When you need a user-friendly ecommerce website, Shopify and Squarespace are two of the most popular options.
Shopify is your best bet if you’re looking to grow your business. It has more ecommerce tools to help you sell, while Squarespace focuses more on building your website and starting content creation.
Still, both have plenty of benefits, and the one you choose will depend on what you need for your business.
Shopify Compared to Squarespace
Shopify works best for creating a space to sell online. It has resources for marketing and business management. Its high speeds and built-in SEO features mean more people stay on your site and buy your products, while its branding and business management tools make it easy for you to keep track of your shop. Try Shopify free for three days.
Squarespace has an intuitive CMS that makes it perfect for creating content, like blog posts, as part of your marketing. It has a wide selection of website templates to help you build a successful business website. The platform makes it easy to sell both products and services, though you need to pay extra to get access to some of its marketing features. Start building your website with your Squarespace free trial.
More Top Ecommerce Platforms
Squarespace and Shopify aren’t the only quality ecommerce platforms out there. We spent over 100 hours reviewing, evaluating, and testing all the options on the market to make sure we gave you only the best recommendations. Check out our list of top picks to see which platforms met our high standards and how to pick the right one for your business.
Where Shopify Shines
Shopify is built to help your business bring in sales. Its tools give you plenty of opportunities to do that and more.
Speed and SEO: Speed is part of SEO, and Shopify makes sure you have it. It generates titles and product descriptions for you with its built-in SEO features, so you don’t have to do that work yourself. Plus, if you change your URL, it will autogenerate a 301 redirect so customers can always find your shop.
Specific Business Resources: Shopify offers specific help for many different types of products so that you can do all the right things to get your goods out there. It comes with free resources, professional tools, targeted marketing, and specific support to give you everything you need to boost your business. It shows you everything from pricing to the best marketing tactics for you.
Branding Tools: With Shopify’s brand-building resources, you can easily create a cohesive image for your business. Its business name generator and free logo-making services give you a leg up over other platforms. It also has stock photos you can use for your site, themes to suit different business types, and resources to help you market to your ideal audience.
Custom Storefront Tools: Shopify helps you market and manage your business in a way that sets you apart from the rest. It gives you custom channels to sell on, custom websites, and even gamification to engage your audience. With a unique shopping experience and flexibility, including commerce on its mobile app, Shopify creates a platform where you have control over your sales.
Sales Channels: You can expand your reach across multiple platforms and promote everything from one place with Shopify. Sell on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and more by syncing your product catalog with your business social media accounts. Customers can even checkout through social media.
Organized Business Management: Shopify helps you keep track or orders, finances, and insight through a single system for order management. It lets you take care of everything in the same place, including fulfillment, inventory, shipping, and returns. It also makes it easy to receive payments and manage your shop on mobile.
Supports Major Payment Options: Most ecommerce platforms only support a few payment systems, but Shopify accepts everything from credit to PayPal to local currencies. It’s PCI-compliant, 3D Secure, and encrypted. Your customers’ information (and your business’s!) stay safe while allowing you a full view of your finances.
Where Shopify Falls Short
Despite all of Shopify’s advanced ecommerce features, there are a few areas where it doesn’t quite measure up. Consider how these factors will impact your business before you jump in.
More Focus on Products Over Services: You can use Shopify for selling services, but it focuses much more on selling products. Even its free resources focus mainly on selling products, and the platform doesn’t provide as many features for selling services. If you sell services, you may do better with Squarespace.
Not Built for Content: Shopify tells you how to create your content, but there’s no real space for it in your shop. Other platforms let you set up a blog and other content areas, but Shopify makes it a little harder to take advantage of onsite marketing. However, it’s great for boosting your social media presence.
Where Squarespace Shines
Squarespace makes it easy to build your site and sell your stuff. User-friendliness makes it one of the most popular ecommerce platforms, and it has plenty of other features to explore and use to boost your business.
Intuitive CMS: Squarespace is a CMS solution first. It features drag-and-drop creation and supports content above all else. It’s the easiest CMS for shop owners and anyone who wants to build their website fast.
User-Friendly Website Templates: Squarespace’s award-winning templates are flexible and customizable. You can create a website in a short time, and it only takes one click to change its look if you rebrand. Plus, each template is already optimized for mobile.
Built-In SEO: With advanced SEO tools and Google Search Console to verify your business, Squarespace makes sure you show up in search results. It generates default titles and product descriptions, though you can write your own, and it comes with a site map, so you don’t have to create one. With SSL security, mobile optimization, and ecommerce-specific SEO, it gets your business seen online.
Easy to Sell Products and Services: Squarespace goes beyond selling products alone and allows you to book your services online. You can set your schedule and send reminders to make everything convenient for you and your customers. It also has dedicated features for selling gift cards and subscriptions.
Great Content Platform: If you have or want onsite content for your business, Squarespace is the best platform for it. It supports content creation more actively than Shopify, and it’s ideal for blog hosting. It’s also great for showcasing your portfolio if you have art, music, photography, or other visual or audio media for customers to browse.
Comprehensive Marketing Tools: You can take advantage of video marketing with the Squarespace Video Studio app to go beyond text-based marketing. With Squarespace Email Campaigns, you can set up an email funnel or newsletter, and its social media integrations connect you with your followers online. Its marketing tools make it easy to manage your marketing and reach your audience with minimal extra effort.
Where Squarespace Falls Short
Squarespace comes with comprehensive tools for building your ecommerce website and marketing your business, but it’s not perfect. Here are a few things to think about before you commit to the platform.
More Expensive to Sell: The Squarespace Email Campaign is a great tool, but you have to pay more to use it. It caps subscribers if you don’t have a more expensive package and limits how many newsletters you can send. It’s not a huge extra cost, but it can be a pain since it’s not a standard feature with every package.
Limited Social Media Platform: With Squarespace, you can only sell through Instagram without getting extensions for other platforms. You do have to pay for those extensions, too, so it can get expensive.
The Final Verdict on Shopify Compared to Squarespace
Shopify is built for selling above all else. It’s improved its shop-building process over the years, putting it on par with Squarespace for convenience.
Its user-friendliness and flexibility make it one of the most popular ecommerce platforms. However, it has some work to do when it comes to content. It’s also more expensive than other selling platforms, but it makes up for that with extensive features.
Shopify offers three different packages:
- Basic: $39 per month or $29 per month when billed annually
- Shopify: $105 per month or $79 per month when billed annually
- Advanced: $399 per month or $299 per month when billed annually
You can also try Shopify free for three days.
The Basic package starts you off with an online store, unlimited products, and two staff accounts. You have 24/7 support at your fingertips, too.
It gives you access to sales channels and up to 1000 inventory locations with manual order creation, discount codes, and abandoned cart recovery. You can also sell gift cards at this tier.
Its free SSL certificate shows your customers your site is secure, and Shopify’s fraud analysis protects your business. Plus, basic reports let you know what’s going on with your site and audience.
With customer segmentation and marketing automation, you can market directly to the right people using your unlimited contacts. Shopify POS Lite makes for easy and fast checkout, and Shopify Basic offers shipping labels and discounts of up to 77% from specified carriers.
It even gives you international commerce features, including international money management, market domains and subfolders, translation, currency conversion, and local payment methods.
The Shopify package comes with all Basic tier features, but it boosts you to five staff accounts and 1000 inventory locations. With standard reports, it gives you more information about your website and marketing.
You can get up to 88% off with shipping discounts and USPS Priority Mail Cubic pricing. This package gives you better credit card rates and lower transaction fees than the Basic plan, too.
The Advanced plan gives you all Shopify tier features, plus a big jump to 15 staff accounts and the same 1000 inventory locations. Its advanced reports give you more insights than its other plans, so you don’t miss a beat with your sales.
With third-party calculated shipping rates, you and your customers know right away how much they’ll pay to get their order. You also get the lowest credit card rates and transaction fees of all Shopify plans.
Ecommerce automations make managing your shop easier. The Advances package calculates duties and import taxes during checkout, so your customers don’t get any surprises. You can even set custom prices based on your market.
Shopify is advanced in almost every area of ecommerce. You’ll have no problem setting up shop and running your business with any of its plans.
Squarespace has great features as both a CMS and ecommerce platform. However, it works better as a CMS, even with its convenient marketing and management features. Its intuitive tools make it the easiest way to build a website, and it’s stronger than Shopify when it comes to content.
Squarespace has four plans to choose from:
- Personal: $14 per month billed annually
- Business: $23 per month billed annually
- Basic Commerce: $27 per month billed annually
- Advanced Commerce: $49 per month billed annually
The Personal plan probably won’t cut it for most businesses, but it does offer a free custom domain, SSL security, and unlimited bandwidth. With 30 minutes of video storage and limited access to the Squarespace Video Studio app, it still gives you resources to market outside of a blog.
Its built-in SEO features and award-winning templates make building your site easy. With this plan, you can include two contributors, and you automatically have a mobile-optimized site.
With this package, you get 24/7 customer support, basic website metrics, and Squarespace extensions.
At the Business tier, you get all Personal features, plus enough to market and run your shop. It boosts you to unlimited contributors and full access to the Video Studio app.
It gives you advanced website analytics, Google Ads credits, pop-ups, and banners to get your brand out there. With fully integrated ecommerce, Squarespace allows you to sell unlimited products. You can also accept donations and issue gift cards, and Squarespace collects a 3% transaction fee.
With Basic Commerce, you get all Business features, as well as a 0% transaction fee and more ecommerce features. With Point of Sale, customer accounts, and checkout on your domain, this plan makes selling even more convenient for you and your customers.
Its ecommerce analytics and merchandising tools show you how customers interact with your products and where you can improve their shopping experience. With this tier, you can sell your products on Instagram and offer limited availability for products.
The Advanced Commerce package comes with all Basic Commerce features but even more capabilities for ecommerce. You get abandoned cart recovery and can sell subscriptions. With advanced shipping and discounts, you can offer the best deals, and commerce APIs help you fine-tune your marketing.
Squarespace and Shopify both offer extensive ecommerce features. If you want to focus on your products above all, Shopify has more features to help you do it.
Squarespace works better if you plan to run a blog along with your ecommerce website. It also has more tools and templates for building your site from the ground up. Its ecommerce features are a little weaker than Shopify’s, but it still offers enough to work with, depending on your other resources and how quickly you want to grow your business.
Shopify and Squarespace are only two ecommerce platforms, though. To learn more about other solid choices, check out our detailed review of the best ecommerce platforms, which includes a step-by-step guide for finding the best option for your business.
- Shopify – Most ecommerce platform for most
- Wix – Best ecommerce platform for beginners
- Bluehost – Best for automatic WooCommerce store setup
- Squarespace – Best portfolio-based ecommerce builder
- BigCommerce – Best for multichannel sales
- Ecwid – Best free shopping cart extension
- WooCommerce – Best ecommerce plugin for WordPress
- Shift4Shop – Best ecommerce platform for developers
- Easy Digital Downloads – Best WordPress plugin for digital products
- Volusion – Best ecommerce platform for large stores
- Magento – Best enterprise ecommerce platform