Which should you choose? Shopify vs. Squarespace
Shopify and Squarespace are two of the most popular eCommerce websites. They're both easy to use, and they offer a variety of features for your online store.
But which one is right for your business? In this post, we'll compare Shopify and Squarespace's key differences—including ease of use, page editor, themes and design customization, marketing features, sales features, and customer support—so that you can make an informed decision about which platform is best for you.
Overview of Shopify
Shopify is a cloud-based eCommerce platform that allows you to design, set up and manage your online store. Shopify has many features, including:
- Creating an online store
- Adding products from third-party sellers (dropshipping)
- Accept customer payments in various ways, including credit cards, Apple Pay, and PayPal.
Shopify has a 14-day free which gives you access to all the core features except unlimited bandwidth and storage space.
Overview of Squarespace
Squarespace is a website-building platform that allows you to build a website without knowing how to code. It’s great for those who want to develop a site but don’t feel comfortable learning how to use code or don’t have the time or resources for it.
It offers drag-and-drop templates, so you can easily customize your website design without any coding knowledge. You can also add custom CSS (styles), which requires basic knowledge of HTML and CSS.
One of the main differences between the two is that Shopify is more focused on eCommerce while Squarespace is for different kinds of websites.
A Quick Comparison of Shopify & Squarespace
Shopify and Squarespace are both powerful platforms with a lot to offer, but there are key differences between the two.
- Shopify has a more robust marketplace and a wider range of features for eCommerce. If you want to sell physical and digital products (like ebooks or courses), then Shopify is your best bet. It also allows for more complex inventory management than Squarespace does—for example, you can set up discounts or reward customers with loyalty points depending on what they buy from your store.
- Squarespace is better for website beginners. If you're just starting out and don't have much capital or website knowledge, Squarespace might be the better choice because it doesn't require any technical knowledge.
Although neither platform requires coding skills or technical knowledge beyond basic HTML editing skills, Shopify has a learning curve and can still be intimidating for new users who aren't familiar with how websites work behind the scenes.
Ease of use
Both platforms are easy to use. Both have good customer support, documentation, and tutorials. If you're looking for a platform that allows you to build your own website without any coding knowledge and with little technical experience, then both Shopify and Squarespace will fit the bill.
Both Shopify and Squarespace offer easy-to-use page editors. The main difference between the two platforms is that Shopify offers drag and drop functionality, whereas Squarespace has a visual editor with drag and drop elements.
Shopify's rich text editor is comparable to Microsoft Word, allowing you to insert photos and videos directly into the text. It may also be necessary to review changes since they might appear differently in-store constantly.
Squarespace visual editor
Squarespace’s visual editor makes it easy to quickly move around sections of your website without having to worry about editing code or HTML
Because both platforms have so many options for design templates, it can be hard to choose which one is best for your needs.
However, if you’re looking specifically at how many themes each platform offers, Shopify has a much larger selection than Squarespace does.
Themes and Design Customization
Both Shopify and Squarespace offer a wide range of themes, and they're more similar than different. Shopify has both free and paid themes (all of which come with unlimited bandwidth), while Squarespace offers a mix of free, paid, and custom-built sites.
All Shopify themes are responsive, so they'll fit perfectly on any device or screen size. You can easily customize these themes to suit your needs without getting too technical—just choose one that meets your criteria (or create your own) and then tweak colors and fonts as needed using their built-in tools.
You might need to install third-party apps or work with an agency if you want more advanced customization options.
Squarespace also has plenty of templates available but since their editor is so user-friendly already there won't be much need for any additional customization unless something goes wrong during the set-up process.
Shopify has a better marketing feature set, but Squarespace has a better blog feature set. Both platforms have excellent SEO features.
Squarespace is the clear winner for content management with its drag-and-drop editor and intuitive interface. Shopify also offers a robust editor for managing pages and posts (the "pages" are called "products"), but if you're looking for something simpler than Squarespace's Editor, it might not be right for you.
Regarding email marketing, both platforms integrate with third-party providers like MailChimp and ConvertKit (more details below). Still, Shopify's native email marketing solution is more comprehensive than what Squarespace offers out of the box.
If you're looking for a reliable platform to host your business website, Shopify and Squarespace have similar levels of customer support. Both companies offer live chat support, phone support, and a dedicated team of customer service representatives just in case you run into any issues with your store.
You can also find plenty of articles about how to use each platform on the web. Shopify has its forum where you can ask questions and get help from other users who have already figured out the answer to the most common problems with eCommerce stores.
Squarespace has a more limited knowledge base available online, but it still offers plenty of insight into how its service works.
Squarespace has four plans: Personal, Business, Basic Commerce, and Advanced Commerce. Each plan has a 14-day free trial.
Personal ($14/month): This plan best suits simple websites without marketing or e-commerce capabilities. A webpage for a portfolio, as an example.
Business ($23/month): Pick this plan for a website for a small business. It has basic commerce functions as well as marketing capabilities. Given the 3 percent transaction charge, we do not suggest it for e-commerce, though.
Basic Commerce ($27/month): This is where Squarespace Commerce plans start. With this plan, you can sell an unlimited number of products, but you won't have access to any cutting-edge features like offering subscriptions.
Advanced Commerce ($49/month): This plan provides eCommerce basics to sell subscriptions, automate abandoned cart campaigns, compute shipping prices, etc.
Shopify offers five different plan options: Shopify Lite, Basic, Shopify, Advanced, and Shopify Plus. Every subscription includes a 14-day free trial, all key features, unlimited products and bandwidth, fraud analysis, and all other features.
Shopify Lite ($9/month): With this plan, you can integrate e-commerce features into websites that are not Shopify (through the Buy Button channel). If you're on Squarespace Basic and wish to sell, you may pick Shopify Lite to access Shopify's eCommerce tools and sell through Squarespace.
Shopify Basic ($29/month): This is the option I suggest for most stores. It includes all of the ingredients required to create a reliable e-commerce store.
Shopify ($79/month): Upgrade to this plan if you want gift card support, reporting, third-party shipping rates, and lower third-party transaction costs.
Shopify Advanced ($299/month): This plan provides advanced reporting, additional staff accounts, more inventory locations, eCommerce automation, and the ability to create custom pricing by market, among other things.
Shopify Plus (starts at $2000/month): These plans are designed for enterprise-level retailers like AllBirds, Rothy's, Gymshark, Staples, and others.
It's hard to beat the prices of Shopify and Squarespace's numerous options. Squarespace packages appear to be a bit more affordable, but they best suit small to mid-sized shops, those that can also be created with a Shopify Basic plan. Overall, there are more features in the Shopify plans for eCommerce enterprises than in any Squarespace plan.
Which Should You Choose?
There are two compelling arguments in favor of using Squarespace as an eCommerce platform rather than Shopify:
- Squarespace is simpler to use. Squarespace does not require you to alter CSS code to customize your theme, unlike Shopify.
- Squarespace features a drag-and-drop page editor — Shopify does not.
If you're creating smaller online stores and want to have creative control, Squarespace is fantastic.
Regardless of these factors, Shopify is a very strong eCommerce platform. The app store gives businesses access to over 7,000 third-party apps that can be used to augment shop functionalities. Squarespace, in contrast, only offers 31 extensions.
In all honesty, this makes perfect sense since e-commerce websites are the only kind that Shopify supports. Squarespace is a platform for creating regular websites. Therefore, as a company, Shopify will always place a greater emphasis on eCommerce functionality.
Shopify is an excellent platform for constructing larger and more established online shops. You may rest assured that Shopify will be able to manage it because they currently power many distinctive eCommerce sites such as All Birds, Kylie's Cosmetics, and MVMT.
Now it's time to choose your platform. We hope we've helped you make a stronger decision about which one. The best way to decide is by trying out each of them for yourself and seeing which one works best for your needs. If you need any help with our recommendations or anything else, please drop us an email, and we will get back to you as soon as possible!