Table of Contents
- 1 Squarespace: Best for beauty
- 2 Introduction: What is the Squarespace eCommerce Solution all about?
- 3 Overview: Our Squarespace eCommerce review could be the solution to your eCommerce needs.
- 4 Ease of use:
- 5 Features and Flexibility:
- 6 Squarespace SEO and Mobility:
- 7 Support and Resources:
- 8 Squarespace eCommerce Pricing:
- 9 Conclusion and Recommendation:
Squarespace: Best for beauty
- Eye-catching, professionally designed ecommerce templates
- Ability to sell physical as well as digital products
- 0% transaction fees on basic & advanced payment plans (3% on business plan)
- Limited 3rd party apps market
- No telephone support
- No automatic tax calculation feature
Introduction: What is the Squarespace eCommerce Solution all about?
Welcome to our Squarespace eCommerce review. The ever-increasing need for your business to reach out online to existing customers, and to find new markets makes the choice of an appropriate ecommerce platform crucial to your business success.
One such ecommerce platform is Squarespace and our Squarespace ecommerce review is here to tell it how it is.
Through in-depth analysis and testing of this platform our intention is to give you a clear indication as to whether a Squarespace store is right for your business aspirations.
Overview: Our Squarespace eCommerce review could be the solution to your eCommerce needs.
Squarespace have been around since 2004 and all the signs are that they will be around for the foreseeable future.
The company offer two separate solutions:
- The Squarespace Website Builder.
- The Squarespace Shop.
If you are looking to build an online store, or for those who already have one in place but are looking at alternative options the platform offers some beautifully designed templates and a fully loaded Squarespace online shop solution.
Ease of use:
Our Squarespace ecommerce review has good news for those out there who possess little or no technical knowledge. You can rest easy in the sense that building a Squarespace shop is eminently achievable.
There are a host of excellent designs to choose from in terms of what will suit your brand aspirations best.
The ability for customers to make online payments is a simple process, (although limited). Products can be managed from an easy-to-use interface, and because your Squarespace store is online and hosted it means you do not have to concern yourself with any technical issues such as hosting, domain issues and server maintenance/performance. These are looked after by the platform.
This gives you the ability to focus on what is most important to you: Running and expanding your business.
Features and Flexibility:
As our Squarespace ecommerce review has just mentioned, the features to build your Squarespace store make life easy and the fact that the platform offers built-in security in the form of SSL and PCI compliance gives peace of mind.
While the Squarespace store offers a reasonable feature-set, and below are just 12 examples of what we feel are very solid options of what is available it should be noted that as your site grows you may find frustrations in the flexibility of adding any required 3rdparty apps.
- A wide choice of captivating Squarespace website designs
- Mobile optimised designs
- The ability to integrate multiple designs on one site
- Impressive product descriptions giving variants on individual items
- An ability to sell digital as well as physical products and services
- Unlimited number of in-store products for display (when on business plan or higher)
- Blogging capabilities
- Unlimited number of in-store products
- Inventory and order management
- The option to set up a Squarespace membership site to foster customer relationships
- Flexibility in setting up discount codes
- The ability to accept donations
- Blogging: While Squarespace alternatives abound, WordPress being by far the most popular in this respect, it is possible to use the Squarespace blogging feature that offers standard blogging features such as:
- Geolocation Tags
When using the platforms blogging feature it is possible to host podcasts complete with RSS feed and iTunes tagging.
Themes and Templates:
Squarespace have to be classed as an industry leader when compared with any ecommerce platform out there. Whichever template you choose you will find it fits your needs and some. The Squarespace themes are made for the creative business sector, but they also cater fully for just about every other industry. What this means to you is that the template chosen will ensure your products or services stand out from the crowd. There is no doubt that the Squarespace design capabilities are the nearest you will get to professional quality. This is seen as a crucial factor for many small businesses, boutique companies and particularly those who make full use of creative art.
3rd Party Apps Market:
There is no beating about the bush here! Squarespace do not have an apps store, however it is certainly not all doom and gloom (indeed, it is something that may not affect your online operation). Squarespace design and release all apps from ‘in-house’ sources. While this may appear restrictive, what it does give you is a sense of confidence that the apps used are reliable. If you do need ‘more’, Squarespace do have available is a good selection of 3rd party plugins. You will find some free to access, although being the nature of the world, the majority you will need to pay for.
Hosting and Backups:
Our Squarespace review sees this as an unnecessary negative. The backing up and restoration of Squarespace CMS and all other elements of your site is not supported by the platform. The only advice given by customer support on a highly important function is that you should copy and paste your content into a Google Doc. This is hardly an ideal solution.
On a positive note, for anyone who already has an established blog using the likes of WordPress, Blogger, Posterous or Tumblr, this can be imported to your Squarespace site.
Squarespace SEO and Mobility:
Let’s get the positive part of our Squarespace SEO and Mobility sub-section cleared up first!
In terms of mobile viewing, Squarespace offers fully mobile optimised viewing for your visitors. This is certainly a positive and really is a ‘must have’ for any eCommerce platform you decide on.
It should also be noted that your Squarespace website can be managed from any appropriate mobile device. This means that as long as you have internet access it is possible to check and modify all aspects of your Squarespace CMS and online store presence.
When it comes to basic on-page SEO tasks like changing title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs, Squarespace works just fine. (They even have a tab for “SEO”.) You can also verify your site in Google Search Console, and see your data within the platform.
Not so positive: Our Squarespace eCommerce review finds the platform lacking when it comes to SEO. This relates to your product pages as well as the blogging aspect. The frustration many will find is that when using the Squarespace website design functionality there are some serious limitations for those producing product pages and those who actively post blogs using the platform. You will find that the process always uses either the product name or blog headline for the SEO title. There is also a general SEO site title displayed on all pages and, in our opinion, this cannot be deemed to be SEO friendly. It should also be noted that certain templates combine the page banner section, your page title and meta description.
There are also some restraints when it comes to customisability and technical SEO. With important SEO factors like Page Speed, Squarespace handle this behind the scenes. It is also not possible to edit important files like Robots.txt and XML sitemaps, which for bigger sites is not ideal. Canonicalisation is also handled by Squarespace by default meaning any manually custom canonical URL added could result in conflicts. Probably the biggest annoyance is that Squarespace does not allow for Image Alt Text edits.
Considering the current Squarespace website cost shown below, we feel that the platform needs to offer far more in this important area.
Support and Resources:
Several positives are to be found from the available Squarespace resources and support team. A quite comprehensive knowledge base providing clear Squarespace tutorial sections along with an easily accessible FAQ section is yours to take advantage of.
A web-based 24/7 ticketing system is available via email and Twitter, live chat is available between the hours of 04.00hrs and 20.00hrs EST (GMT is 5 hours ahead of EST) with support agents working out of New York, Portland and Dublin.
It should be noted that there is no telephone support which is another potential frustration for those needing ‘immediate’ attention. Squarespace have obviously been quizzed on this point to the extent that their official website now has a statement as to why this is:
“We don't offer phone support because we truly believe it wouldn't be possible to provide the same effective assistance over the phone.”
One final point on support; there is no premium support for subscribers to higher end price plans. This is often something other ecommerce platforms do offer.
Squarespace eCommerce Pricing:
In this section we will concentrate on the three higher tier Squarespace eCommerce pricing modules only. As can be seen from the Squarespace eCommerce pricing below, there is also a personal plan but this is not for those looking to seriously sell online. When looking at the three straightforward Squarespace eCommerce pricing plans it should be noted that discounts are available for those who pay annually as opposed to monthly.
Commerce / Online store plans: Undoubtedly these are the best 2 plans for those looking at e-commerce and selling online opportunities. Unlike the Business plan there is no transaction fee charges. The online plans also allow you to sell physical and digital goods, both of which feature voucher management as well as inventory tracking. This makes these plans a good fit for SME’s with a wider range of products or services.
An important point to note is that the Squarespace ecommerce platform allows anyone to take a free 14-day trial. It is recommended that you take full advantage of this free trial period in order to test out the platform and how the features and functionality align with your business needs. The plan you will be on during this trial period is the popular Squarespace store “Business Plan”. The 14 days you have to test the platform on this subscription plan should give you a solid idea as to exactly what you can achieve.
Conclusion and Recommendation:
What is it best used for?
So, our Squarespace eCommerce review conclusion; Those looking at presenting an eye-catching online presence without requiring too many external add-ons will appreciate what the Squarespace eCommerce platform has to offer.
Small and simple online store requirements can be seen as a good fit for a Squarespace store. There is also no doubt that it will also suit those with artistic ability who wish to create their site from scratch.
What is not best used for?
Although, in our opinion, anyone looking at greater flexibility, the need to incorporate a wider choice of add-ons from 3rdparty providers, and any business that has strong intentions of continuously growing their online presence will find better solutions than the Squarespace store to achieve this.
The main reasons we say this are due to the current limitations a Squarespace store places on such things as payment gateways and the addition of eCommerce integrations. Site loads times of the Squarespace eCommerce platform can be high when comparing to competitors.
While there will undoubtedly be interest in the above offers, those who are still unsure as to whether Squarespace eCommerce pricing plan structure will fit their immediate and future needs, it is recommended that you also review other eCommerce platforms to achieve a comprehensive understanding of what is out there. We have written a detailed comparison article with the leader of the space to help you compare and find the best eCommerce solution for you;
All-in-all, for those still undecided on which online store solution to go with we feel it would be beneficial for you to take a free 14-day trial of the Squarespace ecommerce platform and then follow suit by comparing the functionality with other offerings in this all-important sector.
Rather than go headlong into a trial on this or any platform you should spend a day or two listing out things that are important for your business and the type of features you feel are key to your online business operation. Try and place these functionality requirements in a priority order. By doing this it will help you understand exactly what is good for your style of operation and where/how important to you any restrictions are. As a trial period progresses you should try and make detailed notes on anything you come across, both positive and negative. The reason for stating this, is that throughout a trial period you can review your findings and by the end of any such trial you will have a clear idea on suitability of said platform for your business needs.
That’s all for now:
Thanks for reading our Squarespace eCommerce review and don’t forget to keep an eye out for our ever-growing blog of review and comparison articles. You may be interested in our related Squarespace Competitors eCommerce platform reviews below;
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