Shopify vs Squarespace – Which Ecommerce Builder Should You Choose?

Last updated on February 20, 2019

We know it’s hard to pick the right website builder for your online store. But when it comes to Shopify vs Squarespace, the solution is simple: it really boils down to what you’re looking for.

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.

Top Choice

4.7 out of 5

Ease Of Use

4 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

4 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

5 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

4.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

3.5 out of 5 stars

4.2 out of 5

Ease Of Use

3.5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

4.5 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

4 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

3.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4.5 out of 5 stars

Shopify and Squarespace: Head to head

Scores out of five Shopify Squarespace
Ease of Use 4 3.4
Design 3.7 4.2
Sales Features 4.7 3.5
Customer Support 4.1 3.5
Pricing 4.5 4.4

Shopify and Squarespace pros and cons

Pros Cons
  • Best all-round ecommerce builder
  • Brilliant inventory system
  • Sell across all social media channels
  • Monthly costs add up with Apps
  • Transaction fees for other payment gateways
  • Need to reformat site when switching themes
  • Best for design
  • Great analytics system for non-ecommerce specific builder
  • Instagram integration
  • Limited payment options
  • No app store
  • Hardest non-ecommerce specific platform to use

Shopify or Squarespace: Which is easiest to use?

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.

Which has the best Sales Features?

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.

Read about the best ecommerce software solutions here.

Looking for some more options? Read our BigCommerce vs Shopify review.

Which has the better design?

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.

shopify templates
Most of Shopify’s templates come with industry-specific features to help improve your website

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.

squarespace template
Squarespace offers the best designed templates around, helping your products stand out

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.

Which has the better customer support?

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 help center
Shopify has excellent support in place to help you out, whether it’s guides, phone, forums, or videos

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.

Interested in more? Check out our top rated ecommerce platforms.

Or find out how much it should cost to run a website.

Squarespace vs Shopify: Pricing plans

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)
Shopify Plans Pricing
Compare Shopify’s different plans to see which one is right for your store

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)
Squarespace has four pricing plans ranging from $12 to $40 per month (billed annually)

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.

Squarespace or Shopify: Features vs Price

Looking further into the features of Shopify and Squarespace, we’ve put together a little table. This shows you what features you receive on both their Basic ecommerce plans, and their Advanced Plans.

Basic Plan
Advanced Plan
24/7 Support
Abandoned Cart Recovery
Multi-Channel Integration
Professional Reports
24/7 Support
Abandoned Cart Recovery
Multi-Channel Integration
Professional Reports

To give a quick insight into what these features are:

  • Abandoned Cart Recovery is when the platform automatically generates an email to a customer who leaves your site with items in their basket, before checking out. This gives them a friendly nudge to come back to your site and complete their purchase. Studies show abandoned cart emails can help recover up to 15% of otherwise lost sales.
  • Multi-Channel Integration is the ability to sell your products across social media networks and online marketplaces. Currently, Squarespace only gives you access to Instagram, whereas with Shopify, you can sell across Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon, eBay and more.
  • Professional Reports are put together for you by the platform itself using your sales and marketing statistics. These can help highlight where you’re over and under-performing.

Taking this into account – and the fact there’s only a $3/month difference between Squarespace’s Basic ecommerce plan ($26), and Shopify’s ($29) – Shopify is the stronger choice. You’re getting a broader range and better quality features for only a slight increase in price.

Still can’t decide between Squarespace or Shopify? 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.

For a more detailed look at both Shopify and Squarespace’s plans, see our dedicated reviews below:

Shopify Pricing Review

Squarespace Pricing Review

What about alternatives to Shopify and Squarespace?

If neither Shopify or Squarespace take your fancy, don’t worry. There are other options out there. Below we’ll run through a few of the best alternatives on the market and tell you what’s so great about them.


Similar to Shopify, BigCommerce is designed specifically for online stores. Its plans are around the same price as Shopify’s and are perfect for people who want to sell products in bulk.

BigCommerce’s main selling point is that a lot of its features are built-in, meaning you don’t have any extra costs for thinks like app addons or security certificates. The downside is the dashboard isn’t quite as user-friendly as Shopify’s, and some of the terms used can be a little technical for beginners.


Wix came top of our research as the best all-around website builder. Its ecommerce offerings aren’t too shabby either, but Wix is really for people with only a few products to sell.

Wix is one of the easiest ways to create a website thanks to its drag-and-drop editor or choice of ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence). It can be difficult to scale with Wix though, because its ecommerce features aren’t on the same level as that of Shopify or BigCommerce.


Weebly are owned by payment processors, Square, and are only going in one direction when it comes to ecommerce: up! A slick website builder first and foremost, Weebly offers great value for money and is a sound option for anyone looking to branch out and sell online.

Weebly’s ecommerce features sit somewhere in between basic and advanced and can sometimes feel stuck in the middle (not the best website builder, not the best ecommerce platform). Nevertheless, Weebly gives you a reliable and simple way of building an online store.

Want to compare these ecommerce website builders side-by-side?

Ecommerce Website Builder Comparison Chart

Top 7 Ecommerce Platforms On The Market Today

Conclusion: Which is better?

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.

Verdict: Shopify

Like to know more about ecommerce builders?

Read our Magento vs Shopify article here.

Or our Wix vs BigCommerce article.


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.

Dan Barraclough

About Dan Barraclough

I used to think website design was just for professionals. Because maybe like you, I have no coding or design experience. But, with the help of our expert researchers (and after testing every website builder myself), I can confidently guide you through on how to get the most out of each one.


Dan Barraclough

About Dan Barraclough

I used to think website design was just for professionals. Because maybe like you, I have no coding or design experience. But, with the help of our expert researchers (and after testing every website builder myself), I can confidently guide you through on how to get the most out of each one.

Leave a Reply

49 Responses to Shopify vs Squarespace – Which Ecommerce Builder Should You Choose?

  1. #

    good content.

  2. #

    Hi – thanks for the excellent comparison.

    How good is Shopify at driving customers to a physical store? 90% of the products I sell are expensive and need to be demonstrated face-to-face with customers and cannot be fulfilled online/distance selling.

    I still need to have product pages online, manage inventory, plug-in CRM apps etc, but the call to action would be ‘book a demo’, rather than a ‘buy now’ button. Would Shopify still be a good platform for me? Thanks!

    • Charlie Carmichael

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your comment. There’s no sure-fire way to drive customers from your website to your physical store but two things that can really help is improving your SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and the design of your website. SEO is important for your site to rank highly on search engines which in turn will raise the profile of your store. More eyes on your website = more chance of customers in store. The design is crucial too as it can make your products look more enticing. If people are attracted to what you’re selling, they’re more likely to visit the physical store. Shopify is great on both accounts here so you should have no problem using their platform to create an amazing site that ranks highly on the likes of Google.

      Hope that helps and good luck!


  3. #

    I regret creating my online store with SquareSpace. I’m based in California and the sales tax rules are so complex and there’s no way to have them automatically calculated in SquareSpace. You have to enter them manually, which is time consuming and easily done incorrectly. They offer Stripe as a payment option, but the version they offer doesn’t allow for integration with companies like TaxJar who can automatically calculate the sales tax for each purchase. I would strongly discourage anyone in California from creating an online store using SquareSpace…go with Shopify. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

  4. #

    This was so helpful! Thank you!

    • Tom Watts

      Hi Irene,

      Great to hear the comparison proved useful for you!

      Best of luck with your website building,
      – Tom

  5. #


    I have heard from a Shopify shop owner that credit card payments are often rejected–much more so than other credit card processing services–causing all kinds of customer embarrassment and delays. Do you know if Square has a better track record in this regard? Any feedback on this aspect of ecommerce. I really can’t have customer’s cards rejected or needing extra verification, etc.

    Thank you.

    • Tom Watts

      Hi Helen,

      Thanks for your comment – although it’s a very difficult one to answer I’m afraid!

      Cards can get rejected from both platforms, but just as equally you might not experience any issues at all.

      Without having access to each platforms secure payment processing data I can’t really say which is better in this regard.

      What I can say though is that Shopify powers more than 500,000 stores including Budweiser + Tesla, so they must be doing something right! I don’t know the exact store figure for Squarespace but I’m confident it won’t be as high as Shopify.

      One other thing to bear in mind is your long term ecommerce goals. Shopify is the better choice if you want to grow a successful online store and business that can scale alongside you, whereas Squarespace is better suited to smaller, more boutique-like stores.

      I hope that’s helped a bit and given you some food for thought,
      – Tom

  6. #

    Thank you this was so helpful!

  7. #

    Thank you so much, each timend i find myself in a fix I come to this site (that’s almost everyday). My question however is that, can I therefore open a website with Squarespace and use shopify as my store because from what I understand you can use shopify on your already existent site.

    I appreciate your work

    • Tom Watts

      Hi Benjamin,

      It is possible to integrate your Shopify products to Squarespace, but it is a little tricky and also needs to be repeated each time you update your Shopify store (yes you need both a Squarespace website and Shopify Store to make this integration work). There’s a Squarespace guide to doing this here.

      Otherwise, if you are set on Squarespace for your website building platform, have you considered Squarespace’s own ecommerce features? This might be a solution that prevents you from needing two websites!

      Hopefully it gives you some food for thought,
      – Tom

  8. #

    Hey Jeremy,

    Thank you for your comprehensive comparison, I found it extremely helpful.

    As an online merchant, I think you could add the transaction fees to your post. An average order of 100 $50 transactions per month at 2.9 + 30c (Shopify) or 2% plus Paypal/Stripe fees (Squarespace) adds up considerably.

    • Tom Watts

      Hi Shawn,

      Thanks for reading and glad you found the discussion helpful.

      You’re right to point out that transactions fees can add up over time and with larger orders. It’s definitely something interesting to consider for our ecommerce reviews and discussions.

      Thanks for reading,
      – Tom

  9. #

    Very helpful! Thank you so much for this!

    • Tom Watts

      Thanks, Mimi.

      Feel free to share this post if you found it useful! You never know who else might find it helpful.

      – Tom

  10. #

    Hi Jeremy

    thank you for the comprehensive review and suggestions..!

    is it possible to link a shopify account to my squarespace blog ? so that way i can sell my product easily enough, given that shopify is set up primarily for e-commerce whereas square space is a blog site…..

    Thanks again !

    • Jeremy

      Hey Pradeep,

      What you can try to do is add a Shopify Buy Button to your Squarespace page. That might just work?


  11. #

    Hi Bruce. With Shopify, you can ‘hide’ products until you’re ready to make them live, and remove any shop or cart links from your navigation in the meantime.


  12. #

    Hi Jeremy,
    Thanks for the article. I am a small manufacturer and currently have a very nice looking website built on WordPress except that it was built in 2009 and a lot has changed since that time. Mainly, people weren’t using smart phones as much back then so our website was design for viewing on a PC.

    I want to convert my site to a RWD site for phone, tablet and PC. I want to be able to have most of the same product info we have now on the new site. I also want to be able to manage the site myself which I can’t do very much with our Word Press site because I don’t know how to write code.

    I am not sure I want to start selling my products on the new site immediately. We have never sold retail because we didn’t want to compete with our retailers (brick/mortar and online retailers) but that may change some day.

    I have played around with Shopify and SquareSpace a bit and it seems like Shopify will be better for selling products. A friend in my industry has a company and he uses Shopify and I like his website. They sell retail on it.

    My main question is: Is there an “on/off” switch in Shopify that will allow me to start selling products at a later date after I have built the new site? In other words, if I build out my new site using Shopify now can I then add or turn on the “buy now” and shopping cart functions later.


    • Jeremy

      Hey Bruce,

      I’m actually not sure if you can do that, but I figure it is probably an option since you don’t necessarily have to add products to your website yet. So if you don’t any anything yet, then no product pages should show up?

      Since you have a trial account with Shopify, did you try asking their support team? Or just test this out on your trial online store – don’t add products and see what happens?


  13. #

    Hey Jeremy. Is it was to switch between the two platforms if you initially make the wrong choice?

    • Jeremy

      Hi Sammy,

      You won’t be able to export and import content between Shopify and Squarespace. So you’d have to start from the beginning if you want to switch online store builders.

      But you can export product details into a CSV file and import it into the other builder. That should save you some time.


    • #

      I have been digging in pretty deep to the two services, trying to find the best choice for my new business. Squarspace says you can import from a Shopify store, although I don’t see anything going the other direction.

      • Jeremy


        You should be able to export Squarespace product listings into a CSV file format, then import that into a Shopify store.

        It’s not a perfect migration of data, but you’ll get the bulk of the data transferred.


  14. #

    Hello Jeremy,
    thank you for your useful article!
    I have a question:
    I want to start selling the prodcuts of our family business online and at the same time I urgently need to give a new image to the company through a new corporate website. What I would like to do is create a corporate website and then in 4/5 months start selling the new collection.

    It looks like on Shopify I can aonly start selling straightaway.
    Would then Squarespace be better to start just showing who we are and then eventually start selling?
    Thank you!


    • Jeremy

      Hey Benedetta,

      I think it depends on how big of a portion ecommerce is part of your website. If ecommerce is the main portion of your business, I’d suggest going with Shopify even if you’re not selling anything right now. Once you start to ramp up your online sales, Shopify offers you a lot more advanced selling tools and support.

      But if ecommerce is only a minor part of your online business, then Squarespace should do just fine. You can sign up to their lower plan, and upgrade to their ecommerce plan later if you want to.


  15. #

    Hi, you gave great advice! I was leaning towards Squarespace because I am starting off a jewlery line and wanted to see the best option for me. My first instinct was shoplify but I also looked into SquareSpace and it sounded really good and developed; I was really impressed but after reading your article it looks like shoplify gives you more. My question is does Shopify also charge you fees per transaction like you said Squarespace does and if so how much?

    Thank you!

    • Jeremy

      Hey Kira,

      Shopify has a lot more dedicated ecommerce tools as they are a “pure” online store builder. Squarespace also caters to non-ecommerce websites.

      Squarespace charges you transaction fees if you are not using their Commerce plans.

      For Shopify, they do charge you transaction fees, but if you use Shopify Payments, then they waive all transaction fees.

      If you visit their pricing pages, they outline all the fee structures there so there aren’t any hidden fees.

      You can so read up on our reviews of Shopify and Squarespace here and here.


  16. #

    Hi Jeremy,

    I have a few questions for you.

    I am currently considering switching from my Westhost hosted site to Squarespace, as I designed it with an old version of Dreamweaver without knowing code and it is now a huge pain to update or edit as some of the features I relied on before aren’t available in the same way in the new versions of the program. Now that Etsy has been indicating it will enforce the EU Distance Selling laws if a customer wants a refund for no reason, and requiring sellers who sell to the EU to provide links to cancellation forms for orders I would rather move my store where I am not at risk of getting ripped off by someone who simply just changes their mind 14 days after receiving their order.

    Looking at Shopify’s terms, it seems they abide by the laws governing Ontario, Canada, and I also noticed that they linked to Stripe to give an example of how best to avoid chargeback claims and their pages look almost identical. Is Stripe owned by Shopify, or vice versa? Shopify also states that they will automatically try to get any chargebacks reversed for you, which sounds great for buyer protection. I didn’t see that statement on Stripe’s terms, but if one of them owns or uses the other then would that apply to both?

    Although I used to take orders for about 10 different styles that were made to order, I now just make my items first and then list them on Etsy ready to ship. Would Shopify or Squarespace’s ecommerce tools easily handle listing one of a kind items to sell? Which would be better for that? At the moment, almost everything I list in flash sales sells within the hour unless it’s a high ticket item, so I would probably be listing a group of different items (I can’t imagine more than 20 at once but maybe?) every week or every couple weeks that would hopefully sell right away, and repeat the process for the next sale. Ease of use is important to me, especially when needing to list items that may be the same style as a previously listed item but vary in colors, and the ability to upload any size photo as well as including any text that should go with it.

    I also want to make sure I can still have my company name and logo visible on each page.

    Lastly, when it comes to digital downloads, I know Paypal says they don’t protect sellers from claims when digital goods are purchased because there is not shipping tracking number or other way to prove receipt of the digital goods. I currently only sell one file on Deviant Art and was thinking of moving that to my own website since DA gives absolutely no info about who purchased the content and that is important info to me. However, if there is no way to track whether or not the downloads have been purchased and someone can simply get a refund by filing a claim on digital products while they still have it on their computer, then I may re-think selling digital content at all.

    Any info you have about these issues would be so helpful!

    Thank you 🙂

    • Jeremy

      Hey Angela,

      Shopify and Stripe are independent companies, though they work together. Stripe powers Shopify Payments and so I’m not surprised that Shopify refers to Stripe’s advice on how to reduce / avoid chargebacks, which is a very common problem for a lot of merchants.

      In terms of law (though note that I’m not a lawyer), Shopify is based in Canada and that’s why they operate under Canadian law. But when it comes to the law that you need to abide by, it really depends on where you (as the merchant) is located and where you conduct your business. But sounds like you’re quite aware of that already!

      I think both Shopify and Squarespace can handle what you need, but it’s best to sign up for free trials with both platforms to see which one you prefer working with. Generally speaking, Shopify will have much more advanced ecommerce tools than Squarespace (since Shopify is a “pure” online store builder). But Squarespace is easier to use as they are a drag & drop website builder. We have more discussions about the ecommerce tools offered by Squarespace in this article here (in case you haven’t read it yet).

      Shopify is also slightly more expensive from a cost perspective, since they have a much more powerful platform, and a very strong ecosystem as well. They do offer some free designs, but a lot of the really good ones are premium themes (paid).

      So if you are very cost sensitive, Squarespace could be better as all their themes are free.

      But as mentioned, do sign up to both and test them out yourself. It’s the only way for you to get some hands on experience as to which one you prefer to work with.

      In regards to digital downloads, merchants have always had problems with fraudulent buyers. We’ve sold digital products before, and it was a headache for us as well. People would download and file chargebacks, or ask for returns. Some are legitimate, but a lot weren’t. Some digital download software are able to track whether a file has been downloaded or not, but buyers could always come up with various reasons why they want refunds. I think this will always exist in the world of selling digital products (as buyers don’t have the obligation of packing up the product and shipping it back to the merchant), but it’s just a cost of doing business I suppose.

      Hope this helps!


  17. #

    Hey! This was super helpful thank you!! My question is this…i am beginning a jewelry company online to sell handmade pieces. Maybe 20+ designs for now, with more collections to follow. I have a splash page on Squarespace that was great to setup & looks beautiful. I want to build my store now & get rid of or link it from the splash page. Do you know if the fee for the splash page includes the store fee or is it another fee? Also, this may be a stupid question but since my splash page through squarespace is linked as the actual website domain I’ve already purchased through godaddy, if I go with shopify do I no longer get to use that domain?

    Thank you for your expertise! This all sounds like a whoooole new language to me. (Side note: believe it or not I don’t know how to code 😉

    • Jeremy

      Hey Nicole,

      Congrats on your site! With website builders like Squarespace, you really don’t need to know any code to build a great looking, functional website.

      As for your question, it really depends on which Squarespace plan you signed up to. If you signed up to the Cover Page plan, then you can’t sell products with that plan.

      If you upgrade to their Personal plan, you can sell 1 single product. With their Business plan, you can sell up to 25 products which sounds like it might work for you at this point.

      You can always upgrade to their Commerce plans later on when you’re ready to take advantage of more tools.

      Keep in mind that outside their Commerce plan (such as their Personal or Business plans), Squarespace does charge a transaction fee (2 or 3% of each sale you make, depending on which plan you sign up to).

      With their Commerce plans, there are no transaction fees.

      If you decide to switch to Shopify, you can disconnect your domain name from your Squarespace website, and reconnect it to your Shopify site. Shopify’s support pages will include details on how to connect your domain name from GoDaddy to a Shopify site.

      Hope this helps!


      • #

        Hi Jeremy

        I have a large jewelry factory and would like to sell directly to the final retail customer. I have been using Squarespace for 3 years now and noticed that there is very little traffic, I spoke with a friend and they said Shopify is much better regarding showing up on Google searches and making yourself more viewable.

        Is this true???

        I’ll Google search my company name and we do not pop up under Squarespace hosting.

        Can it be that it has no coding?

        Will Shopify make my site more viewable?

        I’m not a computer person sorry if I’m wording everything wrong

        • Natasha Willett

          Hi Ashish,
          Welcome to the community. Great question, I personally disagree. Shopify and Sqaurespace are equally as good for SEO, we have actually just run an in house investigation looking at the SEO of all the builders and both the website builders you mentioned came out as equal, gaining full marks. Have you checkout Sqaurespace’s excellent SEO guide? If not I’d suggest that you give it a read, it really is incredibly helpful. They even have a video to help you walk you through their best practices. If you are still finding it hard to rank on google, why on check out some of our SEO top tips here
          Good luck.

  18. #


    Very good article. Someone mentioned you need to know code to use shopify – is that the case? I do not know code and do not want to have to hire someone.

    I am a creative director/designer starting my own product line, so the layout is extremely important to me. I will not want it to look like a theme or a ‘shopify’ site.

    Question is: how much flexibility in the design?

    thank you


    • Jeremy

      Hello Jocelyn,

      Thanks for your comment.

      If you want to make customizations to a Shopify storefront design – beyond what the design provides, then yes you will need to adjust the codes. But if you stay within the theme’s design capability, then you don’t (generally speaking).

      If you prefer not to run into a chance that you might have to deal with codes, and if you want something that is purely drag and drop, then I’d suggest using a drag & drop website builder such as Squarespace, Wix or Weebly.

      We have a comparison chart here that you can check out.

      Good luck!


  19. #

    Thanks Jeremy, this was a very helpful article. I am working on an ecommerce website and your article helped direct me toward Shopify.

    • Jeremy

      Hi Lisa – glad we can helpful here. Shopify is one of the best ecommerce builders available in the market today, so you’re in good hands!


  20. #

    Thank you for this detailed comparison.

    You do you have a sense of which organization would best support digital downloads, in my instance PDFs?

    Thanks, Jo

    • Jeremy

      Hi Jo,

      Both will work just fine. So it comes down to what other features you are looking for.

      Pricing wise, Squarespace has slightly cheaper plans. Tools wise, Shopify has a lot more “hard core” ecommerce tools and App integrations to help you promote your products even more. But keep in mind that Squarepace is drag and drop and so it’s easier for you to design your website and move content around. Shopify is a bit more structured and any significant layout edits is not as easy as Squarespace.

      So I’d say Squarepace will give you a lot more design freedom / flexibility (especially if you don’t know how to code), but Shopify will give you more ecommerce focused tools.

      But if you are just thinking of selling digital products without the need for a lot more advanced ecommerce tools, Squarespace can get the job done.


      PS: Keep in mind that Squarepace only uses Stripe to power its shopping cart. So if you live in a country where Stripe is not yet servicing, then Shopify will be the better choice for you as they can integrate with over 70 different payment processors.

  21. #

    Thank you for this comparison. I am trying to help out an artist friend, who wants to incorporate a blog, daily posts and to sell one of a kind items. I personally prefer Shopify. I like Squarespace, and she does have the start of a site on there. My question is, I just learned that Shopify has code now for a Buy Now button – but under what circumstances would someone want to have a Squarespace site, and also integrate a Shopify ecommerce?

    I don’t really understand why you pay 2 services for the same end. Is it to accommodate for people already using Squarespace or other platforms. Is there a practical reason to use both?

    Any advisement?

    • Jeremy

      Hi Deb,

      That’s a great question. I think you’re right in that it is most likely for people who already have an established website built with Squarespace, but want to add on the advanced ecommerce features from Shopify.

      Squarespace recently updated their ecommerce tools to include abandoned cart recovery as well, which is a very advanced ecommerce feature! So I’m seeing a bit less of a reason for people to add a Shopify buy button to a platform such as Squarespace.

      One other practical reason I can think of, is that Squarepace currently only integrates with Stripe (payment processor). So if you don’t want to use Stripe, or if you are living in a country where Stripe is not offering services to (yet), then integrating Shopify Buy Now button can be useful there.


  22. #

    I’m considering offering handmade items for sale and am trying to determine the best way to go about it. It seems most people start out on esty but recommend also having a website to increase exposure and ultimately try to get off etsy.

    I have to say though, just starting out, I don’t think I can justify paying so much a month or year for a website unless it is truly going to gain me something (profit!). Though, the steep competition on etsy and their seller fees are off-putting, to me anyway, and it makes more sense to, since I will have to drive traffic somewhere, to send it to my website rather than one that sells everyone else’s crafts too.

    In your opinion, would I be better off to invest in my own website and leave etsy alone or start with etsy and get a website if that goes well or do both or what? Maybe there are even some other options I don’t know about yet?

    I’ve learned a lot reading on your site the last few days but I still have so much more to learn! Thanks for breaking things down for newbies like me! 🙂

    • Jeremy

      Hi Kristy,

      Thanks for commenting and glad our discussions on our website have been educational to you!

      Your question is a very good one, and we addressed it in this post here.

      I think you’re on the right track in thinking that it is better as a business to drive traffic to your own website, instead of sending people to your Etsy store where your visitors will be exposed to other competitors.

      I think that it’s not a “one or the other” decision here (as in either having your own ecommerce store, or having an Etsy store). You can actually do both as a way to build up your brand. So having an Etsy store can attract people who are surfing Etsy, and bring them to your ecommerce site. So it’s just an additional way of getting more eyeballs on your website.

      So check out our discussion on Etsy and you’ll see what I mean!


  23. #


    Thank you for the comparison! Exactly what I needed. I was wondering, can I try both platforms 14 days Free trail period at the same time?

    Kind regards


    • Jeremy

      Hey Werner,

      Yes you can test both in together in parallel. Both Squarespace and Shopify are separate companies, so you can sign up for test accounts with both platforms and see which one you prefer to use!


      • #

        Hello there,

        Do you recommend wix, or shopify, or squarespace for selling physical apparel in the US, with hopes to go international in the future.

        Wix is offering a steep discount on their e-commerce, shopify seems highly niched in eccomerce but higher cost and coding needed, and square space looks sharp. Not sure how to start.

        • Jeremy

          Hi Nadia,

          It “depends”.

          With Wix, they offer you all the basic tools to sell online. But if you want more powerful marketing and integration tools (considering your future expansion), Shopify is the way to go.

          But of course, if you are just starting with new store and cost is a major factor, then an option is to hold off on using Shopify and start with Wix. If you gain traction down the road, you can consider a migration to Shopify.

          Regarding Squarespace, it depends on where you are based out of. Online stores built with Squarespace can only use Stripe to poweer their shopping cart (collect payments). Stripe only operates in certain countries. So if you’re not based in these countries, then Squarepace wouldn’t work for you.

          My thoughts are the same for Squarespace and Shopify. You can always start with the easier builder, grow your store to a certain point, then consider migrating to a more powerful platform.