Comparing Squarespace vs. Shopify for Online Stores
By: Michael Benninger
Whether you’ve yet to launch your online store, or you’re considering switching platforms for your e-commerce shop, both Squarespace and Shopify provide an array of enticing options that might convince you to give them a shot. But which is better for you? You want to be able to provide an excellent customer experience, offer your best products, and market your online store–all while staying on budget.
It might be time to switch your store’s operating platform or you might be getting ready to open shop on the Web for the first time. Either way, if you’re in the market to try out a new or different e-commerce solution for your small business, here are some important things to keep in mind when you compare Shopify and Squarespace.
Commonalities Between the E-commerce Platforms
When it comes to figuring out Shopify vs. Squarespace, a good place to start is by looking at what the two platforms have in common. Both of Squarespace and Shopifycan help you quickly build a website from scratch—even if you don’t have any experience—and you can easily start selling physical or digital goods in no time at all. You can also use either Shopify or Squarespace to build responsive design websites that look good on any platform. Additionally, you have your choice of templates with either website builder.There are over 100 themes to choose from in Shopify’s gallery,and though Squarespace has far fewer, its options are generally cleaner, and sport a more modern design.
Both of the Shopify and Squarespace platforms also allow the ability to integrate other Web services, and they provide multilingual and SEO capabilities, as well. And when it comes to e-commerce, both website builders give users the ability to effectively manage inventory, calculate shipping costs, and provide coupon codes. But what are the differences between these two titans of e-commerce?
How the Platforms Differ
Though Squarespace was initially built to allow users to easily create attractive websites that served as blogs or portfolios, the subsequent addition of a robust set of e-commerce tools attracted a whole new audience to the platform. Shopify, by comparison, was created to offer online selling solutions from day one. As such, it offers a huge number of e-commerce customizations, which some users might find distracting, or even overwhelming—you’re sure to find what you need, though.
Cost is always a consideration for business owners, and fortunately in the battle of Shopify vs Squarespace, both of these platforms offer 14-day free trials. Beyond those two weeks, though, and depending on how many products you’ll be selling, Squarespace likely has the advantage in this department. Squarespace e-commerce plans start at just $8 per month, and even if you’re selling thousands of products on your site, the cost you’d incur would still only be an affordable $24 per month. On Shopify, however, your cost could be as high as $179 per month, depending on how many products you have for sale. It’s also important to note that both sites have unavoidable transaction fees that accompany any purchase. (Fees range from 1.8% + $.30 to 2.9% + $.30, depending upon which tiered plan you’ve selected.) So, the higher your online sales volume, the larger the check that you’ll have to cut for customer transaction fees.
Which One Is Better for You?
Although both Shopify and Squarespace make it easy to create great websites for e-commerce, depending on your sales volume and the variety of different products that you sell, one of these options might be a better choice for you. If you are a hardcore e-tailer, the best fit may be the platform provided by Shopify; or Squarespace can be a solid option for most small businesses just getting started with e-commerce.