Shopify and Squarespace are both reputable ecommerce platforms. While both share the goal of making your online selling experience easy and profitable, how do you choose the one that’s best for you and your business?
To help you determine, let’s take a closer look at some of the features and key factors offered by both platforms.
Shopify is a fully hosted platform meaning that no knowledge of coding or design is required. Using drag-and-drop design, even non-technical users are able to move and drop media elements anywhere on the page with just a simple click.
Its combination of visual tools and simple language makes it one of the most top-rated ecommerce platforms.
Squarespace is slightly trickier. Although it also uses drag-and-drop design, with no visual cues, it might require a few trial and error clicks.
Overall, Shopify strikes the better balance between simple design features and integrated ecommerce features.
Shopify is an ecommerce-oriented platform equipped with a broad set of features for creating an online store. Its tools are designed to manage sales and products, as well as facilitate faster payment processes, product promotions, and successful marketing strategies.
While these features are integrated directly into their platform, they also have an app store with free and paid apps so that users can expand their stores according to their needs.
On the other hand, Squarespace is a content-based website builder so it does not have the full set of eCommerce capabilities that Shopify has. This makes it great for creating a portfolio or blog but perhaps not so much an online store.
While Squarespace does have some advanced features, such as abandoned cart recovery and multi-channel integration, it does not have its own app store.
In summary, Shopify has a far more extensive range of ready-to-use, built-in features than Squarespace which makes sense, as the it is strictly an ecommerce platform.
Shopify lets you build a professional and sleek online store with 10 free and over 50 paid, mobile-responsive themes. Templates are designed for a variety of industries, including fashion, sports, cosmetics, and electronics, so it’s easy to find one that best suits your business needs.
Provided you have the technical knowledge, it’s also possible to make edits to any of the themes using HTML and CSS on the Shopify Admin page.
Squarespace’s themes are attractive and professionally designed. The range includes more than 90 templates, although many of these are specifically designed for the creative industry, such as portfolios and blogs. CSS and HTML editing opportunities are possible through its Developer Platform, however, this is only available with the Premium Plan.
Overall, Squarespace might sometimes offer a more aesthetically pleasing range of templates, Shopify's HTML and CSS capabilities out-of-box can allow for further customization.
The higher your website ranks on Google, the more potential you have to make sales. Unlike Squarespace, Shopify offers an SEO app and best practice prompts when you upload new items to your inventory. It also automatically generates a page title and meta description for all products and pages whereas in Squarespace, you need to edit the meta titles and descriptions yourself.
Shopify offers 3 monthly plans ranging from $29 to $299.
Squarespace offers 4 monthly plans ranging from $16-$46.
With both platforms, the monthly cost decreases depending on whether you’ve signed up for an annual plan.
At first glance, Squarespace might seem like a more affordable option, but what about value for money? Squarespace does not offer as many ecommerce tools, third party apps, or customer support services compared to Shopify.
Keeping in mind that there’s only a $3 difference between Shopify’s Basic Plan ($29) and Squarespace’s Business Plan ($26), the slight increase in price makes Shopify the better choice, as it offers a broader range of features.
Image credit: websitebuilderexpert.com
Both platforms offer excellent customer support; however, Shopify goes the extra mile in providing 24/7 assistance through phone, email, and live chat.
Customers can also create their own threads and discuss their issues with Shopify users on Shopify forums.
Alternatively, Squarespace uses a ticketing system to revolve issues via email in addition to providing multiple video guides, articles, and blog posts for DIY solutions. If you’re unable to find a solution in the community forum, there’s also live chat support from Monday to Friday 4am - 8pm EST.
Everything built with Shopify is designed to generate sales, so if that’s your primary aim, Shopify is the better option. Not only does it offer a more comprehensive list of business tools, but its ecommerce features are much more extensive than Squarespace.
As previously mentioned, Squarespace's platform is primarily built for information or blogging sites that require little customization and are not focused on ecommerce.