Shopify vs Squarespace: which will come out on top?
With so many website builder platforms vying for your attention, figuring out which one meets your needs and offers the best value for money can be tricky.
Two of the biggest contenders are Shopify and Squarespace. Both platforms can be used to sell products online, but Squarespace is more content-focused, whilst Shopify is built for eCommerce. However, as each platform has grown in popularity, their features and functionalities have evolved, and their differences have become increasingly blurred. Ultimately, the right option for you depends on what you want to achieve with your website.
Whether you’re building a new website or contemplating migrating your existing website to a new platform, choosing the wrong platform could be a serious setback for your business, so making an informed decision is crucial.
This article aims to make comparing Shopify and Squarespace quick and simple. We’ve analysed each platform’s key features and functionalities, from templates and apps to SEO tools and pricing, to help you to choose the platform that best meets your needs.
Introducing Shopify and Squarespace
Ok, let’s kick things off with some introductions.
Squarespace was founded in 2003, whilst Shopify didn’t come onto the scene until 2006. According to data from BuiltWith, Squarespace currently hosts over 2.8 million live websites, while there are currently over 4 million live websites built using Shopify.
At its core, Squarespace is a design-focused website builder. Its mission statement is “We believe design is the ultimate competitive advantage. We build products that help entrepreneurs stand out and succeed.” Over the years, Squarespace has added tons of new features and functionalities to its arsenal. However, design is still its superpower! While Squarespace is popular with businesses from all industries, its range of content management and design tools has made it a magnet for businesses in the creative industries – think artists, photographers, makers, and graphic designers.
On the other hand, Shopify has always had a bit of a one-track mind – it’s been all about eCommerce since day one. Its mission statement, “Make commerce better for everyone”, highlights its commitment to making launching an online store accessible to anyone. With its intuitive interface and simple drag-and-drop editor, Shopify empowers anyone to launch an online store in just hours. It is also known as an innovator, regularly refreshing the platform with new features and functionalities to help its users build bigger and better online stores and shopping experiences.
Both Squarespace and Shopify are user-friendly and loaded with powerful tools for building visually appealing websites and engaging user experiences. But the million-dollar question is, which one is right for you? Let’s find out more about what each of these platforms has to offer.
Shopify vs Squarespace – The Pros and Cons
Before we deep dive into this Shopify and Squarespace comparison, we’ve listed the pros and cons of each, so that you can see at a glance what each platform offers.
- All-in-one solution
- User-friendly interface
- Abundance of apps
- Many payment gateways
- SEO tools
- Multichannel selling
- Wide range of templates
- Multicurrency option
- Offline selling with the Shopify POS system
- Advanced reporting and analytics
- 24/7 customer support
- Transaction fees
- No email hosting
- Limited blogging tools
- Limited free templates
- Additional costs for apps
- Easy-to-use interface
- Blogging tools
- Wide range of templates
- Template customisation tool
- eCommerce functionality
- Video background creation
- Content creation tools
- SEO tools
- Offline selling with Squarespace Commerce app
- Advanced reporting and analytics
- 24/7 customer support
- Limited payment gateways (Paypal, Stripe, Apple Pay)
- Limited eCommerce features and functionality.
- Limited template customisation.
- Limited integrations are available.
- Transaction fees
What advantages does Shopify have over Squarespace?
Shopify is arguably the most well-known eCommerce platform in the world. Its user-friendly interface and drag-and-drop editor have made launching an online store widely accessible and catapulted it to success. But how do its features stack up against Squarespace’s? What does Shopify have that Squarespace doesn’t? Let’s find out some of the reasons why so many people choose Shopify over Squarespace.
Superior eCommerce features
As the world’s number one eCommerce builder, it’s no surprise that Shopify wins hands down regarding eCommerce features and functionality. Shopify offers lots more shipping and payment options than Squarespace, allowing businesses to offer their customers a more flexible and convenient shopping experience. Shopify offers over 100 payment gateways; in comparison, Squarespace offers just three – there’s no competition there. Shopify also offers more advanced inventory management and point-of-sale features than Squarespace. Although Shopify offers far more eCommerce tools than Squarespace, it’s worth mentioning that the tools that Squarespace does offer are already built into the platform. In contrast, Shopify’s tools often come as apps that must be installed.
Far more integrations
The Shopify App Store boasts over 8,000 apps. These apps can introduce new features and functionality to your website, fostering growth and innovation – both of which can help your business to scale up in the long term. While the apps that Squarespace does have are of high quality, they simply can’t compete with Shopify’s vast selection. From product bundling to subscription services, product discovery quizzes, to product reviews, these integrations can enhance your website’s user experience and boost business growth. You can even hire a developer to build a bespoke custom Shopify app to add a feature that existing apps cannot support.
Shopify has you covered if you’re targeting an international audience. With Shopify Markets, you can sell to multiple countries from a single store and easily manage localisation, shipping, duties, and compliance from one central dashboard. If you have plans to expand into global markets, then Shopify’s internationalised storefront, seamless checkout and cost-effective international shipping options can help you to operate an efficient global business. In comparison, Squarespace doesn’t offer as many features for international selling. One key feature it lacks that Shopify supports is multicurrency selling; you can only sell in one currency on Squarespace.
Advanced SEO tools
Although Squarespace does offer basic SEO functions like adding meta titles and descriptions to your website, the SEO features on Shopify are more advanced. Shopify offers more SEO best practice prompts and a host of advanced SEO apps like SEO Booster, Yoast SEO, SEO King, and Plug-in SEO. These tools can help you optimise your website for search engines and draw more traffic.
24/7 customer support
While both Shopify and Squarespace have commendable customer support options, Shopify’s round-the-clock telephone support distinguishes it from Squarespace. Squarespace’s customer support includes a live chat service from 4 am – 8 pm Monday through Friday, email support, and a vibrant forum. However, it can’t compete with the next-level support that Shopify offers. Shopify provides its customers with continuous 24/7 support by telephone, email, and live chat, ensuring they can always get help with their queries, regardless of their communication preference or the time of day.
What advantages does Squarespace have over Shopify?
Whether Squarespace or Shopify is the right option for your business depends greatly on what you aim to achieve with your website. While Shopify excels in eCommerce, it lags behind Squarespace regarding design and content management features. In this section, we’ll explore factors that prompt many businesses to opt for Squarespace over Shopify.
A larger selection of templates
Squarespace really shines when it comes to template design. Squarespace is your go-to if you want to build a website with the visual wow factor. Squarespace offers a whopping 155 free templates compared to Shopify’s dozen. Each template is responsive, well-designed, contemporary, and unique. What’s more, you can use Squarespace’s user-friendly interface to edit and enhance your template using visual effects, text, and stock images. And if you still can’t find the perfect template for your website in Squarespace’s template library? Then you can use Squarespace’s Blueprint feature to build your own!
Superior content management and design tools
While eCommerce has always been at the heart of Shopify’s services, content and design have always been at Squarespace’s core. The platform’s intuitive content management tools make managing and editing content a breeze, making it easier than ever for businesses to create visually stunning websites. The Squarespace app Unfold adds even more versatility, allowing users to easily create beautiful website and social content using photo and video templates.
Better blogging features
Squarespace stands head and shoulders above Shopify when it comes to blogging features. If you’re an avid blogger or plan to invest in content marketing for your business, Squarespace has you covered. Squarespace provides users with the tools they need to create a beautiful and engaging blog, including features like tags, blog categories, archives, comments, built-in analytics, and a search function.
We’ll take a closer look at the price of each platform a little later in this article. However, it’s safe to say that Squarespace’s monthly subscription plans are generally more budget-friendly than Shopify’s. There are usually considerable additional costs with Shopify, too – namely, transaction fees and the cost of adding apps and integrations to increase your store’s features and functionality. So, if eCommerce isn’t your primary focus and you’re on a tight budget, Squarespace could be your best bet.
Key differences between Shopify and Squarespace
So there we go! You should now have a sound understanding of the key similarities and differences between Squarespace and Shopify. From SEO to templates, we’ve dissected what each platform offers to help you understand their unique strengths and weaknesses. Let’s recap what we’ve learnt so far.
The key similarity between Shopify and Squarespace lies in their ease of use. Both platforms are suitable for people with limited knowledge or experience in coding. Designed with user-friendly and intuitive interfaces, both platforms allow users to build a simple website or online store without any coding knowledge.
The main difference between the two is their core business focus. First up, Shopify is the king of eCommerce, packed with tools and functionalities for building a successful online store. While you can create a store on Squarespace, it is not geared towards eCommerce in the same way that Shopify is, so it offers fewer eCommerce features and functionalities. Shopify also integrates with over 8,000 apps, giving users massive potential to grow and add extra functionalities to their websites. In terms of scalability and power, Shopify outshines Squarespace.
On the other hand, if your business’s primary focus is to create a stunning website that’s more about showcasing content than eCommerce, then Squarespace could be the right choice for you. Squarespace is suitable for websites where aesthetics are more important than advanced features. Its features and tools are more geared towards presenting, creating, and managing content in a visually appealing way, making it ideal for businesses in creative industries like photography, events, and graphic design.
Both platforms set out to achieve something different and excel in their own right. Whether Shopify or Squarespace is right for your business comes down to what you value most – the advanced eCommerce capabilities of Shopify or Squarespace’s design and content management strengths.
Which is more expensive – Shopify or Squarespace?
Of course, budget also plays a large part when selecting the right platform to build your website. We’ve researched the costs associated with both Shopify and Squarespace to give you an accurate idea of how much each option would set you back each month.
Both platforms are hosted and pretty transparent with their costs, making it fairly straightforward to cost things up. Shopify offers three different plans, whilst Squarespace offers four. They both also offer premium services for enterprise businesses.
How much does Shopify cost?
Let’s begin by looking at Shopify’s pricing plans.
Shopify offers a 3-day free trial and the first three months at £1/month.
After that, its pricing plans are as follows:
- Basic (£25/month) – The basic plan provides users with basic reports, up to 1,000 inventory locations, and two staff accounts.
- Shopify (£65/month) – The professional plan provides users with professional reports, up to 1,000 inventory locations, and five staff accounts.
- Advanced (£344/month) – The advanced plan provides users with a custom report builder, up to 1,000 inventory locations, and 15 staff accounts.
Then there’s Shopify Plus, Shopify’s premium service for high-volume and enterprise brands. Businesses interested in this option should contact Shopify direct to discuss their requirements and receive a bespoke price; plans start at £1,650/month.
When costing things up, it’s also important to factor in that Shopify charges a transaction fee on any payments not made using its own payment processor Shopify Payments. Transaction fees vary in price from 0.5% to 2%, depending on your plan.
How much does Squarespace cost?
Next, let’s look closely at Squarespace’s pricing plans.
Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial. After the trial has finished, you will need to select one of its four plans, which are as follows:
- Personal (£12/month)
- Business (£17/month)
- Commerce Basic (£23/month)
- Commerce advanced (£35/month)
For larger enterprise businesses that require more advanced features and functionalities, there is also the Squarespace Enterprise service. You need to contact Squarespace directly to receive bespoke pricing for their enterprise service.
Important points to note about its plans are that the Personal plan doesn’t feature eCommerce functionality, and those on the platform’s Business plan pay a 3% transaction fee, whereas there are no transaction fees for those on the Commerce Basic and Commerce Advanced plans.
Both Shopify and Squarespace offer the option to pay annually and save money on subscription fees. With Shopify, you save 25% by paying annually, and with Squarespace, you can save up to 29%, depending on which plan you are on.
Partner with Create8 to design and build your website
Whether you want to switch to Shopify, move from Squarespace, or you need help choosing the right platform for your new website, why not partner with Create8?
Our experienced web design team has worked with all the major website-building platforms. We understand the pros and cons of each and can use our knowledge to help you pick the right platform for your business’s needs both now and in the future.