Shopify is our top rated ecommerce website builder, designed specifically for selling online. It has an impressive inventory system, and the most comprehensive set of business tools, features, and third party apps to help scale your business with ease.
So who should use Shopify? The answer is unsurprising, really: it’s suitable for any business looking to sell physical or digital products online.
However, like anything in life, it’s not for everyone. While it is the overall best ecommerce builder, it may not suit your products, fit your budget, or simply match your style.
In the other corner, you have Squarespace. Known as an ‘all-round’ website builder, it comes with some added ecommerce features if you’re looking to sell online. These sales tools are less advanced than Shopify, but, for that reason, it’s more affordable.
Squarespace is also the king of design. So, if you’re looking to just sell a few products online with some lovely templates to match, then it might be the builder for you.
But how do you choose between Shopify and Squarespace? Well, you’ll be glad to hear we’ve made things easier for you. We researched each builder, and asked people just like you to test them in order to compare the key areas for selling online. And the results are in…
Before we start, though, check out this comparison table below to quickly see how they match up.
|Scores out of five||Shopify||Squarespace|
|Ease of Use||4||3.4|
It’s no good having a large inventory system, or well-designed templates, if you can’t figure out how to use them – right?
Shopify is our top rated ecommerce builder. It has the most comprehensive set of features and apps, letting you sell across different platforms. But is it easy to use? The short answer is yes.
In our user testing, people found Shopify’s simple language, ‘undo’ button, and keyboard shortcuts made it really easy to build an online store. In fact, no one scored it less than 4 out of 5 for ‘ease of use’.
Someone even said about Shopify:
It was so good, really easy. It was just very user friendly – it guided you through the important areas, the most important being the inventory. Even just the questions at the beginning, then straight away it was add a product, subtle prompts. Everything was just very clear.
Squarespace, with all its beautiful templates, is a bit more tricky to get to grips with. In fact, our research found it was the hardest ‘non ecommerce-specific’ builder to use.
Yes, the editing homepage is clear, but it has no visual cues, and it’s hard to rectify errors after you’ve saved.
However, the people we tested said they enjoyed the creative freedom, and 68% would still recommend Squarespace for building an online store.
One user summarized Squarespace like this:
Adding products was actually easier than writing a product description, or just adding general text on the page.
Shopify vs Squarespace – Ease of Use: The Verdict
Overall, Shopify is much easier to use than Squarespace. It offers a nice balance between simple design features and complex business tools. On the other hand, Squarespace’s editor homepage is just a bit too tricky to navigate, especially with no visual cues to help you out.
As you’d expect, sales tools are the most important feature for, well, selling online. And at Website Builder Expert, we know these features cover more than just product prices, images, and discounts.
So we’ve investigated each website builder to find out exactly which builder performs best when it comes to selling your stock.
Shopify was designed specifically for selling online, so it should easily win here, right? Well, Squarespace packs a surprise punch. They both offer unlimited products, the ability to add single or bulk items, in-house revenue reports, and direct email alerts for low stock.
But where Shopify wins is with apps and social media advertising. You can easily add a huge range of marketing, accounting, and shipping apps to make your business more streamlined. And you can sell across 10 social media platforms.
By contrast, Squarespace doesn’t have an app market (so if it’s not built-in, you can’t use it), and you can only sell on Instagram. This means you may outgrow Squarespace if you’re looking to scale big, given the lack of options.
Shopify vs Squarespace – Sales Features: The Verdict
Shopify is one of the most comprehensive ecommerce website builders around, so it comfortably wins. Squarespace does well to keep pace in terms of sales tools, but Shopify edges it with lots of app integrations, plus a wider range of sales channels including Facebook and eBay.
Just like in a real shop, customers need to feel enticed. After all, people are reluctant to spend time (and money) in a messy, unkempt store. The same goes for websites.
So, looking good is important for an online store. But which builder has the better design?
Shopify has a decent choice of themes. You can pick from 10 free templates, or 50+ premium templates costing $140-180. Each template has different features to match the industry, saving you time and effort on editing, and they don’t look too bad.
However, some themes don’t have navigation bars that scroll down with you, which is a pain to rectify.
In the other corner, it should come as no surprise that Squarespace, an industry leader of design, had the best scores of any ecommerce builder in our testing.
Every template is modern and sleek, conveying a clear message with easily identifiable key action buttons. They’re all mobile responsive, too, so they look great on any sized screen.
Shopify vs Squarespace – Template Designs: The Verdict
Building websites on Squarespace is the closest you’ll get to professional quality, making it the clear winner. It lets your products shine, offering sleek and modern themes covering a range of industries. Shopify has 10 free and over 50 paid templates, but they aren’t as attractive.
Both website builders offer good customer support in our experience. But Shopify goes the extra mile with 24/7 support via phone, email, and live chat (by contrast, live chat on Squarespace is only available from 4am-8pm EST).
Furthermore, with Shopify, you get a dedicated support agent with their Plus Level price plans. Better yet, as your business grows, you can hire a Shopify Expert to help you code or design, adding a professional touch. Whereas with Squarespace, most issues can be resolved by visiting their forum.
Shopify vs Squarespace – Customer Support: The Verdict
Both Shopify and Squarespace offer a good level of customer support. But Shopify just wins, offering 24/7 phone, email, and live chat help. For all your website builder aches and pains, Shopify has the best remedies.
Generally speaking, Shopify costs more than Squarespace. Why? It really comes down to what they offer. Shopify has more advanced – and comprehensive – ecommerce features, and gives you access to loads of apps. In other words, it provides you with more tools to help grow your business.
So how much does each builder actually cost? We’ll go through each one, covering their monthly costs and value for money.
Shopify’s monthly plans are as follows:
- Basic Shopify ($29)
- Shopify ($79)
- Advanced Shopify ($299)
Need to save some extra cash? You can do it cheaper: if you sign up to an annual plan, the monthly prices come to $26.10, $71.10, and $269.10, respectively.
Now let’s take a look at Squarespace’s monthly price plans:
- Personal ($16)
- Business ($26)
- Basic Store ($30)
- Advanced Store ($46)
Again, like Shopify, if you sign up to a yearly plan, the monthly costs come down. The prices would come to $12, $18, $26, and $40, respectively.
As you can see, Squarespace is the more affordable option. But it doesn’t provide as many ecommerce tools, third party apps, or customer support options as Shopify does, preventing you from taking your online store to the next level.
So, comparing the prices to the features you get, they both represent decent value for money.
Can’t decide between the two? Both builders offer a 14-day free trial period, so you can test each one for yourself without paying a dollar.
Shopify vs Squarespace – Pricing: The Verdict
In terms of pricing, it really comes down to value for money. Shopify offers monthly plans from $29 to $299, but provides far more sales tools and features than Squarespace. Squarespace is a lot cheaper, costing $12 to $40 per month, but supports fewer ecommerce tools.
Choosing which ecommerce website builder to use really depends on what type of store you are trying to build.
Shopify is a lot more comprehensive when it comes to business tools and selling features (remember: it’s our top rated ecommerce builder). Essentially, its primary aim is to help your business flourish.
And, as you scale, you can even hire a Shopify Expert to help with advanced coding or design to make your site, well, grow more.
But if you don’t need such an advanced platform, and you’re only looking to sell a few items, Squarespace is very capable. The templates are beautiful and make your products really stand out. That said, Squarespace is more basic than Shopify in terms of ecommerce tools and capabilities, and has no app market.
Squarespace lends itself to creative industries. If you’re a photographer or artist looking to sell your work, Squarespace is ideal. Shopify on the other hand deals with more corporate businesses who need to sell products in bulk. Squarespace is great, but it’s the management tools that set Shopify apart.
Our overall thoughts? We have a clear winner. If you’re looking to build and grow an online store, Shopify is the best all-round choice.
Should I use Shopify or Squarespace?
Shopify is a ‘pure’ ecommerce website builder, offering the most comprehensive sales tools and features around – it’s suitable for almost any online business. Squarespace, however, is best if you’re looking to sell just a few items while using the most stunning templates available.
How much does Shopify cost?
Shopify offers a 14-day free trial, with no credit card information required, but you’ll have to choose a premium plan afterwards. These plans are Basic Shopify ($29 p/m), Shopify ($79 p/m), and Advanced Shopify ($299 p/m), all offering more sales features depending on the price plan you choose.
What payment methods can I use with Squarespace?
After setting up your online store with Squarespace, you can connect it with Stripe. This lets you accept these payment gateways: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover (US Merchants only), Diner’s Club, JCB, and Apple Pay. It’s worth noting t’s not as many as you can integrate with Shopify.
Is Squarespace or Shopify more scalable?
This is an easy one – Shopify. Because of its advanced sales tools and marketing capabilities, Shopify makes growing your site easy. Squarespace works for certain websites (creative industries etc.) but if you want to jump from selling 100 products a week to 1,000, to 10,000, you’ll want Shopify.