Shopify vs Squarespace – Which Platform Wins in 2023?
Read this article, and find out which of these eCommerce business tools will help your online store develop the most and in the shortest time.
Initially, Squarespace was intended for building and managing content-based websites, focusing more on aesthetic quality.
Shopify was created as an online store builder for highlighting products and growing eCommerce businesses.
Over time, the eCommerce functionalities and content-creation apps became more and more prevalent on both sites.
Will Squarespace, the all-around website builder be able to meet your selling criteria with the added eCommerce features?
And, will the Shopify that’s built for the super-ambitious online store creators be enough to convey the style and design of your product as Squarespace would?
Through thorough research of each major category that affects the success of an online store, we have chosen the online store software that performs better at product presentation, payment options, tax setting, security, SEO, eCommerce, and much more.
Victory in each category here was earned, and the detailed examinations helped us provide you the benefits and drawbacks of the winning and losing sides in each round.
Read this article, and find out which of these eCommerce business tools will help your online store develop the most and in the shortest time.
Shopify vs Squarespace: Ecommerce Platform Overview in 2023
What makes Shopify unique
Shopify is the best overall eCommerce platform that can power both small and large eCommerce stores with great flexibility.
While Shopify can help you create a decent-looking store, the back office functionality is where it shines.
This online store software expertly handles inventory, sales channels, analytics, and orders under one roof.
While its Facebook and Instagram multichannel selling possibilities are the industry standard, the ten free templates and 50 premium themes that cover clothing, sports, cosmetics, and other industries are quite admirable.
As the dominant eCommerce platform, Shopify offers extensive inventory management, reporting, dropshipping, POS features.
In Shopify, you will have access to more enhanced tax calculation functionality, a wider range of payment gateways, multi-currency payment options, and that’s not all.
Unlike Squarespace, Shopify allows integration with a variety of third-party apps that boost the store’s functionality (Quickbooks, Tapcart – Mobile App, Quibble!, Report Pundit, Zoho, Zendesk, etc.)
Building a store is a lot less complicated and time-consuming than in Squarespace, while the 24/7 customer support team makes any miscalculated action re-adjustable and the day-to-day use silky smooth.
The multichannel selling system leaves no product, website, shopping cart, social media platform, bricks & mortar, online & mobile marketplace unmanaged.
Shopify’s full-scale sales tool variety will provide any starting businesses the opportunity to scale up on the market, and the large online stores can sustain their audience and stand out from their rivals.
What makes Squarespace unique
Squarespace is an intuitive, powerful webpage builder conceived as a solution for content-based websites.
Any website with a primary focus of displaying information like a magazine, photography portfolio, video presentation, company overview, news site, blog, etc. will be perfectly conveyed through an all-purpose website builder like Squarespace.
Squarespace’s visual drag-and-drop editor prioritizes the beautiful design elements of the static pages (like the contact or about us page)over the dynamic pages often more relevant to eCommerce websites (such as product or collection pages).
This is where the lines between an eCommerce store and a beautiful webpage are blurred.
If you want to showcase a single product in which aesthetics are a significant drawing factor, Squarespace’s elaborate design features can help you achieve a unique, lengthy product page look.
Squarespace offers additional eCommerce tools, a sharp analytics system, all the sales tools you need without an app, a full-on inventory management system that matches the one in Shopify, and much more.
The undisputed best platform for design, Squarespace offers everything from varying gorgeous templates, fading texts and photo sequences, stock image photo import, video backgrounds, zoom features, 360° visual walkthroughs, to name just a couple.
How Easy is it to Launch an Online Store on Shopify and Squarespace in 2023?
The store creation process on both platforms is straightforward, executed through a drag-and-drop interface or basic information input, while the responsive 24/7 support teams are there to guide you with blogs, webinars, email, phone, and every other kind of support.
How Easy is it to Launch an Online Store on Shopify?
The first thing you need to do is create your first product listing.
Keep your product title short and eye-catching, while using the product description or variants to convey the details.
Highlight the incentives like a generous return policy or free shipping.
Upload photos, gifs, videos, 3D models that show off your product.
It’s easy and profitable to justify premium prices with compelling branding.
Orchestrate your inventory, shipping, variants, and product availability to anticipate the upcoming orders, print the appropriate shipping labels for each order, segment your products, manage your catalog, and set the terms for discounts in just a couple of clicks.
Whenever you are looking for inspiration, you can always check out what other successful Shopify stores are doing right.
Create your contact, about, FAQ, and policy pages without a hassle, and contact the award-winning 24/7 support if you encounter any issues.
After you choose a template, it is quite easy to set up any slideshows, featured collections, images with text, newsletters, and everything else, and the variety of options is outstanding.
In the same way, you can customize your navigation menus, typography, checkout pages through settings in a few clear steps.
In the same manner, shipping, taxes, and payment gateways will be no challenge for launching your online store quickly, as you can ask for help from the expert team while you focus on the creative side of the business.
Now, you are ready to launch your store and drive traffic towards your first sales.
How Easy is it to Launch an Online Store on Squarespace?
Choosing the templates from the online store collection will give you a curated store platform from the start, with your domain secured.
When adding products, you can use the stock imagery options and the descriptions will have no limits for your imagination promoting your physical & digital products, subscriptions, gift cards, and services.
You can connect all the major payment processors including Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Square for in-person sales.
If you are having trouble deciding on shipping options, you can check out the insightful “Choosing the right shipping options” guide, though it’s quite easy to grasp the flat rate, weight, carrier-calculated, or free shipping options in a short time.
Squarespace makes tax management super-simple with the built-in tools and third-party extensions that allow you to take care of the locations, tax-inclusive prices, and everything else.
Post links on social media, tag products in your posts, and add discounts to promote your products across all platforms without any advertising expertise with great results.
Utilize Squarespace’s built-in email campaigns and drive sales through the simple yet effective Newsletter Block.
To sell in-person with Point of Sale, all you need to do is download the Squarespace commerce app.
Squarespace does make the set-up process easier with guides, built-in tools, and third-party extensions, but Shopify’s straight-to-the-point compelling descriptions, inventory management, and a dedicated 24/7 support team make the nitty-gritty elements of template design without challenges.
Ease of Use
Shopify Ease of Use
Although Squarespace’s interface is more stylish, both use a simple CMS menu on the left-hand side layout, while the right side displays all the design, analytics, and other operations.
You can edit content, view data, add & customize products easily in both programs.
Apart from being transparent and easy to navigate, Shopify’s drag-and-drop interface is filled with visual cues guiding you through the most important areas like inventory.
Shopify blends simple design features with complex business tools seamlessly, allowing you to click, move, and drop different media elements and place them anywhere on the page.
Simple but significant details like keyboard shortcuts and the undo button make Shopify not only beginner-friendly but fast as well.
Squarespace Ease of Use
Squarespace also uses a drag-and-drop layout through which you can monitor and adjust your settings, design, and analytics with a wider selection of more stylized templates.
With having more powerful creative tools than most platforms, Squarespace is more demanding to get the hang of.
Its interface is more slick and intuitive than Shopify’s, with more freedom for design and editing being at your disposal.
Though it’s slower than Shopify and has fewer eCommerce tools, the preview is very straightforward, unlike Shopify’s editing areas that look different from the final site.
Squarespace’s uncluttered menus make the job easier for you the more you use the interface and the WYSIWYG editor displays the site exactly as it would appear once published.
Squarespace does offer some lavish designs but the interface can be too confusing without visual cues, while Shopify’s speed and guidance through the design process make it more user-friendly.
Themes, Shop Design, and Flexibility 2023
You get to choose from 10. free templates, and you can pay extra for an additional 60 themes.
With the Envato Elements subscription, you can download unlimited premium themes and templates in Shopify.
You can find the perfectly-suited themes for your fashion & apparel business, sporting store, cosmetic catalog, and any other industry.
For example, check out some of the best dropshipping templates.
To access a wider range of templates in Shopify, you can buy from over a thousand different Shopify themes in templatemonster.com.
If you decide to invest $29 to $170 for the store themes, know that most of the templates contain several variations of the design.
You can segment all templates by tags, colors, features, currencies, language support, web forms, and filter them by style, industry type, store size.
With a more diverse range of layouts containing features such as full-bleed content and video backgrounds, and with medical, food, computers, art, animals, holidays, fashion, and a lot of other topics at disposal, Shopify easily rivals Squarespace.
Luckily, you can choose from many landing page builders with great-looking templates on the market, so that everyone can grow leads and sales.
Customizable to any device, the templates resize themselves depending on if you are using your phone, tablet, or desktop computer.
As far as custom edits go, you can edit HTML and CSS on the Shopify Admin page.
Prohibited Shopify products
Shopify has one of the biggest lists of restricted items out of all eCommerce business platforms.
Prohibited financial services and products make up to hundreds of restricted Shopify objects.
These include alcohol, tobacco & e-cigarettes, CBD, fireworks, firearms & weapons, solvents, pharmaceuticals, gaming restrictions, certain high-demand items, and so on.
If you are selling a product that qualifies as a prohibited business type, then you need to consider a third-party gateway.
Platforms like Authorize.net and eMerchantBroker are among the most commonly used payment processors for products that Shopify prohibits.
On the other hand, platforms like Wix, WooCommerce, BigCommerce cater to high-risk businesses like CBD & supplement merchants, as well as gaming, fireworks, pseudo-pharmaceuticals, paintball, cosmetics, nutrients, and so on.
Squarespace offers about 110 free templates available in portfolios, photography, online stores, and a dozen other categories.
When choosing a template for your online store, Squarespace guides you through the process of establishing all the design requirements by asking you to choose your industry, top goals, and assess at what stage you’re at.
After setting the groundwork, Squarespace generates dozens of best template matches for your needs.
As of now, there are only six dedicated online store themes, but you can sell products using themes from different industries if you play around with the design.
Squarespace is widely regarded as the most versatile website theme library full of pleasant, modern designs that are striking and can sell.
All the sleek visual effects like fading text and pictures, parallax scrolling, image block animations, GIFs, CSS button animations, button hover animations, and much more are available in most of the templates.
You can even add free or paid stock photos through Unsplash and Getty images integration.
Select any YouTube or Vimeo video as a background for your page banners, and customize it with video playback speed options and color filters.
Squarespace is the more suitable choice for content-driven websites, especially geared towards bloggers, photographers showcasing their gallery, musicians presenting their portfolio, and other art displays.
With Squarespace, you will get a professional-looking, smooth design no matter the industry in which you are selling or the special requirements you have. While they do share some features, Shopify’s designs aren’t as aesthetically pleasing or visual effects-rich as the ones in Squarespace.
Product Presentations and Product Pages
For multiple variants of the same product, for showing different colors and sizes, Shopify allows you to include these within one product entry.
When you add images for a product, Shopify will not align the different sizes in one consistent aspect ratio.
You will need to manually resize your images in Photoshop or another editing program, though this requires more work.
If you don’t want the hassle of editing dozens of images, you can utilize the third-party app Pixc and resize the store images automatically upon uploading them.
Pixc is free for the first 50 images you edit, and after that, the charge will be $0,05 per image.
You get a 7-day backup of original files, and you can select the square, landscape, portrait ratio, as well as background color.
Since Shopify doesn’t have a built-in zoom function, you can install the Magic Zoom Plus app to get the stunning image zooms, videos, and 360 spins for your products.
The Augmented Reality app will convey the size, scale, and detail of your products to your customers perfectly with interactive versions of items.
The AR app gives iOS and Android shoppers the ability to turn any environment into their showroom through 3D models that you can size up, examine from any angle, or place in the setting of your choice.
You can create up to three options for your store products (e.g. color, size, material), or break the limitation with the Infinite Product Options app.
In Squarespace, you get to pick an aspect ratio for your product images and the software will automatically upload all your images in that ratio.
To emphasize a specific detail in a product image, you can pinpoint a focal point on the final cropped design.
The focal point function is highly beneficial when the customers view the images on smaller screens, so the primary detail always gets highlighted.
You can adjust the focal points for image blocks, gallery sections, thumbnail images, section background images, gallery pages, banner images, depending on the software version you use.
Sometimes Squarespace can dominate in the style department while overlooking functionality, but you can find Squarespace alternatives that will let you build on a blank canvas.
What’s hard is to find an eCommerce business platform that can match Squarespace in creating content-based sites.
The background images in version 7.0 in Site Styles, images with parallax scrolling, and videos can’t be optimized for focal points.
You can fix the fuzzy or distorted images by following the formatting guidelines and learning more about different image placements, container sizes, responsive design-affected banners.
You can add more than a dozen product options in Squarespace, and, like in Shopify, a single product can have up to 100 variant rows.
A built-in zoom feature, automatic aspect ratio edit, focal point function, and over a dozen product options are all features Squarespace offers while Shopify doesn’t.
Payment Options in 2023
Shopify Payment Options in 2023
Shopify allows you to use over 100 different payment gateways, and it can be used in many locations and most currencies.
You can use Shopify Payments in the UK, Spain, Sweden, the USA (Puerto Rico only), and a dozen of other countries, and enjoy the privileges of no transaction fees.
For over a hundred other hosted, self-hosted, and non-hosted payment gateways there are transaction fees.
Apart from credit card payments, Shopify allows PayPal transactions, Shopify POS, offline payments, Apple Pay among other channels.
Unlike Squarespace that supports Instagram and Facebook only among other channels, Shopify supports those plus Pinterest, Twitter, and Amazon.
Squarespace Payment Options in 2023
As far as credit card payments go, Squarespace allows Stripe and PayPal only which is significantly less than Shopify’s 100+ payment gateways.
In Squarespace, you can only sell goods through Stripe from certain countries, which leaves PayPal as the only reliable payment processing solution for many Squarespace users.
Through Square, you can sell in Squarespace online or in-person with Point of Sale, while keeping your inventory and customer data synced.
You can accept credit cards, mobile payments, and cash, and connect your Square account pairing a reader to an iPhone, iPad, or Android device to start selling.
Generate more sales by offering one-off in-person discounts at checkout.
Unlike Shopify, offline payments and selling in multiple currencies are impossible in Squarespace.
Through Apple Pay, you can charge quickly and securely for your physical products without having to manually enter shipping and billing information.
The customers must use Safari through iOS 10, macOS Sierra, or Touch ID Macs OS, and set up Apple Pay on their device.
Squarespace accepts Instagram and Facebook payments.
Due to a much wider range of payment options, Shopify wins this round.
Customer Logins and Checkout Options 2023
Shopify Customer Logins and Checkout Options 2023
When you open a new Shopify store, customer accounts are disabled by default.
By turning on the customer accounts, you will increase customer retention and smooth out the checkout.
When a customer creates an account on your store, Shopify protects the customer’s order history and current order status under a password.
Your customer’s details like address information will be auto-filled during checkout.
You can edit your customer’s account settings by going to Settings, choosing Checkout, from your Shopify admin.
If you select “Accounts are disabled”, the customers won’t have the option to create or log into the account during checkout displayed, and they will have to manually enter their details without the pre-filled fields.
With “Accounts are optional”, the customers can choose if they want to create an account but it’s not obligatory to complete the checkout.
The address fields will be pre-filled when the customers place an order.
If you set “Accounts are required”, the customers must have an account and be logged in to complete the checkout.
Especially suitable if you are running a wholesale or a members-only store, and the address fields are pre-filled for customer orders.
If you want to log in as a customer on your storefront, you need to create a customer account on your website.
Enable customer accounts within your admin to see this option.
If you use an email address with a unique password for your customer account, you will be able to see the order history and account details.
Squarespace Customer Logins and Checkout Options 2023
Your account login link may display automatically after you enable customer accounts in version 7.1 for example.
After you enable customer accounts, the customers can create accounts through a link in your navigation menu.
You can click on any customer and view their profile and customer details in the Profiles panel by clicking on Customers.
A check will be displayed for every customer with an account in the Account column.
Customize the welcome and account password reset emails to match your brand.
In all 7.1 version templates and some 7.0 version templates, you can automatically create a Sign In / Account link in your navigation menu.
If you are using a different template in the 7.0 version, you can still add the account link manually to bring visitors to the homepage and display the Sign In window.
Customers can save payment methods through their account during checkout or by using a Sign In link in your navigation menu.
Winner: A tie.
Both tools enable you to control different aspects of the customer accounts to make the checkout process as sleek as possible.
Shipping Cost Settings and Carrier Integration 2023
When you post Shipping rates, you can place restrictions and terms under the available shipping options, depending on the customer’s cart content.
For precise control over the customer’s checkout charge, you can set up flat shipping rates, for which you determine an amount each time a customer places an order.
General rates provide a flat shipping rate cost regardless of the customer’s cart content.
If you want to charge an extra $10 for expedited shipping in comparison to the regular $5, you can place the $15 charge with general rates.
For minimum and maximum cart values of flat shipping rates, you can set up priced-based rates.
You can categorize the under $50 orders under the $5 flat shipping rates while charging the orders above $50 with $10 flat shipping rates.
Weight-based shipping rates enable you to set minimum and maximum cart weights for the flat shipping rates.
For example, you can set a weight-based rate of $6 for orders under 8 kg and $12 for orders over 8 kg.
Free shipping rates can often act as a sort of a discount for larger purchases.
A flat shipping rate can become a free shipping rate by reducing the shipping cost to $0.
Setting up a $0 shipping rate for orders above $200, or the most expensive product in your store, can be a smart way of utilizing this option.
Depending on the plan and location of your subscriptions, you can add certain shipping carriers directly to your shipping rates.
Shipping carriers can examine different elements such as origin, destination, weight, value, dimensions, dimensional weight, requested speed of delivery when determining the shipping charge.
To estimate which shipping options are the best suited for the products you sell, you can visit “Choosing the right shipping options” to gain insights from Squarespace’s support center.
Choose between flat rate, weight-based, or carrier-calculated (Commerce Advanced Plan) shipping options, and limit where you ship orders or create location-based rates for the flat and weight-based rates.
To activate the free shipping option, you can go through Flat Rate or access a free shipping discount.
Apply shipping options for specific countries, states, and provinces with shipping zones.
For example, you can set a $4 shipping rate for the customers within your state while the rest of the area has a $10 flat rate shipping option.
If you don’t set shipping rates, the USA will be the only country that’s displayed at checkout, even if you change the address fields default country settings.
You have to offer at least one shipping option if you sell physical products, or the customers won’t be able to place orders.
Removing a shipping option won’t affect any pending orders that are yet to be processed.
Before you downgrade from the Commerce Advanced Plan, you are required to remove carrier-calculated shipping.
Before shipping to multiple countries, you need to ensure other shipping options cover all countries.
Although Squarespace is trying with USP-calculated shipping rates, Shopify wins yet another round with its printable shipping labels, built-in NHL & UPS integrations, dropshipping, and much more.
Tax Setting 2023
In Shopify, the software will calculate taxes automatically if you are from the USA, Canada, or EU.
For other countries, you will need a paid app like TaxJar ($19/month).
Digital product sellers can provide tax exemption to EU customers (VAT MOSS scheme) with an app like Exemptify.
Merchants selling digital goods in the EU benefit from the automatic tax calculation function.
Through VAT MOSS (VAT Mini One Stop Shop), you can charge value-added tax at the rate due in the customer’s EU country.
With the free “Digital Downloads” app, you can calculate the EU taxes automatically.
Shopify uses default tax rates which are updated regularly, but you need to confirm that the rates are current and correct for your specific circumstances.
You can set up tax overrides to address unique tax laws.
Squarespace doesn’t offer automatic tax settings, so you will need to integrate with a tool like TaxJar if you are from the USA.
You can edit or remove tax rules by clicking on the rule in the Taxes panel.
When you remove a country tax rule, you remove all the state and local tax rules that go with it, while the state tax rules automatically take down the local rules under it.
Depending on the customer’s location, a certain portion of the tax-inclusive pricing can be added at checkout instead of the customer paying the listed price plus the sales tax.
After the customer enters their address, the order tax will be displayed at checkout and calculated depending on the shipping address for physical products and the billing address for the digital and service products.
Most of the Squarespace users will have to set up their sales taxes manually, while Shopify provides full automation for the customers’ taxes which is more than an advantage over Squarespace.
Multilingual Capabilities 2023
You can enable multiple languages and create separate URLs for your translated content with the help of your Shopify admin.
Translate the content of your online store through a third-party app like Langify.
Although they do charge $17,50 per month, your customers will be able to browse your store, complete the checkout, and receive notifications in their native language.
Apart from Basic Shopify, you can translate up to two languages as a Shopify merchant, up to five as an Advanced Shopify merchant, and up to twenty if you are a Shopify Plus merchant.
Once you have installed the translation app, you will need a theme that’s compatible with selling in multiple languages and has a language selector.
The newest versions of the Debut, Brooklyn, and Express themes have a built-in language selector while the other or older versions of these themes require adding a language selector app like the Geolocation app.
Before translating anything, you should prepare your content to achieve the best results.
Prepare an outline of your navigation structure, with page titles and URLs, which will save you time when translating.
If your site is public, add a password while you rearrange your content for translation.
For setting up a multilingual site, you need to:
- Set a homepage and move it to the Not Linked section in the Pages panel.
- Add two folders in your Main Navigation, with each folder carrying the name of one language, and these will appear as drop-down menus to your customers helping them navigate in their language.
- Click + Add Page to add all the pages in one language in the first folder.
- In the second folder, add a second version of each page in the second language in the exact order as the first folder.
- Return to the Not Linked section and press Edit, and add text or buttons that link to the first page in each language’s folder.
- To make sure your site is ready for a launch, go through the site launch checklist and publish your site.
You can use commerce features on your multilingual site, but you can sell products for one currency at a time, and the built-in text like on the checkout page will display in just one language.
Or, you can increase your visits, engagement, and conversions by translating your site through an app like Weglot.
While Squarespace does offer the tools to create the different language versions of your site, Shopify’s translating functionality allows for more languages and the integrations work seamlessly.
All stores powered by Shopify are PCI compliant which makes your payment info and business data safe.
The six PCI standard categories are covered for every store on Shopify.
The six PCI categories include:
- Secure network maintenance
- Cardholder data protection
- Vulnerability management program
- Strong access control measures
- Regular network testing and monitoring
- Information security policy maintenance
The PCI Data Security Standard covers organizations that handle credit and debit card information, to increase controls around payment data to reduce fraud.
You need PCI compliance to sell and receive payments from VISA, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover.
Shopify is certified Level 1 PCI DSS compliant.
The Password Vault helps you generate and manage unique, hard-to-break passwords that will keep all your account data safe.
To reduce the chances of someone who has acquired your password doing any harm or unwanted changes, you can enable two-step authentication.
You can set a two-step authentication for your Google, Apple, Dropbox, and other services accounts, as well as enable your staff members to set the same on their accounts.
The data centers and cloud service providers in Squarespace utilize comprehensive security equipment, techniques, and procedures designed to control, monitor, and record access to the facilities.
Squarespace will protect you against DDoS attacks and has a range of business continuity disaster recovery plans.
The SSL certificates encrypt in-transit data between website end users and customer domains.
The HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security) encrypts content served during sessions and allows access to Squarespace customer websites via HTTPS only.
A password generator and two-factor authentication serve as added security layers at the application level.
Squarespace equips every account with a Web Application Firewall (WAF).
The customers have the freedom to customize website permissioning.
The access control policy addresses control processes such as account decommissioning, authentication, privileged account management, user identification, access logging and monitoring, and more.
The remediation efforts of Squarespace’s Security Risk Management assess the potential and present threats, which the stakeholders and system owners rectify until they are mitigated.
Winner: A tie.
Both platforms encrypt your data and account information through tried and tested SSL certificates, PCI compliance, and threat monitoring and mitigation tools that prevent any damage to your store.
SEO Capabilities 2023
Shopify provides a great SEO starting point for your products, generating a page title and meta description automatically for all products and pages based on the content of your page.
Instead of using more technical terminology and working with captions and descriptions, Shopify displays the SEO elements in their standard terminology (alt text for images, page titles, meta descriptions, etc.).
Shopify’s sites load quite fast no matter if you are on your desktop or mobile device.
In Shopify, you can edit URLs for blog posts, web pages, products, and collections.
Shopify adds auto-generated canonical tags to pages to prevent duplicate content from appearing in search results.
Improving your SEO results in Shopify can be done through a few basic steps like finding relevant keywords for your products, adding the keywords into your page titles, descriptions, image alt text, matching the URLs and file names with the content.
Adding your full domain to the Google Search Console can allow your store website to be easily crawled and indexed.
Shopify handles URL redirection seamlessly, prompting you to create a 301 redirect when you change a page’s URL.
A 301 redirect notifies the search engines that the page has been moved, and you can set this to be done automatically.
If you change a page URL in Squarespace, you can create the 301 redirect manually as the software doesn’t have the automation capacity.
Squarespace has improved its SEO mechanism from what it used to be, as they now make it easier to enter SEO titles for product pages and blog posts, and meta descriptions.
Adding alt text to images in Squarespace is needlessly complicated and should be simplified.
Squarespace falls short in comparison to Shopify when it comes to offering SEO best practice advice for uploading new items to your store.
It is possible to optimize a Squarespace site so that it performs well on the search engines, but you will need assistance by registering your site with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools, submitting a site map, registering the site to Google My Business, and other external elements.
Squarespace is a little more flexible than Shopify when it comes to removing the prefixes from the static pages and making the URLs cleaner for Google.
Although Squarespace can satisfy your SEO needs with a bit more effort from external resources, Shopify’s superior SEO features, access to a wider range of marketing apps, and better page loading speeds (especially on mobile) make it a more permanent SEO solution.
Ecommerce Analytics 2023
Shopify’s analytics and reports can help you oversee your recent activity, get visitors insights, analyze your store speed and transactions.
Access the Overview Dashboard for key financial reports and utilize the Live View for your online store.
Everything from acquisition, inventory, behavior, marketing, sales, retail, profit is covered in Shopify’s reports.
You can export and view the data in many other ways through a spreadsheet program, a third-party app, or third-party analytics offerings.
Utilize your Google account to connect your store to Google Analytics.
When you create a Google account, sign up for analytics tracking, and choose the data you want to track, you can start gathering performance data for your online store.
First, you want to make sure that you have never enabled Google Analytics for your store before because enabling it more than once can result in inaccurate data.
After you have created a Google account, you need to create an analytics account.
Now, you must enable Google Analytics through the Universal Analytics property in Google and add it to your store.
Finally, you need to turn on eCommerce tracking which you can implement at two different degrees of detail: Basic if you want transaction and revenue data and Enhanced for additional information about visitor behavior.
Gain insights into visitors’ behaviors through page views, conversions, sales, referrers, popular content statistics, and revenue, conversions, and cart abandonment data for your store.
Your access to Analytics panel features will depend on your billing plan, the payment processor that is or isn’t connected to your site, and whether you have the Member Areas subscription.
You can access the same options in the Legacy business plans as you would in the Commerce Basic plan, while most of the trial sites have the same options as the Website Personal plan.
The Website Personal plan comes with traffic, geography, traffic sources, search keywords, activity log, popular content, site search keywords, RSS subscribers features.
Commerce Basic plan, for example, comes with all the Website Personal options plus sales, traffic alerts, sales by product, purchase funnel, abandoned cart, and form and button conversions functions.
The Member Areas subscription is eligible for purchase regardless of your existing plan, but it does fall short in comparison to almost every other plan when the number of features is concerned.
You can use Google Analytics in Squarespace to track conversions for your eCommerce store.
With deeper insights provided with stock monitoring and revenue reports, Shopify guides you towards growing and managing your online store.
Demand Generation 2023
Shopify’s Amazon integration offers you the opportunity to be discovered by potential customers on their marketplace.
You can create Amazon listings, link the Amazon listings you already have, sync inventory, and fulfill your orders.
Before you start selling, know that not all categories are currently available for integration between Shopify and Amazon so you should explore which product categories are eligible.
Working as a third-party seller is the easiest and least expensive way to start selling on Amazon.
The FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) option allows you to send inventory to the Amazon Fulfillment Center and they will manage shipping and returns from customers.
With eCommerce retail sales expecting to go further by 17,5 % in a near future, you should check out what Amazon and Shopify have to offer to start a profitable online store.
The FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant) option enables you to fulfill directly to customers and manage shipping, returns, and customer service, which is suitable for made-to-order products or the products that require longer processing.
Working as an Amazon vendor, you will sell direct wholesale to Amazon and they will own the product once they receive it.
The Vendor Express program is open to anyone while the Vendor Central operates as an invite-only program.
With the Etsy integration, you can list up to 10 products and manage unlimited orders throughout the 7-day free trial.
Later on, you can empower your store with Enhanced Dashboard with elaborate Product Management, Currency Converter, Error reporting, Seller-friendly templates, and much more.
In Squarespace, you can use Amazon Blocks to display and link to an item on Amazon.
After clicking on the block, the visitor will be redirected to the item’s page on Amazon.
Through the Amazon Associates program, you can add your Associate’s ID to ensure credit when a visitor clicks through a block and completes a purchase.
You can add only one item to an Amazon Block, but you can add multiple Amazon Blocks to a page.
The Amazon Associate’s ID works only with Amazon Blocks, so you will need to use Amazon’s full Associate URLs in the text link to add text-only links to an Amazon item and ensure credit.
You can add a link to your Etsy shop in the navigation menu to guide the visitors through.
On the other hand, you can import your products from Etsy and move the shop to Squarespace.
Adding the external link to your navigation menu and naming it Etsy or Etsy Shop is a great way to feature your shop prominently and highlight it so the visitors can’t miss it.
You can also add a text link to any page, blog post, or content area, add Button blocks that link to your Etsy shop or certain items, or a click-through URL to turn an image into a link.
The simplicity of the Amazon Associates program in Squarespace and the opportunity to arm the whole page with unobtrusive yet appealing click-through links are what take the win in this round for Squarespace.
Uptime and Page Speed 2023
Page speed shows the time it takes for content to load on a URL, while site speed represents how your site is performing overall.
You can measure this performance with the tools like Google PageSpeed Insights.
- There are measures you can take that can enhance your page speed in Shopify:
- Run the theme’s preview page through Google PageSpeed Insights and see the suggestions to make the page faster
- Scale up to a better Shopify plan and cut your loading time in half
- Load all external scripts for your Shopify theme in one request
- Load pages in seconds through the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
- Get rid of the apps you are not using and take the weight of your store
- Improve the load time through image compression without affecting the image quality
- Utilize the lazy loading images and load the immediately-visible parts of your page only
- Minimize the use of design and functional images and reduce HTTP requests by combining and inlining your CSS scripts
- Remove broken links
Through apps like Better Uptime, you can monitor your store, installed apps, utilize screenshots & error logs, and benefit from built-in incident management.
To maximize your page speed in Squarespace, you can do a couple of things:
- Deliver your site through the faster HTTP/2 protocol by ensuring you have switched on the SSL option
- Keep the width of your images low, use JPGs, and utilize the tools like Tiny Png to balance the file size and image quality
- Use as few scripts as possible
- Use a Google Font instead of a Typekit one for faster loading
- Always choose the “use custom thumbnail” option when embedding videos
- Improve the speed of your blog posts drastically by switching the AMP on.
- Load only the content that’s currently visible in customer’s scrolling through Ajax loading
- Reduce your DNS lookup time with a faster provider like Cloudflare
Winner: A tie.
No one performs better really. Both online store tools are known for a stable and consistent 99,97%+ uptime, and there are many integrations that you can use if you want to enhance the already impressive performance results.
Customer Support 2023
In yet another round of the Squarespace vs Shopify battle, Shopify comes out on top.
Shopify offers live chat, email, and phone support.
Actionable guidelines delivered on time and support agents that are easy to reach and attentive are not the only admirable parts of Shopify’s support team.
With a callback system, Shopify assigns an agent that responds to you after you send a request to the support team.
After you request the call, Shopify provides you with a waiting time estimate.
Shopify’s 24/7 support team expands their services the more you scale up the plans, with a dedicated support agent in the Plus Level plan and a Shopify Expert to help you with the coding and design as you grow your business.
Although they don’t offer 24/7 support from all sides like Shopify, Squarespace is pretty good at assisting you with template-related issues.
Although, Squarespace won’t support you fully if you customize your template by adding your CSS or HTML.
Squarespace offers live chat support from Monday to Friday (4 am – 8 pm EST), while their knowledge forum is considered one of the most insightful and trustworthy forums around.
In Squarespace, SSL certificates are automatically included for Squarespace domains, connected third-party domains, subdomains, built-in domains.
A comprehensive SSL support mechanism serves you with many protection benefits like building trust in visitors by showing them their information is safely encrypted, preventing hackers from stealing data, as well as SEO and loading times.
One thing that Squarespace and Shopify have in common in customer support is that the support quality varies depending on the template you use (with the third-party paid-for templates requiring you to deal with designers).
If you want to increase customer satisfaction even further, you can choose a help desk software to provide you with omnichannel customer support.
Shopify offers more in a higher volume, with 24/7 phone support and dedicated agents catering to your every need.
Pricing Plans, Fees, and Value for Money 2023
Squarespace and Shopify offer very different pricing plans.
The Squarespace Personal plan is cheap ($12 per month), but it doesn’t have an option to build an online store, while the Shopify Lite plan goes as low as $9 per month.
You can add a shopping cart to an existing website, which means you could add a Shopify store to a Squarespace site for $21 per month (Shopify Lite + Squarespace Personal), but such integration can be complicated.
Apart from Shopify Lite, you can find other plans in Shopify like Basic Shopify for $29 per month, which will give you features like
- Online store (eCommerce website and blog)
- Unlimited products
- Up to 2 staff accounts
- 24/7 support
- Ability to sell on online marketplaces and social media
- Up to 4 locations
- Manual order creation
- Discount codes
- Free SSL certificate
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Gift cards
- Shipping discounts
- Print shipping labels
- Shopify payments
- Point of Sale
- Global selling
The Shopify plan is $79 per month, and it offers you everything from the Basic Shopify plus
- 3 additional staff accounts and an additional location
- Professional reports
- USPS Priority Mail Cubic pricing
- Additional Shopify Payment fee discounts
- Manual foreign exchange rates
- Selling in up to 2 foreign languages
- International domains
For more advanced features designed for scaling your business, you can try Advanced Shopify for $299 per month.
The great thing about the Shopify pricing model is that it covers the needs of online stores of varying sizes, and all you need to do is check out the plans and fee structure to determine a profitable store solution.
Transaction and credit card fees
In Shopify, you can use the built-in payment processor Shopify Payments or a third-party payment gateway.
By using Shopify Payments, you will avoid the transaction fees because Shopify won’t take a cut out of your sales, but the credit card fees are mandatory and they vary from country to country.
With a third-party payment gateway processing your credit card transactions, you will pay Shopify 0.5 – 2% depending on the plan.
You do get a free custom domain, SSL security, unlimited bandwidth and storage, SEO, blog and portfolio templates, basic website metrics, mobile optimization among the features.
However, contributors are limited to up to two, there are no marketing or commerce features.
For abandoned cart recovery, real-time carrier shipping, advanced discounts and gift cards, commerce APIs, and other important eCommerce features, you will have to purchase the most expensive plan.
The Business and Basic Commerce plans enable premium integrations and blocks, advanced website analytics, $100 Google Ads credits, unlimited products, and gift cards among other features.
In the Business plan, the transaction fees are 3%, but the Basic Commerce plan frees you of any transaction fees.
The Basic Commerce plan offers Point of Sale, customer accounts, checkout on your domain, powerful eCommerce analytics and merchandising tools, Instagram products, and limited availability labels for $8 per month more.
The pop-up messages and announcement bars are quite sophisticated in both the Business and Basic Commerce plan.
If you pay a yearly charge upfront for any plan, you can get a free custom domain and have your brand at the focal point of your store.
When you dive deep into pricing plans and learn which programs are beneficial for which use, company stage, and business model, you will know which plan is right for you.
Transaction and credit card fees
You will only find the 3% transaction fee in Squarespace’s Business plan, while the rest will contain credit card fees determined by Stripe or PayPal.
Value for money
Important commerce features, third-party apps, and customer support options that are available in Shopify are not present in Squarespace and will prevent you from developing your store fully.
Since Shopify’s Basic plan is only $3 more expensive than Squarespace’s Basic Commerce plan, it does offer quite more valuable features like abandoned cart recovery, multi-channel integration, and professional reports.
Yes, overall, Squarespace is cheaper, but the broader range of commerce features with a slight increase in the low-to-mid-range Shopify plans are very much worth the price difference.
No matter which eCommerce website builder you choose, your store will only be profitable if you know how to set financial goals.
Knowing how to choose between Squarespace and Shopify will help you start a business, but you will learn how to maintain your store and save money by setting financial goals.
Since the main theme here is your online store, Shopify will provide you with all the necessary sales tools you need to elevate your business to elevate the next level. In Squarespace, the prices don’t go over $40 per month, but the sales features are far less limited.
Other Alternatives to Squarespace and Shopify 2023
Easiest Website Builder for an Industry-Low $5 per Month.
Although the commerce features aren’t as developed as that of Shopify and BigCommerce, Wix is one of the easiest website builders to use with a lavish drag-and-drop editor.
But, of course, you can find more powerful and reliable alternatives to Wix, as well.
It all depends on whether you want to launch a website, blog, online store, or something fourth completely.
With a wide selection of over 100 templates and a variety of payment gateway options, Wix makes reaching an audience through a captivating site easily accessible to everyone.
The Wix app store features 280+ apps, add-ons, and plugins to embed social media, live chat, coupons, and many other features.
You can access HTML codes, light boxes, button styles, and much more.
For just $5 per month, you can get 500MB of storage and 1GB of bandwidth, and a custom domain option.
The Wix eCommerce plan is $16,50 per month and you get 10GB of bandwidth and 20GB of storage, a free domain name, and a couple of add-ons.
Best eCommerce Website Builder for Bulk Selling.
Designed specifically for online stores, BigCommerce is one of the best tools for bulk selling.
The advanced content marketing features allow you to promote your product across a variety of platforms.
There are hundreds of built-in features, which means you won’t spend anywhere near as much money as you would in a Shopify app store.
The streamlined multi-channel selling allows you to manage your store on Amazon, eBay, Facebook, and Pinterest from BigCommerce.
The annual sales volume limitation gives every plan a limit of $50K per year that you can sell, and after that, the software automatically upgrades you to a higher plan and doubles your cost.
The prices start at $29.95.
Best Shopping Cart Alternative Where You Can Pay Only for the Hosting.
WooCommerce allows you to build a site that can rival the expensive carts and be mobile-friendly while you pay only for the hosting.
Unlike Shopify, WooCommerce provides premium add-ons for a one-time payment or through annual subscriptions.
You will find WooCommerce more suitable for you if you want more flexibility and customization when building your store, but you can choose the best online store solution for you after you dive deep into the myriad of options.
The Product Bundles will cost you $49 and you can select pricing, shipping, inventory management extensions, with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
You will find support for over 55 payment gateways with no additional transaction fees, while the omnichannel selling capabilities allow you to include an in-app checkout on Instagram.
A 24/7 support team, fully-customizable URLs, and a visual editor that requires no coding knowledge are among other diverse features.
#1 Cloud-Based Shopping Cart Solution for Small-Size Companies and Entry-Level Tech Skills Users.
This cloud-based shopping cart is very popular among small-sized companies and single users with entry-level tech skills.
Volusion plans are based on the number of plugins and add-ons you want to connect to your store.
There are no additional transaction fees in Volusion.
You can find many premium add-ons in Volusion, including a one-page checkout and an embedded eBay integration.
The extensive template library is available on all packages, but some features like bandwidth can exceed your monthly bill automatically if you tip over the limit.
The mobile app allows you to manage your shop on the go, while “Add to Cart” links, gift certificates, item categories and subcategories make for a versatile sales feature palette.
Volusion plans range from $15 to $135 per month.
Online Store Software with the Same Functionality as Shopify at More Affordable Prices.
The drag-and-drop editor with a grid system allows you to place elements how you choose.
Just like in Shopify, Zyro comes with a standard abandoned cart recovery feature that allows you to send email reminders to customers that dropped an order without finishing a sale.
The eCommerce+ plan offers abandoned cart recovery, unlimited products, POS integration, and the starting plan is $8.99 per month.
Except for the costs that come with any external payment processors, Zyro doesn’t charge any additional fees.
Overall, Zyro offers similar functionality as Shopify with more affordable prices.
Shopify vs Squarespace: Which Platform to Pick for Starting Your Online Store 2023?
Squarespace is for you if you want to start selling in a small store that’s easy to manage and is attached to a gorgeous website or a blog.
If Shopify Payments aren’t available in your country or you only deal with digital sales, Squarespace can be the better choice for you.
If your main aim is to display content like images, artistic portfolios, or products of aesthetic value, Squarespace is the best solution for your online store.
If you run in-store or event selling, sell digital products, or run a dropshipping business, Shopify will be much more suitable for you.
The POS system, multi-currency selling, automatic tax calculations, low-priced abandoned cart functions, elaborate SEO tools, import/export, payment gateways, multilingual sites, always-ready support team, template variations are just some of the specialties that are better in Shopify.
If you want to create and maintain a large online store with advanced functionality that will allow you to manage a large product inventory and reach a global audience, Shopify is the best eCommerce website builder you will find.
Start Getting New Knowledge and Experience, Together!
Sign Up for my weekly newsletter today and get free digital nomad + business tips, updates, and great travel stories from around the world. Newsletter lauching soon