Shopify vs Squarespace vs Wix: Which Do You Pick in 2021?

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Do you want to skip the read and get right to our pick? Shopify is our choice in this Shopify vs Squarespace vs Wix battle of eCommerce site builders.


Introduction:

In this review, we are looking at three of the field’s major players: Shopify vs Squarespace vs Wix. All three have been hailed at one time or another as the gold standard in eCommerce builders. They offer a wealth of features that users can avail of through fairly reasonable subscription packages.

Here, we will take a deep dive into each platform’s features, ecommerce capabilities, and price packages. Hopefully, you will see which one delivers the best possible product to their growing customer bases.


Pros and Cons of Shopify vs Squarespace vs Wix:

If you want a more in-depth look at each of our contender eCommerce site builders Shopify vs Squarespace vs Wix, you can check out these articles:


Overview:

Before we dive right in to this Wix vs Squarespace vs Shopify three-way comparison, here are our competitors in a nutshell.

Shopify:

Since 2004, Shopify has been used by over a million online entrepreneurs throughout 175 countries. It has created a growing number of highly interactive web stores in various product categories. Its highly intuitive and well-equipped site builder remains its strongest draw.

shopify-home
shopify-home

Squarespace:

Highly popular among artists and performers, Squarespace has come a long way from its origins as a basic site builder – more so now that it has given the creative community an online alternative to traditional stages, studios, and galleries. While not the easiest builder to use, it more than makes up for its shortcomings with numerous features and an extensive array of third-party integrations.

squarespace-ecommerce-home
squarespace-ecommerce-home

Wix:

Beginners consider Wix a perennial favourite. It is considered the world’s go-to site builder – and that’s not surprising given how it now has over 160 million websites worldwide, nearly half of which are ecommerce hubs. Wix’s appeal stems from the fact that it’s a “freemium” platform: you get the full-functionality of its artificial intelligence-driven builder even with a free subscription.

wix-ecommerce-home
wix-ecommerce-home

So who wins the game in the Shopify vs Squarespace vs Wix war? Read on to find out.


Ease of Use:

Shopify:

From the get-go, Shopify delivers an easy to use drag-and-drop platform where practically everything is at your fingertips. Menus are properly and clearly laid out, and the variety of tools for both customisation and ecommerce is diverse. You can also set up your store to sell through several online channels, as well as on social media platforms.

Squarespace:

The N4B rule applies where Squarespace is concerned: not for newbies. The Squarespace UI was specifically created for more experienced users who want more beyond basic drag-and-drop modules. Otherwise, you need to sit down with it for a couple of hours to learn where everything is.  Once you're up and running, creating great-looking and highly functional sites takes almost no effort at all.

Wix:

Thanks to the AI-driven and highly intuitive Wix Automated Design Intelligence (Wix ADI) platform, creating a website is a snap even if you don’t know diddly-squat about coding of any sort. The point-and-click/drag-and-drop interface almost seems to memorise your every move, attuning itself to repetitive actions to make creation and site maintenance so much easier.

Winner – Shopify! in this Shopify vs Squarespace vs Wix ‘Ease of Use' comparison.


Features and Flexibility:

What are the features to expect from Wix vs Squarespace vs Shopify?

Out-of-the-box:

Shopify:

Even in its most basic form, Shopify is a fully functional platform where users can sell any number of products through a variety of sales channels. Additional features include multiple staff accounts, inventory assignment to multiple locations, point of sale (POS) facilities, and promotional tools.

Squarespace:

Unlimited bandwidth and storage space are just the tip of the iceberg here. Squarespace takes a while to learn, but its loyal customers who have found their way around the platform appreciate the extensive tool suite built into it, especially the features for ecommerce management.

Wix:

Unlike other builders where you have to hunt everything down before you can settle down to work, Wix ensures that everything can easily be seen in the UI. Along with ample bandwidth and storage, the platform also bundles in a custom domain, SEO features, and an SSL certificate for users who are willing to pony up extra for premium subscriptions.

Themes and Templates:

Shopify:

Boasting over 100 templates – free and premium – Shopify has one of the most diverse and extensive theme galleries. But while we like the variety on offer, we wish Shopify would fix the categorisation of themes as opposed to just grouping them based on aesthetic.

Squarespace:

Like Shopify, Squarespace offers over 100 themes for its users. But what sets it apart from the competition is the way templates are categorised by industry, making it easy for users to find a theme that is in its keeping with its product or service line.

Wix:

Users are definitely spoilt for choice when it comes to creating their sites, with a full caboodle of over 800 themes available.

Customisation Tools:

Shopify:

Here’s our pet peeve about Shopify. For all its aesthetic customisation options, it falls quite flat when it comes to customising or modifying the functionality of an online storefront.

Squarespace:

Whatever tools you need tools for modifying your site in terms of both looks and interactivity, they’re already included in the standard Squarespace UI.

Wix:

Wix’s customisation tools are also built into its UI, so it’s quite easy to swap out templates, start over, change the colour scheme, and a whole other roster of aesthetic options. Not extensive enough for you? You can easily customise elements with any third-party tool that can interface with the platform.

3rd Party Integrations:

Shopify:

90 per cent of all Shopify subscribers have downloaded at least one of the almost 6,000 apps currently being offered through its in-platform App Store. Popular downloads include productivity and office management apps like Trello and Slack, but the most downloaded apps are ecommerce tools for everything from storefront management to back-end support.

Squarespace:

Squarespace may only have half the number of Shopify App Store’s apps – 3,000 at last count – but it carries productivity and ecommerce solutions from top brands like Google, Square Inc, PayPal, and Stripe.

Wix:

Though it’s at the bottom tier in this category with just a little over 300 apps, Wix App Market offers ecommerce solutions, collaborative platforms, communications tools, as well as social media integration options.

Hosting:

Shopify:

Considering how big its customer base has become, Shopify sites are still hosted on a content delivery network (CDN) with servers scattered in different locations. While we see the prudence of this, recent issues regarding Shopify’s data security following several breaches over the past couple of years are making users wonder if they should switch over to a different – and more secure – platform.

Squarespace:

The cloud-hosted platform is considered one of the most stable available. With Squarespace, there is practically no lag time, which means your site will load rapidly even if other sites on the network experience a spike in hits. Also, unlike sites hosted on a CDN, being on the cloud offers a much higher level of security for users and their customers.

Wix:

Wix sites are also hosted on a CDN.

Backups:

Shopify:

The issue we have about Shopify is that automated backups are not built into its UI. Instead, its technical support experts offer a manual workaround wherein users have to save their stores’ information into *.csv files. Be warned, however, there are only specific items you can back up: financial data, customer info lists, information for individual products, discount codes, and virtual gift certificates. In this case you’re going to be better off with a third-party app to help you out like Rewind.

Squarespace:

Squarespace doesn’t have an automated backup process built into it, either. But, aside from showing users how to back up their store files manually by saving files under a specific format, it goes another step by teaching users how to enter or deploy the saved files into the backend of a new or recovered site.

Wix:

The Site History feature in the Wix UI enables users to save a previous edition of their website to keep in archive and deploy in the event that it gets hit by a security breach or Denial of Service attack. Of course, you would still need to manually update the redeployed site, but this is a small price to pay and you don’t have to work from the ground up.

Migration:

Shopify:

While not built into the UI – you have to download it from the Shopify App Store – the platform’s Store Importer has provisions for migrating from several competitors, including Weebly, Square Online Store, and Squarespace.

Squarespace:

No worries here: the platform lets you move your site from WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr with a built-in tool. But that’s for blogs; ecommerce migration needs to be done manually by importing individually saved *.csv files to your Squarespace account.

Wix:

Migration is sorely limited with Wix and you can only move your site from one Wix account to another. This can be done with the Transfer Site function built into the UI. If you’re planning to move from a different platform, better rethink your decision as Wix still has no way of facilitating this.

Winner – Draw! This was a neck-and-neck battle between Shopify and Squarespace! so they’re tied in the ‘SEO and Mobility' round of this Wix vs Squarespace vs Shopify comparison.


SEO and Mobility:

How does each of Wix vs Squarespace vs Shopify address search engine ranking concerns?

SEO:

Optimising your website’s chances to be found in a search engine’s first ten results is a snap for all three platforms, as tools for editing or enhancing metadata are built right into the UIs for Shopify, Squarespace, and Wix.

Mobile:

As far as mobile management is concerned, Shopify and Squarespace are running neck to neck. Both have store management apps available for both Android and iOS devices. Wix, unfortunately, doesn’t. While you can access the management portal through a mobile browser, this can be challenging to use on a smaller screen.

Pagespeed:

Squarespace wins this category by clocking in at 2.49 seconds; Shopify comes in at 2.59, and Wix closes out the game at 3 seconds flat.

Winner – Draw! This was a close race to call between Shopify and Squarespace, so they’re tied in the ‘SEO and Mobility' round of this Shopify vs Squarespace vs Woocommerce comparison.


eCommerce Tools:

Shopify:

Shopping cart management and customised search tools are among Shopify’s best draws in this category. In addition, it has productivity management tools, as well as payment gateways.

Squarespace:

Along with its retail-centric tool suite, Squarespace steps up the game by giving the gig economy a leg up. It is one of the few platforms that offer service-related toolkits which enable users to schedule gigs or service appointments, and features for selling digital downloads.

Wix:

You get a basic eCommerce line with Wix, but start-ups and smaller enterprises appreciate it. The suite includes tools for online store management, as well as solutions for online and offline marketing, international currency support, shipping schedules, and delivery logistics.

Winner – Shopify! It takes the ecommerce category of this Wix vs Squarespace vs Shopify comparison.


Support and Resources:

How does Wix vs Squarespace vs Shopify fare in terms of providing support to customers? All three platforms offer 24/7 technical support to customers. Support is via multiple channels (live chat, social media, email, and phone).

All three also boast of regularly updated knowledge bases, as well as dynamic community forums where users can interact with resident technical experts.

Winner – Draw! Tough call, but we are calling this a triple draw in Shopify vs Squarespace vs Wix ‘Support and Resources' comparison.


Pricing:

What's Wix vs Squarespace vs Shopify like in terms of pricing?

Shopify:

Shopify will set you back between $29.00 to $299.00 monthly, depending on your subscription. All subscriptions offer the site builder, access to technical support, as well as tools for SEO and ecommerce. Note, however, that analytics are only available to users in the top tiers.

shopify-plans
shopify-plans

Squarespace:

Squarespace’s four plans range from $12 to $40 monthly. The platform recommends that users simply wanting to create a website should avail of the two most basic plans. Meanwhile, eCommerce users are directed to the two top-tier subscriptions. Features available are all dependent on your subscription plan of choice.

squarespace-pricing
squarespace-pricing

Wix:

Wix may not cost you a dime as its free edition is fully functional. But we suggest that you pay a little extra for a premium subscription, as it’s only $17-35 dollars a month for eCommerce plans. The platform also offers a 14-day-money-back guarantee in the event that you aren’t happy with the features.

wix-ecommerce-pricing
wix-ecommerce-pricing

Winner – Wix! Bang for buck? We’re giving this to Wix in this Shopify vs Squarespace vs Wix ‘Pricing' round.


Comparison Winner: Shopify vs Squarespace vs Wix?

In this Shopify vs Squarespace vs Wix three-way battle, we consider Shopify as Comparison Winner.

>> Try Shopify for Free <<


Conclusion and Recommendation:

Wrapping up this Wix vs Squarespace vs Shopify three-way comparison;

What is Shopify best for?

Shopify works very well for retail-centric eCommerce hubs of small and medium-sized businesses.

What is Squarespace best for?

Squarespace not only creates amazing-looking websites but also delivers in eCommerce. Not only does it have a splendid tool suite for regular online retail, but it also works in favour of those who are selling services and downloadables.

What is Wix best for?

Wix delivers best for small websites with its drag-and-drop editor and options for eCommerce and portfolios.

Final Word:

While we stick by our well-considered decision for this review, we recommend you take each option for a spin. Take advantage of the free trial offered by each platform and avail of their money-back guarantee;


FAQ:

Which among Squarespace vs Shopify vs Wix have the best themes and templates?

Hands down, Squarespace. It's a favourite among creatives and designer for its sleek and elegant aesthetic.

Do Wix vs Squarespace vs Shopify offer a free plan?

Among the three, only Wix and Shopify offer a free plan. Squarespace doesn't - only a 14-day free trial.


That’s all for now:

If you've read our Shopify vs Squarespace vs Wix comparison up to here, we are grateful. Remember always to keep abreast of the latest developments on website builders, eCommerce, and other Wix vs Squarespace vs Shopify alternative comparison articles, such as the ones below;

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