Building an e-commerce store can help your business prosper. It provides a convenient platform where your customers can shop. Nonetheless, its success depends on many factors. For instance, website design, search engine optimization, and user experience are some of the most important. To optimize its functionality and success, you must choose the right website builder.
The options abound, but not all of them are the same. Two of the most popular are Squarespace and Shopify. Can’t decide between the two? Read this guide and we’ll share some of the things you might not know.
What Is Squarespace?
In a nutshell, Squarespace is a website builder. The company claims that it can help you create and customize a website within minutes. Hence, it can be a promising tool for helping establish an online presence for your business. With drag-and-drop functionality, you don’t need coding skills.
Squarespace has 4.086 million subscriptions. The latter shows how it’s one of the most trusted website builders available today. This isn’t surprising, given that it not only helps build an online presence but also offers powerful ecommerce integrations.
What is Shopify?
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When it was established, the main goal of Shopify was to offer online store solutions. Eventually, it offered more, including website-building tools. You can sell products through the platform and manage your e-commerce site. It’s built with the needs of online merchants in mind.
Shopify had over 2 million merchants in 2021. Such a high number shows that it’s a reputable option if you’re looking for tools that help in starting, growing, marketing, and managing retail businesses, regardless of their size.
A Comparison of Squarespace vs Shopify
Now, you’re probably reading this article because you want to know the similarities and differences between the two. Below, we’ll look at the most important factors that can help you decide which one is more suitable for your business needs.
1. Pricing and Plans
Building an online store doesn’t need to be expensive. Luckily, Shopify and Squarespace offer affordable plans. Hence, it’s easy for new businesses to kickstart their e-commerce journey, even on a budget.
How Much Does Squarespace Cost?
Squarespace has four plans. You can opt to pay monthly or annually. If you want to save money, annual plans are better since you might save up to 30%. Here are their plans:
- Personal ($16 per month): Includes free custom domain, SSL security, unlimited bandwidth, SEO features for visibility, templates, mobile-optimized websites, 30-minute video storage, round-the-clock customer support, basic metrics, and extensions. You’ll also have access to Squarespace Video Studio App.
- Business ($23 per month): It has the features mentioned above, but with additions like unlimited video contributors, premium integrations and blocks, fully-integrated e-commerce, gift cards, and unlimited product selling.
- Basic Commerce ($27 per month): An even more powerful plan, you can enjoy the features noted above but with more benefits, such as product reviews, customer accounts, and e-commerce analytics.
- Advanced Commerce ($49 per month): The most powerful and expensive plan has full features to unleash the potential of your online store. Some of the additions to the perks above include selling subscriptions, advanced discounts, and commerce APIs.
How Much Does Shopify Cost?
Meanwhile, Shopify offers only three plans. Here’s an overview of what you can expect from each plan:
- Basic ($19 per month): You’ll have an online store, unlimited products, a free SSL certificate, manual order creation, abandoned cart recovery, gift cards, marketing automation, customer segmentation, international market management, and unlimited contacts. These are the same features you’ll find in the other two plans. Meanwhile, basic also comes with up to four inventory locations and 2% transaction fees.
- Shopify ($49 per month): Aside from the standard features across all plans, it also includes standard features, a 1% transaction fee, and up to five staff accounts.
- Advanced ($299 per month): It includes basic features but with a .5% transaction fee, up to eight staff accounts, advanced reports, and duties and taxes. You can create up to 15 staff accounts and manage up to eight inventory locations.
2. Website Building Tools
The main reason why you’re choosing between Squarespace and Shopify is that you want to build a website. As such, Shopify wins if you’re looking for more templates and options for customization. You’ll have more design choices to incorporate on your website by simply dragging and dropping. There’s no need for coding.
Meanwhile, Squarespace also has great templates, but they are not as diverse as what you’ll find in Shopify. You can customize and change the code, but that would be quite complicated for some.
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3. Inventory Management
Online businesses must pay attention to effective inventory management. The main goal of the latter is to ensure the availability of the right products at the right time and in the right place. It can improve efficiency, boost customer satisfaction, and enhance profitability.
Between the two platforms we are comparing, Shopify has better inventory management tools. You can have up to eight inventory locations. You’ll also get more detailed analytics. In contrast, Squarespace’s inventory management is more basic. Nonetheless, you’ll have advanced controls, such as turning on notifications when products have low stocks.
4. Search Engine Optimization
One of the goals when building an e-commerce store is online visibility. SEO can help you achieve such. Between the two platforms, Shopify has more advanced SEO tools. You can edit product titles and descriptions to optimize visibility. Even better, it analyzes content with automatic suggestions for meta titles and descriptions. It has an SEO Booster plug-in. More so, it’s built to meet the Core Web Vitals requirements of Google. With effective Shopify SEO, you can boost the online presence of your shop.
On the other hand, Squarespace allows the configuration of meta titles and descriptions, but you must do so manually. No suggestions are available.
SEO is important, but effective marketing goes beyond such. The two platforms have email marketing solutions. However, one thing that makes Squarespace stand out is its blogging features, providing a good marketing opportunity. The blogging feature even has built-in analytics.
6. Social Media Platforms
Social networks are transforming marketing. Hence, businesses must take advantage of social media platforms to reach a wider audience. It’s a must-have in effective marketing. Between the two, Shopify wins when it comes to using social media. You can sell on more platforms. Meanwhile, with Squarespace, you can sell only on Instagram.
7. International Selling
If you want to sell to an international audience, Shopify might be the better option for you. It’s available in 21 languages. On the other hand, Squarespace is available only in 11 languages, which can limit the reach of your e-commerce site. More so, Shopify allows international inventory locations.
8. Payment Methods
This is another area where Shopify wins. It has its own payment gateway called Shopify Payments. This way, you can accept payments from major providers without transaction costs. On the other hand, with Squarespace, you’re giving customers limited options with how they can pay. They can choose only from PayPal, Square, or Stripe.
9. Plug-ins and Integrations
With Shopify, you can enjoy more than 6,500 apps and plug-ins. This will provide endless opportunities to customize your online store. From marketing to customer service, you can choose from a wide array of apps. While you’ll also have options at Squarespace, they are limited.
10. Mobile Apps
For business owners who are always on the go, it’s a good thing that both Shopify and Squarespace come with their respective mobile apps. You can manage your store wherever you are. Their apps are both intuitive. Nonetheless, some users share that the Android app of Squarespace can often be buggy.
11. Ease of Use
Squarespace may have fewer tools, but it can also be an advantage. This is especially the case for a beginner. If it’s your first time creating a website, you’ll appreciate the simplicity that Squarespace offers. From the template to the dashboard, it’s hard to beat if you’re looking for a user-friendly platform.
For your peace of mind, it’s good to know that both Squarespace and Shopify are secure platforms. You can incorporate SSL into their plans. Two-factor authentication is also available to prevent unauthorized access to your accounts. More so, they are closed systems unlike some of their open-source competitors.
13. Customer Support
Both platforms offer exceptional customer support, making it easy for users to seek assistance when necessary. At Squarespace, support is available 24/7 via email, phone, and live chat. It does not have social media support. With Shopify, support is round-the-clock as well via email, live chat, and social media. No phone support is available.
So, which one should you choose? Both platforms are excellent with their respective pros and cons. Shopify is great if you want to focus on online selling. It has many features that can help your online store prosper. It’s more powerful than Squarespace. On the other hand, choose Squarespace if you’re on a budget and a newbie. It has more affordable plans with nice features, which are great for small stores.