When comparing Shopify vs Squarespace, Shopify provides all the tools you need to start and grow your online business at an affordable price.
While Squarespace has intuitive website builder tools and allows you to sell online, you only unlock its ecommerce features at a higher pricing plan, and they are not as robust as Shopify’s.
However, Squarespace is one of our picks for the best website builder for small businesses, so if website content is more of a priority than online store functionality, Squarespace is the better option.
Based on our evaluation, we recommend:
Squarespace vs Shopify Quick Comparison
When to Use Shopify
If you are a small business with online sales as a primary profit driver or have plans to grow your online store, Shopify is a better choice. It is suited to startups and growing businesses with its beginner-friendly interface, intuitive dashboard, and scalable management and sales features, along with thousands of third-party integrations. However, it is ideal for those who are seriously diving into ecommerce or dropshipping.
Moreover, Shopify enables you to sell on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, and offers a POS system that can connect seamlessly with your online store for omnichannel sales like buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS), and browse in-store, buy online.
When to Use Squarespace
If you are a small business that is more focused on producing web content than running an online store, Squarespace is a better fit than Shopify. You can use Squarespace to showcase your content portfolios, such as blog posts and image galleries, and sell physical, digital, and service-based products. These can be done quickly using the platform’s drag-and-drop website builders.
It also has excellent built-in blogging features, such as analytics, archive functionality, and a search feature. If you plan to sell just a few products as part of your main website and branding is a priority, Squarespace is for you.
When to Use an Alternative
Shopify vs Squarespace: Pricing & Payments
Both Shopify and Squarespace offer free trials and discounts when subscribing to annual plans. They have tiered pricing structures and custom plans for enterprises that are more or less the same.
When you compare plan inclusions, you will notice Shopify’s plans deliver more value.
Suppose you were to unpack both platforms’ ecommerce starter plans, Basic Shopify and Squarespace Business. Basic Shopify provides more robust features, specifically:
- Additional sales channels such as online marketplaces and social media
- Multiple inventory locations
- Abandoned cart recovery
Shopify vs Squarespace: Site Builder & Maintenance
Shopify beats Squarespace in this category because of its available integrations even if Squarespace has better website templates. Shopify wins over Squarespace by a mile in available apps, offering more than 7,000 compared to Squarespace’s fewer than 30.
Shopify offers free and paid templates (starting at $150). The free options are different in design and cater to various industries, allowing you to have a variety of designs even with fewer templates. The paid ones are similar in quality to Squarespace’s themes, having modern design features such as full-bleed content, image animation, and video backgrounds. You also have access to a library of royalty-free stock images.
Shopify’s new website builder, Online Store 2.0 (OS 2.0), offers more customization options than the previous version (which has the WYSIWYG editor). OS 2.0 introduces sections and blocks that provide modularity, flexibility, and—to some extent—drag-and-drop capabilities.
As mentioned, one of Shopify’s strengths is its App Store—if there is something your store needs, it’s a near certainty that you’ll find it there.
Since our last update: Squarespace introduced new website builder tools, namely:
- Fluid Engine, Squarespace’s new site builder, which features better drag-and-drop functionality and a smart design grid that makes it easier to customize precisely.
- Tools to design and launch merch using your business logo and automated print-on-demand dropshipping.
- Features to create, manage, host, display, and monetize video content.
Regarding website templates, Squarespace wins because it provides hundreds of free, beautifully designed templates and has a drag-and-drop builder that allows you to see real-time changes. You can customize your website easily—from fonts, colors, and headers to custom coding. In short, Squarespace hits the right spot between ease of use and a design-forward mentality.
You can add visual effects easily to your images and text, such as fade-in/out, tilt, zoom, and pan out. It also has built-in integrations with Unsplash and Getty Images (stock photo sites offering free and premium photos), making adding images to your site easy.
Furthermore, you can craft creative video backgrounds by either uploading your video or a YouTube or Vimeo URL. A range of video playback speed options and color filters let you customize your video background further.
One thing to note is that Squarespace’s latest version (7.1) doesn’t allow you to switch templates and carry over all the setup you have already done—design and commerce-wise. We encountered this issue when we set up our demo store. When we switched templates, we had to set up the Commerce portion of the website again.
However, suppose you still want to change your online store’s design. In that case, you don’t have to switch templates since Squarespace templates are very customizable—you can add plenty of sections and elements in various layouts to your pages.
When we built our demo store and realized changing templates would mean losing our current work’s progress, we just added the sections we liked from other templates without switching—and we could accomplish this easily.
Shopify vs Squarespace: Sales & Product Features
Shopify and Squarespace allow you to sell unlimited products and digital goods and services, although Shopify would require the use of a third-party app. While Squarespace offers better product options (more variants and built-in custom work order tools), Shopify wins in this category because of its real-time shipping calculators and available shipping discounts. Whatever Shopify lacks built-in features can be solved by integrating third-party apps, which it is known for.
Regarding sales features, both platforms know how important ecommerce marketing is for online stores, so both their platforms update their marketing tools to help get your site noticed. While Squarespace has better blogging tools and offers the same marketing features as Shopify, it only makes it available on higher-priced plans. Shopify has most of its marketing tools (such as Shopify email and abandoned cart saver features) accessible even on its starter plan.
Shopify vs Squarespace: Ease of Use
When we compared Squarespace vs Shopify, we found both to be intuitive and user-friendly. They provide easy-to-follow setup wizards—nearly anyone with minimal computer skills can pick it up immediately. Their dashboards are similar, with navigation control panels on the left and a help wizard easily seen as help bubbles or prompts. However, Shopify still wins in this category because of the level of customer support they provide.
Shopify vs Squarespace: Expert Score
When we compared Shopify and Squarespace in ecommerce features, Shopify wins in every category—pricing, site builder, sales and product features, and ease of use. Shopify is also extremely popular among ecommerce experts and the general public.
Shopify vs Squarespace Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should I switch to Shopify from Squarespace?
If you are serious about online selling, Shopify gives better ecommerce tools (such as an abandoned cart saver, email marketing tools, and better inventory and shipping options) than Squarespace.
Which is more expensive, Shopify or Squarespace?
If you are using your website as an online store, subscribing to Squarespace’s ecommerce plan will be more costly at $33 a month compared to Shopify’s entry-level plan at $29 a month.
What can Shopify do that Squarespace can’t?
In our evaluation of Shopify vs Squarespace, Shopify wins in every category—price, ease of use, site builder features, and sales tools. Shopify has more built-in marketing tools to help promote your online store, and if you need a feature not yet available with Shopify, it has more than 7,000 integrations in its app store. Shopify also has a built-in POS for in-person selling.
How We Evaluated Squarespace vs Shopify
To help you decide which ecommerce platform is best for your store, we compared Squarespace and Shopify on price, ease of use, store builder and design tools, inventory management, and sales tools. We also added our expert opinion based on years of experience testing different ecommerce platforms.
Pricing and payment integrations
Store builder and design features
Inventory and sales features
15% of Overall Score
We considered the price point of each base plan that offers a complete online store, what plan options are available as your business grows, and payment processing options—including fees, flexibility, and one-click checkout options. Shopify is a clear winner in this category. It offers a better overall value with its Lite Plan at $9/month, a free connected POS app, and Shop Pay (its one-click checkout option). In comparison, Squarespace unlocks limited ecommerce functions at its second plan, Business at $33/month.
20% of Overall Score
We considered how easy it is to build and maintain a professional and attractive online store, including available templates, customization options, free domain and SSL certificates, unlimited storage and bandwidth options, and built-in SEO tools and site analytics. Squarespace offers better website templates and provides a better drag-and-drop site editing tool with more flexibility than Shopify’s WYSIWYG editor. Both platforms, however, make it easy to manage an online store when adding products and setting up backend tools.
25% of Overall Score
We looked at what kind of product assortments Shopify and Squarespace can accommodate and tools for in-store and mobile, integrated social media and marketplace selling, and marketing. We also consolidated shipping options and PCI compliance. Shopify wins this category by a mile, as it offers built-in tools for selling in-person and online, has several integrations with social media channels and marketplaces, and provides a one-click checkout option via Shop Pay.
20% of Overall Score
Because online stores operate 24/7, we prioritized platforms that offer 24/7 customer support and have multiple customer touchpoints, such as phone, email, and chat. While both provide a comprehensive help center, Shopify provides 24/7 customer support by live chat, email, and phone. Squarespace has limited support on weekends and does not provide phone support. However, both platforms are easy to use and provide beginner-friendly tools.
20% of Overall Score
*Percentages of overall score
We recommend Shopify for anyone launching an ecommerce platform. Businesses that sell or plan to sell primarily online will most likely benefit from its online store creation tools, numerous integrations, and shipping discounts. It also provides you with social selling and in-store POS features. It’s easy to sell your products as early as the first day of your free trial, so start yours today.