Shopify or Squarespace: Making Sense of the Great Debate

Written By
January 11, 2024

Do you wish to start an online business? You probably would have wondered which to opt for between Shopify or Squarespace. Identifying the best as it addresses your need is one of the two major steps to take, with the other being finding a great design company that can help you create your e-commerce store using any of them.

Both are e-Commerce development platforms that enable you to start, grow and manage your business. They're suitable for beginners and up to established brands in the industry. Each is unique as there are several benefits to enjoy and a few downsides. This journal will enumerate both activities, providing insights into what they do and how they are different.

Shopify vs Squarespace, What?

Just before you dive into the conclusion about which is better between Shopify and Squarespace, Watch! It's necessary to fully grasp the similarities and differences between them.

These two platforms assist you in setting up and managing your online store, but their approach to achieving this is quite different.

Find below a close seizing up of Shopify vs Squarespace.

The Shopify Constituent

Shopify is a foremost subscription-based e-commerce platform that provides a portal for anyone to start an online store and sell their products to customers wherever they are. Using Shopify, you can build and customize an online store and sell in multiple places – web, mobile, social media, online markets, pop-up shops. More than this, Shopify has got offerings that manage products, inventory, payment and shipping.

What is Squarespace?

Squarespace is basically a website design company. They transform your mental ideas into a published site with beautifully crafted templates, making e-commerce easy. Squarespace supports you with everything to power an online store. This website design platform elevates a merchant's social presence by reaching out to customers via email campaigns and more. Squarespace has features that support pricing, customer building and business growth.

Shopify vs Squarespace: Pros and Cons

If you intend to commence an e-commerce store, both Shopify and Squarespace offer many similar features. They give you the tools that will aid your store setup and start making sales immediately. Nevertheless, the approach and benefits of each platform are different. Let's take a detailed breakdown of the pros and cons of each e-commerce platform. This will help you decide which is better for your type of business.

Shopify Pros and Cons

Here, we've assembled some of the most visible pros and cons. Merchants should consider these factors when reviewing Shopify for their e-commerce store.

Shopify Pros

▪   Simplicity of Usage

Merchants are not bogged down by technology and other tedious admin tasks. Shopify provides assistance with managing the store's technical needs. They also assist in handling transaction processing time.

▪   Superb Storefront Themes

They provide beautiful storefront themes that make the website look beautiful and professional. Merchants are provided with several theme options for their stores according to industry needs, such as Art and Photography, Jewelry and Accessories, Food and Beverages, etc

▪   Shopify App Store

This is one of their strongest points. Shopify has over 1200 different apps that can help to automate your tasks like accounting, customer service, inventory, reporting, shipping and the rest, thereby saving you the money you would have spent on an accountant or other service providers.

▪   Round the Clock Support

Their incredibly dedicated support team are available for chat or email 24/7. You can also call them via dedicated numbers round the clock, depending on your region.

▪   Marketing and Discounts

Shopify supports you with marketing tools that will increase your SEO rankings and social media presence and automate some of the other tasks, such as generating discount codes. Sell products via other SM platforms like Pinterest, eBay, Amazon, Instagram, TikTok, Google Shopping etc.

▪   Improve SEO by adding relevant keywords

Usage of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to increase the speed of contact delivery to mobile shoppers. Improving shoppers' experience and SEO prioritization for Google.

Shopify Cons

▪   Limited Theme Choice

There are only ten free Shopify themes. For access to the rest of them, you need to pay a one-time fee. The same goes for the AMP and Shopify store apps, or you will need to manually insert your data into your own software, which is time-consuming.

▪   Restricted Access to Support

If your store develops a technical issue, you may not always be able to get help from the general support team. Rather, you may need to post a question to a forum and hope to receive help from a developer. Also, their numbers are listed only for the US, UK, New Zealand and Australia.

Squarespace Pros and Cons

There are hundreds of considerations to make when comparing Shopify and Squarespace. These considerations are consistent with the general benefits that ecommerce marketers should enjoy.

Below we have summarized some of the commonest pros and cons of Squarespace that any e-commerce should consider when choosing between the two Platforms.

Squarespace Pros

▪   Templates and Designs

It offers about 140+ sophisticated themes that are adaptable for tablets and phones. They strive for perfection in their designs -  font, size, images etc. Also,  you could customize their templates via the design menu.

▪   Blogging Segment 

If you plan to blog as one of your website elements, Squarespace is great. There's a feature-rich commenting feature, multi-author functionality, AMP support, and you can host your own podcast.

▪   Support

You can get help from their excellent support team almost instantly, thanks to the live chat option. The numerous experiences garnered with their support team are all positive.

▪   Mobile Apps

This website development company offers four different Squarespace apps. The most useful one is called the Squarespace. It is available for iOS and Android. With this app, you can edit almost the whole website, including pages, blog and store.

▪   Content Creation Tools

Squarespace is a suitable e-commerce web design company for content creators, offering apps like the Squarespace Video Studio App. This app enables you to create and share videos, Unfold, and offers hundreds of editable story and post templates for your different social media accounts.

Squarespace Cons

▪   Using the Website Editor

Instead of asking you to save your work after each change, it should just autosave. This calls for too many clicks to perform a simple web editing task. This may be inconvenient when doing larger updates.

▪   Only one sub-navigation

Squarespace is not ideal for larger websites that require a profound hierarchy. Also, you're almost not able to create multilingual websites with Squarespace.

▪   Page Speed

▪   Squarespace templates ratings are low according to Google's Page Speed Tool. This could reduce user experience on smartphones and diminish their search engine ratings.

Shopify vs Squarespace: e-commerce Features

Regarding core e-commerce, both web design companies have outstanding offerings. They feature an essential and varied e-commerce quality that comes with their default configuration. See below their numerous features.

Shopify Store Features

▪   Fully hosted online store

▪   Built-in Blogging

▪   Shopify POS

▪   Payment Processing & Shopify Payments

▪   Shopify Checkout

▪   Shipping

▪   Analytics and Reports

▪   Mobile App

▪   Marketing Tools

▪   Support

▪   Shopify App Store

Squarespace Store Features

▪   Customizable Templates

▪   Videos to manage the website

▪   Stunning Storefront

▪   Flexible Product Variants

▪   Unlimited Products

▪   Inventory Management

▪   Online & Offline Sale Points

▪   Automatic email

▪   Configuring Sales Taxes

Shopify vs Squarespace: Pricing

Drawing a comparison based on pricing is not a simple task as it seems for business owners. There are lots of factors to consider ranging from tools they offer and their suitability to your business size and needs. Both platforms involve additional fees and costs.

Shopify Pricing

Shopify offers a system of tiered pricing. Shopify's plans include features for all sizes of businesses. There is no setup fee required to operate on Shopify. You can sign up and use Shopify for 14 days. At the end of the free trial, you are required to pick up a plan and enter your payment details. The simplest of subscriptions starts at $29 per month, while advanced Shopify is $299 per month. All Plans are billed month to month, except merchants sign up for an annual or biennial plan, which attracts 10% and 20% discounts. Plans can be changed anytime as you deem fit for your business.

Squarespace Pricing

Squarespace was Initially created to build blogs but added e-commerce features later in 2013 precisely. There are fewer e-commerce tools, but it's also cheaper, with plans ranging from $14 to $54. Squarespace is a more affordable option. With only $54 per month, you already have access to the most advanced features on Squarespace. For Shopify, you have to part with a whopping $299 to get the best plans.

Shopify vs Squarespace: Security

Before an e-Commerce development company can be adjudged safe, it should be able to secure the assets of the buyers and the merchants. This is a preview of both Shopify and Squarespace's activities regarding securing their cyberspace.

Shopify Security

For Shopify, the buyer and the online store owner are all secured at the stage of transactions and card data entry. Shopify is certified safe According to Level 1 PCI DSS standard – The data security standard for the payment card Industry. This means that the stores are equipped with data encryption tools, protection of Shopify payment transfers, prevention of viruses at the servers, risk analysis tools, and constant security monitoring are all in place.

Squarespace Security

Squarespace Implements and maintains technical and organizational security measures to protect company and customer assets and data. The security team is tasked with identifying and neutralizing threats. The e-commerce platform leverages every opportunity to ensure safety for stakeholders via  encryption, incident response, system access control, risk management, privacy shield principles, and others.

Shopify vs Squarespace: Search Engine Optimization

According to general knowledge, SEO can help brands establish a foundation for a website with an amazing, effective user experience via searching tools. In today's competitive market, SEO marketing is becoming more prominent than ever before, such that the strength of its SEO measures a website's mettle. You will receive help from SEO to get targeted free traffic to your domain.

Shopify SEO

Shopify is a complete e-commerce platform that allows you to set up and manage a business by creating an online store. Shopify allows you to sell in all kinds of places like web, mobile, social media, brick-and-mortar. At the same time, you will be given the right to manage products, inventory, payment, and shipping as an admin.

Upgrading and maintaining software is not necessary on Shopify since it's completely cloud-based and hosted. It gives you the flexibility to run your shop anywhere with an Internet connection.

Squarespace SEO

Squarespace builds all known SEO best practices into every Squarespace site. Squarespace sites come with an automatic XML sitemap.

Squarespace site maps stay current and include all your page URLs. Your HTML markup and URLs are easily indexed. These features make Squarespace withstand stronger competition and keep up with traffic, which is good for the business.

Shopify vs Squarespace: The Verdict

Squarespace is a website builder, and they're good at it, especially when it comes to blogging. It does have an online store, but its target user will typically build a smaller store. Squarespace doesn't come with the same range of features as Shopify.

Shopify is an e-commerce builder through and through. Not excellent at website building as Squarespace but not lagging behind either.

You can see now that the products each offers have very different backgrounds

To say that Shopify is better than Squarespace at e-commerce just because they've been in the game for longer would not be fair. The obvious truth is both offer e-commerce features that the other doesn't. So whether Shopify or Squarespace, your ultimate goal is to choose what is most suitable for your business requirements.