When it comes to setting up an online store, two platforms that are most popular with small business owners are Shopify and Squarespace. Both platforms are designed to make it easier for an e-commerce business owner with no coding experience to set up shop easily.
Let’s explore the two platforms to understand what is Shopify as well as Squarespace, and which one works best for you.
Our Methodology: Shopify Vs Squarespace
In our comprehensive analysis of Shopify and Squarespace, we’ve refined our criteria to include key factors that are most relevant to small business owners and entrepreneurs. Our importance scale remains integral to this process, where a score of 10 indicates utmost importance. Here’s an updated look at the criteria we used in our comparison:
- Our Importance Scale: 8/10
- We evaluated the pricing structures, including any hidden costs or value-added features, to determine overall affordability and value for money.
- User Experience
- Our Importance Scale: 9/10
- The overall ease of use, interface design, and customer journey on both platforms were assessed, recognizing the impact on efficiency and satisfaction.
- Design Customizability
- Our Importance Scale: 7/10
- We looked at how each platform allows for design flexibility and personalization to ensure that a business’s brand is accurately reflected.
- Our Importance Scale: 10/10
- The variety, security, and efficiency of payment processing options offered by each platform were critically analyzed.
- Our Importance Scale: 7/10
- We examined the tools and features provided for search engine optimization, understanding its importance in digital visibility and traffic.
- App Store Integrations
- Our Importance Scale: 6/10
- The availability and quality of additional applications or integrations that can extend the functionality of the platform were considered.
- Our Importance Scale: 8/10
- We assessed the shipping options, logistics support, and related features, acknowledging their role in e-commerce operations.
- Business Features
- Our Importance Scale: 9/10
- Essential business functionalities like inventory management, analytics, and customer relationship management tools were evaluated for their comprehensiveness and utility.
This structured approach ensures that our recommendations for Shopify and Squarespace are grounded in thorough research and objective analysis, tailored to the specific needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Squarespace eCommerce Vs. Shopify Comparison Table
Before making a decision, let’s compare Shopify and Squarespace from an online business’ needs perspective. This is important since the success of your site depends on the features and benefits that the eCommerce website builder provides.
|Lite ($9/mo), Basic ($29/mo), Advanced ($299/mo), Plus (starts at $2000/mo)
|Personal ($16/mo), Business ($26/mo, with 3% transaction fee), Commerce Basic ($35/mo), Commerce Advance ($54/mo)
|Easy setup with no coding, multi-currency, numerous third-party apps, various payment gateways
|Requires more time and effort, especially for email marketing tool integration
|Supports major gateways like Square, Amazon Pay, PayPal, and more
|Limited to PayPal, Stripe, and Square
|No fees with Shopify Payments, 0.5% to 2% with third-party gateways
|3% only for Business plan
|Auto-generates meta descriptions and titles
|Manual configuration of meta titles, URLs, and descriptions
|Easier process with printable labels, UPS, and NHL integrations
|Works with UPS, less integration with other services
|POS included in all plans, email marketing tool available
|POS with Square on Commerce plans, paid email marketing features
Squarespace Vs. Shopify: How to Choose the Best One for Your Business
Depending on your business needs, you may decide to build a Squarespace website or a Shopify website. Let’s now look at the different parameters in further detail to choose the best platform for your business.
Small Business Deals
Shopify Vs Squarespace Pricing
Both Shopify and Squarespace have different plans available to businesses.
There are three Shopify plans to choose from.
Shopify Lite Plan: This is the basic Shopify plan and costs $9 a month.
Basic Shopify: The basic package costs $29 a month.
Advanced Shopify: For advanced features, this plan is preferred. It costs $299 a month.
Shopify Plus: Shopify Plus is popular with ecommerce development companies. It starts at $2,000 a month.
Squarespace plans are more budget-friendly, which makes them attractive to small businesses. In each plan, Squarespace offers features that can come in handy.
Personal: The personal plan costs $16 a month. This plan is restrictive as it doesn’t allow you to sell anything.
Business: The business plans costs $26 a month. By choosing this plan, you will have to pay 3% transaction fee on any sales generated.
Commerce Basic: The commerce basic plan costs $35 a month. This plan comes with features such as point-of-sale and ecommerce analytics.
Commerce Advance: The commerce advance plan costs $54 a month. By opting for this plan, you will gain access to all features including real time carrier shipping, advanced discounts and more.
User Experience and Design Flexibility
When setting up an online store, the ease of use and design customization capabilities are critical. Both Shopify and Squarespace score highly in these areas but in different ways.
Shopify User Experience: Shopify’s user interface is known for its intuitive design, making it straightforward for new users to navigate. With its drag-and-drop editor, users can easily customize their store’s layout without needing to delve into the code.
Squarespace User Experience: Squarespace prides itself on its award-winning design-centric approach. The platform offers a highly visual interface that caters to users who prioritize aesthetics. It may require a steeper learning curve than Shopify but rewards users with sophisticated design capabilities.
- Shopify Design: Offers a variety of customizable themes. Users can alter their site’s look extensively through the theme settings or dive into the code if they have the technical skills.
- Squarespace Design: Known for its sleek and modern templates, Squarespace provides extensive design customization tools within its editor. However, it allows for less tinkering with the site’s underlying code compared to Shopify.
Ease of Use for Customers
- Shopify Storefront: Shopify’s storefronts are user-friendly, with a clear path to purchase, quick load times, and mobile optimization that ensures a smooth shopping experience on any device.
- Squarespace Storefront: Squarespace’s strong focus on design also translates into beautiful storefronts that provide a seamless browsing experience. The emphasis on visuals and typography creates an engaging environment for customers.
Setting Up Shopify Vs. Squarespace
Both Shopify and Squarespace offer ecommerce features that are designed to require no coding experience. This makes setting up stores on both platforms easier.
Setting up Shopify: Shopify stores are easily built requiring little to no knowledge. Unlike Squarespace, Shopify accepts payments in multiple currencies, comes integrated with a host of third-party apps and supports various payment gateway options.
Setting up Squarespace: Setting up Squarespace requires more time and effort. This is especially true if you are trying to integrate an email marketing tool with Squarespace.
When it comes to templates, both platforms will leave you spoilt for choice.
Shopify Site Templates: Shopify users have 9 free templates to choose from and 64 more that comes for a fee. To make it easier, the platform organizes its templates according to industries.
Squarespace’s Templates: Squarespace templates are unique, sleek and modern. Designed to appeal to bloggers, Squarespace template range works well across devices.
Shopify Payments Vs. Squarespace Payments
Another important parameter in terms of ecommerce features is payment. Let’s check how Shopify and Squarespace stack up here.
Shopify Payments: Shopify accepts all major payment gateways including Square, Amazon Pay and PayPal. Shopify keeps offering additional payment options to support local providers.
Squarespace Payments: Unlike Shopify, Squarespace is restrictive when it comes to accepting payments. It limits itself to PayPal, Stripe and Square.
Differences in Transaction Fees Between Shopify and Squarespace
For a small business owner, every cent counts. That’s why, it’s important to consider transaction fees when you are looking for what to sell on Shopify or Squarespace online.
Shopify Transaction Fees: With Shopify, you have two options: use Shopify’s built-in payment processor or go with a third party payment gateway. If you select the former, you will be able to completely avoid transaction fees. If you instead decide to use a third party payment gateway, you’ll pay anywhere between 0.5% to 2% depending on your plan.
Squarespace Transaction Fees: When you choose Squarespace, you pay a transaction fee of 3% only for the Business plan.
Squarespace Vs. Shopify SEO Comparison
SEO and Google Analytics are crucial aspects of ecommerce functionality, especially for small businesses that face greater competition. Both Shopify and Squarespace seem to understand this and offer solutions to cater to the requirements of business owners.
Shopify SEO: A key SEO functionality Shopify offers is that it automatically generates meta description and page title according to the webpage content.
Squarespace SEO: On Squarespace, you are required to configure meta titles, custom URLs and descriptions manually.
Shopify App Store Vs. Squarespace
You can purchase apps or use free ones on both Shopify and Squarespace. Let’s understand in more detail.
Shopify App Store: Shopify’s app boasts of 7,000 apps. These include integrations with other apps and tools that have been developed to include specific pieces of functionalities to the Shopify apps stores.
Squarespace Apps: Squarespace’s apps are in the form of extensions. At present, there are just 28 extensions available.
When it comes to shipping, both Shopify and Squarespace allow you to set free shipping, weight based, local pickup, flat and calculated rates.
Shopify Shipping: Shopify makes the shipping process easier for businesses. It provides printable shipping labels and integration with shipping services such as UPS and NHL.
Squarespace Shipping: UPS has been working with both Squarespace and Shopify. From Squarespace’s perspective though, it has not worked with other service providers.
Business Features of Shopify Vs. Squarespace
Some business features such as Point of Sale, customer support and marketing are essential when it comes to running online stores. Let’s explore how Shopify and Squarespace fare on these parameters.
Shopify Business Features: Shopify has its own POS system, which is included in every Shopify store plan. For marketing, Shopify offers an email marketing tool, which lets businesses send out newsletters.
Squarespace Business Features: Squarespace has tied up with Square to develop its Point of Sale, which is only available with its Commerce Basic or Commerce Advance plan. Squarespace also offers cool email marketing features that come for a price.
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