Shopify and Squarespace both have a similar purpose. They let you create a website and sell your products. But they started off somewhat differently and had separate goals. If you think of Shopify vs Squarespace, you will find many small factors that make each of them maintain their exclusivity.
To be truthful, Squarespace was created to build and maintain content-based websites. On the other hand, Shopify was made as a solution to create an online store. In time Squarespace added e-commerce to its features. The number of content creation apps on Shopify increased.
This led to a growing similarity in their purposes. At present, you can use any of these tools to create a content-based website. Here we will analyze the difference between Shopify and Squarespace so you can decide which to choose.
Table of Contents
Shopify vs Squarespace
Comparison on functionality
- Building a content-based website
If you are aiming at creating an informative website, its design and content management features are crucial. In that regard, Squarespace wins the Shopify vs Squarespace battle, hands down. It has excellent templates and is intuitive and easy to use. Apart from that, there are superb photo editing and displaying tools available.
The blogging features of Squarespace are top-notch. However, Squarespace follows a relatively closed-off system. The process of integrating third-party apps is not so simple. Plus, you cannot get full access to your site’s code.
To conclude, Squarespace helps you create an excellent-looking website rather quickly. But based on this, you cannot prove “is Shopify better than Squarespace”? Plus, it also gives you multiple and enticing ways to display your content. This holds especially true for blog posts and images.
- Building online store
Now let’s look at Squarespace eCommerce vs. Shopify. Here Shopify’s past expertise makes it trounce Squarespace easily. Since Shopify was around for longer, its features are pervasive. There are quite a few features that Squarespace does not have yet.
- Facility to take payments in many currencies
- Multiple drop shipping options
- Ability to integrate with loads of third-party apps
- Advanced features for reporting your results
- Highly sophisticated options for inventory management
- Lots of point of sale options (allowing you to sell your goods physically with only payment from the website)
- Better tax calculation functionality
- Many options in regards to payment gateway
Shopify vs Squarespace may not have a clear winner. But in the case of building online store functionalities, Shopify gets the upper hand.
- Shopify vs Squarespace pricing
Comparing the pricing, Squarespace offers four separate packages. These are
- Personal — Priced at $16 per month
- Business — Priced at $26 per month
- Basic Commerce — Priced at $30 per month
- Advanced Commerce — Priced at $54 per month
You may even use their two-week trial. Once you get an idea of the features and working of the software, you can continue through any of the above packages. If you choose an annual plan, you may get a discount on the total cost.
Squarespace has recently launched a new plan, i.e., “Squarespace Select,” which is in the early stages at present. This is aimed at the enterprise users, and you get an account manager, priority support, and design consultant for your help. Some important facets of Squarespace pricing are:
- For every sale made using the Business plan, you will have to pay 3% transaction fees.
- If you want other essential features like abandoned cart recovery, real-time carrier shipping, gift cards, and discounts, you will have to choose the ‘Advanced Commerce’ plan.
- On choosing the Business plan and all plans above it, you will get one-year access to Google Workspace.
- In the Basic Commerce and Advanced Commerce plans, you can get e-commerce reporting and point of sale functionality.
On the other hand, Shopify also offers five separate plans.
- Shopify Lite — Priced at $9 per month
- Basic Shopify — Priced at $29 per month
- Shopify — Priced at $79 per month
- Advanced Shopify — Priced at $299 per month
- Shopify Plus- Pricing based on your need but approximately around $2000 per month.
Again there is a free trial that you can use to get an idea of the service. You can also get 10% to 20% discounts if you pay for an annual or two-year plan. Some features of Shopify pricing plans are :
- With the Shopify Lite plan, you cannot build a standalone online store. However, you can sell on your existing website or a Facebook page, or even through a point of sale.
- How many users you may add to your account is dependent on the plan you choose. For example, the Basic Shopify plan allows you to add only two users. However, with the Advanced package, you can add fifteen users.
- There is also a Shopify Plus plan which is focused on enterprise users.
- You can get professional reporting features only on the $79 Shopify plan and plans above it.
- Credit card fees and transaction fees
We are moving on to the next Shopify vs Squarespace category; we will talk about credit card fees. Apart from the pricing plans, you have to consider transaction and credit card fees as well. Transaction fees, in simple terms, are a percentage of the sales that the platform charges.
On the other hand, Credit card fees are the percentage fee of the sales that the credit card company charges. In the case of Shopify, you can decide to choose Shopify payments. If you choose Shopify payments, your transaction costs are removed. This is because Shopify does not charge a percentage of your sales.
You will still have to pay the credit card fees. This can be between 2.4 to 2.9% basis the Shopify plan you select. However, if you decide to process payments through a third-party payment gateway, then you will have to pay 0.5-2 %, depending on the plan.
In the case of Squarespace, the transaction fees are applied only in their “Business plan.” The rate in that scenario is a flat 3%. For the credit card fees, Stripe or PayPal decides it. These are the two main options that Squarespace offers for processing credit cards.
But you must remember that Shopify payments are allowed in certain countries only. Shopify users who are in a territory not supported by Shopify payments will have to choose a different payment gateway. The bright spot here is that there are more than 100+ external gateways that you may select from.
- Payment Gateways
You can use Shopify anywhere and with whichever currency you use. It allows you to use 100 payment gateways which is a huge plus point. Squarespace, however, uses four online payment gateways. These are Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and After Pay.
These four will cater to any type of credit card transaction. The bone of contention is no support for Google Pay.
Merchants based in the US who use Squarespace’s point of sale feature can use Square too. Overall this implies that when you compare payment processing, Shopify scores in Shopify vs Squarespace. The flexibility it offers gives it an upper hand.
Let us talk about which is cheaper in the Spotify vs. Squarespace tussle. If you intend to make a content-driven website, Squarespace offers a Personal plan at $16 per month. But if you want more from the website, then this plan is not worthwhile. The drawbacks of the plan are:
- You will be unable to hook Mailchimp to Squarespace data capture forms.
- They do not allow promotional pop ups and announcement bars
The last restriction means you cannot undertake any design customizations. Thus many users are dropping the personal plan to choose the ‘Business Plan’ at $26 per month. Now this plan also is much cheaper than Shopify’s basic plan. The Shopify Basic plan is priced at $29 a month, more than Squarespace’s Business plan.
But again, Squarespace’s Business plan comes with a transaction fee of 3%. Also, the range of payment options available is less. In such a scenario, Shopify’s basic plan offers a better value to the users.
Comparison based on Features
- Ease of Use and the Interface
Both Shopify and Squarespace have similar interfaces. They offer a menu on the left side of the screen. This could be used to reach different parts of the CMS. On the other hand, the right side could be used to view data, edit content, add products, etc.
But Squarespace has a much easy to navigate Interface than Shopify. The manner in which you can set navigation and the layout engine both are user-friendly and thus simple to use. Shopify, on the flip side, does not have a stylish interface. Setting up its pages and adding products is more time-consuming.
- Templates and visuals provided
Again Squarespace’s templates are more attractive than Shopify. You also get more template choices in Squarespace. With limited template options, Shopify loses this Shopify vs Squarespace fight. Squarespace’s templates have a wow feel to them, which makes them stand apart.
But many people feel that Squarespace’s templates are for photography, art, and music bloggers. There are almost 130 templates. Out of them, only a few are generic and dedicated online store themes.
As a bonus, you can enhance all these templates. There are built integrations with Getty Images and Unsplash that provide a boost. It is easy to find images to add to the website. Just use the search box and pick any from these two sources.
Also, you can add video backgrounds to your page. Select any YouTube or Vimeo video and add it to the page. But Shopify also offers some visually enticing templates. There are 9 free templates that you get when you sign up. However, there are 72 paid templates that you may choose as and when required.
These paid themes also have variations which means Shopify has a wide range of templates. But these will come at a price of $100-$180 if you do not mind paying. All templates on both platforms are responsive. They can be used on every kind of device like Mobile, tablet, desktop, etc. The verdict in this category is quite balanced. Squarespace templates are perfect for content-driven websites. For those who wish to make an online store, Shopify is a better bet.
- Importing and exporting of content
You can easily import content from a Squarespace website. They offer wizards who guide you with importing pages. In the case of exporting, you could export pages, images, and posts to WordPress format as well. But only physical and service products can be exported. The number of products you could export is also limited to 10,000. So if you have a vast inventory, you ought to consider Shopify.
Here you can export products using CSV. They have not put a restriction on the number of products allowed. If you have to bulk upload, you could use apps like FetchApp. But again, importing and exporting pages and blog posts. However, you can always use its third-party apps to do so. These apps are not free, and you have to pay a fee to use them.
- SEO in both the platforms
SEO is used by websites to increase your online reach. Shopify’s technical setup makes it simple for you to meet Google’s set requirements. You can modify your site such that it meets Google’s Core Web Vitals. This facility is yet to come up in Squarespace.
If we talk of editing of SEO elements, Shopify scores again in Shopify vs Squarespace. It generates page titles and meta descriptions automatically. This is an essential element of an SEO-compliant webpage.
Shopify calls all these terms by their technical names like page title, alt text, etc. Whereas Squarespace uses different names like ‘captions’ and ‘descriptions.’ Though now Squarespace is trying to buck up its SEO, many improvements are still needed. You can optimize a Squarespace website for SEO. But the technical setup and tools offered definitely need to improve.
Both of them are still unable to make proper URLs. Neither of them can make totally clean URLs the way Google wants.
- Point of sale in Shopify vs Squarespace
Point of sale functionality helps you to use card readers etc., at your physical store. For example, you set up a stall in a trade show. Since your POS software is functional, your stock count is automatically synced. Until recently, Squarespace did not offer POS functionality. However, they have now entered the fray and tied up with Square that is already into POS hardware.
The only difference between both the companies is in the selling hardware you can use. Shopify’s POS kit comprises a card reader, barcode scanner, receipt printer, and cash drawer. You can also buy all the items separately if you want.
On the flip side, Squarespace only allows you to integrate Square e-card reader. So if POS is important to you, then Shopify is the best bet. Shopify also gives other high-profile features like multiple location options, pins, etc., which requires an additional investment.
- Drop-Shipping tactics
Dropshipping is a type of online retailing where you do not have the stocks you are selling. You take the order and share it with the supplier. They then send the goods to the client. The advantage of dropshipping mostly is that you will not have to make any significant investment. But margins are pretty low as the level of competition is higher.
If you are still keen to start a dropshipping business, then choose Shopify. It offers many dropshipping apps that help in organizing the Inventory. Squarespace, on the other hand, loses this Shopify vs Squarespace fight as they provide only the following features:
- Spocket — to dropship only physical goods
- Printful — to print-on-demand products
- Printique — to sell photo-based products.
Though Squarespace is trying to build on its offerings in dropshipping, it will take time. Until then, Shopify is going to enjoy the advantage it already has.
- Selling on other websites
You can quickly sell products on other websites using both Squarespace and Shopify. With their website builder, you can sell on Facebook and Amazon. Shopify also has a ‘Buy Button’ feature. It allows you to embed your products on any other online website.
So if you ask any bloggers to write about your product, you can add a product card button to the blog. Their readers can click on the card and buy the product quickly; this kind of functionality is still not available on Squarespace.
- Mobile Apps offered
Both Shopify and Squarespace offer Mobile Apps for the user’s benefit. There are four apps that Squarespace offers.
- Scheduling admin
- Scheduling client
This Squarespace app is comparatively new. It provides essential content and order management for the users. But if you want e-commerce facilities, then you should choose the Commerce app. It allows you to accomplish many e-commerce tasks like:
- Organize refunds
- Contact customers
- Scanning labels for shipping
The scheduling app helps manage the appointments with your clients (Scheduling admin). The Scheduling client application allows your clients to book and manage appointments.
Shopify also offers mobile apps, but two of them hold much importance. First is the main Shopify app, which permits you to edit your website, view stats, and checks orders. For the POS functionality, Shopify has another app. With this app, you can take orders and accept the payment for goods sold.
Though these two apps are sufficient to help you operate the website, you can choose other apps. There is a customer chat app (Ping), business card maker, and logo maker. Ping is the most useful of all. It makes it easy to manage the questions the customers may have.
- Tax calculations benefits
With the Shopify platform, you can implement correct tax rules for countries like Canada, the US, the EU, and the UK. This Tax calculation feature is especially useful for the EU sellers. If your business sells a digital product to customers in EU countries, VATMOSS requires you to collect value-added tax. Shopify does these calculations for you and thus saves your time.
In the case of Squarespace, such features are in the process of development. They provide a Beta integration with TAXLAR, but that is aimed at US users only. Many users will need to set up their taxes manually in the system. Thus in this division of Shopify vs Squarespace, Shopify gets the upper hand.
- SSL security
SSL or secure socket layer is standard security technology. It helps in setting an encrypted link between web browsers and servers. To find if a website has an SSL certificate, you just have to see its link. If your website name starts with “https://” rather than http://, then you can be assured the website is protected.
Another benefit of having an SSL installed is that Google gives your website a high ranking. Both Shopify and Squarespace offer a free SSL certificate. This can be used in any domain.
- Domains used
One feature of Squarespace that boosts it is that it gives you a free domain when you buy any of the plans. With Shopify also you can register a domain, but there is a charge to it. You can purchase domain names separately also in Squarespace.
But if you buy a domain from these websites and lose access to your account, your domain and CMS also expire. You should buy a domain from a reputable third-party provider. Modify your DNS settings later on.
- Customer support service
Both websites offer superior customer support services. Though Shopify here gains an edge as you can reach out through multiple ways. The platform provides 24*7 support through email, live chat, and phone. If you choose their Plus level plan, you also get a dedicated service agent.
As the business grows, you can choose to hire a Shopify expert. On the other hand, Squarespace has limited customer support options. But they have one of the best forums available. They also have live chat support from Monday to Friday, 4 am-8 pm EST. You can also solve your queries here.
- Product types used
Both Shopify vs Squarespace offers you the facility to sell both digital and physical products. However, to sell digital products on Shopify, you will have to download an app. On the other hand, there is no such requirement in the case of Squarespace. Apart from that, both offer a wide variety of features like
- Ability to add single or bulk items
- In house revenue reports
- Direct email alerts for low stock
- Product images distinctions
Squarespace handles the product images much better than Shopify does. In the case of Shopify, unless you maintain the required aspect ratio, all your pictures will appear lopsided. To get this correct, you will have to edit all the images manually.
This can be quite an arduous task to accomplish. You could use a third-party Shopify app like Pixc to resize the image and upload it.
Squarespace has a better approach to this problem. You can pick an aspect ratio, and the system will crop the image accordingly. If required, you can choose a focal point for all the photos. That part of the photo gets emphasized within the image.
- Product attributes
Another category In Shopify vs Squarespace where the latter is strong is product attributes. In Shopify, you can create only three options, i.e., color, size, or material. Squarespace has more attributes that you can mention. You can overcome this product attribute limit in Shopify. You just have to pay an additional cost for a third-party app.
- Selling in different currencies
You make more sales if you get the convenience of selling in multiple currencies. If you want to sell in different countries, give the customers to pay in their currency. Here Squarespace does not allow you to sell in multiple currencies. But if you use Shopify Payments, you can easily trade in different currencies.
However, this multi-currency feature of Shopify has a significant drawback. It does not come with auto-conversion. Users have to select their country from a drop-down menu. Therefore some merchants would still prefer using a third-party app for their payment processing.
- Shipping options offered
With Squarespace as well as Shopify, you can set rates on parameters like Flat rates, free shipping rates, weight-based rates, and real-time shipping rates. Shopify also offers price-based weights, which is another win for it.
When you have to calculate real-time shipping rates, Shopify has two options for you. In case you are based in the US, Australia, and Canada, Shopify offers a tie-up with local postal companies. It will provide you calculated shipping rates and preferential shipping rates.
This service is called ‘Shopify Shipping,’ and provides considerable discounts to the users. If you want to use calculated rates with a carrier of your choice, you will have to pay extra. There will be an additional monthly fee; pay annually for a Shopify plan, or choose their Advanced plan.
Squarespace has teamed with FedEx, USPS, and UPS to provide real-time carrier shipping. You get this service through their Advanced Commerce plan only.
If you want a platform that offers professional reports, then Shopify is a better bet. Though Squarespace has tried to improve its offers, it compares nothing to Shopify. In Squarespace, you can see an overview of site visitors, sales, and traffic sources.
Shopify’s analytics are more detailed. They give you extensive information on:
- Finance reports
- Sales reports
- Customer details
- Acquisition reports
- Behavior reports
You may even create your own reports if there is something specific you want to see. However, this reporting plan of Shopify is only on their expensive plans. Only standard reports are available on the $79 ‘Shopify’ plan. You could use Google Analytics, but you will have to set it up on your website manually.
Squarespace also has advanced reports in its expensive plans. But they are still not as detailed as Shopify. Thus Shopify wins the Shopify vs Squarespace race in this segment.
- Blogging features
Blogging is pretty crucial when you are running an online store. That is because blogging helps you drive traffic to your website, which translates to sales. Both Squarespace and Shopify offer the blogging advantage.
Squarespace’s blog still has the edge over what Shopify has to offer. This is because you can do more with your content on Squarespace than Shopify. You may drop your content into any page using their ‘summary blocks’ feature. You can also add all the categories and tags in Squarespace.
Shopify allows you just to add tags to the content. Again if you want more on blogging from Shopify, you ought to choose a third-party app.
- Email marketing tool integration
Both Shopify and Squarespace allow you to capture the email addresses to any third-party email marketing solution of their choice. In case you use Mailchimp, you will find Squarespace is easier to comprehend. You can easily link your Squarespace forms straight off to Mailchimp.
However, there is a problem in using Mail chimp with Shopify. You can integrate Mailchimp with a Shopify store. To do that, you will have to use a third-party app or embed a mail chimp form on the website.
You can use other platforms like Zapier on Squarespace but setting up requires effort and time. Thus Squarespace is better for integrating Mail chimp and Google Drive. But Shopify offers different email marketing apps integrations for you to choose from.
The question “what is better Shopify or Squarespace” definitely does not have a sure-shot answer. Both the platforms have their own positives and negatives. If you are only looking for an engaging content-based website, you should focus on Squarespace. It is also perfect if you are in a creative profession like artist, musician, etc.
If your prime objective is to create a proper online store, then your bet should be on Shopify. With the Shopify platform, you get features like automatic tax calculations, professional reporting, and much more. Definitely, Shopify has more extensive features, especially in SEO and payment methods.