Squarespace vs BigCommerce (2021): Where Should You Build An Online Store?

If you’re planning to start an online store, chances are you’ve heard of Squarespace and BigCommerce. Although both allow you to create a website even without coding experience, there are some fundamental differences between the two. BigCommerce, for instance, is largely designed to build e-commerce sites. The platform already boasts of a wide range of payment solutions along with support for multi-currency selling.

Meanwhile, Squarespace takes pride in its beautifully-designed templates that are perfect for content-heavy websites like blogs or portfolios. Over the years, however, the website builder has integrated several e-commerce features into its plans. With this development, where should you build an online store? In this review, we compare the two platform’s key features to help you see which solution suits your needs.

Squarespace vs BigCommerce Comparison Chart

NameSquarespaceBigCommerce
 
PriceStarts at $16

View Plans at Squarespace
Starts at $29.95

View Plans at BigCommerce
TypeDrag-and-drop website builderE-commerce platform
Standout FeatureProfessionally-designed templatesAdvanced selling features
HostingYesYes
BandwidthUnlimitedUnlimited
StorageUnlimitedUnlimited
BloggingSupportedSupported
SEOBuilt-inBuilt-in
Mobile Responsive TemplatesYesYes
Sales CapNoneSales limit varies according to plan
Transaction FeesOnly for Business PlanNone
Payment ProcessingStripe, PaypalOver 65 pre-integrated payment solutions
Multi-Currency SellingSupported only via extensionsSupported natively; 140 currencies
Free Trial14 days15 days

Website Building and Management

Squarespace delivers a more intuitive website building experience compared to BigCommerce.

Unlike other drag-and-drop website builders, Squarespace follows a section-based approach.

Squarespace is an out-of-the-box solution that largely takes care of the nitty-gritty of website building. Hosting, domain, storage, and bandwidth — you name it, these core features are included across all Squarespace plans.

Similar to other platforms like Weebly and Wix, Squarespace also features a drag-and-drop editing interface. It’s intuitive to use, with a menu of content blocks you can choose from to add to your site. Moving these elements around simply requires you to drag and drop them where you please. These customizable blocks can be videos, quotations, images, photo galleries, and buttons.

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BigCommerce’s control plan allows for mobile previews.

Like Squarespace, BigCommerce also handles all the technical stuff you need when starting an online store. All of its plans already come with unlimited bandwidth, storage, products, as well as staff accounts. Getting started on the platform is fairly easy, too. BigCommerce’s registration includes guided prompts as well as the next steps to walk a user through the process of launching a site.

BigCommerce’s interface, however, isn’t as beginner-friendly as Squarespace’s. While using the platform is rather straightforward, first-time users might find some features require a bit more of a learning curve. Fortunately, the platform has made headway in the actual website editing department. BigCommerce now comes with a drag-and-drop page builder that, while not as versatile as Squarespace yet, certainly makes the hands-on website building experience easier.

Templates and Customization

While BigCommerce has a large catalog of templates, they’re not as sleek as Squarespace’s.

Here’s a look at some of the customizable elements of Squarespace (left) and BigCommerce (right) templates.

One of the biggest draws of Squarespace is its catalog of templates. The selection, though not as wide compared with other website builders, is still tastefully curated. The designs are also organized per category, so it’s easier to envision how your website or online store will look like given the products and services.

Currently, the platform has 60 templates to choose from, all of which are mobile responsive. Most brandish a minimalist scheme, putting emphasis on visual elements like text, media, and imagery. Less than 10 templates are dedicated to online stores although Squarespace shares you can use the other designs for the same purpose.

Meanwhile, BigCommerce has over 100 themes in its catalog. There isn’t a lot of variety in them, especially if you opt for one of the platform’s 12 free templates. If you want a design that stands out a bit more, you’ll have to look into the paid themes.

Both Squarespace and BigCommerce allow you to modify any of the templates you choose. Most page elements are customizable, including font type, page colors, and headers. Even the content blocks you add to your website can be modified based on dimensions, colors, layout, and more.

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For deeper customizations, Big Commerce does have an advantage over Squarespace. The platform affords users full control over a website’s HTML and CSS, whereas Squarespace’s CSS editor is only available with the Business and Commerce plans.

E-Commerce Features

BigCommerce offers more robust e-commerce features compared to Squarespace.

With Squarespace’s online store templates, you can sell almost anything.

Squarespace has plenty of e-commerce features built-in. Keep in mind, however, these tools for selling are only available with a Business, Basic Commerce, or Advanced Commerce plan. The platform’s Personal plan, on the other hand, is purely for content-based websites.

But regardless if you opt for a Business or Commerce subscription, you’ll already be allowed to sell unlimited products and gift cards, as well as accept donations. More advanced tools for selling, however, are reserved for the two Commerce plans. These features include point of sale, product checkout, and merchandising tools.

BigCommerce offers a range of features for starting an online store.

This is where BigCommerce has a considerable advantage over Squarespace. Since it is primarily an e-commerce platform, you get more advanced features for selling online across all plans. For instanced, branded online stores, integration with Facebook products, as well as connections with eBay and Amazon Marketplaces are standard tools offered by the platform.

When it comes to payment processing, BigCommerce also has more options. The platform has over 60 pre-integrated payment solutions while Squarespace relies only on Stripe and Paypal. Multi-currency selling is likewise supported across all of BigCommerce’s plans, something you won’t get from Squarespace unless you have an extension.

Lastly, BigCommerce’s POS integration is more robust and flexible, as it’s compatible with more hardware compared to what Squarespace offers. The platform also boasts of a wide selection of app integrations for added functionality, including dropshipping, order management, and additional sales channels. With Squarespace, the extensions are still quite limited.

Plans and Pricing

BigCommerce plans are more expensive than Squarespace. The e-commerce platform also applies an annual sales limit per plan.

Here’s a look at the available Squarespace and BigCommerce plans.

With so many features between them, just how much will a Squarespace or BigCommerce plan cost you?

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Well, Squarespace currently has four plans to choose from. If you just want to start a blog or create a portfolio, the website builder’s Personal plan should be enough. It comes in at $16 a month. As mentioned earlier, e-commerce features are only available with the Business, Basic Commerce, and Advanced Commerce plans. Subscriptions to these options cost $26, $30, and $46 respectively. Discounts are available, however, if you opt to pay the subscription annually.

BigCommerce similarly offers four monthly plans, with discounts on some plans’ monthly fees if you opt to pay yearly. Its entry-level plan is called Standard and costs $29.95 a month. For fast-growing businesses, the Plus and Pro plan offer more room to scale. The two plans cost $79.95 and $299.95 a month respectively. An Enterprise solution is also available but you’ll need to contact BigCommerce’s sales for a quote.

Keep in mind, however, that BigCommerce does put an annual sales limit depending on your plan. If you go beyond this cap, you’ll have to pay additional fees. The following sales caps per BigCommerce plan is listed below:

  • Standard: $50,000
  • Plus: $150,000
  • Pro: $400,000
  • Enterprise: negotiable

Verdict

Squarespace is better for individuals, creative professionals, and smaller stores whereas BigCommerce offers more features for businesses that need to scale.

Squarespace

Best for individuals and small businesses

BigCommerce

Best for businesses that need to scale

Individuals and small businesses stand to benefit the most from Squarespace. The website builder is easy-to-use and comes with enough e-commerce features to start an online store. Creative professionals might also be drawn to Squarespace, as the platform offers better-looking templates compared to BigCommerce. If you’re planning to create a portfolio, start a blog, or run a photography business, for instance, then Squarespace is for you.

Meanwhile, if online selling will be your primary activity, then BigCommerce’s advanced e-commerce features offer more room to scale. The platform boasts of flexible point-of-sale, support for multi-currency selling, and an impressive number of payment solutions. You also get access to a few hundred integrations that can boost your online store’s functionality. BigCommerce plans are far more expensive but if your business is booming and you need a platform for larger sales volumes, it’s the tool for you.

FAQs

📌 What’s the main difference between Squarespace and BigCommerce?

Squarespace is a website builder that offers professionally-designed templates for mostly content-based websites. BigCommerce, on the other hand, is primarily an e-commerce platform that comes with website and page building functionality.

📌 Does BigCommerce offer a free plan?

No, BigCommerce does not offer a free plan. But like Squarespace, you can also avail yourself of a free trial.

📌 How much is the transaction fee on Squarespace?

Squarespace’s Business Plan charges a 3% transaction fee on sales.

📌 Which offers better SEO features, Squarespace or BigCommerce?

BigCommerce offers better SEO features, with an interface that’s easier for optimizing a page. It also integrates with AMP that really helps speed up how web pages load on mobile devices.