Shopify vs Squarespace: Which is the Best eCommerce Platform?
At first glance, Shopify and Squarespace look like they’re very similar tools. They’re both website builders and they both let you sell products, but historically they were actually created for completely different purposes.
If you’re not sure whether you want to go with Shopify or whether you want to go with Squarespace, today we’re going to be going over the main differences and the pros and cons of each. The point of this blog is to give you the information that you need in order to make a decision on which e-commerce platform is best for you.
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If you are looking for a short answer, Squarespace was originally designed as a solution to build content like websites like portfolios and blogs, that kind of a thing. So their original focus was on publishing content, not on selling things. On the other hand, Shopify started out as an e-commerce product and was specifically designed to make an online store.
All of its features are made for selling products. But Squarespace has recently added some e-commerce features and Shopify has added some content creation apps. So they are meeting somewhere in the middle. Knowing this Shopify is going to be your best choice if you’re trying to get into e-commerce and Squarespace is going to be best if you want to build a content focused website that doesn’t involve selling at all.
So that’s pretty much the bottom line, but there always is grey areas. Like for example, if you’re a blogger and you want to sell merch, that’s kind of a grey area. If you’re an artist and you want to feature your portfolio and sell prints as well, also a grey area. So in these scenarios, you could technically go with either.
That’s why we’re going to do a super in-depth analysis. I’m going to compare everything from pricing, features and templates. And we’re also going to be looking at which option would be better for you if you are a drop-shipper. I know a lot of you guys are dropshippers. So choosing the right platform, it’s a pretty big decision.
You want to make sure that you like it before investing time into building it. So hang tight with me until the end of this blog so that you can make the most informed decision. All right, so first off let’s compare pricing, starting with Shopify. So Shopify has got three tiers.
Also Read: Shopify vs Woocommerce: Which is the Better Ecommerce Platform?
You’ve got basic Shopify, you’ve got Shopify and advanced Shopify. Most of you are probably just going to need the basic plan, which is $29 US dollars a month. And that includes features like e-commerce integrations. You got 24/7 customer support.
You can upload and sell unlimited amount of products. And you also get shipping discounts, which is a huge reason why people love shopify. And if you have a physical store, you can use a Shopify POS, which allows you to accept payments in person. You can sell in 133 different currencies, and you can set up your store in 20 different languages.
There’s a ton of other features, but those are the main ones that are standouts. So let’s look at Squarespace now. So if you don’t need the e-commerce feature, it’s going to be $16 bucks so that’s super affordable, but this plan is only going to give you a place to show off your content, it’s not a website for shopping. So, if you want a website for customers to be able to shop with you and check out, then you’d be looking at the commerce plan.
That’s $35 bucks a month, so that’s a little bit more expensive than Shopify, but just like Shopify, you get 24/7 customer support and you can upload an unlimited amount of products. Now there are no shipping discounts, but like Shopify, there is a POS available, so, you know, give and take there a little bit.
However, in order to use that POS you would have to be in the US, so if you want the POS, if you need that for your business and you have to sell in person, then you would have to be in the US you can have multiple languages on your website with Squarespace, but it is an extremely manual process, which is a little bit annoying, a little bit time consuming.
As of now, things are looking pretty comparable, but since Squarespace is a little bit more expensive, I’m going to give the pricing category to shopify. All right. So next up is templates. So let’s start with Squarespace this time. So Squarespace, they have 110 options for free templates and they are really beautifully designed.
Now only a few of these templates are actually dedicated to online store themes. So that means that most of the themes are going to be geared towards content presentation. So if you want to showcase your art, or your music portfolio, then Squarespace is going to be a really great choice. Now, these teams are also responsive.
That means that your website will automatically resize itself to suit the device that it’s being viewed on. So it’s always going to look great on mobile. It’s always going to look great on tablet or your desktop computer. No matter what. If you want to make a custom change to your template, like maybe basic color tweaks and type faces, then it’s going to be really easy to do with Squarespace.
Now, the one thing that I want to mention is that you don’t always get full access to your site’s code, in case you wanted to make any custom changes that might be a little bit more difficult. One really nice thing about Squarespace is that it has a built-in integration with Unsplash and Getty images, so you can really easily add stock images to your website.
This super helpful if you are a blogger and you need to find images really quickly to accompany your blog posts. All right, so now let’s look at Shopify’s option. So the Shopify theme store includes over 80 free and premium professionally designed e-commerce website templates. And you can use any of these for your own online store.
There are some really clean cut ones that I love. And then as of recently, we’re getting into some really nice new edgy designs as well. So the designs are all responsive, just like Squarespace, and you can edit the code for custom changes. So Shopify actually used to be a little bit more tricky to edit the way that your site would look, but they’ve recently dropped a new version called the online store 2.0. And when I heard this I was like, hallelujah because now sections are modular, they’re extremely customizable and you just have a lot more flexibility when designing your online store.
It also makes it way easier to integrate apps into your theme, right from the theme editor without ever having to touch any code at all. So this point may, actually would have gone to Squarespace without the 2.0, but now that Shopify has templates are just as easy to play with Squarespace, it’s definitely a tight one here. So things are looking really comparable right now.
But I think the one thing that is very important is that Shopify has themes that have been proven to drive sales. Um, so that’s really important. I mean, Squarespace, they have beautiful looking themes, but Shopify has themes that have been designed for conversions.
There is actually a pretty huge science behind where things are placed and how things look that’s really going to influence people’s buying decisions. So if selling products is the main purpose of building your website, using a theme that is optimized for that is going to be so important. So the bottom line is both Squarespace and Shopify have a lot of templates and they’re all beautiful options, both are extremely easy to use. So the question that you want to ask yourself is, is, are you trying to build a website?
Or are you trying to build an online store? All right. So let’s take a look at which platform is going to be better if you want to create a website for your drop shipping business and your print on demand business. So just really quick guys, if you’re not already familiar with what dropshipping is, dropshipping is a method of online selling where you do not keep any inventory at all. So instead, you would take the order, then you would send it to a supplier and then they send that order to the customer.
It’s a low-risk business model, that’s become very popular. So for all you creatives out there, print on demand is another, it’s similar. It’s basically an alternative way to bypass the investment and risk associated with managing inventory. It’s a process where you would work with the supplier to customize white label products like maybe a baseball hat or maybe a tote bag. Um, and you would put your own designs on them and then you would sell them on a per order basis under your own brand.
This lets you create selling custom products at a fraction of the cost. If you’re interested, and you want more information on dropshipping or print on demand, then I will leave a link for you guys right up here in the info card and you can watch a blog on each of these subjects. Now for dropshipping and print on demand. Shopify for sure is going to be the way that you’re going to want to go. It’s a lot better than Squarespace.
Now with Shopify you get hundreds of drop shipping apps available to find and to sell products, you can use Oberlo you can use Sprocket. And for print on demand, there’s also a huge range of options like Printful, Printify and Gooten. So with Squarespace, your options are pretty limited. I mean, Squarespace has gotten alot better in recent years. I think they have about five to choose from.
They have Printiful, Sprocket, some other ones, but honestly it just doesn’t compare to Shopify, especially when you consider the lack of e-commerce features on the platform. It’s just, it’s no contest. So Shopify is going to take the cake in this category. So like we talked about earlier, you’re going to have to pay for running the site itself, but there’s also gonna be extra fees on any of the sales you make.
Let’s see, which is cheaper when it comes to fees. So with Squarespace, you’re going to pay 3% transaction fees on sales if you are on the business plan. You’re also going to have to pay credit card processing fees. So it’s a little bit more added there. And if you want to avoid these feeds, you’re gonna actually going to have to bump up to a higher plan, which is going to be $54 bucks a month. So this raises the cost of running your online by a lot. Now with Shopify, you can expect a 2% to 3.5% transaction fee. And it’s just going to vary depending on how your customer is paying.
Like if they’re paying with Amex or debit, for example, that’s going to determine what that fee is. You also, generally aren’t charged transaction fees on orders done through a POS. So if you are selling in person, keep that in mind. Now that being said, it’s not world’s apart, but it’s, it’s going to be slightly cheaper to go with Shopify. So this point is again, going to go to Shopify. Apps.
Okay. So apps are going to be really important when it comes to building, managing, and growing your online store. They can help you increase sales. They can help you add custom features to your site. They can be really powerful. So for example, um, apps can help you with SEO enhancements or they can help you add drop shipping functionality.
Maybe you can use an app to add some currencies to your store, so you can see they can really help you make your store and build sales. So let’s look at Squarespace. So Squarespace has its own version of an app store and it’s called Squarespace extensions. Now from what I can see, there’s 28 apps available, but you can expect that they’re going to grow over time. Now, to me, I think that’s pretty limited in comparison to Shopify as 6,000 plus apps that are available.
I mean, if you don’t need anything too wild, then Squarespace might have what you need. But Shopify apps are going to have like loyalty programs and pop-up windows, the kind of stuff that’s actually going to help you make those sales. So for this one, I’m going to give the point to Shopify. So when it comes to bonuses and fun little freebies, Squarespace is going to win this one. They have cool stuff. So they offer a free domain name with a purchase of an annual plan. And
You also get Google workspace for free on certain plans. So you can get a custom email for example, which I think is a really great way to appear professional. So overall, if you’re looking to create an online store with a really strong set of e-commerce features, like if you’re looking for multi-currency support, um, payment gateway options, point of sales, Professional reporting, a large amount of inventory that you can upload, then Shopify is definitely going to be the best choice.
But don’t get me wrong. Squarespace is an amazing platform and I have used them for years to run my blog. So if you’re selling things, Shopify. If you’re just sharing content, then go with Squarespace. So hopefully that helped you choose the best website builder for you. If you are looking for more comparisons of popular e-commerce platforms, we actually just did a blog on Shopify versus Wix. If you want to see that I will link that right up here. And if you want to see another blog on Shopify versus woo commerce, we’re going to be publishing that real soon.
So realistically, at this point, we’ve done two e-commerce platform, showdown blogs, and Shopify has come out on top for both. That was a spoiler alert. So I mean, I don’t make the rules. Shopify is just good. If you want to try Shopify out, I’m going to leave a link for you guys right up here. And I’m going to leave that in the description box for you guys as well. And that’s going to give you a free 14 day trial with no credit card required. Um, Squarespace also offers a free trial too. So I would say, try both out, see what you like better. And actually we have an entire blog that walks you through the process of setting up your Shopify store.
So once you make your decision and if you choose Shopify, then we’ve got you covered. All right. So it’s comment time. So let’s go through some of the viewer comments and I’m going to answer a few of you. So first comment is from a Diti and she’s saying she’s asking is if she uses a free template with Shopify, can she switch to a paid one later?
The answer is yes, you can switch templates as many times as you want, you can switch from free to paid, paid to paid, paid to free, like whatever you like. I recommend that you run it as a draft and then take 10 to 20 minutes just to like go over everything, make sure everything is showing up how you want it to. And I did this with my store and it worked out perfectly fine. All right. So next question is from chariots8x, and they’re wondering if you can do both print on demand and drop shipping in one store. And so the answer is yes. So you would just want to download a print on demand app, and you’re also gonna want to download a dropshipping app. Then after that, you’re good to go.