Which is better for e-commerce? Shopify vs. Squarespace

Which is better for e-commerce? Shopify vs. Squarespace

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There are quite a few good sites that businesses can host their store on. We’ve already covered Shopify vs. Magento and Shopify vs. Wordpress, but there’s one that’s caught our attention recently. Over the past couple of years, Squarespace has been making some noise in the e-commerce space, offering the ability to add online store features for Squarespace-hosted websites. We wanted to take a deeper look into what exactly they offer.

They’ve both got key features

Both Shopify and Squarespace take care of the e-commerce basics, like:

  • Unlimited products on basic plans
  • 24/7 support
  • Free SSL security certificates
  • Web hosting
  • Tax calculations
  • Product variations and editing

If you’re just starting out, you should always look for a website host that lets you upload and customise products, set your prices and descriptions, accept payments easily and stay secure with sensitive customer information. Both Shopify and Squarespace do those quite well.

So what’s the difference?

Shopify is specifically for pure e-commerce merchants. Entrepreneurs and business owners who are selling online and in-store. It doesn’t really matter what you sell, Shopify can help you sell it. They’ve also got lots of features that help you sell both in-person and online, like their POS functionality.

Shopify’s biggest win is twofold: marketing features and app integrations.

You can use Shopify’s analytics, customer sorting, inventory management features, Search Engine Optimisation features, multiple sales channel integrations (like Amazon and Facebook) and literally hundreds more. One thing worth pointing out, though, is that Shopify’s better marketing and reporting features are only available on their more expensive plans.

Squarespace, on the other hand, is built for basically any kind of website. They’re used by companies that build information-based websites, portfolios, blogs, or other companies that focus elsewhere, but want to add an e-commerce element.

They offer several dedicated mobile apps for iOS and Android, including apps that let you write blog posts and publish remotely, see your Google Analytics, or manage your store. While Shopify has a Point-of-Sale app and a store admin app, if you’re interested in creating content on-the-go, Squarespace is probably better.

A head-to-head comparison of Shopify vs. Squarespace

  Shopify Squarespace
Main purpose

You can use Shopify as your main admin point, while selling across basically any other channel

Highly integrated platform with loads of marketing and analytics features

Easy-to-build websites for any kind of company with great themes and photo-editing software. No coding skills required

Cost

Lite ($9/mo);

Basic Shopify ($29/mo);

Shopify ($79/mo);

Advanced Shopify ($299/mo).

Basic($26/mo);
Advanced ($40/mo).
Ecosystem

Huge app store with hundreds of integrations, including native integrations with tax services, MailChimp and Facebook.

Entrepreneurship blog and user forum with 500,000 businesses using Shopify

Continuous updates and marketing features added by Shopify.

Shopify Experts are a curated list of supportive companies that can help with website development, marketing or anything else.

Integrates with accounting service Xero, GSuite and Dropbox.

24/7 support from Squarespace

Customisations

Tweak and edit almost anything with little to no coding knowledge, or get powerful customisations with the help of a developer to edit anything

You can edit your HTML a bit yourself, and themes are fairly customisable, but not to the same extent

Squarespace Developer platform is available

Payment Gateways

70+ payment gateways, including Stripe and Paypal, Shopify Pay, virtual currencies, and payment instalment plans.

Stripe or Paypal

Where can you sell?

Anywhere. Literally anywhere. You can also sell online, in-store or on-the-go from your phone easily and without additional cost.

Anywhere Stripe and Paypal are accepted

Best for

Companies focused on making sales, from microbusinesses to multi-channel stores and wholesalers.

Companies with a primary focus other than e-commerce, who might have a few products they want to make available for sale

The gist of it

Squarespace is a great site builder for content creators of all sorts. It’s cheaper and easy to use, and now has some solid e-commerce features that take care of all of the basics for small shops.

Shopify, on the other hand, is made for full-on e-commerce businesses and has tons of supportive features when it comes to marketing, targeting customers, advertising, dealing with abandoned carts, tracking activity, working across platforms and stores, offering customer service, integrating with other apps etc.

If you’re looking to make a website and simply offer a few books or shirts or novelty items for your followers, Squarespace will do just fine. You can also check out “Shopify Lite” ($9 a month) which lets you integrate the Shopify Buy Button onto any website - allowing you to sell up to 25 specific items easily, cheaply and from anywhere.

You guessed it, we’re biased.

Elkfox is a Shopify Expert. That means we’re an agency that helps businesses create online stores that work really, really well by using all of Shopify’s best features. So of course we’d say we recommend Shopify for a new business - but that’s because we genuinely love it. We’ve been working with their platform for years and haven’t found a better one out there yet.

If you’re interested in building a dedicated e-commerce site or have multiple layers of business when it comes to e-commerce, Shopify has more features tailored for you. Talk to Elkfox today if you’re interested in building up your e-commerce store.

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