Squarespace vs Shopify (2017) – Which Amazing Platform Will Win?

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A great website is indispensable for the modern retailer. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store and are looking to make a virtual expansion or you envision having a completely online operation, the look and functionality of your website can make or break your business.

While having an ecommerce website is undeniably important, most business owners don’t have the time or the aptitude to create and maintain an incredible website. Even more importantly, many of these entrepreneurs don’t have a huge budget that they can blow on hiring a designer to create a custom-designed website.

This makes websites like Shopify and Squarespace particularly useful. Both are website-building platforms that make webpage design easy and accessible even for the person who has no prior experience. Both offer outstanding products and services, but it’s likely that one of these providers will probably appeal to you over the other. Let’s compare Squarespace vs Shopify to learn more.

A great website is indispensable for the modern retailer. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store and are looking to make a virtual expansion or you envision having a completely online operation, the look and functionality of your website can make or break your business.

While having an ecommerce website is undeniably important, most business owners don’t have the time or the aptitude to create and maintain an incredible website. Even more importantly, many of these entrepreneurs don’t have a huge budget that they can blow on hiring a designer to create a custom-designed website.

This makes websites like Shopify and Squarespace particularly useful. Both are website-building platforms that make webpage design easy and accessible even for the person who has no prior experience. Both offer outstanding products and services, but it’s likely that one of these providers will probably appeal to you over the other. Let’s compare Squarespace vs Shopify to learn more.

A great website is indispensable for the modern retailer. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store and are looking to make a virtual expansion or you envision having a completely online operation, the look and functionality of your website can make or break your business.

While having an ecommerce website is undeniably important, most business owners don’t have the time or the aptitude to create and maintain an incredible website. Even more importantly, many of these entrepreneurs don’t have a huge budget that they can blow on hiring a designer to create a custom-designed website.

This makes websites like Shopify and Squarespace particularly useful. Both are website-building platforms that make webpage design easy and accessible even for the person who has no prior experience. Both offer outstanding products and services, but it’s likely that one of these providers will probably appeal to you over the other. Let’s compare Squarespace vs Shopify to learn more.

Free Trials

Both Shopify and Squarespace make it possible to try out their services for 14 days without incurring any charges. In fact, neither website requires new users to input billing information during this period. This makes it easy for potential customers to give these websites a test drive without risking anything but a few hours of time.

The free trial process is easy at Shopify. Customers have to provide an email address, choose a password and then name their store. The system asks for the customer’s name and address. After answering a few straightforward questions about sales and projected revenue, a sample storefront is generated. From here, editing the sample pages is a piece of cake. Users can rely on the handy “Help” section if they have questions, but the clear instructions found in the workspace are fairly self-explanatory.

Signing up for a free trial of Squarespace is similarly easy. After clicking on the appropriate link on the home page, the user is asked to select “Get a domain,” “Create a site” or “Build a store.” Online entrepreneurs will probably be most interested in the “Build a store” area first. Selecting this link takes the user directly to a page where they can select an online store template. Squarespace automatically returns nearly 10 “store” templates. Users can also select templates from other categories like businesses, portfolios, blogs, restaurants and musicians. Other options include weddings and personal website templates.

When a customer selects a template, they are taken to another page where they can preview the look and functionality of the template. Helpfully, Squarespace also provides links to customer websites that use the same template. If the template is acceptable, then the customer selects the “Start” button. This brings up another screen where the user enters their name, email address and a password. Next, the customer provides the name and address of the business as well as the type of products sold. It is then possible to edit the text on each page.

14 Day Free Trial

Get started today with Shopify to start your new e-commerce store

Squarespace vs Shopify Plans

Squarespace offers relatively straightforward pricing. They divide their services into two groups: Basic and Advanced. The Basic package costs $30 per month or, if the user decides to pay for a year in advance, $26 per month. This package is considered appropriate for the new entrepreneur. It allows unlimited selling capacity and has no transaction fees. The price includes the user’s website with galleries and blogs as well as mobile optimization and checkout capabilities. A custom domain is free with an annual purchase and all customers receive 24/7 support. The Basic package allows unlimited storage and bandwidth and includes label printing. An accounting program called Xero is integrated with the package.

The Advanced package is designed to meet the needs of a growing commerce website. It costs $46 on a month-to-month basis or $40 if one year is paid in advance. Customers receive everything that is included in the Basic package along with abandoned cart auto recovery and real time carrier shipping.

While neither of these plans includes a transaction fee, it is important to note that payments are accepted through an integrated app called Stripe. This app makes it possible for entrepreneurs to receive payments directly to their bank accounts. However, it is necessary to sign up separately for Stripe, and this payment processor does impose a transaction fee. Currently, Stripe charges 2.9 percent plus $0.30 per credit card transaction.

Where Squarespace offers two pricing plans, Shopify features three. Their “Basic” plan costs $29 each month and includes a storefront and the ability to accept credit card payments without signing up for an additional service at a separate website. Like the transaction fees for Stripe, the Basic plan charges 2.9 percent plus $0.30 per transaction. However, there is no need to set up a separate account in order to enable credit and debit card purchases. The Basic plan features two staff accounts in addition to the main administrator’s account. Shipping label discounts are also a part of the package.

The middle plan, which the company simply calls their “Shopify” plan, is their most popular. Coming in at $79 per month, this package boasts nice extras like the ability to sell gift cards, draft professional reports and abandoned cart recovery. Lowered credit card transaction fees of 2.6 percent plus $0.30 for each transaction are an additional perk. A bigger shipping label discount and room for five staff accounts are similarly useful upgrades.

 

shopify-pricingEntrepreneurs who have a bigger business that generates more revenue may want to step up to the “Advanced Shopify” plan with its improved report builder and handy carrier calculated shipping app. This plan costs $299 per month, but the per credit card transaction charges go all the way down to 2.4 percent plus $0.30. Once again, the savings on shipping labels increase as does the number of possible staff accounts.

On the surface, Squarespace has the cheaper plan options. Although Shopify costs more, it also boasts much more robust functionality than their competitor. Entrepreneurs who opt for Shopify simply get more bang for their buck in the form of increased flexibility and choices. Shopify’s all-in-one capability is also a winner.

Squarespace vs Shopify Themes

Shopify-themes

The themes offered by platform builders like Squarespace and Shopify are arguably what really differentiates each one from the other. Quite simply, Shopify wins this battle by a landslide thanks to the number and diversity of available themes that users can choose from, we have provided a sample of the high quality themes that Shopify provides in the above image. This doesn’t mean that Squarespace has nothing to offer.

Squarespace boasts stylized designs that are rich with imagery. People who want their website to look like a high-end designer created it may be very pleased with the themes that are available here. They tend to be clean and minimalistic, providing a really contemporary vibe. Websites created with Squarespace tend to look very polished and professional, which are things that are singularly important to entrepreneurs who want to project the right image. Squarespace also provides the option to create cover pages, which feature a single, scrollable page. These are sometimes used as a standalone website, but more often they are used in conjunction with a template for a larger website. Cover pages are really favored right now, so the ability to include one in a website may push certain users to choose Squarespace over Shopify.

However, Squarespace just doesn’t deliver when it comes to offering variety. A customer who is setting up an online storefront has exactly nine options from which to choose. Although they are all attractive, they are also very much the same. For the right entrepreneur, these sleek designs could be the no-brainer choice. However, someone looking for something a little more eclectic or with an old-world feel would probably be disappointed in their options here.

Still, each of Squarespace’s nine themes is available without incurring further charges. This could be attractive to the small business owner who has little capital to invest in starting a website.

Shopify remains competitive in this respect since it makes a number of free themes available to users. This enables people to hit the ground running with their online retail website without investing a ton of money. Users who choose free themes will still have monthly fees to pay, just as they would at Squarespace. However, Shopify has a particularly impressive collection of free themes. This means that entrepreneurs can choose a look and design that pertains specifically to the product they sell. Currently, Shopify provides users with approximately 25 free themes to choose from. They range from clean and minimalistic to vivid and colorful. Even though these themes are available without charge, the websites that can be created from them look like they are the expensive work of exclusive designers.

Of course, that does not include Shopify’s “Premium” themes, which users can buy with a one-time fee. Priced at between $100 and $180, these affordable designs feature plenty of attractive elements and improved functionality. Nearly 200 Premium themes are available through Shopify. The website divides them by industry, so users can search for templates that are designed for clothing and fashion, electronics, sports and recreation, home and garden, furniture and more. For an entrepreneur with a business that is really taking off, these inexpensive yet deluxe templates may be exactly what’s needed to differentiate their website from the competition.

14 Day Free Trial

Get started today with Shopify to start your new e-commerce store

Apps

Shopify-apps
Shopify takes the prize in this category too. In fact, Squarespace doesn’t really have much in the way of apps that can be selected and added to the websites created on their platform. For some entrepreneurs, this won’t be much of a problem. What is included in Squarespace’s websites may be all that is needed. However, it may be worthwhile to browse through Shopify’s app store before making a decision. People may find useful apps that help to automate their website in valuable and meaningful ways.

Shopify’s app store features more than 1,000 apps, we have shown a small sample in the above image. Some of them are available for free while others may charge a monthly fee. Several different categories of apps are available, such as accounting, social media, customer service, inventory tracking and others. A wealth of day-to-day, website-related activities can be automated by choosing the right apps. This means that the entrepreneur spends less time tinkering with their website and more time doing the things that lead to a healthier bottom line.

Customer Support

Neither one of these companies leaves their customers high and dry. In fact, both operations feature 24/7 customer support. Shopify can be contacted via email, an open chat or over the phone. Squarespace has similar contact capabilities. Both websites also have comprehensive support pages and numerous articles and tutorials covering how to make the most of their services. Squarespace also has some professionally produced videos that can be useful to the novice website builder.

Ease of Use

Both platform builders are designed to be easy to use even for people who have never built a website before. Shopify seems to be a bit more intuitive, and its templates begin with more of a blank space that can be highly customized by the user with just a few selections. The going may be somewhat rougher for new users of Squarespace. Still, being able to type text directly onto the appropriate block on the screen is a nice touch for those who want to see what the page will look like as they develop it. Shopify makes it possible to view the finished product in a different window.

The Upshot

Both of these platforms for building a website have plenty to recommend them to potential customers. Squarespace seems to cater a bit more to people who are looking to build a personal website to advertise their band, commemorate a wedding or otherwise update interested people on the latest happenings. In fact, Squarespace makes it possible to build a straightforward website that is not geared toward ecommerce and pay less than $20 per month for it. These websites are ideal for companies that want an online presence, but aren’t expecting customers to buy direct from the website. Instead, these websites are intended to be informational in nature, prompting visitors to contact the company to engage them for products or services.

Nonetheless, Squarespace also caters to people who want to build an online store. While they do not have the variety of themes that Shopify does, the templates they have are gorgeous to look at and work extremely well.

Shopify, on the other hand, offers incredible diversity when it comes to themes, and it offers its services at competitive prices. Additionally, Shopify features a robust selection of apps that customers can pick and choose to add to their websites to make them more automated and functional. Customers who need a website that is highly customized to their specifications may prefer to go with this service provider.

14 Day Free Trial

Get started today with Shopify to start your new e-commerce store