Square vs Squarespace 2024: Costs, Templates, and More

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Square and Squarespace may sound similar, but don’t be fooled. Despite the names, these platforms offer two entirely different ecommerce solutions each offering unique features you might need for your next online store.

Although it’s primarily a website builder, Squarespace is the easiest platform on the market to use. It comes with great sales features to help you set up an online store with minimal effort. Meanwhile, Square Online is a dedicated ecommerce platform that offers users a free plan that allows you to start selling for nothing.

We’ll look at which platform has the best pricing, the quickest set up times, and the best product management tools. Keep reading to discover which platform is best for you based on your unique needs.

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Square vs Squarespace: Quick Comparison

Here are the main differences between Square and Squarespace:

Squarespace Square Online
Value for Money Squarespace’s plans are great value for money. Plans start from $16/mo (billed annually), while you can also access a 14-day free trial before you buy. Get 10% off Squarespace plans with the code “WBE10” at checkout. Square’s main selling point is the ability to set up and sell for free – great if you have a limited budget. For more features, the paid plans start from $29/mo (billed annually) and come with customizable website themes and a free domain for a year.
Setting Up With the easiest website builder on the market, setting up on Squarespace is stress free. The drag-and-drop editor makes moving elements on your webpage simple, while you can quickly start uploading products to your store from the outset. Square offers an easy set up, but it really shines with its product management tools. Uploading new products doesn’t take long and you’ll have all of the key information you need on your dashboard, from product categories to recent orders.
Templates Professional templates are Squarespace’s specialty. Its template library has 209 online store templates that look professional and are optimized for selling. You can also customize them via site styles, elements, and sections. Square’s templates are more run-of-the-mill, though they do get the job done. However, it’s not the best choice if you’re looking for sophisticated designs with more customization options – Squarespace would be a better fit.
Sales Features Squarespace has a number of built in sales features to choose from. This includes its own payment processor, Squarespace Payments, as well as a wide range of shipping options your customers can purchase items with and a powerful scheduling tool for booking services. Square has essential sales features (like abandoned cart recovery), but its advanced POS system stands out the most. Available on the free plan and above, you’ll receive a free Square reader, POS personalization, and expert live phone support.
Marketing Features With Squarespace, all of your marketing efforts are kept in one place. You’ll have access to social media integrations, SEO tools, and professional email marketing campaigns with eye-catching templates. Unlike Squarespace, Square offers both email marketing and SMS marketing. With flexible pricing based on the size of your business, email campaigns start from $15/mo and text campaigns from $10/mo (both billed annually).
Help and Support Squarespace’s help and support includes a Help Center with regularly updated articles, an automated live chat, and 24/7 email contact. If you get stuck using Square, you can access its Support Center filled with useful articles, or use the 24/7 live chat and phone lines that are available from Monday to Friday (6am to 6pm).
Security With Squarespace, you’ll receive key security measures like SSL Certificates and two-step authentication. However, we found that its fraud detection system is lacking since it relies on third-party processors to find and report threats. Alongside its key security features, Square Online comes with an advanced fraud detection tool, Square Risk Manager. This tool offers 24/7 monitoring of fraudulent activity.

Best Value for Money: Squarespace

Our research shows that Squarespace’s pricing plans are great value for money. When compared with website builders like Wix or Shopify, all of its plans are reasonably priced and start from $16 per month (billed annually). The plans also come with a wide range of features, including unlimited products, customer accounts, and a secure checkout page for your domain.

To sell products online, you’ll need to upgrade to the Business, Commerce, or Commerce Advanced plan, which ranges in prices from $23-$49 per month (billed annually). However, if you only want to sell services, the personal plan is enough because it lets you sell digital courses and guides, or take bookings with Acuity Scheduling.

Squarespace also offers a 14-day free trial, an opportunity to test out its ecommerce platform before committing to a payment. If you’re struggling to decide, then two weeks is enough time to make a decision. You also don’t need to give Squarespace your credit card information to trial.

For 10% off Squarespace, enter the code “WBE10” at checkout.

Screenshot of Squarespace's pricing
You get great features with all of Squarespace’s plans. You’ll get a free domain for one year and you’ll receive unlimited bandwidth and high-quality templates, too. Source: Website Builder Expert

If you have a tight budget, then Square Online has a feature you’ll appreciate: a free ecommerce plan. With no setup fees, you’ll receive a variety of ecommerce features such as in-person sales, multiple shipping options, payment types, and social media integration.

However, there is a downside. The free plan comes with ads on your website, which will look unprofessional to users. Square Online will also be added to your domain, interfering with your online store’s personal branding, too.

To get rid of ads and have more features, you’ll need to look into Square’s paid plans. The Plus plan costs $29 per month (billed annually), while the Premium plan is $79 per month (billed annually). The paid plans offer a free domain for one year, customer checkouts, the ability to choose a customizable theme, and a PayPal checkout option.

Screenshot of Square Online's pricing
The free plan is great if you’re just starting out, but it does lack key features like customer accounts, more site customization, and advanced item settings. Source: Website Builder Expert
Yes, Square and Squarespace charge transaction fees which vary.

With Squarespace’s Business plan, there’s a 3% transaction fee on all product sales, though you can remove it by upgrading to a Commerce or Commerce Advanced plan. However, you will still encounter payment processing fees based on the third-party payment processors used (For instance, Stripe charges 2.9% + 30¢ per every successful transaction).

Square’s fees also depend on the plan you’re on. The Free and Plus plan has a 2.9% + 30c fee per transaction, and the Premium Plan has a 2.6% + 30c fee per transaction.

squarespace logo
The Winner

Squarespace’s plans are great value for money and have the best features for the price

With Squarespace, you have three strong ecommerce plans to choose from: Business, Commerce, and Commerce Advanced, alongside essential features like unlimited items, various shipping options and payment types, and in-person selling via its POS.

Best for Setting Up: Squarespace

Setting up your store can be a daunting task, especially if you’re new to ecommerce. Fortunately, Squarespace’s website builder keeps this process simple.

Beating competitors like Hostinger and Shopify for its brilliant user experience, Squarespace is the easiest website builder on the market and is ideal for beginners. During the onboarding process, Squarespace provided us with mini tutorials that helped us get to grips with the platform quickly.

Screenshot of Squarespace's tutorial page.
From the outset, Squarespace’s mini tutorials gave me the support I needed to set up. If you’re a new user, you’ll receive help along the way. Source: Website Builder Expert

Overall, Squarespace’s editor is a breeze to use. You can easily edit your online store via the drag-and-drop editor which lets you add new sections or elements to your website. For instance, you could add a gallery to showcase photos of some of your best items, or add in email forms so customers can sign up to your newsletter for product updates.

Squarespace’s inventory management tools are also easy to pick up. We could choose from nine different types of items to upload, like gift cards and products on demand. There’s also many ways to customize your items, since you can add high-quality photos, mark items as a featured product, or use Squarespace AI to generate text for your website.

Not far behind, Square Online’s platform is also quick and easy to set up. However, we were most impressed by its clear dashboard and great product management tools that kept everything in one place.

Once you’ve added your first items, you can use the recently improved Square Item Library to monitor your inventory, with filters tracking stock numbers, active and archived items, and the online visibility of your products.

Screenshot of a product in Square's Item Library
A highlight of the setup process, Square’s Item Library makes it easy to organize your products. We could use the active tab to switch between active and archived items. Source: Website Builder Expert
squarespace logo
The Winner

Squarespace is the easiest website builder to set up your online store with

Since Squarespace is the easiest website builder on the market, there’s no surprise that it’s the winner here. With great onboarding guides, an intuitive interface, and an easy way to add products to your website, setting up simple.

Best for Ecommerce Templates: Squarespace

First impressions count. To wow your website visitors within the first few seconds of clicking on your store, you need an impressive website design. Squarespace is great for this, offering 209 online store templates that are professional, free to use, and suit a variety of industries.

Thanks to Squarespace’s design tools, we also found it easy to customize our online store. By clicking on the paintbrush icon in edit mode, we could access the Site Styles tab to change our template’s font, color scheme, and spacing. If you’re particular about how you want your website to look, Squarespace gives you great creative control thanks to design options.

Screenshot of Squarespace's editor and font tools
I wanted the font to match my website’s branding, so I clicked on the paintbrush and quickly changed it to something else – it only took a few seconds! Source: Website Builder Expert

If you’re not satisfied with Squarespace’s templates page, you can also use Squarespace Blueprint. Introduced in 2023, the tool generates a new design based on your answers to five key questions. Most notably, the tool comes with AI text generation so you can establish a distinct tone of voice that matches your overall branding.

The downside to these rich templates? Our research showed that Squarespace’s loading times were much slower than Square’s. This is due to the design-heavy templates that can slow down your website loading times. Note that users are more likely to leave your online store if a page takes ages to load.

In contrast, Square Online’s templates are known as “themes” and you can only access customizable themes on the Plus plan and above. If you’re on the Free plan, you’ll be stuck with a standard template that will limit your design options, though you can tweak smaller aspects of your site from the editor, like sections and your color scheme.

Unlike Squarespace’s 209 templates, Square Online only has 27 themes to choose from. The themes available also aren’t as sophisticated. We found limited variation between designs, which can make it hard to stand out online if you’re looking for a distinctive theme you can play around with. For this reason, we recommend Squarespace if you want full creative control, great design options, and a unique look for your small business.

Screenshot of Square's paid templates
Square’s templates were nice to look at, but the designs are definitely not on par with Squarespace’s sophisticated styles. Source: Website Builder Expert
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The Winner

For professional templates, Squarespace is the clear winner

Boasting an extensive template library, its own template generator, and a multitude of design tools, Squarespace will leave you with a sleek online store that appeals to your customers.

Best for Sales Features: Squarespace

If you intend to sell a large volume of products, you need to watch out for key features that will streamline the process for you. Square and Squarespace come with additional tools that’ll help you sell:

  • Abandoned cart recovery tools that let users know when they’ve left an item in their cart to help increase conversions.
  • Multiple shipping options featuring commonly used couriers like USPS and DHL express to let you ship nationally and abroad.
  • Inventory management tools that make it easy to manage your stock.
  • Gift cards that users can buy for another person.

Despite these commonalities, Square and Squarespace’s key sales features do vary in quality.

POS

If you’ll be selling in person as well, and want to integrate your brick and mortar store with your online store, you can use Square or Squarespace to do so.

Out of the two platforms, Square’s POS system is the best. Its POS is included with every plan (yes, even the free plan). You also receive a free Square reader, a free app for transactions, top fraud protection, and live phone support.

Screenshot of Square's POS hardware
We found so many ways to personalize Square’s POS. You can even buy additional hardware if needed – a great way to scale up your physical and digital sales! Source: Website Builder Expert

Just remember that in-person transactions do incur processing fees. If a customer swipes their card with the Square reader in person, the transaction fee is 2.6% + 10c per transaction. But if you manually key in your customer’s card details, the fee rises to 3.5% + 15c per transaction.

On the other hand, Squarespace is actually partnered with Square for its POS system. You can connect your Square account and Square Reader with Squarespace’s POS app, allowing you to start selling in person. Since Squarespace is reliant on Square’s POS technology, this gives Square the upperhand.

Screenshot of Squarespace's additional POS features.
Though Squarespace uses Square’s POS system, we found some useful additional features on Squarespace’s platform, like the ability to add in-person discounts at checkout and build your mailing list. Source: Website Builder Expert

Payment Options

Squarespace’s POS might be limited, but its vast payment methods aren’t. In 2023, Squarespace unveiled its own payment processor, Squarespace Payments. This handy tool lets you accept and manage payments from your dashboard, though you will need a Business or Commerce plan to sell goods with it.

Squarespace Payments also lets you accept payments from a large number of providers:

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Discover
  • Apple Pay
  • Shop Pay
  • Afterpay
Screenshot of Squarespace's payment options
Squarespace Payments is so easy to set up from your dashboard. It’s also completely worth it, since there’s a huge number of payment methods included. Source: Website Builder Expert

Outside of Squarespace Payments, you can also connect your payments with Stripe, Square, and Paypal – giving your customers even more ways to pay.

In contrast, Square offers less payment options overall, which does limit your number of potential customers. However, it does cover popular choices like Google Pay, Apple Pay, After Pay, Cash App, and Square Pay. You can only access PayPal transactions on a paid plan.

Screenshot of Square Online's payment methods.
Square offers far fewer payment options than Squarespace. However, it does cover popular payment types like Apple Pay and Google Pay. Source: Website Builder Expert

Selling Services Online

If you’re selling services instead of physical products, Squarespace is the best platform for you. Its Acuity Scheduling tool lets you manage and book appointments from your website, which is a great way to set up meetings or consultations with potential clients.

Here are some of the key features you’ll get with Acuity Scheduling:

  • Calendar syncing shows customers when you’re available.
  • Video conferencing via JoinMe and Zoom.
  • Prompt payments and invoicing lets you receive secure payments from your customers.
  • Automated appointment reminders
  • Great analytical tools to track the success of your appointments.

If arranging appointments online is important to you, then it’s worth integrating this feature with your online store. The tool isn’t free to use. Once the 14-day free trial has finished, the pricing begins from $16 per month (paid annually).

If you’re using Square, it has its own scheduling tool, Square Appointments. Though Squarespace’s tool is more powerful overall, you can access a free plan with Square. This plan comes with unlimited staff accounts, integrated payments, and automated reminders for customers.

squarespace logo
The Winner

Squarespace’s built-in sales features keep everything in one place

If you choose Squarespace, you’ll get the key sales features needed to set up and sell. Most importantly, its expansive list of payment options gives your customers the flexibility to pay in different ways.

Best for Marketing Features: Squarespace

To grow your online store, you need to put yourself out there through your marketing efforts. Whether you’re reaching out to loyal customers through email marketing, or sharing your latest products on social media, Square and Squarespace offer tools to get you seen online.

SEO

With the global SEO market expected to reach $5.7 billion by 2027, you need to create a strategy for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

To increase your visibility on search engines, Square makes it easy to enhance your products for SEO. From the product page, it didn’t take us long to edit a product’s meta title and meta description for search engines.

But Square’s SEO offering is fairly limited, especially when compared with Squarespace’s advanced tools. Squarespace’s standout features include:

  • Hiding specific pages from search engine results pages, if you don’t want a page on your website to rank.
  • Automatic markup that helps Google index your pages.
  • Squarespace AI which generates SEO-friendly copy for your website based on best practices.
  • Great mobile optimization that keeps your pages user friendly for mobile users.
  • Dedicated SEO panel in the dashboard that keeps your SEO needs in one place.

Squarespace’s advanced tools can help your website reach numerous new users each month.

Social Media Integrations

Don’t consider yourself social media savvy? Not to worry. Squarespace and Square offer clever ways to integrate your online store with your social media accounts.

Squarespace is great if you want to add your social media accounts to your website. Once you’ve connected your store to accounts like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, you can start adding clickable social media icons to your website.

On the other hand, Square offers one key feature that is great if you already have an established social media following. To increase sales, you can use Square to share payment links, buy buttons, and QR codes on social media. So, if you’re already engaging with customers on your social accounts, you can forward links to them that encourage them to buy.

Email and Text Marketing

If you want to invest in email and text marketing, Square Online offers flexible pricing plans for both that depend on the size of your business.

Email marketing starts from $15 per month and the price increases according to how many customer contacts you have. Similarly, text marketing starts $10 per month and increases based on the number of texts you’re sending.

Screenshot of Square's text marketing pricing.
Square’s flexible SMS marketing pricing would suit a number of businesses based on how much they’d like to invest. I could see how much my plan would cost based on the number of texts I wanted to send each month. Source: Website Builder Expert

Squarespace doesn’t offer built-in SMS marketing, so we’d stick with Square if this is your preferred form of communication with your audience. However, you can use an extension like EX Texting that offers automated SMS campaigns from $19 per month.

Although, Squarespace does have the best email marketing tool due to the professional features it includes. Between $5 to $48 per month billed annually, you can access stylish templates, a drag-and-drop editor, email automations, and ways to build your mailing list.

Screenshot of a Squarespace email campaign
Squarespace’s email templates look professional and you can edit them really easily. Changing the text font and color only took me a few seconds. Source: Website Builder Expert

Most importantly, Squarespace lets you pull in existing design elements from your website. This contributes to consistent branding across your different touchpoints, helping users identify your online store’s unique style.

squarespace logo
The Winner

Squarespace has all of the built-in tools you need to market your store successfully

This verdict was a close call, but Squarespace is the platform that’s more likely to fulfill your marketing needs. Whether you need to link your website to your socials or send out weekly email campaigns, Squarespace has the features you need.

Best for Help and Support: Both

If you need a helping hand along the way when building your online store, it’s worth comparing Square and Squarespace’s help and support.

Thanks to its useful customer support and knowledge center, Square is there for you if you ever get stuck. From the support center, we found articles teaching us how to set up a POS, manage online orders, accept Afterpay payments, and much more.

Screenshot of Square's Support Assistant
All of Square’s help and support tools are in one place. The Square Support page made it easy to access the live chat, while you can also browse its various articles at the same time. Source: Website Builder Expert

In addition to the help resources, we could also access an automated live chat alongside a phone line that’s accessible from Monday to Friday (6am to 6pm). The phone line is useful if you need additional support.

In comparison, Squarespace also has an automated live chat, but no phone line. Instead, you’ll need to contact its team via a 24/7 email address.

Depending on your needs, you may prefer either email or phone support, so take this into consideration before making your choice between the two providers.

Screenshot of Squarespace's contact us form.
To contact Squarespace via email, I had to locate the correct form for my needs. I had to click on the ‘help and support’ option, choose my request type, and then start filling in my details – a slightly long-winded process. Source: Website Builder Expert

Lastly, Squarespace also has a bustling Help Center. From this page, you can access up-to-date resources on all things relating to your online store, including payment processors and setting up taxes.

The Winner

Square and Squarespace’s help and support is a draw

Both Square and Squarespace have a useful support center and an automated live chat. Because of this, your choice is down to your preferred form of communication, with Squarespace offering email contact and Square offering phone lines.

Best Value for Security: Square Online

Your new store will attract plenty of new visitors, but not all of them will have good intentions. To protect your website from hackers, you’ll need an ecommerce platform that offers adequate security measures. Luckily, Square and Squarespace take key precautions such as:

  • SSL Certificates to ensure your website runs on a secure server
  • Two-step verification which adds an extra layer of security to customer accounts
  • PCI compliance confirming that each platform protects customer card data
  • Secure customer login areas that protects the details of its users

The main difference between Square and Squarespace is how they tackle fraudulent transactions. Squarespace’s solution is less effective, relying on third-party payment processors like Stripe and Square to detect threats. Since it doesn’t have a built-in fraud detection system, Squarespace won’t pick up on fraudulent transactions easily.

Meanwhile, Square Online has an in-house fraud detection system that is much more powerful. All payments are screened and come with real-time results that are accessible from your dashboard. You can also block any suspicious cards, emails, or IP addresses to protect you from repeat offenders.

Screenshot of Square's Risk Manager for fraud detection.
Square takes fraud detection to the next level. We found that they use sophisticated machine learning to spot threats, meaning that you can sell products without a worry. Source: Website Builder Expert
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The Winner

Square Online’s foolproof fraud detection gives it the edge over Squarespace

Though both platforms offer important security measures, Square’s sophisticated fraud detection system will give you better peace of mind as you sell your goods online.

Buying Guide: How to Pick Your Ecommerce Platform

If you’re wondering which platform to choose, then consider which key features will fulfill your unique needs. Here are a few pointers to get you started:

Do I have limited time to set up?

  • Straightforward editor with minimal learning curves
  • Pre-built templates
  • Quick customer support 
  • Swift product upload tools

Am I working with a limited budget?

  • Free plans
  • Free templates
  • Free apps
  • Affordable plans with a great number of features
  • No or reduced transaction fees

Do I have limited knowledge of website builders?

  • Comprehensive learning resources
  • Reliable support lines
  • Intuitive interface

Will I be selling a large inventory of items?

  • Unlimited number of product listings
  • Product management tools
  • Product filters and categories

Can I grow my store’s online presence?

  • Social media integration
  • Email marketing
  • SMS marketing 
  • SEO tools for search engine visibility

How We Tested Square and Squarespace

Our verdict of Square Online and Squarespace is based on over 200 hours of website builder research. Our in-house research team carries out testing regularly to maintain the accuracy of our findings.

During testing, we measured each ecommerce platform in accordance with seven key criteria:

  • Value for Money
  • Website Features
  • Sales Features
  • User Experience
  • Help and Support
  • User Experience
  • Customer Score

The criteria is based on what musicians want in a website builder. For instance, if you need to sell your music, then sales features will be important. Consequently, each criteria is weighted depending on what you value the most.

Square vs Squarespace Summary

Of both ecommerce platforms, Squarespace is the best choice overall with an impressive score of 4.7 out of 5. This result comes down to the platform’s visually appealing templates, simple-to-use editor, great price plans, and powerful sales features that’ll help elevate your online store.

On the other hand, if you’d like to set up and sell without spending a penny, Square is a fitting option. Its strong POS system is another highlight, letting you connect your digital and physical stores with ease.

Keen to read more? Read our in-depth Squarespace Review and Square Online Review

FAQs

Both platforms have app stores with products that let you add additional features to your online store. Spanning marketing, sales, and other aspects of your website, you’ll have access to a number of free or paid apps.

Keep in mind that Squarespace has just over 40 apps on offer, while Square Online has hundreds. If you want a wider range of apps overall, Square is an apt choice.

Of the two platforms, Squarespace is a solid option for selling services and digital media. For one, its Acuity Scheduling tool lets you book meetings with clients and showcase your services, with plans starting from $16 per month (billed annually).

You can also use the Digital Product Add On to sell your digital content online. Included with the Business plan and above, you can create and sell your own courses to website visitors.

Written by:
Holly Choules is a Writer at Website Builder Expert with a background in researching and crafting engaging content for digital platforms. In previous roles, she has demonstrated her wordsmith skills by writing for public facing brands in a range of industries. After gaining hands-on experience using leading website builders, like Wix and WordPress, she is now keen to share her findings through informative, easy-to-follow articles that help small business owners get online and grow their presence. Since joining the team in 2024 and transitioning into the tech sphere, Holly is passionate about applying her three years of content writing experience and upholding Website Builder Expert’s position as an authoritative source on website builders, ecommerce, and digital marketing.

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