Are you a small retailer or independent seller looking to build your online store? Chances are you’ve heard of Squarespace and Etsy.
Squarespace is one of the most popular website building platforms today, and it owes its success largely to its impressive catalogue of professionally-designed templates. Etsy, on the other hand, is an online marketplace that’s a favorite among creative entrepreneurs and customers. Just a few years ago, it even launched its own website builder called Pattern by Etsy.
But does the integration of Pattern make Etsy a better choice for starting your online store? Or is Squarespace’s all-in-one approach a more advantageous option? Below, we compare the two platforms to help you give an idea which website builder is best for you.
Squarespace vs Etsy Comparison Chart
|Price||Check Price at Squarespace||Check Price at Etsy|
|Type||Website building and hosting software||E-commerce website|
|Hosted Platform||Yes||Yes, with Pattern by Etsy|
|Customizable Themes||Yes||Yes, with Pattern by Etsy|
|Security||PCI compliant and SSL enabled||SSL certificate included|
|Themes||Customizable||Customizable in Pattern by Etsy|
|Website Analytics||Yes||Yes, with Etsy Pattern|
|Payment Methods||Credit and debit cards, Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay||Credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, PayPal, Google Pay, Etsy Gift Cards|
|Payment Processing||Stripe, PayPal||Etsy Payments, PayPal|
|Email Marketing||Squarespace Email Campaigns||MailChimp integration in Pattern by Etsy|
|Customer Support||24/7 email support, chat support, help center, community answers||Email support, help center, community forums|
Squarespace is a robust website builder with impressive e-commerce tools. Etsy, on the other hand, is a niche marketplace with a website editing platform called Pattern.
Launched in 2003, Squarespace’s growth can be largely attributed to the platform’s ease of use. Unlike traditional self-hosted content management systems (CMS) like WordPress and Blogger, hosting is already taken care of, and you can build a website even without technical expertise or coding experience. Instead, Squarespace uses an intuitive drag-and-drop interface similar to Wix, Weebly, and WordPress’ own Divi editor.
Of course, you can always use the built-in CSS editor if you really want to customize your template. But it’s not going to be as in-depth or flexible as WordPress for example, which is designed to be scaled and customized as your website expands. Nonetheless, you get a number of robust and powerful features to truly make your website standout. Among these tools are G Suite integration, a built-in email marketing platform, SEO optimization, and website analytics.
In contrast, Etsy is an online marketplace that’s akin to Amazon. It’s product catalogue, however, focuses on handmade products, vintage items, and craft supplies. Ease of use is similarly emphasized here. You can start selling on Etsy by simply registering and listing your products. But what if you want to have your own shop, rather than renting a “digital stall” so to speak?
Pattern by Etsy
This is where Pattern by Etsy comes into play. Launched in 2016, Etsy’s own e-commerce platform allows you to build your own website outside the marketplace. Moreover, there are fewer restrictions on the products you can sell on Pattern compared to Etsy itself.
Just like Squarespace, Pattern allows you to build your own website in an instant. You can choose from a handful of themes to start, without worrying about coding or website hosting. If you’re particular about managing your brand, you can choose to use your own website domain. Plus, all your Etsy listings will be automatically synced with the standalone shop. Keep in mind, however, that you need to be an Etsy seller to use Pattern by Etsy.
Squarespace offers high-levels of customization compared to both Etsy and Pattern by Etsy.
When it comes to themes, Squarespace has a clear advantage over Etsy. Its over 60 templates are some of the best-looking in the market today. They’re mobile-optimized, too. Squarespace has even categorized designs depending on your business needs. You’ll find templates for online stores, restaurants, and even professional services among others. All of these offer a high-level of customization for colors, fonts, and page configurations.
Fonts, in particular, are a quick and easy way to truly adapt a template to fit your brand identity. In this aspect, Squarespace has partnered with TypeKit to offer free selection of fonts available online. Content is also customizable, so you can add a range of media to your website like video backgrounds, image headers, and even chart blocks. Best of all, you can switch templates anytime you want.
Etsy’s marketplace doesn’t quite come close to the versatility offered by Squarespace. However, since your listings will be following Etsy’s design, you’re guaranteed everything will look good. So it’s a boon if you’re not the creative type but also a bane if you want your brand to have a distinct identity.
Pattern by Etsy does offer the customizations you see on Squarespace, although it will not be as extensive. You have about 10 themes to choose from, with customizable design components as well. Some of the sections you can edit include background and accent colors, fonts, cart style, and your listing page gallery.
Etsy comes with basic marketing tools while Squarespace is packed with e-commerce features.
No matter how visually-striking your website is, you will not sell unless you have solid e-commerce tools. And in this aspect, Squarespace is undoubtedly feature-packed. Of course, you’ll get the basics: social media integrations, rich product descriptions, multiple payment methods, order management, and calculated shipping rates. But you also get more advanced tools including tax rates management, support for multiple currencies, and your own email marketing platform through Squarespace Email Campaigns.
Designed for small scale selling, Etsy’s suite of tools keep things simple. A standard Etsy account, for instance, will you give basic marketing and promotional tools to grow your customer base. This includes coupons to attract new customers, the ability to share your listing across social media platforms, and boost your visibility though Etsy’s in-house advertisement. If you want advertising credits or email alerts to customers when your products are in stock, you’ll have to upgrade to Etsy Plus.
Meanwhile, on Pattern by Etsy, you get standard tools typical of most website builders. After all, it is a separate entity from your Etsy marketplace, so you are responsible for driving traffic to your website. Just like Squarespace, you’ll have access to basic marketing and promotional tools. This includes website analytics and social media sharing, as well as email marketing campaigns care of MailChimp.
Pricing and Fees
Squarespace offers monthly subscriptions while Etsy charges per product listing, transaction fees, and payment processing fees.
With Squarespace, you get to choose from four packages — Personal, Business, Basic Commerce, and Advanced Commerce—with features that increase as you move up the plans. Personal comes in at $16/mo while the most popular package, Business, will cost you $26/mo. Keep in mind that a Business plan subscription includes a transaction fee of 3%.
Larger businesses will benefit more from the Commerce plans with its additional commerce tools like point of sale, e-commerce analytics, and customer accounts. Basic Commerce costs $30/mo while Advanced Commerce will set you back $46/mo. You can, however, save between 13 to 30% on monthly fees if you opt for an annual subscription, and depending on the plan.
Etsy is just as straightforward, although it uses a different pricing scheme. Instead of a regular monthly fee, you get charged with a $0.20 listing fee per product. Once you make a sale, you’ll also have to shoulder a 5% transaction fee along with 3% + $0.25 payment processing charge that’s applied by the payment provider. And if you’re an Etsy Plus subscriber, you’ll have to pay a monthly $10 fee for the extra tools. While these additional charges shouldn’t hurt on a small scale, it’s going to come out expensive once you start selling above $1,000 per month.
Of course, you’ll have to pay separately for Pattern by Etsy. Although the platform is free for the first 30 days, you will be charged $15 per month in the succeeding months to cover hosting fees.
Squarespace is a more versatile platform for small to mid-size businesses while Etsy is better suited for independent sellers who sell on a small scale.
Best for small and mid-size businesses regardless of product or service
Best for independent sellers of vintage or handmade items, and craft supplies
Choosing between Squarespace and Etsy is essentially an extension of the debate over e-commerce websites and marketplaces. At the end of the day, you’ll have to go with what’s really suited for your business.
Etsy, as a marketplace, makes it easier for an entrepreneur to start out. It comes with the traffic, and listing products should be easy. However, Etsy itself is limited to a niche market, and even though you can sell more products through Pattern by Etsy, you’ll need to be a registered seller in the marketplace to avail the web editor. As such, we recommend this site to independent sellers who may not have the resources to build and manage a standalone website, and who wouldn’t feel the brunt of Etsy’s transaction fees.
With Squarespace, you get a versatile website builder with an impressive suite of e-commerce tools. Customizations are also more extensive, thanks to the platform’s catalogue of professionally-designed templates. However, you’ll have to build, design, and manage the site on your own. You’ll also be responsible for driving traffic to it. Squarespace does offer marketing tools to help your site gain traction. However, we feel these features are best suited for small and mid-sized businesses with the resources to invest on a standalone website.
Selling on a website allows you to create a better brand entity compared to selling on a marketplace like Etsy. With the latter, you’ll be competing with other sellers and a larger number of product listings.
As a marketplace, Etsy comes with its own traffic already. You don’t have to think about ranking on search engines to get people to check out your listings.
Squarespace offers email accounts through G-suite email using your Squarespace domain.
Squarespace only charges a 3% transaction fee for its Business plan.