce software and the tools to transform your ideas into a reality.

Here are some numbers to look at -

Squarespace

Squarespace is a website builder that makes it easy to build professional-looking sites with no hassle whatsoever. It is a drag-and-drop website builder that lets you easily create websites without any coding skills.

With Squarespace, you can create a website, blog, or online store using professionally designed templates. The software is all inclusive — there are no hidden fees and no need to install any additional software.

Here are some numbers to look at -

Market share of the most popular ecommerce platforms

Source

II. Shopify vs Squarespace: What Are The Differences?

When it comes to choosing an eCommerce website builder, you want to make sure you're picking the right one for your needs.

The two most popular website-building platforms, Shopify and Squarespace, are often used by small business owners who don’t have a lot of experience with web design.

The main difference between the two is that Shopify is a complete eCommerce platform — it offers everything you need to run an online store — while Squarespace is more like a website builder, where you have more limited control over how your site looks and functions.

Let's take a closer look at some of the key differences between Shopify vs Squarespace.

01. Shopify vs Squarespace: Pricing

Shopify

Shopify pricing plans

Basic

This is one of the simplest Shopify plans that lets businesses build online stores with minimal investment.

The basic Shopify plan costs $29/month when billed monthly or $14.44/month when billed annually.

It includes a customizable website, 24/7 customer support, basic analytical reports, 2 staff accounts, and around 77% shipping discount. Furthermore, you can add unlimited products to your store, promote and sell your products on multiple sales channels and add unlimited contacts to your Shopify account.

If you want to add more than one store, or if you want to use Shopify Payments, then you'll need to move up to the Shopify Lite or Advanced plans.

Shopify

The Shopify plan costs $79/month when billed monthly and $39.44/month when billed annually.

It includes everything in the Basic Shopify Plan. In addition, it gives you access to detailed professional reports, 5 staff accounts, up to 5 inventory locations, and close to 88% shipping discount, among many others. 

Advanced Shopify

The Advanced Shopify plan is priced at $299/month billed monthly or $147.78/month billed annually.

It includes a custom report builder, 15 staff accounts, up to 8 inventory locations, and an 88% shipping discount. It also provides you with third-party calculated shipping rates, duties, and import taxes, among many other benefits.

Also read: Shopify Pricing Plans Explained - Review by Shopify Experts

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Squarespace

Squarespace pricing plans

Personal

Most freelancers and very small businesses who just need an online presence can leverage Squarespace’s Personal plan at a minimal cost of $19/month when billed monthly and $14/month when billed annually.

This plan provides users with a free custom domain, excellent SSL security, basic analytics, limited yet required SEO features, and wide a range of responsive templates. It also permits 2 contributors at a time.

Business

The Squarespace Business plan costs $33/month when billed monthly and $23/month when billed annually. Along with all the features offered in the Personal plan, this plan also includes a custom professional Gmail account, complete customization using CSS and JavaScript, professional analytical tools, Google Ads credits, and so much more!

Basic eCommerce

This plan amounts to $36/month billed monthly or $27/month billed annually

The Squarespace Basic eCommerce plan is specifically built for online stores and aid in eCommerce functionality. And so it offers features like powerful eCommerce analytics, merchandising tools, Point of Sale (POS), customer reviews, and lots more.

Advanced eCommerce

This is priced at $65/month billed monthly or $49/month billed annually.

The Squarespace Advanced eCommerce plan is an extension of The Squarespace Basic eCommerce plan and offers many more features as compared to the latter. This includes commerce APIs, abandoned cart recovery measures, subscriptions, and so on.

02. Shopify vs Squarespace: Ease of use

One reason many online merchants opt for like Squarespace or Shopify is that they're easier to use. This is especially true if you've never built an eCommerce site before. 

If you're just getting started with eCommerce, it's important that your website builder be easy to use so that you can focus on growing your business instead of worrying about managing your online store every day.

Shopify has a large learning curve because it requires you to have a basic understanding of how e-commerce works and how to set up an online store. It also has a higher learning curve because it requires you to have a basic understanding of programming languages like HTML and CSS. However, you can use simple tools like PageFly Page Builder to make this process much easier.

Squarespace, however, does not require any programming knowledge at all; it's designed for people who are new to e-commerce or want an easy way to build their own website without having to learn how to program in HTML or CSS.

03. Shopify vs Squarespace: Features

3.1 eCommerce Features

1. Product Types

Both the platforms let you sell physical as well as digital goods on your online store. However, you will have to take an extra step and integrate a dedicated app into your store in order to sell digital goods on your Shopify store.

Both of these website builders offer customizations for product options such as quantity and size. Additionally, they offer email alerts for low-stock, detailed analytical reports, and the ability to add unlimited products to your catalog.

2. Payment

Both platforms have built-in support for payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal so you can accept credit cards or PayPal payments through your site. However, Shopify also supports other types of payment options including Apple Pay as well as third-party payment processors like Braintree or WePay if you need something more advanced than what's built into the platform itself (such as recurring billing).

So when it comes to payments, the Shopify store is clearly a better choice as compared to Squarespace.

Online payment statistics

Source

3. Shipping

Both Shopify and Squarespace allow you to create shipping rules, including discounts and taxes for your online store. However, Squarespace does not allow you to set up your own shipping rates, so you'll need to use its standard rates.

One of Shopify's best eCommerce features is its robust shipping feature. You can set up different shipping rates depending on the size and weight of your product, and you can also take advantage of their shipping labels to print off your own labels that customers can attach to their packages when they ship.

Shipping-related reasons to stop purchasing a product

Source

4. Selling Offline (POS)

Shopify offers a full-fledged POS system, called Shopify POS. Customers can pay for their purchases by swiping their credit cards at cash registers or by scanning QR codes on their phones. The Shopify POS system also comes with tools for inventory management and monitoring sales trends. This feature is also available on all of the plans offered by Shopify.

To execute this, you’ll have to download the Shopify app. Do note that you will be charged a transaction fee of 2,7% for the Basic plan, 2,5% for the Shopify plan, and 2,4% for the Advanced plan for every offline sale you make.

Squarespace does not offer a POS system; however, it has integrations with third-party tools like Square. You will need the Squarespace Commerce app and a Square card reader. Also, note that POS is only available with a Commerce Basic or Commerce Advanced plan. Unlike Shopify, Squarespace doesn’t charge you any additional transaction fee on offline sales.

POS software market revenue

Source

3.2 Marketing Features

1. Email Campaigns

Email campaigns are an incredibly useful tool for marketers, and both Shopify and Squarespace offer this feature. 

Did you know that 35% of marketers send their customers 3-5 emails per week? 

With Shopify, you can create different email campaigns, each with its own unique templates and subject lines. You can also set up autoresponders to make it more efficient.

Squarespace, on the other hand, has a much more robust email marketing system. It offers a functional way for you to grow and communicate with your audience with minimal effort seamlessly.

While Squarespace’s email tools come at an additional cost, the benefits it provides make it a fair bargain! One of the key features is that it lets you merge the website and mailing list and manage it from one place making it super convenient and useful.

They offer 4 plans and you can pick one that suits your needs and requirements the most.

Squarespace email tools pricing

2. Social Media and Marketplace Integrations

If you're just looking to sell on Instagram and push content to Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter, Squarespace is a good choice because that’s all it permits. 

 

Top social media networks used for direct purchases

Source

Unlike Squarespace, Shopify has a much more advanced system that lets you sell on over 10 social media platforms along with your online store. Additionally, you can also sell your products on marketplaces like Amazon smoothly.

Top social media ecommerce stats

Source

3. Blogging

Squarespace is a clear winner when it comes to blogging functionality. Unlike a Shopify store which is only built for eCommerce requirements, this is a much more advanced platform that can accommodate a wide range of use cases of a website. You can easily add images to your posts, create a blog post schedule, and even highlight the most important parts of your content. 

Furthermore, you can add custom tags and categories to your blog posts, enable comments, and also share the content to your socials very easily.

A Shopify online store offers some of these same features, but not all of them. For example, the Shopify blog doesn't have a post-schedule option and it also doesn't let you highlight important parts of your content.

This means that Shopify is not the best for when you want to focus on your content. There is very little functionality when it comes to blogging on Shopify.

Goals B2C marketers achieved using content marketing

Source

4. Analytics

When running any business, it is important to understand and analyze the numbers involved. This is going to help you assess your business’s performance and make strategic decisions to promote growth.

Squarespace has an "analytics" tab in their dashboard where you can see how many people have visited your site and what they're looking at, but it's fairly basic. 

You can't really dive very deep into the data here, and if you want to do any kind of analysis on your own, you'll have to export the data in CSV format and open it up in Excel or Google Sheets yourself—a process that isn't exactly easy for most people.

Unlike a Squarespace website, every Shopify store has a dedicated analytics feature that lets you dive right into your data without having to do any exporting or importing. 

Additionally, you can like both Shopify and Squarespace sites on Google Analytics.

04. Shopify vs Squarespace: Apps, Integrations, and Plugins

Shopify has a dedicated Shopify app store that has 6000+ add-on apps with 12 different categories. You can find apps for everything from shipping to payment processing, marketing automation, and more.

Shopify app store

Squarespace does not have an app store. However, they recently launched their extension market. While it does offer some handy extensions, the options are not really as robust as Shopify’s App Store. At present, there are hardly 30 extensions in their market.

This clearly gives Shopify an edge over Squarespace. If you're looking for an e-commerce platform that has a dedicated app store, Shopify is the way to go.

05. Shopify vs Squarespace: Support

The one thing that both Shopify and Squarespace can agree on is that they offer exceptional customer support. But the most important thing to know is that both companies are willing to go above and beyond for their clients.

Shopify's support team is available 24/7, 365 days a year by email, phone, or live chat. Shopify also offers free training classes on how to use your platform.

Squarespace has a similar 24/7 availability policy, as well as live chat support during business hours (Monday through Friday).

06. Shopify vs Squarespace: Security

Increased security is the main reason why online merchants choose trusted platforms Squarespace or Shopify rather than building a store from scratch with self-hosted solutions. They know that if they build it themselves, they'll have to maintain it themselves — and that means a lot more hands-on work.

Shopify has invested heavily in infrastructure security and has an excellent track record when it comes to keeping its users safe from hackers. A Squarespace site also provides the same level of protection.

So when it comes to security, Shopify vs Squarespace are excellent and commendable solutions.

III. Shopify vs Squarespace: Pros And Cons of each eCommerce platform

Ecommerce platforms' pros and cons

01. Shopify Pros

  • Easy to use

Shopify is very easy to use - there are no complicated steps or processes involved with getting your store up and running.

  • Excellent eCommerce features

This is a platform built for eCommerce businesses and hence it offers excellent eCommerce features that allow you to sell anything from physical products (e.g., clothing) to digital goods (e.g., books).

  • Multi-channel selling

Shopify allows you to sell in multiple channels including desktop, mobile, and tablet devices as well as on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

  • A great app store

With the Shopify store, you'll also get apps and integrations with third-party services that help you manage your inventory, process payments, deliver products, and more.

Also read: 21 Best Shopify Apps To Build & Scale Your Online Brand

  • Excellent customer support

Shopify offers 24/7 support via phone and email, as well as live chat. If you have questions about using Shopify, or if there's an issue with your store, you can always get in touch with a representative to help you out.

  • Forums

Shopify has a large community of users and advanced Shopify developers who share knowledge and advice on their forums. You can find tutorials, ask questions and get feedback from other merchants on the platform.

02. Shopify Cons

  • Additional transaction fees

While Shopify does offer Shopify payments, if you want to accept payments from customers using PayPal or other payment services, you'll have to pay an x% transaction fee (depending on your Shopify plan). This can add up quickly, especially if your store has a high volume.

  • The monthly cost adds up with apps

The monthly cost adds up with apps. In order to fully utilize Shopify's features, it's best to invest in a range of add-ons. This can get pricey if you aren't planning on using the majority of their offerings.

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03. Squarespace Pros

  • Modern and sleek templates

Squarespace has a huge selection of modern templates that look great on desktop computers and mobile devices alike. You can customize these templates or start from scratch with one of their blank canvases.

  • Affordable price

It's also very affordable compared to other website builders like Wix, Weebly, and Shopify. The basic plan starts at $19 per month and includes all of the features needed to get started with your online store.

  • Easier setup process

Squarespace is designed with simplicity in mind. If you don't want to mess around with code, a Squarespace site offers an easier way to set up your store with just a few clicks (no coding required). 

04. Squarespace Cons

  • No app store; only has extension market

Squarespace only has an extension market where you can find additional eCommerce features and tools. These extensions are usually paid.

  • Limited payment options

You can only pay with a credit card or PayPal account. If you don't have either one, you won't be able to use Squarespace at all. 

IV. Shopify vs Squarespace: What Platform Should You Choose For Your Online Store?

It all boils down to what your business’s requirements and needs are.

It may seem like a tough choice at first to choose between Shopify vs Squarespace. But once you've gone through the list of pros and cons, things should become a bit more clear.  

If a Shopify store has everything you could want and Squarespace falls short, you should probably choose the former. However, if Squarespace is closer to your ideal website experience, there's nothing wrong with going for it. As long as it works for your business and provides an excellent platform for communicating with clients or customers, it doesn’t really matter which platform you use. 

If you're just looking for a basic online store to sell your products, Squarespace and Shopify will both be suitable solutions. However, if you want a more advanced application that can integrate with marketing software and provide an extra boost, then Shopify may be the better option for you.

Nevertheless, whatever you decide, be sure to read both full reviews to make an informed decision.

Shopify vs Squarespace: Wrapping Up

We live in a digital age where the internet has become an ever-increasingly important component of daily life. Businesses realize this, which is why many of them have established websites that provide customers with one-stop access to all of their pertinent information—from products and services to contact information and customer testimonials. 

These portals are vital for business success, so it is worth it to invest in a site that is not only dependable but will also drive traffic to your business.

Shopify is designed for professional businesses, while Squarespace is geared towards bloggers and small start-ups. Both are extremely affordable with affordable plans and both are easy to use.

Ultimately, both Shopify vs Squarespace are powerful eCommerce solutions with an array of features. Whichever one you select will largely depend on your needs, but we've provided an in-depth comparison so you can make a more informed decision for your business.

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