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Shopify vs Squarespace (2021): Which E-Commerce Platform Fits Your Business?

If you want the easiest, fastest way to start your e-commerce store, look no further than Shopify.  The Canadian tech giant opened a world of possibilities for non-tech-savvy individuals who want to build an e-commerce shop, thanks to its beginner-friendly and streamlined interface and a massive library of apps. However, Shopify’s monthly plans and transaction fees are not exactly the lowest. Thus, some people look to alternative e-commerce platforms such as Squarespace to build their online store. Our comparison of Shopify and Squarespace will help you figure out which e-commerce platform is better for your business and your budget.

Spoiler alert: Squarespace’s limited features cannot compete against Shopify’s, but that doesn’t mean we should completely write it off just yet. Find out below if what Squarespace has to offer is more than enough to address your business needs.

Shopify vs Squarespace Comparison Chart

NameShopifySquarespace
 Squarespace
PriceTry Shopify for freeTry Squarespace for free
Special Feature/sIntuitive and straightforward interface and pricing plansStunning themes, lower start-up costs
Pricing Plans (USD/month)Shopify Lite: $9, Basic: $29, Shopify: $79, Advanced Shopify: $299, Shopify Plus: starting at $2,000

 

Get 10% discount on a one-year plan and 20%  on a two-year plan

Personal: $16, Business: $26, Basic Commerce: $30, Advanced Commerce: $46

 

Get up to 13% to  30% discount on a one-year plan

Unlimited BandwidthYesYes
SSL CertificateYesYes
Domain Name NoYes, free on the first year
Online Credit Card Rates per Transaction2.4 to 2.9% + 30¢3% on the Business plan, 0% on the Commerce plans
In-Person Credit Card Rates per transaction2.4 to 2.7% + 0¢Available on Square
Third-party Payment Provider Transaction Fee.5% to 2.0%3% on the Business plan, 0% on the Commerce plans
App StoreYes, 2,200+ reliable appsNo
Abandoned Cart RecoveryYesYes, Available on the Advanced Commerce plan
Staff accounts Starting at 2 for Basic2 for Personal plan, Unlimited for the rest

E-Commerce Features

Shopify wins this department by a mile as Squarespace’s extension options are very limited, but Squarespace still offers enough e-commerce features to help you start selling 

E-Commerce Features Shopify vs squarespace
There are certain popular e-commerce apps such as Oberlo that are exclusively available on Shopify

As Shopify was designed with building e-commerce stores in mind, it remains one of the best e-commerce platforms for most businesses today. Its e-commerce solutions are unparalleled and, with its app store that offers more than 2,200 plugins, you’re sure to find an app to help you conveniently market, sell, process shipments, and more.

For dropshippers, Shopify is the obvious choice. Squarespace’s platform doesn’t support dropshipping apps, save for Printful. Thus, if you want to dropship through suppliers like AliExpress, Shopify makes it easier to do so through its exclusive Oberlo plugin. Shopify also offers more payment gateways while Squarespace only lets your customers pay through PayPal, Apple Pay, or Stripe (more on this on the Security and Payments section below).

Unlike Shopify’s app store, Squarespace offers very few extensions on its platform. While Squarespace’s limited features cannot compete against Shopify’s, it’s no slouch either. Its Advanced Commerce plan supports abandoned cart recovery, a favorite feature on Shopify. Squarespace’s Business plan lets you sell unlimited products as well, just like Shopify’s Basic Plan. It’s slowly catching up in terms of shipping features as well, but it still has a long way to go as Shopify’s discounted shipping rates alone are the lowest out there.

Between Shopify and Squarespace, which is better for artists?

Shopify vs Squarespace for artists

This is a little tricky to answer as Squarespace and its impeccable designs and tools make it an ideal platform for artists and other creatives. If you need to stick to a certain budget, Squarespace is an excellent option as it gives you the essential e-commerce features at a lower monthly cost. You can start selling digital products on Squarespace right away without having to install a third-party app, unlike with Shopify. In addition, Squarespace supports print-on-demand selling if you want to sell products printed with your work.

Deal Finder
Squarespace
Best for smaller businesses on a tighter budget

Boasting award-winning templates and an intuitive interface, Squarespace provides an affordable way to start blogging and selling online.

Try Squarespace for Free
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Pricing/Monthly Cost

Shopify’s Basic plan costs $29/month while Squarespace’s popular Business plan costs $18/month if you sign up for an annual plan

Shopify vs Squarespace monthly cost and pricing

 

You can minimize the transaction fees by using Shopify Payments instead of a third-party payment provider

At a glance, it’s easier to believe that Squarespace is a lot more affordable than Shopify, and that’s true to some extent. If you don’t need essential features like abandoned cart recovery or analysis tools, then Squarespace’s Business plan might just be enough to meet your needs. Abandoned cart recovery is a very important feature, as it provides a way to reach out to specific customers and convert some abandoned carts into sales. On Shopify, abandoned cart recovery is already available on the Shopify Basic plan that costs $29/month.

Another factor to consider in computing your monthly costs is Shopify and Squarespace’s transaction fees. If you’re eligible to use Shopify Payments (it’s limited to certain countries), you’ll save on additional transaction fees. However, if you’re set on using a third-party payment gateway, you’ll get more savings on Squarespace as it doesn’t charge on top of the provider’s rates if you subscribe to the Basic or Advanced Commerce plan.

Shopify vs Squarespace (6)

Signing up for Squarespace’s annual Business plan offers the biggest savings

Every Squarespace plan also comes with a free custom domain in the first year, thus further lowering your start-up costs. With Shopify, you’ll need to secure your own domain name, which can cost around $11 or more, depending on your chosen domain. The most popular monthly plan on Squarespace is the Business plan that lets you start selling unlimited physical and digital products. It costs $26/month, but it gets reduced to $18/month (30% off) if you sign up for a full-year commitment.

Deal Finder
Squarespace
Best for smaller businesses on a tighter budget

Boasting award-winning templates and an intuitive interface, Squarespace provides an affordable way to start blogging and selling online.

Try Squarespace for Free
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Security, Payments, & Transaction Fees

Both keep your site secure, but Shopify offers significantly more payment options than Squarespace 

Shopify vs Squarespace (8)

 

Squarespace’s payment options is very limited 

Both Shopify and Squarespace host your site through their platform and the plans include an SSL certificate, so you won’t have to worry about dealing with security breaches. In terms of payment and transaction fees, Squarespace’s limited options cannot rival Shopify’s. Squarespace only supports PayPal, Stripe, and Apple Pay.

If you’re content with having only three payment gateways, then Squarespace is the more cost-effective choice. As mentioned earlier, you won’t get charged transaction fees on the Basic or Advanced Commerce plans while on the Squarespace Business plan, you’ll only get charged 3% and there’s no flat-rate fee for every transaction.

Meanwhile, Shopify supports over 100 payment methods, including Amazon Pay and Google Pay. Shopify charges 2.4% + ¢30 for every online credit card transaction if you’re on the Advanced Shopify plan, and the rate increases the lower your plan is. For instance, you’ll be charged 2.9% + ¢30 per transaction on the Basic Shopify plan. If you’re not using Shopify Payments as your gateway, Shopify will charge you 2% for every transaction on the Basic plan and it goes down to .5% if you’re on the Advanced Shopify plan.

Design and Interface

Squarespace offers more stylish templates and design, but Shopify’s e-commerce interface is the friendliest for new users

Shopify vs Squarespace (9)

 

Squarespace has been known for its stunning designer templates

It’s hard to beat Squarespace when it comes to beautifully-designed templates. Its templates look modern and elegant, and they’re easy to build, too. Both Shopify and Squarespace let you drag and drop images and other elements to easily achieve the look that you want for your storefront. If you’re after templates with striking designs, Squarespace can offer that. However, its e-commerce features are not as easy as Shopify’s.

Shopify offers around 10 free themes, and if you don’t mind spending extra on templates, you can choose from Shopify’s over 50 paid shop designs. While this may be very limited options, Shopify curated some of the best themes optimized for e-commerce stores. Even when using free themes, your storefront will still look professional on Shopify.

Reddit Reviews

Reddit users are unanimous that Shopify is better than Squarespace when comparing their e-commerce features

The following Reddit comment echoes how the e-commerce side of your site is easier to set-up on Shopify:

Shopify vs Squarespace reddit

Shopify’s advanced e-commerce features make scaling your business a smoother process:

Another point for Shopify is its app store. As Reddit user opqr549 puts it:

Verdict

Shopify’s powerful e-commerce features and a wide array of apps make it worth the slightly higher monthly cost. 

Deal Finder
Squarespace
Best for smaller businesses on a tighter budget

Boasting award-winning templates and an intuitive interface, Squarespace provides an affordable way to start blogging and selling online.

Try Squarespace for Free
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

If you’re looking for a sustainable e-commerce store that you can scale without issues, Shopify is hands-down the better option. Unlike Squarespace, Shopify’s app store gives you a plethora of plugin options to help you with marketing, shipping, abandoned cart recovery, and more. Even with the $29/month Basic Shopify plan, you’ll get essential e-commerce features to help you start selling online.  Shopify offers a free 14-day trial that you can take advantage of to see how much easier it is to build an e-commerce store from scratch in this platform.

While Squarespace’s e-commerce features are not on par with Shopify’s, it remains a great low-cost alternative if you’re only selling a few items. Its discounted annual Business offers the best value for your money if you feel you won’t need Squarespace’s more advanced e-commerce features. Otherwise, you’re probably better off getting Shopify’s Basic plan as it offers comprehensive features that are only available on Squarespace’s Advanced Commerce plan. If you want to get a feel of its platform, you can try Squarespace for free for 14 days first.

FAQs

📌 Is Shopify better than Squarespace?

Shopify is overall better than Squarespace as Shopify has more robust e-commerce tools and available extensions and third-party plugins.

📌 Can you use Shopify with Squarespace?

Yes, you can subscribe to the Shopify Lite plan and embed the products on your Squarespace site.

📌 Is Squarespace good for e-commerce?

Yes, Squarespace is a good platform to start selling your products quickly. It’s not as powerful as Shopify, but smaller online stores will find its features more than enough.

📌 Is Squarespace owned by Square?

While they both have “Square” Squarespace and Square are not from the same company. Squarespace is a web hosting platform while Square is a payment gateway.

See also  Squarespace vs Wix (2021): Comparing Website Builders
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Rhodaline Escala-Phelps