Comparisons

Shopify vs Squarespace: Which is The Best Option for eCommerce?

This is our ultimate comparison of Shopify vs Squarespace for eCommerce Stores, Over 6000 Words & Hours of Research & Testing - All the Pros & Cons
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Starting a business is a challenge that most entrepreneurs meet with enthusiasm. With any business venture, you’re going to experience roadblocks and bottlenecks that delay your progress.

However, those that succeed with building a business have a few things in common with each other; the tenacity to persist when things get tough and the ability to use the information and others’ experiences to avoid pitfalls and reduce the learning curve in their industry.

If you’re thinking about getting involved with e-commerce, then you need some top-quality advice to help you understand the business. There’s plenty involved with selling online, and you need the right tools and guidance to achieve success.

If you get it right, selling online can be a lucrative career move. Nearly 17% of all global retail sales occurred online in 2019, and the trend is increasing, with that number set to reach 20% by 2022. However, with the advent of COVID-19 sweeping the globe, more people are turning to e-commerce to order what they need.

We can expect to see the trend of increased online shopping move forward into the end of 2020, and to the future. As an e-commerce merchant, you position yourself to take a piece of that $3.5-trillion-dollar market.

Visit Shopify  Visit Squarespace

Contents

How Do You Sell Online with Shopify Vs. Squarespace?

Fortunately, we’ve done the hard work for you when selecting the best e-commerce platforms available. Our dedicated reviews on all the web-builders out there will give you the information you need to succeed.

In this review, we’ll look at two of the top e-commerce solutions available. Shopify and Squarespace are both e-commerce solutions that are useful for building your online business. However, which one of them offers the best option for you?

We’ll unpack everything you need to know about these platforms. By the end of this review, you’ll know which option suits your e-commerce business model.

Both Shopify and Squarespace are web-builder solutions that allow you to start selling online. Shopify burst onto the e-commerce scene in 2006, quickly rising to the top of the e-commerce industry with the launch of its highly functional and user-friendly platform in 2015.

With Shopify, you have a complete “business-in-a-box” solution that helps you start selling online immediately.

Squarespace is currently one of the more popular e-commerce platforms online, which is surprising since the company only started in 2013. The massive amount of funding poured into the platform by investors saw its popularity and functionality grow over the years.

Squarespace is another web-builder worth considering for starting your online business. However, which one of the two platforms should you choose for your new e-commerce business?

Shopify Homepage

Comparing Shopify & Squarespace: What’s the Difference?

Squarespace is what you call a web-builder, and it features some built-in e-commerce functionality if you’re looking at selling products online. Squarespace has a simple offering, and the tools aren’t as extensive as Shopify. However, it’s an easy-to-navigate platform, and it comes with an affordable subscription.

Squarespace has some unique design components that make it stand out from Shopify, as well as a simplistic interface that’s an excellent choice for beginners. Choosing between the two is challenging if you’re a newcomer to e-commerce. So, how do you select the right platform to meet your needs?

Squarespace is an excellent choice for people that want to sell a few products, typically less than 10. If you’re looking for a fully-functional e-commerce suite that can handle anything you throw at it, then Shopify is your best choice.

Today, it’s never been easier to build an online business. Web-builders take the hard work out of coding and building a site, and both Shopify and Squarespace are easy to set up, without the need to know HTML, CSS, PHP, or Java.

Today’s all-inclusive platforms for e-commerce provide you with everything you need to build, design, launch, and market your new webstore. Starting your first online business is as easy as subscribing, installing, and creating your personalized platform.

Squarespace Homepage

How Do I Choose Between Starting with Shopify or Squarespace?

Selecting the right platform for your business depends on a few factors. If this is your first e-commerce business or attempt at working online, then you’re going to want to make the experience as user-friendly as possible.

Shopify offers a reasonably user-friendly interface, but its nowhere near as simple as Squarespace. If you take on a platform and can’t get it to work, then it might diminish your confidence and cause you to lose interest in starting your site.

Therefore, it’s best to start with your level of competency in mind. For total newbies, Squarespace is a good choice. However, if you do understand how to work with programs, and you have a reasonable working knowledge of how to use the internet, you might find that you don’t struggle with the setup on Shopify.

If you’re planning on selling one or two products, you don’t need an entire solution like Shopify. Squarespace has everything you need to sell online. However, if you’re planning to sell ten or more products through your webstore, Shopify is the better platform.

Shopify is easy to scale, and it offers more bang for your buck if you’re thinking about going full tilt into online retailing.

Shopify & Squarespace: Pros & Cons

What are the pros and cons of using these e-commerce platforms? Let’s take a deep dive into the benefits and drawbacks of Shopify and Squarespace.

What are the Pros of Using Shopify?

  • A good choice for larger e-commerce stores
  • No coding required for setup and launch
  • Loads of apps and extensions available at the Shopify App Store
  • Excellent merchant support
  • Extensive knowledge database for troubleshooting
  • Free and premium template options available for your store
  • Integrates with social accounts and offline sales solutions

What are the Cons of Using Shopify?

  • Transaction fees for using third-party payment processors
  • Costs of apps can add up
  • More extensive user-interface than Squarespace, making it harder to learn the platform
  • Transaction fees are required unless you’re paying with Shopify Payments
  • Depending on the tools and apps you choose to use, the costs can add up
  • You may take longer to get used to Shopify than Squarespace

Visit Shopify

What are the Pros of Using Squarespace?

  • Design-focused e-commerce platform
  • Plenty of attractive themes available
  • User-friendly and easy to navigate for beginners
  • Integrates with offline selling tools
  • Built-in analytics to measure your e-commerce performance
  • An excellent choice for print-on-demand selling
  • Good blogging tools
  • Competitive pricing model

What are the Cons of Using Squarespace?

  • There is no app store for Squarespace
  • Limited options for payment gateways

Visit Squarespace

Shopify & Squarespace – What are the Key Differences?

The key differences between Shopify and Squarespace are in the user-functionality and the pricing model. Shopify might be too much for your e-commerce needs if you want to sell a few items. However, if you’re planning on launching a large store, then it’s the better option.

While Shopify is easy to set up and operate, it does take some getting used to before you master the use of the platform. Squarespace is a very user-friendly option, and it’s cost-efficient as well. If you’re a newbie looking to invest in a platform, then Squarespace is an excellent choice for your first webstore.


Shopify Vs. Squarespace Comparison Categories

We have broken this comparison down into different categories so you can quickly compare the features which matter most to you and we will provide our winner for each one.

  • Category 1: Ease of Use
  • Category 2: Design
  • Category 3: Domains and URLs
  • Category 4: E-commerce Features and Tools
  • Category 5: Payment Solutions and Fees
  • Category 6: Attracting Customers
  • Category 7: Merchant Support and Helplines
  • Category 8: Pricing Model

Visit Shopify Visit Squarespace

Shopify Vs. Squarespace – Ease of Use

You could have the best e-commerce store in the world, complete with all the functionality you need, and if you don’t know how to use it, then it’s worthless. User-friendly navigation of your platform is essential if you want to reduce your learning curve.

Shopify offers you a top-quality e-commerce solution that’s easy to use. With the drag-and-drop design, you can have a webstore ready to go in a few hours. The clear interface with plenty of functional visual cues provides excellent navigation when using functions on your site.

You don’t need any coding experience to get your store going, and the system has helpful prompts when using the programs for the first time. It’s easy to get the hang of the inventory module system, and it’s a simple process to add products and build features into your site.

The shopify dashboard is clean & easy to use.
The shopify dashboard is clean & easy to use.

Squarespace is surprisingly more challenging to deal with than Shopify in terms of the interface. It doesn’t offer a user-friendly experience at all, and the setup can leave you scratching your head at times.

The robust design tools get in the way of finding an easy way to build your website. However, when you figure out how to use them properly, you can create any design you want. As with Shopify, you develop your Squarespace store using drag-and-drop tech, and there’s no coding involved with creating your custom design.

For newbies that aren’t tech-experienced or have no idea what they are doing with e-commerce, Shopify offers the better choice. You get a guided setup, with 24/7 customer support if you get stuck.

Squarespace is a bit challenging and might be one of the more technical setups involved with web-builders.

Ease-of-use Winner: Shopify Shopify

The Squarespace editor is a bit tricky to use when navigating around the dashboard. However, it does offer a good balance between simple design and functionality.

Shopify is easier to navigate, but the setup process of the site is a bit more complicated than Squarespace. Both platforms offer a remarkably user-friendly experience, and it’s challenging to say which one is the clear winner, but we feel Shopify has an edge.

Visit Shopify

Shopify Vs. Squarespace – Design

The look and feel of your website make a significant difference in how prospective customers form their first impression of your e-commerce venue. If you don’t offer professional design, with a fluid user experience that’s easy to navigate and search, you can expect to leave money on the table with lost sales.

With Shopify, you get a choice of 60+ themes for your e-commerce store. Ten of the offerings are free, and you get 50+ premium templates for prices ranging between $140 to $180. Shopify categorizes its themes into industry categories, giving you the option of selecting themes for clothing, gadgets, sports, cosmetics, and more.

All of Shopify’s templates are mobile-ready, and your customers won’t experience any issues with browsing your store on their mobile device of choice.

Squarespace might be a bit more challenging to navigate on the build and setup of your store. However, once you understand how to use the template builder and the other design tools, you can create fantastic templates that catch your customer’s attention.

Squarespace has some great looking templates
Squarespace has some great looking templates

Squarespace has far more to offer on the design side. However, we don’t think it’s all that necessary, and Shopify’s offering gives you everything you need to create an attractive store, without the hassle of learning how to design your theme.

However, like Shopify, all the Squarespace themes are compatible with mobile devices, and they work on any screen size. Squarespace provides its templates for the creatives while covering plenty of industries, such as toys, food and beverages, DIY, and health, to name a few. While Squarespace templates are challenging to master, they can make your e-commerce store pop online.

With Squarespace, you can customize your store if you know code. Otherwise, you’ll have to hire developers with an understanding of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). These languages help you modify the theme on your Shopify Admin page. You can also add HTML using Code Block, and CSS using the platforms CSS Editor.

Best Design Winner: Squarespace Squarespace

The design tools and range of templates available through Squarespace make it the winner in this category.

The themes on Squarespace are professional-grade quality and make your site look fantastic. While Shopify does offer you ten free themes and 60 paid templates, they don’t have the same level of design quality as those on offer with Squarespace.

Visit Squarespace

Shopify Vs. Squarespace: Domain and URLs

Your domain name and hosting costs are other considerations that come into play when assessing the startup costs of your e-commerce site. With Squarespace, you get a free custom domain with any of the subscription plans.

Your domain name acts as your brand identity online, and every e-commerce company must have a unique URL that customers can identify with your brand.

With Shopify, you can register a custom domain, but you’ll still need to pay for it with the domain provider like GoDaddy or Namecheap.

If you decide to use Squarespace or Shopify for purchasing your domain name, you don’t have to worry about the other complications like DNS settings, as the platform calibrates it for you.

Shopify comes with a domain name generator if you are stuck for ideas.
Shopify comes with a domain name generator if you are stuck for ideas.

Domains matter to your e-commerce store from an SEO perspective.

You need to keep in mind that both Squarespace and Shopify don’t offer you quite as many top-quality domain options as you might get with another domain name company like Namecheap.

Both options also come with SSL certificates to ensure your store meets the international criteria for safe shopping.

Where Shopify stands out is in its free-hosting. When you sign up for a Shopify plan, you get a dedicated URL on the Shopify network. As a result, you don’t have to pay for any hosting for your e-commerce store. That’s a great deal for newbies looking to save on the costs of getting their business off the ground.

Surprisingly, free hosting with Shopify is fast, and you’ll find that your page loading times are fantastic. Page loading is a significant part of Google’s assessment of your site. The quicker your page loads, the more likely Google is to recommend your website in searches.

Shopify SquarespaceBest platform for domains & URLs Winner: Draw

Both Shopify and Squarespace allow for the use of custom URLs and domains. Squarespace provides you with a custom URL when you sign up for your plan, and Shopify provides you with free hosting for your site, allowing you to cut down on your startup costs for your website.

Visit Shopify  Visit Squarespace

Shopify Vs. Squarespace: Features & E-Commerce Tools

If you want to sell online, you need an optimized site with plenty of marketing functionality. Building a website, populating it with products, and leaving it to hand somewhere in cyberspace is silly if you don’t have a marketing strategy.

e-Commerce Tools

Both platforms allow you to sell digital and physical products and services from your webstore. However, with Shopify, you’ll need to install a third-party app to sell digital products, but it’s possible.

Squarespace comes complete with all the marketing tools you need to sell your products. The dashboard has a comprehensive selection of actions you can take to ensure you optimize your site and market your products correctly.

Squarespace has a fantastic product display design that makes for eye-catching listing that makes your customers convert. The platform allows your products to take center stage. Add zoom features to your product images, take videos, or add a 360° visual experience for your customers.

With Shopify, you don’t get a built-in product zoom, but it’s available through a third-party app in the Shopify Appstore. We recommend Magiczoom for the best app plug-in for your Shopify site.

Shopify lets you sell everywhere
Shopify lets you sell everywhere

Logistics and Shipping

Shipping and logistics are simple with Shopify. The platform comes complete with everything you need to ship your products to your customers. You get apps for creating shipping labels, as well as bu8ilt-in integration with couriers like UPS and NHL. There are also options for dropshipping and working with third-party suppliers.

Squarespace doesn’t offer these shopping and logistics models, but there are talks of the platform changing this sometime soon. However, Squarespace does currently work with UPS to calculate your shipping fees.

Both Shopify and Squarespace offer you inventory management solutions with your platform. Fortunately, both are effective and practical, offering you a means of tracking your inventory across all your platforms.

Both Shopify and Squarespace come out equal when we look at the functionality to add bulk items, compile in-house reporting, and issue direct email notifications when your store starts to run low on stock.

Offline Selling

Both Squarespace and Shopify also offer you options for offline selling. If your business model involves selling in face-to-face situations, as well as online, then these platforms are an excellent choice to help you manage your business in online and offline environments.

Shopify has the Shopify POS (Point-of-Sale) app available for download from the Shopify App Store. With this app, you can control your inventory and process sales at physical locations. The POS app, if so functional, that many brick-and-mortar retailers are using the system to manage stock levels in-store.

We reviewed the Shopify POS offering here.

With the Shopify POS app, you need to buy a chip reader card machine, unless you pay for the offline retail package, available for $49. However, the retail package is only available for Shopify retailers in the US, UK, and Ireland. For every offline sale you process through the Shopify POS app, you must pay a transaction fee of between 2.4% to 2.7%, depending on your Shopify subscription plan.

However, the software works well, and it even updates the inventory in your virtual store after you make a sale at a physical location.

Squarespace offers you a similar deal for processing offline sales. Squarespace teamed up with Square, the payment processor connected with the Twitter creator, Jack Dorsey. If you want to sell your products offline, you’ll need to install the Squarespace Commerce app in your store and acquire a Square card reader, which comes at the cost of $49.

Unfortunately, the transaction costs are slightly higher with Square, and you can expect to pay between 2.6 to 3.5% of the value of each sale, depending on your subscription plan. Squarespace also adds a processing fee of $0.10 to $0.15.

Squarespace lets you sell products & services
Squarespace lets you sell products & services

Apps

Apps are also another critical consideration when selecting your e-commerce platform. Apps boost the performance of your e-commerce store and bring it additional functionality. The apps available include categories like analytics, finance, shipping, and marketing, with hundreds of options in each of the groups.

Shopify offers a comprehensive app store with more than 2,400-apps to help you improve your webstore. Squarespace doesn’t have an app store, and there is no add-on functionality available for your site.

The apps are easy to integrate into your store, and many of them are free. However, the SEO and marketing apps can get pricey, so make sure you stick to your build budget when adding apps to your store.

Best Features & E-commerce tools Winner: ShopifyShopify

Shopify takes this category. With plenty of built-in functionality and loads of apps available to enhance the performance of your webstore, Shopify is the clear winner. Shopify offers far more payment gateways and better shipping options.

Visit Shopify

Shopify Vs. Squarespace: Payment Solutions & Fees

The pace where Squarespace starts to fall is in the payment category. Squarespace offers you minimal options for installing payment processors on your site. The payment gateways included with your site are Stripe, PayPal, and Apple Pay are about your only options, making it tough for consumers that are looking for alternative payment options.

For us, this lack of payment facilities is enough to make it a deal-killer. We could accept it if there were functionality to add payment processors to your store using apps. However, you don’t get that opportunity, and we feel it’s leaving money on the table offering limited payment solutions.

In comparison, Shopify leaves Squarespace standing in the dust. Shopify supports all the major payment gateways, including credit and debit cards. However, if you want to use a third-party payment processor, you need to pay an additional processing fee of 2%.

Shopify has the best checkout product
Shopify has the best checkout product

To reduce this fee, you can migrate your Shopify account to the Advanced Shopify plan, where you only must pay a 1.3% charge of third-party payment processing.

The only way to get rid of this transaction fee is to use the in-house payment platform provided by Shopify. “Shopify Payments” doesn’t charge you any transaction fees if you offer it to your customers.

To add any payment processor you like, visit the app store. You also have options for downloading trust badges from the app store as well. Trust badges are an essential part of building confidence in your customers during the checkout process.

Studies show that sites using trust badges experience sales increases of more than 60% compared to those stores that don’t utilize trust badges in their cart or checkout pages.

Shopify

Best payment solutions & fees Winner: Shopify

Taking payments is a critical part of e-commerce, if you don’t have the payment processor your customer prefers to use for their online purchases, there’s a chance they might walk away, abandoning their cart. By offering all the major payment processors on your site, you increase conversion.

Shopify has the edge over Squarespace in this category. While it may cost you more to process with third-party providers, at least you have the option available for your customers.

Visit Shopify

Shopify Vs. Squarespace: Attracting Customers

Building your store and preparing it for launch is only half the battle. The other half is promoting and marketing your offering. If you create a fantastic store with high-demand products, you’ll never get any sales unless your market and promote your site and your products.

Shopify comes off as the clear leader in this category, with plenty of functionality to market your site and get sales rolling into your bank account.

Multi-Channel Selling

Shopify allows for the use of multi-channel selling across all your social media accounts. Visit the app store and add a range of shipping, accounting, and marketing apps to your store to improve its functionality and streamline processes.

Squarespace doesn’t offer an app market, and there’s no capacity to sell across your social media accounts. In todays world of digital marketing, social media is a must from brand building and promotion. The lack of multi-channel selling in Squarespace is another “deal-breaker moment,” and we don’t think it holds a candle to the potential of what Shopify can offer you in this category.

Email Campaigns

Squarespace has limited add-on functionality. However, it recently introduced email campaign plug-ins for its platform. You get a free trial of the Email Campaigns add-on, allowing you to send up to 50,000 email campaigns in a month, with a subscription fee of $8 if you want to continue with the service after the trial expires.

Considering MailChimp offers the same type of service for free, and it’s available as an app in the Shopify Store. We don’t think the Email Campaigns add-on adds much value to Squarespace.

Blogs

Squarespace has an excellent blogging module. Compared to Shopify, it’s the Rolls Royce of blogs. The Shopify offering is very low-functional, and we would expect someone to build a new blog extension that makes it more functional on the site.

However, Squarespace is fantastic. You get all the built-in features you would expect with a top-level blog, including archive functionality, integrated analytics, and an impressive search function. Unfortunately, Shopify offers you none of these options.

Custom commerce solutions from Shopify
Custom commerce solutions from Shopify

SEO

Optimizing your site is a critical component of internet marketing. If there are inefficiencies on your pages, and slow loading times, the search engines penalize you, dropping your results in searches. Fortunately., the Shopify app store has a range of SEO tools that help you optimize your site to perfection.

With Squarespace, you get some average SEO functionality. The platform lets you edit your product descriptions and meta titles, along with a few other basic SEO functions. However, it offers you no best practice advice when uploading products to your store.

As a result of the lack of SEO tools on offer, you can’t expect a Squarespace store to perform anything like a Shopify store.

Considering the impact of SEO on online business, the price of the monthly subscription seems more affordable when you compare the offerings from Shopify and Squarespace. Shopify offers a holistic SEO solution that helps you sell more products online, adding up to more profits.

Analytics

Understanding your e-commerce analytics is a critical component of finding out which strategies are working and those that aren’t adding any value. By going through your analytics, you can gain insight into areas of your website you need to improve.

Shopify has all the analytics you need to improve your e-commerce store. Track your customer behavior and check on your stock with automated inventory reports. Shopify also allows you to integrate your store with Google Analytics, allowing you to track total orders, revenue, conversion rates, and monitor customer behavior, all through your Shopify dashboard.

Squarespace doesn’t offer you an option to check your analytics or link your platform with Google Analytics. You are on your own once again, and there are no qualifiable means of measuring the performance of your store.

We don’t know about you, but we want a platform that lets us learn from our mistakes, and Shopify seems to be the only one that offers this level of functionality.

Shopify

Best platform for attracting customers Winner: Shopify

Shopify has more built-in features and third-party app solutions than what’s on offer with Squarespace. Therefore, if you want to take e-commerce seriously, then Shopify is the best solution to let you scale your business as you grow.

Shopify’s SEO tools also help you promote your site, and the free hosting helps your pages load fast, improving your ranking with the search engines.

Visit Shopify

Shopify Vs. Squarespace: Merchant Support & Helplines

Both Shopify and Squarespace have merchant support services available. However, Shopify takes a different approach to this essential business component, and it shows in the service offering. Shopify offers email and social media support, but it excels with the live chat and phone support services.

The Shopify Help Center
The Shopify Help Center

If you take the Shopify Plus plan, then you receive a dedicated support agent for your account, and you can call them any time you want. We find that live chat is the gold standard of support services, and Shopify provides help when you need it. A representative got on the other end of the conversation in less than 45-seconds; on all three occasions, we tested the feature.

Squarespace merchant support services are terrible in comparison. The platform limits your options to a support forum.

While there are informative posts and mods on the site, it’s nothing like the personalized experience of a live chat.

Shopify

Best merchant support and helplines Winner: Shopify

Both platforms have customer support, with everything you need to ensure that you get your site back online as soon as possible – Shopify just does it better.

The 24/7 live chat and phone support get you back online, and the consultants are always helpful and willing to offer you guidance. Squarespace has none of these premium support services, and you get the feeling that if something goes wrong, you’re on your own.

Visit Shopify

Shopify Vs. Squarespace: Pricing Model

Shopify offers four subscription plans to suit your needs and your budget.

Shopify Pricing Plans

  • Shopify Lite $9 per month
  • Basic Shopify $29 per month
  • Shopify $79 per month
  • Advanced Shopify $299 per month

You also get the Shopify Plus plan, but you’ll need to contact a representative to enquire about this custom e-commerce solution. While it may seem like a lot of money in annual terms, you can save 20% on your subscription if you pay for two years up front. You get a 10% discount on your fee if you pay for a year upfront.

Shopify is a fantastic value for money and the best platform to help you start your first e-commerce business. This platform suits experienced or novice users, and with enough practice and time, you could be on your way to making money with selling through Shopify.

Here are the prices for the monthly subscription plans with Squarespace.

Squarespace Pricing Plans
Squarespace Pricing Plans
  • Personal $16 per month
  • Business $26 per month
  • Basic Store $30 per month
  • Advanced Store $46 per month

Squarespace also offers discounts for signing up for an annual subscription, and it’s the more affordable option to Shopify, in terms of subscription fees. However, if you add a domain and hosting into those costs, it could work out to be more expensive than Shopify for the annual expenses involved with running the site.

Shopify SquarespaceBest pricing plans Winner: Draw

It’s challenging to choose a winner in this category. Both offerings come in with competitive pricing, and we fell that you need to decide for this category based on your needs.

Shopify is more expensive but has more tools and features. Squarespace has everything you need if you’re only selling a few items. Choose your platform based on your needs.

Visit Shopify  Visit Squarespace

Shopify Vs. Squarespace – The Final Verdict

Selecting the right web-builder platform for your e-commerce platform comes down to your needs. What type of store are you trying to build?

If you’re looking at starting online and testing the waters with e-commerce, Squarespace might be the better option. It’s low-cost, and user-friendly interface gives you a great model to test to decide if this is a career you want to pursue.

However, if you want the best e-commerce experience possible, then start with Shopify. Shopify offers a scalable platform that grows with your business. You can start with a free plan and migrate through the packages until you have an e-commerce empire under your command.

Let’s run through the footnotes on the winners in each of our categories.

Ease-of-Use

  • Verdict: Shopify
  • Shopify comes with simple visual cues and language in the editor interface. It’s challenging to use at first, but when you get the hang of it, it fast becomes second nature.

Platform Design

  • Winner: Squarespace
  • With the best design themes and a professional-look, Squarespace is the clear winner. The designs stand out, helping you attract more customers to your store.

Domains and URLs

  • Winner: Shopify
  • Shopify and Squarespace allow for the use of custom URLs. However, Shopify has the edge with free hosting for all its customers. The hosting is fast and reliable, saving you plenty of money on your startup costs.

E-Commerce Features and Tools

  • Winner: Shopify
  • The inventory management and sales tools available with Shopify make it the top choice for managing your new e-commerce business.
  • Squarespace has user-friendly tools. However, Shopify has a clear advantage with its range of apps to enhance the functionality of your store.

Payment Solutions and Fees

  • Winner: Shopify
  • Shopify allows you to use over 100 payment processors in your e-commerce store. However, you’ll have to pay a 2% transaction fee. Still, it’s better to pay the fee than lose the sale. Squarespace offers limited payment gateways and may cost you conversions.

Attracting Customers

  • Winner: Shopify
  • With a robust SEO offering, Shopify offers you all the marketing tools you need to increase traffic to your online store. Squarespace has no additional SEO functionality and no apps available to help you promote your store.

Merchant Support and Helplines

  • Winner: Shopify
  • Squarespace does offer a few customer support resources that are helpful. However, it can’t compare to the support on offer from Shopify. Shopify’s live chat and phone support make it the clear standout in this category.

Pricing Models

  • Winner: Draw
  • Both platforms offer you value for money, and you need to decide on the best solution to match your e-commerce needs.

The Verdict

Selecting the best e-commerce platform to suit your needs depends on the type of webstore you want to build. Shopify offers you a comprehensive e-commerce solution that acts like a “business-in-a-box,” giving you everything you need to set up your site, launch it, and promote it with your target market.

However, you might not need a full-service solution like Shopify. If you only want to sell a few items online, then give Squarespace a try. It’s more affordable, and offers you easy setup, with no coding required to start selling.

Why Should You Use Shopify?

  • The better choice for more extensive e-commerce solutions
  • Excellent range of marketing tools
  • Excellent merchant support 24-hours a day
  • Easy to build, launch, and market your e-commerce site
  • Multi-channel selling across social media accounts

Why Should You Use Squarespace?

  • A good choice for selling less than ten products online
  • Elegant, professionally designed templates
  • Good blogging module
  • An excellent choice for creative types
  • More affordable starter plan

Overall, choose Shopify if you’re looking to start a serious e-commerce venture that you’re going to treat as your job. If you want to start a blog and attempt to sell a few items on the side, then Squarespace is a good choice.

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Shopify Vs. Squarespace: FAQs

Here are a few frequently asked questions on selecting Shopify or Squarespace for your next e-commerce platform.

What is the best platform to start with as a beginner if I don’t have much startup capital?

Shopify is the best option if you want to start an e-commerce business. With Shopify, you get a free 90-day trial of the platform, albeit with limited functionality. You can start there and upgrade your subscription to the Basic and Shopify Plan as your business grows. Using this strategy helps you reduce your costs at the beginning, giving you more runway to make things work

What payment processors work with Squarespace?

After setting up your site, you can connect it to Stripe, along with MasterCard, Visa, Amex, Discover, Diner’s Club, Apple Pay, and JCB. While that gives you plenty of options, it’s not nearly as many as those available with Shopify.

What’s the best option for bloggers?

Bloggers should consider using Squarespace. Squarespace has a fantastic blogging module, and it’s possible to use the platform to sell a few products on the side as well. Writing blogs and then linking them to specific items in your store is a very successful e-commerce strategy for millions of people online.

Which platform is the most holistic e-commerce solution?

Shopify is a purpose-built platform designed for e-commerce. There are hundreds of developers working on new apps all the time, and the platform continues to evolve its offering, making it a favorite with over 820,000 e-commerce entrepreneurs.

What is the best platform for selling on social media?

Only Shopify offers you the ability to sell across social media platforms. This critical feature for marketing your products is essential in the digital age. By interfacing your social accounts and your e-commerce store, you attract more traffic and increase your conversions.

Which Platform Suits Newbies with Small Budgets?

If you’re starting with a limited budget, then look to Shopify for your e-commerce store. The price of $29 per month for the Basic plan might seem somewhat high. However, the reality is that its incredible value for money. You get a store, unlimited products, all the sales channels, and e-commerce features, all for less than a cup of coffee a day.

If you’re starting online, and you’d rather be a blogger, then Squarespace is the better option. You can start with as little as $16 per month and build yourself an elegant blog with a side store selling a few items. While it’s not as comprehensive a solution as Shopify, its still capable of helping you sell online.

Which Is the Better Choice for Scaling My Business?

There’s no question that Shopify is the better platform for scaling your business. The Basic plan from Shopify gives you everything you need to start your business. As you grow, your Shopify account grows with you, and all you need to do is migrate to a higher package, such as the Shopify Plan, and then the Advanced Shopify Plan.

Scaling is a critical component of building your e-commerce business. Unfortunately, Squarespace offers no potential for scaling, making it a better choice for individuals that want to sell part-time online.

Oliver Dale is Editor-in-Chief of Circlo and founder of Kooc Media Ltd, A UK-Based Online Publishing company. A Technology Entrepreneur with over 15 years of professional experience in Investing and UK Business.His writing has been quoted by Nasdaq, Dow Jones, Investopedia, The New Yorker, Forbes, Techcrunch & More. oliver@circlo.io