Today we’ve got a clash of the heavyweights, it’s shopify vs squarespace…
Setting up a website has become easier than ever before, with multiple online website builders now available for business owners and even the average person to utilize.
No longer is there a need for spending hours on learning how to code, and then several weeks developing a website from the ground up.
Today, you are presented with drag-and-drop builders that allows you to set up the front-end of the site, and a script will do the rest for you.
This makes life much easier if you aren’t very tech savvy…
Even though these website builders make life significantly more convenient for a person who wants an online presence, they definitely do not meet the needs of everyone.
If you are looking to build a website, then you have probably heard about Squarespace and Shopify.
Both of these platforms have similar features today, but understanding the true purpose behind each option and considering other details, such as the availability of themes, modules, and plugins, is definitely important.
We’ve decided to set up a guide that will give you a complete overview of the differences between Shopify and Squarespace.
By the end of this guide, you should have a better understanding of which option is right for you when comparing Shopify vs Squarespace.
Comparing Shopify And Squarespace: What Do You Need?
When it comes to comparing these two platforms to one another, the best way that you are going to be able to choose one is to start by asking yourself what you really need.
While several similarities can be found between the two options, each was initially invented with a different purpose in mind – thus, both have their own unique strengths and weaknesses that you definitely need to look at.
The biggest question that you should ask yourself is what type of website you are looking to set up…
So you need a content/informational website, or rather an eCommerce solution?
Let’s take a look at the main differences between these two types of websites that you might want to own and operate…
Content-driven websites are usually also called informational websites.
These websites come in quite a large variety of forms and can serve various purposes, depending on why you want to set up such a site.
One example would be a simple website that represents your local business.
The website might have a homepage where you provide a basic overview of what your business does, along with a page that provides a more descriptive “about us” section, and of course a contact page.
Blogs are also usually content-driven websites.
Usually with a blog you’ll choose to focus on a specific topic and get people to trust you as an authority in that particular niche.
You might then choose to place advertisements on the blog, or perhaps promote a book that you have written.
Content-driven websites may also have other purposes, such as to generate traffic in order to build an email list, which can then be used to promote specific offers to.
There are lots of different examples.
An eCommerce solution is a store that is based on the internet.
In some cases, you may already have a physical store and wish to start selling your products online too.
In other cases, you may want to work from home and set up an eCommerce system where you can sell products with local inventory stored in your house, or perhaps at a third-party location (often referred to as dropshipping).
With an eCommerce solution, you would still need to add content to the website, and with both Shopify and Squarespace you have the option to add a blog to your site.
When someone visits your online store, they want to know what they are buying.
The customer might look for specifications of a product or service that you are offering them, and they want to know about shipping, guarantees, and other important information relating to the offer.
The website would then feature an integrated shopping cart, which allows customers to add products to the cart and then follow a checkout process.
In many cases, an eCommerce solution would also offer you the ability to set up a blog, which can be useful for establishing trust among your audience, as well as to assist in driving more traffic.
Your Requirements And The Selection Between Shopify Or Squarespace
When you know which type of website you need to set up, the process of choosing between the two platforms should become somewhat easier.
To clarify, we should consider what the initial purpose was behind the development of these platforms.
Squarespace was initially designed to offer people access to a content publishing platform.
This makes the Squarespace platform an excellent option for setting up a content-driven website, such as a site to represent your company and offer basic details on what you offer your customers.
Shopify, on the other hand, was launched as a complete eCommerce system.
The platform allows you to easily publish any type of content, including product descriptions, an about us page, a contact form, and even a blog.
While Squarespace do now have eCommerce functionality it’s much less advanced in comparison to Shopify.
Squarespace Vs. Shopify: What’s The Difference In Pricing?
Both Squarespace and Shopify require you to sign up for an account and choose a subscription option that best suits your needs.
These subscription accounts come with a monthly fee, and pricing does differ between the two options.
You should ultimately compare the pricing of the products and consider your needs…
You need to work out which option can satisfy the needs you have for a website at the best price…
This is the only way you will guarantee optimum value for money.
Shopify Pricing And Plans
Let’s start by looking at the pricing for the various plans that are offered by the Shopify platform.
First, it should be noted that you can get started with Shopify through a free trial.
The trial gives you 14 days access to the platform – you can easily test out the system and see what it can do for you.
You do not need to enter your credit card details or any payment information before the trial expires…
I always like to see this as you would not have to worry about canceling anything if you do not like your experience with Shopify.
Once the trial period of 14 days expires, you will need to select one of the three plans that are available.
These plans include:
- Shopify Lite @ $9.00 per month
- Basic Shopify @ $29.00 per month
- Shopify @ $79.00 per month
- Advanced Shopify @ $299 per month
These prices are based on a monthly subscription, which can be canceled at any time.
Shopify also offers annual and biannual plans, which come with additional discounts.
The only condition is, you will have to pay these fees upfront.
The annual plan comes with a 10% discount and choosing a biannual plan gives you a 20% discount on the total price.
This is for merchants and businesses that deal with a more significant volume of transactions and requires more advanced features.
Squarespace Pricing And Plans
Similar to Shopify, you can also get access to a 14-day trial when you sign up for a website at Squarespace.
Once the trial period expires, you will need to select one of the plans that are available on the platform.
Pricing depends on whether you are looking to pay a monthly or rather an annual fee.
Discounts are provided when selecting an annual plan.
The pricing and plans available at Squarespace include the following:
- Personal: $16 per month or $144 per annum ($48 savings on the annual plan)
- Business: $26 per month or $216 per annum ($96 savings on the annual plan)
- Basic Commerce: $30 per month or $312 per annum ($48 savings on the annual plan)
- Advanced Commerce: $46 per month or $480 per annum ($72 savings on the annual plan)
It is important to note here that the cheaper options from the SquareSpace platform (the personal and business accounts) do not come with an eCommerce solution….
They will only give you access to the main website builder.
If you would like to use Squarespace as a way to sell products or services, you would have to upgrade to either the basic or advanced Commerce plan.
Shopify Vs. Squarespace: The Battle Of The Features
We have looked at the primary purposes of each platform and we considered how the two differs in terms of pricing…
Now we will turn our focus to the different features they each offer.
There are several similarities in terms of the features but this does not mean the two are the same in any way.
It is crucial to consider the differences, especially in features when it comes to setting up an eCommerce website.
Most people who consider Shopify as an option are usually interested in selling services or products on the internet.
We will consider the features that are offered by each platform separately below and then provide a more detailed comparison to help you realize which option may be the ideal solution, according to your specific requirements.
We will start by analyzing the features you gain access to when you sign up for a plan at Shopify.
Getting started with Shopify is relatively straightforward it doesn’t require any special knowledge or skills.
First, let’s consider the most basic plan that the platform gives you access to – Shopify Lite.
This is the plan that you want if you are only just starting out and want to sell products either on Facebook or perhaps a website you already own.
The plan is pretty low cost and comes with a great way to set up shop and start selling on marketplaces like facebook.
Customers interested in your products or services will be able to choose what they want to purchase from you and even complete the checkout process on your Facebook page.
Once completed, you are notified of the purchase, then its up to you to ship the product out to the customer.
The plan also comes with a feature that allows you to add your products to an existing blog or website, by simply pasting a few lines of code.
Additionally, you also get access to Shopify’s secure payment processing system when you subscribe to this plan.
For those interested in the website builder that comes as part of the platform, anything from the Basic Shopify to the Advanced Shopify plan could work well.
It is important to take a closer look at the specific features that come with each of these plans, as this will help you pick the right one for you and your business.
You can also upgrade your plan at any time, so you could start with the basic plan and then scale your plan as the business grows.
When you decide to set up an online store you are given a lot of help from the shopify platform.
Along with the training, you are given access to a wide range of tools and integrated features.
Here is an overview of what you can expect:
Shopping Cart And Blog
Probably the most important parts at this point would be the shopping cart solution, along with the fact that you can easily add a blog to your website with minimal effort.
The process is also exceptionally simple…
You simply browse through the many themes Shopify makes available and choose the one you like.
You can always customize a theme if you want to make additional changes as you go along.
Once you have customized the theme, you can immediately start adding your brand assets and products or services that you want to sell on the website.
After this you’ll need to set up the payment system, and away you go.
The shopping cart system also comes with the following features:
- Integrated SSL Certificate (256-bit SSL Certificate)
- Access to more than 100 payment gateways, including PayPal, iDEAL, and Bitcoin
- Automatic retrieval of shipping rates from supported carriers, including FedEx, USPS, and UPS
- Various shipping rate options, including tiered pricing, free shipping, location-based, weight-based, and fixed priced rates
- Automatically fulfill tax requirements and additions
There is a lot more but i’ll stop there otherwise we’d be here all day.
Product And Inventory Management
If you are planning to sell products on your website, you will definitely need to manage your inventory – at least in most cases.
Luckily, the Shopify platform gives you access to a fully-featured product and inventory management system.
The product management system allows you to organize products based on season, type, categories, and other factors.
You can also set up product variations, which is great if the items you sell come in different colors or sizes, for example.
This system also allows you to upload images for your products easily and even comes with additional SEO product tags that you can use to improve the ranking of your store in Google.
Other Noteworthy Features
Apart from the important features that we have noted above, the Shopify platform gives you access to other functions that can further enhance your experience and make running an online store easier.
Some of the features that you will definitely find useful include:
- Web hosting is included, featuring unlimited bandwidth with Level-1 PCI Compliance to ensure customer data will always be secured
- Advanced analytics features, including a complete dashboard, this helps you gain a more in-depth insight into the performance of your store
- Access to a mobile application where you can easily fulfill orders, manage your product inventory, get in touch with customers, and have a quick overview of your business’s performance
- A full set of marketing & SEO features, including SEO optimization on the website and the generation of a sitemap.xml for submission to Google Search Console
- The ability to set up offers that can help with attracting more customers, such as gift cards and discounts
- Full integration with your brand’s social media profiles
- Access to a dedicated support team who can provide assistance 24/7
I should also mention that you can actually use shopify and amazon to great effect, this of course depends on you and your business set up.
The following video shows a few common ways the two are used together.
We have looked at the variety of features that comes with an account at Shopify…
Now let’s turn our attention to the Squarespace platform and see what you get when you decide to opt for this system instead.
The Commerce plans that are offered by Squarespace gives you access to features that are divided into three categories….
This helps to simplify things and make it easier to understand what you should expect.
At the core of the Squarespace system, you get a free custom domain name that will be connected to your website.
Once your account has been activated, and your domain name is registered, the company also throws in an SSL security certificate to help protect customer data.
Apart from these features, the Squarespace Core also includes:
- Unlimited bandwidth usage on the Squarespace services
- SEO optimization built into the platform
- A variety of templates to choose from
- No limit on the number of contributors you can register on your website
- All websites are mobile-friendly
- Access to website metrics and analytics
- Ability to customize CSS and JS files
- Premium blocks and integrations
The set of marketing tools and features include access to an advanced website analytics dashboard, as well as the ability to add banners and pop-ups to your website easily.
Both plans also come with $100 worth of credits on Google AdWords…
This could be used to help draw in some initial sales.
A fully integrated e-commerce system is offered on the Squarespace Commerce plans.
The system gives you access to a range of different payment gateways, and Squarespace does not charge transaction fees.
You can add an unlimited number of products to your store, accept donations, and each customer will also get their own account on your website.
Other noteworthy features include:
- Creating gift cards
- An automatic abandoned cart recovery system
- Integration with Shipstation and Xero
- Sell products on Instagram
- E-commerce analytics system
- Custom checkout system directly on your own domain
- Advanced shipping modules
- The ability to sell subscriptions
- Discounts with flexible settings
Although they may seem similar in certain areas, the two are very different platforms…
Shopify Or Squarespace: Which Is Better?
The features and the overall UI of Squarespace and Shopify do have some similarities…
It is the finer details that you really have to take into account when comparing these two platforms, it really will depend on you.
Each of these options have several beneficial features to offer you, but when you are looking to choose one over the other, it might be a good idea to start by analyzing your own requirements first.
Squarespace initially started out as a simple platform that gives you the opportunity to launch a content-driven website.
The eCommerce option featured by the platform is still relatively new and has not yet reached the heights of Shopify in my opinion.
If you are looking to set up an online magazine or blog, then Squarespace may be a suitable option for you.
If you are setting up a shop online in order to join the growing eCommerce community i’d say Shopify is your best option.
While there are several Shopify alternatives available, the platform has a reputation for delivering quality websites.
The platform enables you to build sites that load fast whilst offering all the marketing tools and integrations you’d need to grow a serious business.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article, i hope it’s bought you some value.