When you are deciding between Shopify Vs. Squarespace, it all comes down to what you are looking for in a platform.
Both these platforms provide a simple and easy way to build your online store without requiring you to have any technical or coding knowledge at all.
If you go back to the roots of these platforms, both started out as something different. Squarespace started out as a content management system which allowed you to create a more content-focused website.
Shopify, on the other hand, started out as an ecommerce platform that let you create an online store within minutes.
However, both these platforms have evolved into entities with similar features over the years. You can use either one to create an online store or a content-centric website now.
Today, we are going to put Shopify Vs. Squarespace to see which one will be best suited to your needs.
Both platforms have a different target audience, so it’s a great idea to determine what you want to do, if you’re going to scale your store, if you want to sell multiple products, etc. to understand which platform would be more suited to your requirements.
Shopify Vs. Squarespace: Primary Differences
Before we delve any further into the comparison, you should know that Shopify is a giant in the ecommerce industry while Squarespace is still a new entrant.
Squarespace commerce started around three years back, so they are still learning and evolving in the ecommerce industry.
Since Squarespace was originally released as a way to build generic websites; it’s recent focus on ecommerce has been limited.
The website builder does offer smooth development experience, but it’s still fairly limited for an online store.
Squarespace does accept all major credit cards, PayPal, and Apple pay which gives you flexibility in terms of accepting payments on your store.
Other features include:
- Unlimited product listing (on all paid plans)
- Ability to sell digital and physical products
- Tracking customer activity through marketing pixel
- Discount coupons and codes
- Easy to handle shipping
- Xero integration for accounting and bookkeeping
Still, it’s quite clear that ecommerce isn’t the first priority for Squarespace and it just comes as an add-on for the platform.
Shopify, however, takes ecommerce to a whole new level since its entire focus lies in this industry.
It started off as a simple solution for people who want to quickly build an online store and quickly grew to become one of the industry giants.
When it comes to ecommerce features, Shopify wins hands down. It offers a plethora of features built directly into the platform.
If there’s anything that doesn’t come built-in the platform, then there are hundreds of different apps available for Shopify that add extra functionality to your online store.
Shopify offers additional resources like 24/7 live support via live chat, phone, etc. while Squarespace only offers it via email.
Shopify Vs. Squarespace: Ecommerce Features
The core and essential features of any ecommerce store are:
- A Product database
- Simple Shopping cart
- Straightforward Checkout page
- Decent Payment processor
- An Order database
However, in the recent years, there is much more that can go into an ecommerce store. There’s a lot of stuff like selling via Facebook Messenger to integrating with Amazon FBA to syncing with eBay.
Even for advertising items, there is selling via Pins, Twitter cards, and much more. There are remarketing tools, cart recovery features, and discount codes.
There is dropshipping from suppliers like AliExpress. There’s much more than we can put into words that goes into ecommerce stores today.
Clearly, not every online store needs all of these features.
If you are trying to sell a few T-shirts or a bunch of specialty products – you certainly don’t all of them. But, if you want to scale and expand, you will need your options open.
When it comes down to ecommerce features, Shopify is a clear winner, though Squarespace does make it simple to sell your products online and offers a few advanced features like abandoned cart recovery, it’s still got nothing on Shopify.
Shopify does not only offer extra features directly integrated into their platform, but they have an app store that comes with free and paid apps for your Shopify store.
These apps add additional functionality to your online store.
With all being said, it’s quite unfair for Squarespace since they are a general website builder where ecommerce is just an add-on while Shopify is a full-fledged ecommerce solution.
So, comparing these platforms on ecommerce features would definitely give the win to Shopify.
In a nutshell, if you want core eCommerce features integrated into a simplistic, straightforward website builder solution, then Squarespace is a good choice.
If you require a suite of eCommerce features and apps to scale, then Shopify is hands-down the better choice.
Shopify Vs. Squarespace: Pricing
If you know what you need from your ecommerce platform then it’s fairly straightforward to understand the pricing for both these platforms.
In a nutshell, Shopify is more expensive than Squarespace when it comes to pricing and plans. However, there’s more to it.
First of all, there are credit/debit card processing fees.
Squarespace integrates with Stripe and PayPal for payment processing. Their fees are 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
Shopify, on the other hand, has their own payment gateway that charges lower transaction fees. But – if you are going to use a non-Shopify supported payment gateway, then Shopify charges an additional transaction fee that Squarespace does not charge.
Another factor is price to value ratio.
When comparing just the front-end features – Squarespace is significantly lower priced than Shopify, especially on their Advanced plan, which competes directly with Shopify’s Standard plan.
Check out Shopify’s full pricing and plan features.
Check out Squarespace’s pricing plans.
But, as mentioned earlier in the introduction, it’s challenging to compare their pricing plans directly since they are different products catering to different audiences.
It all truly comes down to what you require for your project – basic features that will provide you with a simple store to operate online or a platform that has plenty of resources along with lots of features. So let’s check out other differences.
Shopify Vs. Squarespace: Ease of Use/Newbie Friendly
No matter how natural and easy a piece of technology is, there’s always a moment where you are like “what is this and what should I do now?”
The main selling point of online website/ecommerce store builders is that they simplify everything and have a near-zero learning curve. They have a step-by-step process that takes you from website idea to the website reality.
On ease of use, Squarespace and Shopify both do pretty well, but in different ways.
Shopify has a swift route from their free trial signup to store launch. They provide guided tours and a straightforward setup for beginners. Their customer support team is also focused on getting your store up and running as quickly as possible.
On the backend, Shopify has more apps, features, and technical features available that can be a bit challenging for a newbie.
Squarespace has an insanely fast sign-up to live store process. Their backend is reasonably intuitive for basic websites.
However, they appeal more to developers and freelance designers – so there are advanced tools in their dashboard that can overwhelm a newbie and clutter a simple launching a site.
Squarespace’s support emails are well-structured for a newbie. But, since their platform is used for all types of websites, the eCommerce options are a bit hidden (and limited) from the perspective of newbie online store owner.
Simply put, if you are looking for more guidance and more customization, then Shopify is perfect for you.
If you want to quickly check and build a basic online store, then Squarespace is the way to go.
Shopify Vs. Squarespace: Design/Templates
Part of the overall charm of website/store builders is quite simple, easy to design – no graphics designers required.
But, choosing a good design is tough. A lot of people know how a good design should look like, but most of them have no idea how to get there.
So, using a pre-built template or a theme as a foundation then customizing it to your liking is a great way to create a good looking site without paying a professional designer at all.
Both Shopify and Squarespace use themes for design. But, both are very different when it comes to customization options.
Shopify offers a compact drag and drop designing feature. You can create an element for your theme and drag it into any place you want. You can also edit any part of any website. You can edit HTML/CSS with Shopify, so it lets you build any design you want.
Squarespace has a crossed approach to design. They have famously beautiful pre-built themes. They also offer drag and drop features and pretty interactive editing.
The drawback with Squarespace is that their pre-built themes require a bunch of excellent photos. If you lack high-quality photographs, their themes are going to look quite bland. On the other hand, most of Shopify’s designs/themes look good and functional regardless of images.
Both these platforms have large marketplaces for premium designs and themes.
If you are a supporter of raw functionality – then you will love Shopify’s approach to design. If you want your site to look amazing right out the box, prefer to edit some details, and have access to high-quality photos – then you’ll find Squarespace useful.
Shopify Vs. Squarespace: Product Photos
One area where I think Squarespace does outshine Shopify is their ability to handle and showcase product images.
Shopify shows a mish mash of all your product images of different sizes. If you have all the images with the same aspect ratio only then they will appear correctly, otherwise they will be laid out in an incoherent manner.
Squarespace, on the other hand, crops all the images to a same size that you can define yourself. You can also choose a focal point so all the cropped images are emphasized at that point of the product image.
In the days of responsive web stores, this focal point feature is essential because it helps guarantee that the main part of your picture is at the forefront whenever your image is cropped for viewing on smaller screens.
Shopify Vs. Squarespace: Accelerated Mobile Pages
AMP or accelerated mobile pages is a new format for content delivery which makes the content load faster on mobile devices. It performs this by stripping out code from your website and delivering a toned down version of your content to mobile users.
In Squarespace, you can enable Accelerated Mobile Pages very easily. All you have to do is tick a checkbox in your store’s settings.
To use AMP on Shopify stores, you will need to install a third-party app like RocketAmp. This app comes with a monthly subscription fee and limited plans.
However, it does allows you to display all your store’s content in AMP format. So with Shopify, you will end up with a much better AMP version of your online store.
As a one-stop eCommerce solution, Shopify is definitely a winner of this comparison. Yes, it does cost more, but those extra expenses are justified.
Squarespace is more of a versatile website builder with drag and drop features than a full-fledged eCommerce platform, so if you already have a Squarespace website and want to sell a few T-shirts online, then Squarespace Commerce is certainly capable of handling it.
But, if you need to develop a feature-rich online shop, you will need something more robust, like Shopify.