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Shopify vs. Squarespace

Shopify and Squarespace are two great platforms, often compared to one another by budding online entrepreneurs. While both options have their strong suits, one is usually preferred over the other, depending on a company’s needs and goals.

Shopify vs. Squarespace - Which Platform is Best for You?

At the very heart of the matter, the two platforms differ in their primary objective. Shopify is known as an eCommerce website builder. It’s created for the sole purpose of selling - and growing - eCommerce operations. On the other hand, Squarespace is a comprehensive website builder, with added eCommerce capabilities.

What does that mean for you, the consumer? Let’s dive into the differences so you can decide for yourself - Shopify vs Squarespace: which is better for your online empire?

Design & Themes

Most online entrepreneurs agree that having a properly-branded, appealing website design is one of the first steps in attracting a client. So, how do Shopify and Squarespace stack-up?

For starters, Shopify provides a solid selection of free and paid themes from which to choose. These templates are beautiful, but not all of them are optimized for mobile responsiveness, like a floating navigation bar, for example. However, Shopify does come with a handy drag-and-drop editor, along with simple visual cues, to make designing and enhancing the theme of your online store straightforward and simple.

On the other hand, Squarespace excels in design. The platform offers beautifully optimized, responsive themes for a plethora of online niches. Squarespace also affords users quite powerful creative tools, but, unfortunately, that adds a slight learning curve to the design-it-yourself element. Users have a little more difficulty learning to design their site with Squarespace over Shopify.

If you’re interested in tweaking your site beyond the capabilities of either platform’s built-in editor, rest assured that both Shopify and Squarespace allow for custom HTML and CSS editing. The platforms also each feature an app store, from which users can integrate third-party applications for additional usability and features. While both stores carry high-quality apps, Shopify boasts an extensive array of options - more than Squarespace provides at the moment.

Selling & Shipping Products

Getting your product in front of as many viewers as possible is integral to eCommerce success. Thankfully, Shopify and Squarespace both allow you to expand your selling platforms, but to different degrees.

With Shopify, you can take advantage of hundreds of marketing, accounting, and shipping apps to streamline your commercial operations. Plus, you can seamlessly sell across ten social media platforms. On the other hand, while Squarespace offers high-quality social selling options, the selection is quite limited. This means that your store could potentially outgrow Squarespace if you plan to scale your marketing and commerce operations down the line.

One area in which Shopify dominates over Squarespace is payment processing. While Squarespace works exclusively with PayPal, Stripe, and ApplePay, Shopify utilizes those and over 100 other gateway options, like Amazon Pay, Square, and even cryptocurrencies. However, with the option for so many payment processors does come a small fee for the business owner - up to 2%, unless you choose Shopify’s own payment gateway.

Shopify also offers a more thorough shipping experience for you - and your customer. While Squarespace works with USPS to calculate carrier shipping rates, Shopify offers built-in integration with DHL and UPS, too. Shopify also facilitates the creation and printing of shipping labels, as well as dropshipping capabilities.

Store owners also have the option to sell products in-person with either platform. Shopify created their own POS system and charges 2.4% to 2.7% in transactional fees. Conversely, Squarespace partners with Square for in-person commerce, but charges a transaction fee from 2.6% to 3.5%, as well as a processing fee of $0.10 to $0.15 per purchase.

Blogging, SEO, Analytics & Support

As an online business owner knows, a blog can help increase customer acquisition and retention. Squarespace triumphs in this category, offering a blog with analytics, archive functionality, and a search option. Shopify follows behind its opponent, offering limited blogging functionality, but boasting blog-specific SEO features that Squarespace lacks.

Speaking of SEO, both platforms provide some level of basic optimization techniques, like editing meta titles and descriptions. However, Shopify takes the win in this regard by including best practice prompts when users upload new stock. This advantage ensures your site is optimized as thoroughly as possible for search engine results.

In terms of analytics, both platforms, again, provide a similar level of capabilities. Squarespace and Shopify alike provide the user with tracked shopper behavior, customer acquisition data, conversions, and more. Once again, however, Shopify sneaks into the lead by providing stock monitoring alerts. That way, users don’t have to worry about overselling products.

As a busy entrepreneur, you don’t have time to waste waiting for assistance. Shopify understands this and promises 24/7 live support and a dedicated help technician for users on its Plus plan. Squarespace offers users a live chat, but also boasts extensive FAQ archives if you require assistance outside of normal business hours.

Shopify vs. Squarespace - The Investment

One more item to consider when deciding between Shopify and Squarespace is the cost. Shopify offers three starting plans:

  • Basic Shopify: $29 per month
  • Shopify Plan: $79 per month
  • Advanced Shopify: $299 per month

However, should you choose to pay for one or two years in full, instead of divided in monthly installments, you can save 10% or 20% respectively off of the annual premium per plan.

Squarespace offers four starting plans, with optional annual paid-in-full discounts, too, shown in parentheses:

  • Personal: $16 ($12) per month
  • Business: $26 ($18) per month
  • Basic Store: $30 ($26) per month
  • Advanced Store: $46 ($40) per month

For entrepreneurs just starting an online business, the Basic Shopify and Basic Store plans are most comparable, feature to feature, and will get you started on your eCommerce journey. At the end of the day, your decision between platforms lies in your future goals.

Shopify, with its plethora of eCommerce features and integrations, is more suited for business owners hoping to eventually scale their business operations. Conversely, business owners who need a stunning website, but only want to sell a few items may find Squarespace as the better option.

Which Platform Will You Choose for Your Online Legacy?

Overall, Shopify and Squarespace both offer users a solid online experience. However, Shopify seems more suited for eCommerce growth, while Squarespace’s stunning “all-around” website builder offers limited selling capabilities, but at a lower price point.

If you still aren’t sure which platform is best for your company, feel free to reach out to our eCommerce experts today for a one-on-one consultation.