If you have no or limited design and coding skills platforms like Shopify and Squarespace are the holy grail of building and managing a website and online store. In this article, we explore the differences between Shopify and Squarespace, so that you can assess which is best for your business.
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Squarespace began life with content-based websites in mind, whereas Shopify is a solution for online stores. Admittedly with the recent addition of e-commerce in Squarespace, the two platforms are similar, therefore technically you could use either to build an online store.
But which platform is better suited for your business? Let’s have a look at the most popular platforms.
Shopify is straightforward to set up, manage and update on a regular basis. If you can upload products to Etsy, you will find this a smooth process, but if you are brand new to e-commerce, you needn’t worry.
The Shopify single dashboard means you can manage everything in one place. You can organise your products, customise your store to fit your brand, accept payments and track and respond to orders all within the Shopify interface. I guess that’s why it’s trusted by over 600,000 businesses worldwide.
Shopify includes web-hosting, so everything is neatly in one place, for one monthly cost. If you have a bricks-and-mortar store too, Shopify offers POS (Point of Sale) for in-store sales.
Shopify offers a selection of pricing packages. The most popular packages are Shopify Basic $29 per month, and Shopify $79 per month. If you want to offer gift cards and have increased reporting, you’ll need the $79 plan.
Transactions fees on Shopify are 0% using Shopify Payments yet credit card fees are a maximum of 2.9% and 30¢ on the basic plan. Shopify integrates with Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, PayPal, and more than 100 other payment gateways; these will be charged at a maximum of 2% transaction fee dependant on the package.
Apps come in many shapes and sizes on Shopify some are free, and some have a fee. Many come with a free trial period giving you time to test out and see if it fits your needs before committing.
Themes – Shopify offers over 100 professional and free store themes
Mobile Responsive – All Shopify themes are fully mobile responsive, making your store available on all devices.
Reporting – A comprehensive set of reports can be viewed and created for periods of your choice including today, this week and this/last month and that also includes a live view if you enjoy watching reactions after a shop update
Abandon Cart – Abandon Cart is standard on Shopify and with 3 out of 4 shoppers leaving a site without completing a purchase its a must
App Store – With more than 12,000 apps, your Shopify site can do almost anything.
Multichannel integration – Connection is available for a Facebook store and of course the new additions on Instagram Shop-able Tags.
Smartphone App – If you are a side-hustle or work on the go the smartphone app lets you manage your Shopify site and products from anywhere even if you don’t have your laptop with you. Available on both iOs and Android (there’s also a Shopify app for Apple Watch, and every time a sale comes in you get a very satisfying till b-rrring!)
Squarespace markets itself as a platform that can be used by anyone. Drag and drop set up with a selection of minimalist templates to choose from does make it an enticing, smooth and manageable way to set up a website.
Squarespace offers two pricing packages which allow for an online store. The basic plan, which costs £20 ($30) per month, and advanced plan costing £30 ($46) per month. The advanced plan includes the additions of subscriptions, abandoned cart and gift cards.
Fees on Squarespace are 3% per transaction, also with Stripe which is the Squarespace preferred platform for payments you will be charged 20p per transaction plus 1.4% or 2.9% dependant on whether the card is registered in the UK or Europe.
There are both free and paid for templates that will give your website instant professionalism, straight out of the box.
G-Suite – One year free (one user only) G-Suite Membership, a Gmail hosted, professional @domainname email address free for one year. Like Shopify, you can also buy your domain within the platform.
Integrations – There are also integrations with platforms such as ShipStation (for label printing), Xero (for accounting) as well as Eventbrite, PayPal, Open Table, Google Maps and many more.
E-commerce Analytics – A comprehensive set of reports can be viewed covering off a selection of statistics such as sales, traffic and engagement. Squarespace also offers a separate mobile app for analytics.
Squarespace has 24/7 customer care via email using their support page. Also offered is a Help page which offers Guides, Videos, forums and webinars.
What do customers say: On average, people found Shopify 12% easier to use than Squarespace eCommerce and 88% of people would recommend Shopify to a friend who’s looking to start selling online.
If you have a small inventory of products and you are happy to make individual changes to products and stock you could look at either Shopify or Squarespace. If you have a larger inventory, or a bricks-and-mortar store and would like to be able to load and set a release date and time for products then Shopify would be better.
Most of my clients sites are built on Shopify for product based business and Squarespace for service businesses, however, Squarespace is working hard to compete with Shopify’s e-commerce offering, so it’s really down to personal preference.
Sam is the founder of Small and Mighty Co. A transformational coaching business and marketing consultancy specialising in supporting small and mighty creatives grow with confidence and achieve their dreams, in business and beyond.
An accredited NLP Practitioner Sam’s specialities include mindset, motivation, marketing and modern-day consumer behaviour and is well known across the small business industry for her savvy straight-talking advice; with regular speaking appearances at major events across the UK and features on the BBC and Channel 5 News.