Squarespace vs Shopify—we’re discussing the pros and cons of each platform so you can make an informed decision on which platform to launch your eCommerce business on.
Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with both and been able to see the pros and cons up close.
Both platforms offer a range of features and benefits that can help you build and grow your online store, but there are also some drawbacks to consider. And, in my opinion, there is a clear winner for anyone looking to start an eCommerce store in today’s day and age.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of Squarespace and Shopify to help you make an informed decision and get that ecommerce store you’ve been dreaming of out of your head and into reality!
Which Platform is Best for eCommerce Stores: Squarespace vs Shopify?
Squarespace offers a range of website building tools, including hosting, domain registration, and website design. This means you can create and launch a website without needing to worry about managing multiple services or software.
Squarespace is known for its sleek, modern templates that make it easy to create a professional-looking website. You can choose from a variety of templates and customize them to match your brand’s aesthetic. Their new Fluid editor makes it easier to move elements around the page to suit your design needs.
Squarespace has built-in blogging tools that allow you to create and publish blog posts directly on your website. This can be a valuable way to build your brand and drive traffic to your ecommerce store.
However, if you’re just looking at Squarespace as a blogger, I’d recommend against it. Anyone who is simply wanting to start a blog should use WordPress. Shopify also has blogging capabilities built into the platform.
Squarespace’s pricing plans are competitive, with plans starting at $16/month. Those low startup costs make it a really attractive option for new businesses that don’t have a ton to invest in upfront, but it does have some limitations, so before you decide, read on.
Limited eCommerce Functionality
While Squarespace does offer ecommerce features, it’s not as robust as Shopify’s. For example, Squarespace doesn’t support multi-currency or multi-language checkout, and its product options are limited. Simply put, you won’t have as much flexibility.
Steep Learning Curve
Squarespace can be difficult to use for beginners. While its drag-and-drop interface is intuitive, there are still a lot of features and options to learn. Even as a seasoned web designer, I struggled at first to get a hang of Squarespace’s platform.
Squarespace doesn’t offer as many third-party integrations as Shopify. This can make it difficult to connect your website to other tools and services. As your business grows and you want to build out your online store to match the needs of you customers, Squarespace can be really limiting.
Now that you’ve learned about Squarespace, let’s compare it with Shopify. First off, Shopify is the leader in online ecommerce stores. Many massive brands use the Shopify platform to run their ecommerce business. That right there should tell you something about how amazing this platform is—now, let’s dive in further!
Robust eCommerce Functionality
Shopify is designed specifically for ecommerce and offers a range of features to help you manage your online store. These include inventory management, order tracking, and abandoned cart recovery. All these things will make running your business day-to-day easier, more efficient and even make it easier to grow your bottom line.
Shopify offers a wide range of themes and templates that can be customized to match your brand’s aesthetic. You can also add custom code and integrations to further customize your store. You can also hire someone like me to design you a completely custom website for your ecommerce store to stand out in your industry.
Large App Store
This might be one of the biggest perks that Shopify has over Squarespace. Shopify has a large app store with hundreds of integrations and add-ons. This makes it easy to connect your store to other tools and services, such as email marketing platforms, accounting software, social media channels and any other needs.
There’s apps for adding reviews, up-selling or cross-selling products, or creating a product waitlist. Simply put, there’s something in there for just about every need your business might have.
Shopify offers 24/7 support via phone, email, and live chat. This can be valuable if you run into any issues or have questions about using the platform. Because their focus is one thing—eCommerce, you’ll get the best support from them.
Shopify’s pricing plans are more expensive than Squarespace’s, with plans starting at $29/month. But that’s not a massive difference when you consider all of the other things that Shopify has over Squarespace. But, I do realize that this can be a significant expense for small businesses and startups.
Limited Design Options
While Shopify offers a range of templates and themes, they can be somewhat limited compared to Squarespace’s. Customizing your store’s design may require more technical knowledge or the help of a developer. Many templates offer basic customizations, but if you want to do more, you will need to find outside help.
The good news is that many designers and developers work with Shopify regularly and creating custom templates or customizing an existing template isn’t too difficult for them.
Shopify charges transaction fees for using third-party payment gateways. This can add up over time and increase the cost of running your online store.
However, when using platforms like Stripe to process your payments, you will incur a fee no matter which platform you are using. This is just a standard part of running a business. I have used Stripe with both Squarespace & Shopify and the fees are small, but again, simply part of doing business.
Overall, both Squarespace and Shopify offer a range of benefits and drawbacks for ecommerce store owners.
Squarespace is an attractive option for small businesses and startups that need an all-in-one solution for building a website and selling products. If you have a really simple inventory, this can be a great option. However, its limited eCommerce functionality and steep learning curve may make it less suitable for larger stores.
Shopify, on the other hand, offers robust eCommerce functionality and a large app store, but it’s a little more challenging to get the hang of and a bit more expensive.
In the end of our competition of Squarespace vs Shopify, hands down, Shopify wins as the best eCommerce platform for starting and growing a business.
If you’re looking for custom website design for your eCommerce store, book a free 15-minute call here to chat through your options and see if we’d be a good fit for each other.