Do you want to skip the read and get right to my winner? Shopify is our winner in this Shopify vs Squarespace comparison eCommerce platform test.
Introduction: Is Shopify or Squarespace Better To Fill Your Online Store Requirements?
Are you trying to establish an online store or making the shift from brick and mortar to the virtual marketplace? Then, you’ll need an excellent eCommerce platform to make this happen. In this light, two names resonate as site builders of choice: Shopify vs Squarespace.
So how do these two titans stack up against each other? What advantages can business owners get from using either one or the other? In this Shopify vs Squarespace review, we compare Shopify and Squarespace on several counts:
- Ease of use
- Features and functionality
- Support and resources
Squarespace Shopify Overview:
To kick off our Shopify Squarespace comparison, here is a briefer about each platform:
This online store builder has helped create over one million online stores for entrepreneurs in 175 countries as of January 2021. Along with a proprietary building platform, Shopify offers users an extensive suite of services that include payment portals, marketing tools, and shipping and inventory management tools.
New York-based Squarespace has been in business as a site builder and web hosting service since 2004. However, it only launched its online business site builder in 2014.
Its key selling points for the platform include a fully-integrated eCommerce system, a diverse variety of business tools and widgets, as well as fully-optimised design templates that work well on both desktop and mobile screens.
Ease of use:
When considering whether to use Shopify vs Squarespace as your online selling platform, ease of use is key. Here’s our take on the Shopify and Squarespace benefits in terms of ease of use.
Even if you’re a total novice at building an online store – or even to plain ol’ site building, you won’t have any trouble navigating through the Shopify UI. As with most of today’s generation of site builders, it’s all drag-and-drop and properly delineated.
The left menu is for features and content, while the one on the right is for customization.
Squarespace can be daunting to use at the onset because most functions and tools aren’t where you would normally expect them to be on a site-building platform. Hence, it's not as intuitive if you make a Squarespace Shopify comparison.
We recommend that you devote at least two or three hours going over the Squarespace UI to acquaint yourself with it.
Winner – Shopify! within this ‘Ease of Use' Shopify vs Squarespace comparison.
Features and Flexibility:
In terms of features and flexibility when considering Shopify vs Squarespace, the former has the edge. Here's a breakdown of the Shopify Squarespace features:
To get to the bottom of this Squarespace Shopify showdown, we’re going to put Squarespace vs Shopify side by side for comparison:
The Shopify Basic package gives users access to its online building platform and the capability of offering an unlimited array of products. In addition, it offers two staff accounts, multiple sales channels, inventory assignment to up to four locations at any given time, manual order creation, discount codes, point of sale (POS) facilities, abandoned cart recovery, and even gift cards to use for promotions.
Squarespace Commerce Business, the lowest subscription tier for the platform, offers a basic site builder, unlimited product offerings, an unlimited amount of contributor accounts, the capability to accept donations for causes that site owners support, and gift cards. Surprisingly, it does not offer abandoned cart recovery, POS facilities, or even customer accounts.
Themes and Templates:
Nothing lures a potential customer in than a stunning online storefront. So which among Squarespace Shopify gives you better design options?
As of February 2021, the Shopify platform offers over 100 optimised thematic templates that subscribers can use, and these already include both free and premium templates.
Squarespace Commerce shares over 100 gorgeous thematic templates with the original website builder. This appeals to many site owners as you can easily customise all of them with your specific aesthetic elements like colours and effects that echo your brand’s visual standards.
Having a wide range of customisation allows you to personalise and brand your online store. Which among Shopify Squarespace gives you more creative freedom?
As mentioned previously, Shopify offers design customization options right within its building platform. When it comes to customising a shop’s user experience (UX), however, it poses some issues. One of which is that brands with products with multiple variations can only be customised up to 100 variants.
Design customization is a cinch with Squarespace Commerce, as its parent program already has the ability to swap templates, customise the code, and switch through elements. Likewise, the Squarespace Extensions platform offers numerous widgets you can install into your online store to boost productivity and functionality.
3rd Party Integrations:
The more apps you can connect to, the more functional your online store. Therefore, the breadth of 3rd party apps integration in Shopify Squarespace needs to be looked at.
As of May 2020, 80% of all Shopify users have taken advantage of third-party applications offered via the Shopify App Store. Specifically, they're able to use 5,758 apps for numerous working categories, from productivity to marketing.
This eCommerce platform shares the Squarespace Extensions page with the regular Squarespace site builder. As a result, users can use over 3,000 third-party applications that integrate almost seamlessly with one’s online store.
Here, we compare Shopify Squarespace in terms of its hosting services.
Shopify sites are fully hosted across a content delivery network (CDN) with servers scattered in various countries.
The platform offers cloud-based hosting for both its standard and eCommerce users. Having started as a site hosting service (that happened to have its own site builder), it has adapted to the changing times by offering a data centre-redundant way of hosting its sites.
How does Shopify Squarespace protect you from potential attacks and vulnerabilities?
The platform promises daily backups. However, this has caused a lot of concern for users since the September 2020 data breach on Shopify servers and again earlier this year. For safety, the platform recommends its users to back up their store information using *.csv files. Alternatively you can use a third-party app to help you out like Rewind.
As with Shopify, you can back up information and data for your Squarespace Commerce store as *.csv files. If you check out the platform’s knowledge base, there is a practical guide to back up your Squarespace online store, which is a good thing to read through before you even start building an online store – better safe than sorry, after all.
Should you want to switch providers, it's important to understand how Shopify Squarespace makes that process possible. So which involves better migration between Shopify and Squarespace?
Shopify has its own proprietary tool called Store Importer, which you can download from it’s App Store. It has provisions for migrating from many competitors, including Squarespace Commerce.
Currently, the platform site enables the migration of stores from Shopify and other competitors through *.csv files. To make things easier, you can use a third-party migration tools to ensure that no data is lost in the process.
Note, however, that only selected data may be migrated to Squarespace from a different eCommerce platform.
Winner – Shopify! within this ‘Feature and Flexibility' Squarespace Shopify comparison.
Whether you choose Shopify vs Squarespace or any other platform, the availability of eCommerce tools is absolutely crucial to making the most of your online presence. From an unbiased perspective, Squarespace eCommerce vs Shopify provides plenty of choices.
Here are some that those looking to establish an online store will certainly benefit from Shopify and Squarespace:
Shopify is all about giving smaller businesses a leg-up and offers a range of free business tools to run their enterprise. These include several document generators for those who are too busy (or don’t have the capacity) to draft things like terms and conditions, bills of lading, and various related consumer/seller policies, barcode generators, calculators for shipping, discounts, and business loans.
It’s pretty much a learn as you go thing for many users, but more experienced site owners will find that these are quite convenient and spares them a lot of time and trouble.
Moreover, it offers special packages like Shopify Lite for minimal business needs and Shopify Plus for high-volume enterprises.
While Squarespace Commerce does have a fully-integrated online business platform that one can easily use to build a webstore (along with service facilities similar to those mentioned above for Shopify,) the platform prides itself on offering facilities for:
- inventory management;
- appointment scheduling,
- appointment cancellation,
- mailing list building for keeping tabs on one’s clients and for blasting promotions immediately,
- social media integration for announcements and events, as well as
- a location tracker to help clients find their way to a physical branch.
These features have broadened Squarespace Commerce’s reach to service providers like cleaners, clinics, salons, and spas.
Winner – Shopify! within our ‘eCommerce Tools' Shopify vs Squarespace comparison.
SEO and Mobility:
In the Shopify vs Squarespace match-up, never gloss over SEO and Mobility features. We're happy to report that both Shopify and Squarespace offer tools that will make Google love your site.
Here are highlights of the Squarespace Shopify SEO & Mobile functionality;
As with many modern online shop builders, SEO tools are already built into the Shopify UI. Auto-generated canonical tags are added to sites and pages to prevent the occurrence of duplicate search results. Furthermore, sitemap.xml and robots.txt files are also generated as you create your pages.
The Shopify Mobile App can be downloaded to both Android and iOS phones or tablets. While you can’t edit your site from here, you can manage your online store anywhere you are.
Shops and sites built with the platform load in as fast as 2.59 seconds on desktop. Meanwhile. it loads 13.23 seconds on a mobile device.
Similar measures and features are also pre-built into the Squarespace Commerce UI to ensure that your site gets swept into most search engines' top rankings when your keywords are used.
The Squarespace Commerce app is also available for Android and iOS devices, allowing you to manage your business even when you’re away from the office or workspace. Additional functionalities include scanning shipping labels, contacting customers, managing inventory, and even fulfilling orders on the fly.
Squarespace is faster – but not by much. While it is quicker, it feels like it’s practically running neck to neck with Shopify at 2.49 seconds on desktop and just 12.37 seconds for mobile.
Winner – Shopify! within our ‘SEO and Mobility' Squarespace Shopify comparison.
Support and Resources:
Examining the level and quality of support is the next agenda on our Shopify Squarespace comparison review. From our own testing and based on numerous user reviews, a Squarespace Shopify comparison when it comes to support and resources put Shopify in a stronger position.
Shopify’s customer service facility offers 24/7 assistance for both site users and their customers. Its online help centre also offers an extensive knowledge base and directs users in need to a pool of design and technical professionals to lend a hand for site improvements.
The platform offers 24/7 customer and technical support through live chat and email, while the Squarespace blog serves as a valuable resource for different aspects of eCommerce site-building and management.
Winner – Shopify! within our ‘Support and Resources' Shopify and Squarespace comparison.
Squarespace Shopify Pricing:
Cost is the immediate concern when considering software – therefore, let's take a look at Shopify vs Squarespace pricing structure. Both Shopify and Squarespace offer value for money and has pricing plans that won't cost an arm and a leg. Here are the key details:
The platform offers three primary pricing packages;
- Basic Shopify
- Advanced Shopify
In addition, merchants looking for an in-person selling option or merely a Buy Button to their website can avail Shopify Lite for only $9.00 per month. Shopify also offers Shopify Plus, a B2B solution for very large enterprises.
As stated on their terms of service page, the platform offers a 14-day trial, letting you wade through Shopify first before committing.
It features four cheaper pricing packages than Shopify;
- Basic Commerce
- Advanced Commerce
All plans give users access to the Squarespace website builder. Also, they can use the bulk of its key capabilities from SEO tools, SSL security, unlimited bandwidth and storage.
Looking at the prices between Shopify and Squarespace, the latter offers a much cheaper option. However, it isn’t easy to put Shopify and Squarespace side by side and judge, which offers better value for money. Both platforms promise varying features and functionalities. Therefore, we’re calling this Shopify Squarespace match-up a tie for our pricing category.
From their Terms of Service page, the platform offers a free trial for 14 days after which, you will need to upgrade to any of the three business subscription plans. Refunds are determined on a case basis.
Winner – Draw! within our ‘Pricing' category for Shopify and Squarespace comparison.
Shopify Squarespace Comparison Winner:
|Builder||Battle Score||Visit Official Website|
|Shopify||7 / 6||www.shopify.com|
|Squarespace||1 / 6||www.squarespace.com|
All things considered, Shopify is the clear winner in this Shopify Squarespace draw. Shopify comes out as a solid and true-blue eCommerce platform with tools and features that can drive any business's success and growth.
Shopify vs Squarespace Conclusion and Recommendation:
So which eCommerce platform wins between Shopify vs Squarespace? We conclude that Shopify is the victor, but Squarespace has a lot to offer for small and medium-sized businesses that also need non-ecommerce features.
What is Shopify best for?
Shopify shines for its superb selling features that respond to the needs of small, medium, and large businesses. It’s a perfect fit for a business with high scalability and growth potential.
What is Squarespace best for?
Squarespace works a treat for small and medium scale businesses, especially for aesthetically-inclined business. The platform bests Shopify in terms of visual appeal and non-commerce features.
Squarespace Shopify Alternatives:
Here's a list of the best Shopify Squarespace alternatives to create a an online store:
|1||Shopify (and Shopify Plus)||Best All-In-One eCommerce solution|
|2||Squarespace||Best for design and creatives|
|3||Square Online||Best for ease of use|
|4||Webflow||Best for advanced design tools|
|5||WooCommerce||Best for Wordpress Users|
|6||BigCommerce||Best for medium to large stores|
|7||Wix||Good for general use|
|8||Big Cartel||Best for very simple sites|
|9||Ecwid||Best for adding to an existing website|
|10||Volusion||Best for advanced analytics|
We hope our Shopify vs Squarespace review enlightened you on the pros and cons of each platform. If we’ve simplified the decision-making process for you, then that’s a win!
Always consider that not all eCommerce platforms speak to each and every business owner. Some platforms mesh well with your needs than others, so be sure to choose one that perfectly meets your objectives.
If you’re still in a bind over which to choose, going for a 14-day free trial on each platform won’t hurt. Give it a go for two weeks and decide which platform ticks all the right boxes.
That’s all for now:
If you've read our Shopify and Squarespace comparison up to here, we are grateful.
To assess major Squarespace Shopify highlights in terms of Pros and Cons for these two powerful website builders, please click on the following links;
Remember to always keep abreast of the latest developments on website builders, eCommerce, and other Squarespace Shopify alternative comparison articles, such as the ones below;
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Not only the best tea/coffee maker on the team Sophie is our Chief Editor. Skilled across multiple marketing skill areas Sophie is our all rounder and a great asset to the team. Sophie is a website building trainer and tech writer who takes pride in helping small businesses and startups build their websites and launch their eCommerce platforms. Sophie is also the practical joker of the team and always wears a smile on her face. In her spare time she likes to spend her time with family. She loves going on holidays and spending time with friends.