ECOMMERCE TOOLS   |   10 minute read

Shopify vs Squarespace. Compare eCommerce Features, Pricing, Pros & Cons

How does Squarespace compare with Shopify as an eCommerce platform?

As a small business owner, you have enough headaches to contend with. What you need is an eCommerce sales platform that is not only reliable but also tailored to yours and your customers’ needs. But how do you decide which eCommerce platform fits this bill?

That’s why we’ve gone out and done the hard part for you. We’ve looked at two popular platforms – Shopify and Squarespace Commerce – to help you make the best selection possible for your business.

While each platform differs in several ways, both allow sellers to offer:

  • Physical products
  • Digital products
  • Service products
  • Gift cards

The choice then comes down to other details in both the buyer and seller experience, especially in four key areas.

Creating and Designing an eCommerce Store

What’s the first thing you notice about a website? That’s right: Design. No matter how great your products are or how well your Buy Now button functions, your website design and layout will attract visitors and hold their attention enough to keep them browsing.

Squarespace differentiates itself by providing a technical solution that also took design well into consideration. Founded in 2003, Squarespace made it their mission to make beautiful products to help a more creative customer base succeed. Its interface is elegant and user-friendly.

Squarespace has a solid collection of high-quality templates and images to achieve a seamless eCommerce design. Some would say Squarespace’s 103+ templates are more contemporary or more varied. All are mobile-responsive, so they look great on any size screen.

The main menu is tucked on the left side of the screen where you can navigate to different parts of the content management system (CMS) – Settings, Analytics, Commerce, Billing, Marketing, and more. The right side of the screen is where the design actually happens, where you can click to add elements such as a text box, image, video, custom code, add products, and more.

Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 1.19.43 PM

Shopify has 70+ professional templates to choose from, plus a variety of paid-for Shopify templates available. All are mobile-responsive. The platform’s drag-and-drop functionality allows you to design an eCommerce site without design or coding skills. This means you simply click, move, and drop media elements anywhere on the page.

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By using a theme sections, you can add images, text, blog posts, products, collections, or store information to your home page. Sections can be statically included in a theme's templates (i.e. header & footer), or they can be dynamically added to the theme's homepage from Theme Editor.

Unfortunately, content and design are treated as two separate things. You can’t work on both at the same time. But Shopify allows for custom HTML/CSS to design from the top-down.

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Shopify sections

Inventory Management

When a customer places an order online, they expect to receive the correct item in a timely manner free from hassle. Failing to deliver on that expectation may mean they turn elsewhere the next time they’re looking to buy. Even worse, they may tell their friends about a bad experience.

Your eCommerce platform needs to keep up with that or problems could occur that will hurt your business.

While Squarespace is known for beautiful templates, its eCommerce functionalities pack a punch, helping you sell physical and digital products easily. You can manage details such as sales taxes, shipping cost options, couponing engine, inventory, product upload and product editing.

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Adding physical, digital products, service or gift card is easy with Squarespace

Shopify is the top-rated eCommerce store builder that takes a lot of guesswork out of selling your products online. They also feature dropshipping apps available to help you source and sell inventory. If you’re opening your store with a single product, and are planning to grow your inventory with time, then Shopify can absolutely grow with you.

Shopify allows you to offer different variations of your products, track stock counts, and automatically stop selling products when inventory runs out. You can organize products by category, type, season, and more. Moreover, with the Shopify app, you can update your store, manage inventory, fulfill orders, and contact a customer on your smartphone.

High-volume merchants and large businesses typically turn to TradeGecko’s Shopify Plus integration for enterprise-level software to manage inventory and orders. TradeGecko also offers a customizable B2B eCommerce Store gives your clients a unique wholesale platform that is tailored to both your brand and your individual customers.

 

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Unlimited products

Yes

Yes

 Decrease inventory with purchase

Yes

Yes

 Low inventory alerts - consumer

Yes

Yes

 Low inventory alerts - admin Yes (by mail) Yes (via inventory alert app)

Tip: You’re not always in front of a computer when decisions need to be made. Both Shopify and Squarespace Commerce offer mobile apps with inventory management capabilities.

Related blog: Learn more about inventory management.

Payment Processors

Does your site accept Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, and the endless new payment systems that are introduced every month on top of existing ones?

A shockingly high percentage of eCommerce carts are abandoned during the payment state for a variety of reasons, including the hassle of needing to enter shipping and payment details.

The checkout process needs to be as seamless as possible, otherwise that person may decide they don’t really need what they were about to buy, or will find it somewhere else.

  • Shopify not only accepts online payments from existing banks and digital wallet companies (PayPal etc) but has its own Shopify Payments platform in use across the web. If using Shopify Payments, there are zero transaction fees. Otherwise, there’s a 2% additional transaction fee.
  • Squarespace Commerce accepts credit cards, debit cards and Apple Pay as payment methods at checkout by connecting a Stripe account to your site. To accept PayPal payments, connect a PayPal Business account.

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Tip: Use a mix of customer research, industry trends and more to determine which is the best fit for you. You don’t want to limit buyer options, but too many choices may also create confusion.

Supported Currencies for Global Shoppers

There may be good reasons why you do or don’t want to offer your products or services outside of your home country or region. If that’s not something you want to do, it’s cool.

If, on the other hand, you’d like the world to be your oyster... you’re going to need an eCommerce platform that keeps up with your not-at-all-Bond-villain-esque ambitions.

So do Shopify and Squarespace Commerce offer multiple currencies to shoppers?

  • Shopify: YES, but only if the seller uses Shopify Payments AND is a Shopify Plus customer.
  • Squarespace Commerce: YES, with supported currencies determined by what’s offered through PayPal and Stripe in each country.

Tip: Before you start worrying about currencies, shipping and other logistical concerns, ask yourself where your product or service is relevant and needed and make your decision based on that.

Both Shopify and SquareSpace Commerce are valid choices for the eCommerce business owner who wants to optimize their operations. The choice comes down to which better serves the needs of their customers, offers the best user experience and helps the business succeed.

Evaluating which needs are most crucial and need to be addressed will help make the final determination on which is selected.

Reporting

 

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KPIs

Traffic, Google search, purchase funnel, other search keywords, popular content, site search, RSS subscribers

Referrer source, referrer name, average order value, orders, UTM campaigns, sessions & visitors, conversions, attribution model comparison

Marketing

No

Yes (with Advanced Shopify and Shopify Plus plans)

Other types

Geography, sales, abandoned cart, activity log, form & button conversions

Acquisition, behavior, customers, finances, profit, retail sales, sales, live view

squarespace-logoSquarespace offers four pricing tiers; two for general Websites, the other for eCommerce dubbed Online Stores.

The Personal plan is good enough for most websites. The Business plan is one you can grow into. It includes features such as conversion metrics in your Squarespace analytics, marketing tools – such as promotional pop-ups, mobile information bars and announcement bars, integrations, and basic eCommerce – that let you sell physical products, digital goods, services on your website. With the Business plan, all purchases include a 3% transaction fee. For those doing very minimal sales, this could be a great plan to start with.

sqsp-WEBpricing

Both eCommerce plans do not have transaction fees and include integrations with ShipStation and Xero. The Advanced plan is meant for growing eCommerce stores – with features such as gift cards, flexible discounts, subscriptions, abandoned cart auto-recovery, gift cards and orders API.

sqsp-STOREpricing

shopify

Shopify offers 5 tiers of pricing.

Shopify Lite (at $9/month) is the cheapest way to sell products online. But instead of providing you with a fully-functional, standalone online store, Shopify Lite allows you to showcase your products on an existing site, sell on Facebook, or use Shopify as a back-end system for selling products in physical locations (i.e. market stalls, events, gigs, etc).

Basic Shopify (at $29/month) enables you to create a fully-functional, standalone online store (versus just a Buy button). It allows you to sell an unlimited number of products, have 2 staff accounts, abandoned cart recovery, free SSL certificate, a blog, fraud analysis, 24/7 support by phone, email and live chat. Online credit card rates at 2.9% + $0.30 and 2% additional fees using all payment providers other than Shopify Payments.

Shopify is the most popular plan (at $79/month), it’s best for businesses that plan on scaling quickly. In addition to what the Basic plan offers, you’ll also get support for gift cards and professional support, POS register shifts and unlimited Shopify POS staff PINs. Online credit card rates at 2.6% + $0.30 and 2% additional fees using all payment providers other than Shopify Payments.

Shopify Advanced (at $299/month) gives you everything from the Shopify plan, including the advanced report builder and 3rd party calculated shipping rates. Online credit card rates at 2.4% + $0.30 and 2% additional fees using all payment providers other than Shopify Payments.

Shopify Plus (starting at $2,000/month) offers enterprise-grade solutions for high volume merchants and large businesses. It can be completely customized based on your needs. You’ll get a dedicated support team to help you launch, plus 24/7 priority support. Your development team gets access to more of the Shopify system for customization, and you get two more clone storefronts for globalization.

Are you looking for an effortless inventory management solution?

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