When you’re looking to design a website that will represent your brand and business online, you can select from a range of different site builders and content management systems that will provide you with the tools needed to complete your website. If your business sells products or services, it’s important that you choose a site builder that accommodates online storefronts. Two of the top platforms for creating eCommerce websites include Shopify and Squarespace.

Even though Shopify and Squarespace allow users to build websites and sell products, the two platforms are considered to be substantially different because of how they started. Squarespace was originally designed for the purpose of creating and managing content-based websites. On the other hand, Shopify was made solely to assist businesses with creating online storefronts. In time, the Squarespace feature-set has grown and expanded to include a range of eCommerce features.

If you’re trying to determine which of these websites is best for you, the answer is that it largely depends on the goals you have when making a website. In the event that you want to build a content-driven website that offers some basic products, Squarespace is likely the top option for your needs. On the other hand, Shopify is ideal if your website is primarily meant to act as an online storefront.

Even though Squarespace has technically existed for longer than Shopify, it took many years for Squarespace to accommodate eCommerce websites, which means that Shopify is the older and more experienced website for eCommerce purposes. This article provides an in-depth comparison between Shopify and Squarespace.

Shopify vs Squarespace: Pros & Cons

shopify vs squarespace pros and cons

Before you make a decision on using Shopify or Squarespace, it’s recommended that you look at the pros and cons of the two platforms.

Shopify Pros

The many positive aspects of Shopify include:

  • Strong community that makes it easy to find answers to any questions you have
  • Expansive library of extensions and add-ons
  • A large number of helpful eCommerce features
  • Multi-channel selling is made possible through Facebook and Instagram
  • Full integration with offline solutions
  • Comprehensive library of free and premium templates to select from
  • User-friendly
  • Great customer service via email and live chat

Shopify Cons

Some of the issues that users have had with Shopify include:

  • Because the Shopify platform is more robust, it can take some time to get used to it and all of the features it provides
  • You’ll be required to pay small transaction fees unless the payments are made with Shopify Payments
  • Costs can be high if you outfit your website with a large number of Shopify apps and tools

Squarespace Pros

The benefits that come with using Squarespace include:

  • Varied pricing options allow for smaller companies to use this platform without going over budget
  • Simple to use
  • Clear focus on design ensures that the Squarespace templates are visually appealing
  • Works great with print-on-demand selling
  • Provides expansive blogging tools that can help you maintain a strong content marketing strategy
  • Analytics system makes it easy to assess site performance
  • Allows for offline selling

Squarespace Cons

The main issues that you may have when using Squarespace include:

  • Functionality can be limited because of the lack of a marketplace or app store
  • Less selling options when compared to Shopify
  • Payment options are relatively limited

When comparing the pricing between the two platforms, Squarespace offers four basic pricing options, which include basic for $26 per month, advanced for $40 per month, personal for $12 per month, and business for $18 per month. Only the first two pricing options relate to eCommerce storefronts. Both the basic and advanced plans allow you to sell an unlimited number of products. Another key benefit of the two plans is that there are no transaction fees. Some of the features that the advanced plan has include flexible discounts, gift cards, and real-time carrier shipping.

As for Shopify, it offers five different pricing tiers, which include:

  • Shopify Lite for $9 per month
  • Basic Shopify for $29 per month
  • Shopify for $79 per month
  • Advanced Shopify for $299 per month
  • Shopify Plus for $2,000 per month

The first option doesn’t allow you to build your own website. As for the last pricing option, it’s designed solely to be used by larger businesses. If you select the Basic Shopify package, you’ll be provided with two staff accounts, unlimited storage, unlimited products, and a decent shipping discount. The main difference between Basic Shopify and the two additional Shopify packages involves transaction fees. If you use an external payment gateway, transaction fees are 2% for every transaction. However, the transaction fees drop to 0.5% with Advanced Shopify.

Marketing Features for Shopify vs. Squarespace

marketing features

When looking specifically at the marketing features of Shopify and Squarespace, both of these platforms offer beneficial marketing features that can help you sell your products or services. Marketing is essential for any business that wants to obtain lasting success. Even if you have a fantastic product that meets consumer needs, very few people will purchase the product if they aren’t drawn to your website. Strong marketing ensures that you get eyes on your product or brand, which will bring visitors to your website and potentially increase conversion rates.

SEO

If you want your website to obtain high amounts of traffic, it’s essential that the site is optimized for search engines. Better optimization means that Google and Bing will rank your website higher on search results, which should help you bring in more traffic. When comparing the SEO tools provided by Shopify and Squarespace, the Shopify platform is easily the best option of the two. Squarespace provides basic SEO functionality, which includes the ability to edit descriptions and add meta titles. There are no advanced SEO features available through Squarespace.

As for Shopify, this platform aims to make sure that users are able to obtain high online store rankings. The Shopify marketplace contains numerous SEO apps and tools that can be integrated directly into your website. When placing items onto your store, the SEO functionality available in Shopify will provide you with best-practice prompts that allow you to quickly optimize your website.

Email Marketing

The email marketing features available through Shopify and Squarespace are similar. Both platforms allow you to obtain email addresses from customers and integrate them with a third-party solution. In the event that you use the Mailchimp marketing service, Squarespace may be the better option. Squarespace forms can be linked to Mailchimp, which eliminates the need to create your own links.

Another notable feature available in Squarespace is Email Campaigns, which provide businesses with the ability to send as many as 50,000 email campaigns every month. Keep in mind that this tool costs around $8 per month once the initial trial has ended. As for Shopify, it allows you to build comprehensive email campaigns from your admin page. You could also obtain the Omnisend Email app to further extend email marketing functionality on Shopify. In general, Squarespace has slightly more email marketing features.

Blogging Features

If you want to provide users with content that will have them returning to your website even when they aren’t purchasing a product, it’s highly recommended that you implement some blogging features onto your website. Blogging is more important than ever for driving traffic to an online store. While Shopify and Squarespace both have extensive blogging features to select from, likely the best option for blogging functionality is Squarespace.

Squarespace makes it easy to quickly place content onto a page or sidebar with summary blocks. The blogging features available through Squarespace are outfitted with built-in analytics, which ensures that you can measure the performance of your site content. Additional blogging features include archiving functionality and a custom search feature that site visitors can make use of. When using Shopify, it’s possible to add tags to posts that you make on your website. Further blogging features are mostly available with third-party apps that can be integrated into your Shopify website.

Social Media

Properly taking advantage of social media websites like Facebook and Instagram can pay dividends when you’re attempting to bring traffic to your website. Both Shopify and Squarespace understand the importance of social media marketing and have provided users with numerous features that can help in this regard. However, Shopify focuses on social media much more than Squarespace. If you decide to use Squarespace, you can only sell your products on Instagram.

When you build your eCommerce website with Shopify, you’ll have an ample amount of social media features at your disposal. You can find numerous social media advertising tools and apps within the Shopify marketplace. It only takes a few seconds to start adding these tools to your website. The Shopify marketplace also includes the ability to add integrations with other social media platforms, which means that you can connect your eCommerce storefront to more than 10 separate social media platforms.

Concluding Verdict

shopify vs squarespace conclusion

Building a website is a highly important task that can pave the way for future success for your business. To that end, there are a myriad of different website builder platforms and content management systems to select from. If you’re designing an eCommerce website that will have an online storefront, two of the top platforms available to you include Shopify and Squarespace, both of which have their own distinct benefits.

Shopify is a great platform because of how it’s dedicated to eCommerce. The large app store that users can access through Shopify includes thousands of apps that can expand your website’s functionality and feature-set. On the other hand, Squarespace has fantastic blogging features and email marketing features that can help you bring in new customers and grow your user base. The social media features available with Shopify can assist you in reaching new audiences and making sure that your products can be sold basically everywhere.

Even though Shopify and Squarespace are both great platforms for designing an online storefront, they are also very different sites. While Squarespace provides some useful eCommerce features that can help you build a storefront, it was originally designed to help businesses and individuals create content-driven websites.

Shopify, on the other hand, was made to provide full eCommerce functionality to businesses that wanted to create an online storefront, which means that Shopify is likely better for anyone who wants to manage an eCommerce store that sells hundreds or thousands of products. If you’re starting your own business, Shopify can provide you with everything you require to get your company off the ground.

Bryan Miller of Bryt Designs Long Beach Web Design, Development, & SEO
Author
Bryan Miller

Bryan Miller is an entrepreneur and web enthusiast specializing in web design, development and digital marketing. He is a recent graduate of the MBA program at the University of California, Irvine. Feel free to send Bryan a message here.

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