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Shopify vs. Squarespace – choosing your path in eCommerce

shopify vs squarespace

Shopify is an eCommerce platform, that has some website-building functionality. Squarespace is a website builder – that has some eCommerce functionality. These platforms do virtually the same stuff: but in very different ways.

Shopify is a true professional’s tool. It’s a Swiss army knife filled with surgical scalpels. There’s no wonder why it’s incredibly popular, and used as the primary solution for many major businesses.

With so many eCommerce features and a lot of freedom, it can be an excellent option for just about anyone.

Meanwhile, Squarespace aims itself at personal users. It’s an option for small businesses and personal users, who would like to have a good-looking website – and ideally, sell a thing or two on it.

It’s much more focused on beginner users: and depending on who you are, and what you want, this can be both a good and a bad thing.

If you are looking to choose between Shopify and Squarespace, well, I got your back – this article is for you. On this comparison, I made test sites with both of these platforms.

By testing the pricing, ease of use, templates, eCommerce and other business features, as well as performance, I’ll show you my experiences, and give you my thoughts.

Hopefully, by the end of this post, you’ll know exactly which tool is right for you and your business. Actually, you can skip right to the very end – just click here to read my main takeaways. Or follow the links on the table below to read about the stuff that you care about the most.

ShopifySquarespace
Rating4.6 ★★★★★4.2 ★★★★
PricingNo free plan, plans start at $29/month14-day free trial, plans start at $12 a month
Ease of UseeCommerce-focused setup process, limited site editingWebsite building-focused setup process, more editing options
Templates9 free templates, 64 premium templates, and a massive third-party market110+ free templates, only 7 focused on eCommerce
eCommercePowerful built-in features for all types of usersSolid in-house features, tailored for beginners
Business FeaturesA solid list of in-house and third-party features. Good email marketing.In-house features, good social media, and blogging options
PerformanceA very similar, solid, real life performanceSlightly better than the business average
WebsiteShopify.comSquarespace.com

Pricing – clear distinction between the two

Squarespace offers four plans – all of them are premium. Three of these plans include eCommerce features: such plans cost anywhere from $18 to $40 a month.

Meanwhile, Shopify goes a step further, also offering 3 eCommerce plans, but making them more expensive – prices range between $29 and $299 a month.

Let’s have a deeper look at each of the plans, and see how Squarespace vs Shopify compare here:

Shopify plans

These are the Shopify options:

PlanFeatures
Basic Shopify ($29/month)Provides all the essential elements for creating a new online store and charges a 2.9%+30¢ transaction fee.
Shopify ($79/month)More staff accounts, professional reports, international pricing, more shipping options, and lower (2.6%+30¢) transaction fee.
Advanced Shopify ($299/month)Third-party calculated shipping rates, up to 15 staff accounts, and an even lower (2.4%+30¢) transaction fee.

It’s important to note that while there isn’t a free Shopify plan, the platform offers a simple 14-day trial, that requires to credit card to get started. So you can test everything out yourself with no risk involved.

Now, let’s have a deeper look at each of the plans:

Basic Shopify

Basic Shopify plan aims to please personal users – however, it doesn’t mean a tiny feature list or fewer design customization options. You still get a solid array of selling features, such as:

  • Discount codes
  • Gift cards
  • Multilanguage websites
  • Point-of-sale selling features
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Assigning items to 4 different storage locations for easier management
  • 2 staff accounts

As it is with all online sales, the base fee for an eCommerce platform won’t be your only expense. You’ll also need to pay a transaction fee on each of the purchases. If using Shopify’s own payment gateway – this plan will charge 2.9%+30¢ for each transaction. If you choose to use something else, you’ll need to pay Shopify an additional 2% from each of your transactions, too.

Shopify

This plan offers one good features right from the bat: it’s lower transaction fees. With Shopify Payments, the transaction fee is reduced to 2.6%+30¢. When using a different gateway, the extra fee is reduced to 1%.

Also – these are the extra eCommerce features that you’ll get:

  • Options to offer increased/decreased prices for international locales
  • Shipping discounts via USPS, UPS, or DHL
  • 5 staff accounts, and 5 warehouses now available

Advanced Shopify

Once again, the transaction fees get reduced here. This time, they’re 2.4%+30¢ on Shopify Payments. And when using a different gateway, the Shopify fee is halved once more – to 0.5%.

But what’s not getting lower, is the eCommerce features.

  • International pricing can be assigned for each item individually
  • Your buyers get custom third-party shipping rates at checkout
  • Report builder and advanced analytics are now available
  • Staff accounts are increased to 15, and warehouses – to 8

You’ll see that features of all three plans are very similar. There are no glaring omissions even on the cheapest Shopify plan. It has all the advanced features, like point-of-sale, abandoned cart recovery, or multilanguage sites.

Going up the plans, however, you get more freedom to scale your business – and also, reduce the transactions fees you’d be paying to the platform. I actually did some math!

While the $299 Shopify Advanced plan looks expensive, it’s a good option for bigger businesses. A business with 1,000 sales a month, averaging $100 a purchase, would be paying these fees with each plan:

  • Shopify Basic – $3,200 in fees (total = $3279/month)
  • Shopify – $2,900 in fees (total = $2979/month)
  • Shopify Advanced – $2,700 in fees (total = $2,999/month)

See? The cheapest plan actually becomes the most expensive. When looking at the Shopify plans, seek not only the features – but your calculator, as well.

Squarespace plans

These are the Squarespace plans:

PlanFeatures
Personal ($12/month)Free custom domain, unlimited bandwidth and storage, and SSL security
Business ($18/month)Everything above, plus advanced analytics, and eCommerce (w/ 3% transaction fee)
Commerce Basic ($26/month)Removes the 3% transaction fee in the Business plan and adds more eCommerce features like professional email and complete CSS & Javascript customization
Commerce Advanced ($40/month)Containing all the features from previous plans, Commerce Advanced gives you some extra options like selling subscriptions and advanced shipping

And this is me, explaining each of them in detail!

Personal plan

Simply put, this $12 option is not the plan to use, if you’re looking to make an online store. Why?

Well, for starters, it doesn’t have eCommerce functionality. It’s a good option for a personal website and has no major limitations. Other than the obvious one.

Business plan

At $18 a month, this Business plan includes eCommerce functionality.

However, there is a problem: this plan includes an additional 3% transaction fee, on top of what you’d be paying to your payment gateway. That’s a pretty bad deal – just by selling a pretty small $1,000 worth of products a month, you’d be throwing away an additional $30 a month.

No good. Let’s keep on moving.

Commerce Basic

Now we’re talking! At $26 a month, this is a pretty solid plan for those looking to sell online. That’s mostly thanks to features, such as:

  • No transaction fee for selling online
  • Capabilities to set up a custom professional email account
  • Full optimization of CSS/Javascript on your site

This is a good pick for those who want to sell online. Full code optimization lets to make a fully custom website, and professional email account is a good bonus for giving your business an extra layer of professionalism. Pretty good!

Commerce Advanced

Now, this is an interesting one: at $40, this is the most expensive Squarespace plan, and the only plan from this platform, more expensive than Shopify Basic.

For that money, you’ll be getting:

  • Advanced shipping options
  • Selling subscriptions

If you’re looking to sell subscriptions, this is the plan to pick. That being said, Shopify offers no such limitations on its Basic plan, so this isn’t great value for that. With that being said though, Squarespace’s entire eCommerce suite costs just $11 more than Shopify’s Basic plan.

Don’t forget about the transactions fees! On all Squarespace plans, you’re going to pay 2.9%+30¢ per transaction.

I can recommend all of the Shopify plans – with the one to choose, depending mostly on the size of your business. For Shopify, I recommend checking out either the $26 Commerce Basic, or $40 Commerce Advanced plans.

Your decision of which one’s cheaper will require a calculator. For smaller businesses, Shopify Basic and Squarespace Commerce plans will cost very similarly. For bigger ones, Shopify and Shopify Advanced offer better value – just because of the transaction fees.

Shopify vs. Squarespace – a case study

During this Shopify vs Squarespace comparison, I try to put myself in shoes of someone with no experience using either of the products. And so, for this post, I signed up and made my own websites using both of the platforms. What’s a better way to test website builders, rather than build websites, right?

In this section, I’ll show you my entire process: from signing up to the platforms, to editing the sites, and scouring through the templates. But before we begin – I’d like to introduce you to the two final products.

Here’s the site built with Shopify:

shopify site for testing

Here’s the site built with Squarespace:

squarespace site preview

This is how everything went down.

Ease of use – two guided processes

  • Both platforms offer a simple, guided setup process. Beginners won’t have many issues setting up either platform.
  • Squarespace approach is focused more on building a website. Shopify focuses more on setting up an online store.
  • Squarespace offers more website design tools than Shopify, which goes for a more streamlined experience.

The best website builder can almost always be determined by its ability to make doing difficult things simple. Here, I’ll test exactly that: and use this Squarespace vs Shopify comparison to show you how difficult it is to set up the platforms and use them to build your very own website.

Let’s have a look at them both:

Using Shopify

Right from the get-go, you get an option to start your Shopify free trial. When I clicked that free trial button, I got asked a few things. It was stuff like my personal info, store information, and more in-depth details – like selling experience, current revenue (if applicable,) the industry in which you want to sell, and whether the store is for yourself or a client.

shopify starter survey

What is this information for? It’s meant to better tailor your Shopify setup experience, that you’ll get to see for yourself once you’re done with answering the questions.

Here’s the Shopify dashboard. This is where from I can edit all of my eCommerce related things: such as orders, products, analytics, you name it.

The setup section is the center looked like this – after I mentioned that I have my products ready.

shopify dashboard for selling immediately

And here’s the dashboard that I saw, when I mentioned myself as “a total beginner with no knowledge of what a ‘praw-dukt’ even is”

getting started with shopify and finding products

That’s exactly how it works: depending on your status and experience, Shopify will tailor your setup experience. Personally, I loved it that way. Very well done!

A similar vibe of “don’t worry, we’ll sort it out for ya!” can be seen on the website editing as well.

Here, have a look at the site editor interface. Instead of offering options to drag-and-drop elements on the site, Shopify gives you sections. They’re premade pieces of your site, and you can’t edit them all that much.

shopify theme editor

There are also quite a lot of limits in the sections themselves. Certain sections can only include certain elements.

shopify gallery editor

If that doesn’t please you, there are still options to make your own sections – but they’ll still be limited, including a small number of elements to mix and match.

shopify custom elements

As for the more in-depth editing: you can do it all. It’s just that you’ll need to learn how to code. There’s a full HTML/CSS editor available for all users. Of course, this isn’t exactly a shining example of ease of use, but hey – talk about having options, right?

shopify code editor

Using Squarespace

First steps of using Squarespace will be all about picking out your preferred website design.

Moments after signing up for the account, I already had to solve some of the biggest design questions, namely – what kind of website do I wish to have?

squarespace theme setup

After picking a preferred theme, I got sent to fill in a questionnaire – asking me some basic stuff, like “what’s the name of your site?” and “what do you want to use it for?”.

squarespace offers a more beginner centered setup process than shopify

This is also where the platform will explain some of the basics of using it – such as setting up and editing pages (I strongly suggest not to skip it!).

Just like that, a couple of tips and answers later, I found myself in the Squarespace editor.

editing squarespace site

Now – similarly to Shopify, Squarespace use a section-based website builder. However, it has a bigger selection of templates, and more freedom for editing.

squarespace has more editing options than shopify

The section are separated into several different types, and there are plenty of options for each.

Each of the sections can also be edited with “blocks” – here’s what they are.

squarespace adding blocks

Despite some similarities with Shopify, Squarespace was more powerful design-wise. Not only I could select my starting point from many different templates, but the editing options were more plentiful and easier to understand.

For other things, that don’t include website editing, I could always rely on the main dashboard – here, Squarespace included just about anything for running an online business. From rearranging pages, to marketing, eCommerce, analytics and more.

navigating on squarespace site

Just like the website design, everything was quite intuitive and easy to use.

Overall, both Shopify and Squarespace are easy to use, offering user-friendly setup and editing options. That being said, Squarespace wins, based mostly on its website-editing prowess. There are more options, and they are easier to manage.

Templates – paid or free?

  • Shopify has just over 70 templates – only 9 of them are free, others are premium.
  • Squarespace has over 110 options. They are all entirely free of charge.
  • Shopify has a solid third-party template community, whose creations widely expand the available selection.

A good theme is an excellent starting point for your website, making editing and building it much easier. Let’s have a look at how both platforms deal with their themes and see the differences between Shopify vs Squarespace.

Shopify templates

Shopify doesn’t go all-in on the themes: quite the opposite, actually. Once you choose to pick a different theme, you can only choose from the 9 free options.

To be fair, they do look pretty good. As you’d imagine, they’re fully focused on eCommerce.

shopify templates free options

If this pretty limited selection doesn’t impress you all that much, you can always go for some of the premium themes.

They’ll cost anywhere between $100 and $200 a piece, and honestly – they’re really good. I particularly like two: Handy theme, heavily focused on visuals and mobile conversions.

shopify template mobile sales

And Empire theme, acting as a full-blown Amazon doppelganger, is for all the aspiring Jeff Bezos’ tribute acts out there:

shopify template amazon

Or, if the 9 free themes just don’t cut it, or spending $100-200 on a theme isn’t your preferred option, there’s a third route.

Shopify allows you to use a third-party theme. Thanks to the platform’s massive popularity, there are plenty of online marketplaces that will include plenty of bespoke themes. There are thousands of them.

shopify third party theme options

The prices are much better, too: expect to spend $20-100 per one third-party template. Still quite a lot, but significantly better. It’s good to have choices!

Squarespace templates

Squarespace doesn’t go all-in on the third party templates. It also doesn’t offer any paid options. Instead, it has over 110 themes – all free, and all available for you to use.

But oh, this is a Shopify vs Squarespace comparison, right? So we need to go full-on with eCommerce. And really, there were only 7 teams suited specifically for eCommerce.

squarespace ecommerce apps

Now, it’s important to note two things here. First: you can add an online shop to any Squarespace theme. eCommerce or not, doesn’t matter – the functionality is there.

Secondly, the themes still look pretty good. Here, take a look:

squarespace ecommerce clothes template
squarespace ecommerce food template

The templates certainly hold a certain vibe to them. They’re simple, minimalist, and modern. If you replace the existing pictures with high-quality media of your own, you could have a website that looks (and is!) effortlessly beautiful.

Squarespace has fewer eCommerce-related templates than Shopify. However, good Shopify themes are almost guaranteed to cost extra. If you’re into Squarespace’s minimalist design – it’s an excellent option. If not, check out Shopify’s third-party options: there are a lot to choose from.

Shopify vs. Squarespace – eCommerce compared

  • Shopify has a very solid eCommerce solution, that should be perfect for businesses of various sizes.
  • Squarespace eCommerce is also pretty good – understandably, it’s aimed more at beginner users.

If you’re looking for the best, most powerful tool to sell online…Well, Shopify has this one in the bag. Why wouldn’t it? After all, it’s the world’s biggest and baddest eCommerce solution.

But can Squarespace keep up and offer something genuinely decent? Who is its selling tools good for, and how do they compare?

Let’s take a look at Squarespace eCommerce vs Shopify.

Basic eCommerce features

Shopify offers a very simple, and powerful interface to add and manage products.

shopify product editor

The main dashboard is where you’ll be able to edit all the things, related to eCommerce. For instance, the abandoned cart recovery feature is baked right in, letting you see the visitors who have oh-so-nearly purchased something but decided to leave early.

Then, you can easily send them emails, and see whether they returned to complete the purchase.

abandoned cart list on shopify

There are some more advanced features, too: such as Shopify point-of-sale (or POS for short). It allows to sell in physical locations, but still use Shopify for payments, inventory management, and analytics. The basic POS version is available free of charge for all users, and it’s a great way to expand on what your business can do with the platform.

shopify point of sale options

On top of that, there are also thousands of third-party applications, focusing on various eCommerce-related features.

Now, while eCommerce is everything Shopify does, for Squarespace – it’s only one of the side missions. And yet, it’s a mission they pass with flying colors.

I particularly liked how beginner-friendly everything about Squarespace eCommerce was.

The shop gets setup with simple setup guides:

squarespace ecommerce guide

The questionnaire will take the relevant information about your business – what products do you wish to sell, what is your experience, the classics.

squarespace picking what products i sell

And then, boom – you’ll be in your brand new online store, complete with plenty of pre-added example products. They will differ, depending on what you say in the questionnaire. I picked my products as “other”, and typed in “vinyls”: and I still got myself some vinyls!

products listed on squarespace examples

All of the eCommerce-related features will be available from Squarespace’s eCommerce menu: and the available options will be just about enough for majority of stores.

squarespace ecommerce menu options

Payment options

Shopify has a solid in-house payment option, called Shopify Payments. It’s quite an excellent option, letting to sell in most major currencies.

shopify simple payments option screen

The transaction fees for this gateway will differ. Depending on the plan you choose, they will be either 2.9%+30¢, 2.6%+30¢, or 2.4%+30¢ per transaction. Naturally, the more expensive the plan – the smaller the transaction fees.

There’s another thing to note: Shopify Payments work excellently in the US. However, if you’re based elsewhere, you may want to see if the option if available for you. I’ve encountered several countries for which, this was not available.

If you wish to use Shopify without Shopify Payments, you can – but you’ll need to pay for both a different payment gateway (there are 100+ of them), and also pay an additional fee to Shopify. Depending on your plan, the fees will be either 0.5%, 1%, or 2% – once again, the more expensive your plan, the smaller the fee.

That being said, Shopify’s selection of payment gateways is genuinely impressive: you can even set up your store to accept cryptocurrencies, and use plenty of excellent regional options, to better suit the interests of your buyers.

It’s just that – if you don’t use Shopify Payments, you’ll need to pay up to make the best of them.

Meanwhile, Squarespace payment gateway solutions are much more simple. You get three options – Stripe, PayPal, and Square. You can also connect your store to Apple Pay. All of these options are available on Shopify, too. But here, there are no “penalties” for using the options. You’ll just pay a transaction fee of 2.9%+30¢ and be on your way.

If you’re looking for the cheapest option out there – use Shopify Payments, and see if it makes sense for you to upgrade to a higher plan. But beware – if Shopify Payments isn’t available in your locale, Squarespace will offer better overall value.

App marketplaces

Each business is different, and has different plans, ideas, and goals – so, it’s virtually impossible for a platform to offer the exact features desired by each business.

That’s what applications are for! Several add-ons can add both eCommerce and other kinds of features to your store. And when it comes to applications, Shopify is king.

There are over 6,000 total options – ranging in topics, such as fulfillment, store management, merchandising, or customer service. There are also hundreds of apps for marketing, productivity, and even finding new products to sell.

shopify has a bigger app store than squarespace

Naturally, with so many options, I can’t give you the best options – but at the very least, I can show you the range.

This is Easy Digital Products – an app, greatly expanding on Shopify’s stock digital downloads portfolio. It’s an excellent tool to have if your business focuses heavy on selling digital content.

shopify easy digital products application

TaxJar prepares and files all the tax information, makes tax reports, and makes sure all the returns are nice and accounted for. If you’ve come here to sell – and not to struggle over spreadsheets, this is a lifesaver.

shopify taxjar app

Pirate Ship is an app, working closely with USPS, and trying to get you the best possible shipping rates. It’s a great budget experience – especially useful if you’re running a business with a relatively small markup.

shopify pirate ship app

And finally, Oberlo – an app so good, Shopify just went and purchased it. It helps you do dropshipping: giving you products to sell and dealing with shipping and handling. Leaving you to do the fun stuff: getting in buyers, and counting your cash.

shopify oberlo app

However, there’s one thing to consider: most of these apps follow a freemium model, meaning that they will have some free versions. But in order to make the best out of them, you’ll need to pay – often, $10, $20, or $30 a month.

It doesn’t take a math genius to tell you that – get a bunch of your favorite apps, pay for the biggest premium versions, and you’ll quickly see your expenses balloon up like it’s nothing.

Don’t forget to exercise restraint!

Meanwhile, Squarespace focuses mostly on its first-party features. What you see is what you get. However, there are still over 30 applications to choose from. There are apps for accounting, shipping, and order management as well.

There’s also a Printful app, that will take your designs, print the products and ship them to your clients – without you having to do any fulfillment yourself.

squarespace extensions for ecommerce

Overall, in terms of app marketplaces, Shopify has everything Squarespace does – and several times more. However, don’t get too hasty: Shopify gives you options, and then asks to pay for them.

And as it stands in terms of general eCommerce…

Overall, Shopify’s eCommerce features are certainly advanced: with solid first and third-party picks, it’s a platform focused on giving you as many options and possibilities. However, Squarespace is still pretty good – its heavy focus on making everything as beginner-friendly as possible is very appreciated.

Shopify vs Squarespace – other business features

  • Squarespace offers a good selection of first-party business features. They’re easy to use – but might cost extra.
  • Shopify offers some basic in-house marketing options, as well as some third-party apps.
  • Squarespace is a bit better than Shopify when it comes to blogging and SEO – but both options are pretty good.

Marketing

Shopify, understandably, uses its 1,300+ marketing apps to gain an advantage over the competition. But even without them, there’s quite a lot that it can do.

I specifically liked the “campaigns” feature, which combines email marketing with social media publishing. You get suggested different campaigns, depending on the goals you wish to achieve.

shopify marketing campaigns are easy

Sadly, emails will cost money. Well, only kind of – 2,500 emails a month are entirely free of charge. And then, you’ll need to pay an additional $1 for each 1,000 emails sent out.

As for the emails themselves, Shopify offers a good selection of templates, suited to your site’s design and special holidays or events.

shopify email marketing

Overall – not too bad. Combine that with paid third-party apps for affiliate marketing, product reviews, upselling, outreach and more – and you got yourself a pretty completed marketing suite.

Squarespace focuses on emails and social media as well: but in a slightly different way. It focuses more on how your business looks.

Enter Unfold – a platform that combines social media with your business website. It includes plenty of pre-made social media posts and templates, you can fill up with your media and create a beautiful, constant look for your entire online presence.

squarespace unfold features

Looking good is half the job, when it comes to marketing: but I’m not exactly America’s Next Top Designer. A tool like this helps even a fool like me, fool other into thinking that I am!

All the created content can be shared instantly to your social media.

squarespace unfold post example option

As for emails, Squarespace also follows the “look good, feel good” mantra.

A simple campaigns screen is simple to understand and follow.

squarespace email

Meanwhile, the available templates are interesting and look really good:

squarespace email templates look better than shopify's

The Unfold app is free – but the premium version with all the possible templates will set you back an extra $2.99 a month. And there is no free plan for Squarespace email – the premium options will range from $5 to $48 a month.

Blogging and SEO

Blogging is great for letting the people know about your store, it’s mission, and its goals. SEO is necessary, so that you can traffic from search engines…and anyone actually reads what you have to say!

For that, Squarespace has things sorted out: starting a blog on Squarespace is very simple. Just choose to add a page, and pick out a Blog preset.

adding a new blog on squarespace

Then, similarly to setting up a shop, you’ll get an example blog, filled up with content. It’s up to you to replace it with the content of your own.

blog editing on squarespace

Take it from a man who types thousands of words on various editors every day – Squarespace hasn’t done that bad of a job. Editing content on the editor is pretty fun, and the whole thing didn’t lag on me at all.

As for SEO, Squarespace follows its own trails, and goes as simple as physically possible. But it’s not a bad thing, especially if you’re not that into SEO.

Blog post settings will let you edit several things about your post, basic SEO information being one of them.

squarespace blog post settings

Then, on the main site editing menu, you’ll get access to Squarespace’s SEO checklist, get some info on the keywords, and even an opportunity to hire someone else do to the dirty work for you.

squarespace seo editing
squarespace keyword checker example
Source: Kate Scott

Compared to Squarespace, Shopify’s blog editor is relatively basic. It still does the job – but I’d really enjoy something more than…this.

shopify blogging editor

Of course, in a typical Shopify fashion, there’s an app for that. You can get a whole new blogging interface with apps like DropInBlog:

shopify has blog apps like dropinblog
shopify dropinblog editor option

But of course: this is a paid app as well. Once the 14-day trial is done, you’ll need to pay at least $25 a month for this app.

As for SEO, Shopify has some crude tools as well, such as this option to add page’s titles and meta descriptions.

shopify seo title on homepage
shopify product seo options

Wish to have something more? No worries – as per usual, Shopify has plenty of apps for it.

seo optimizer on shopify

The SEO Optimizer has a free plan that will help optimize images for SEO and do an SEO audit, highlighting the things that need to be fixed. But to do more, such as edit broken links, or optimize tags, you’ll need a paid plan – at just around $30 a month.

That’s the story for both of the platforms here: Squarespace goes all-in on fairly decent in-house options. Shopify focuses more on third-party picks. And while they’re excellent, they can also get seriously expensive.

Analytics

For an online business, analytics should be one of the key things to follow. Knowing what leads to success, and being able to measure it is incredibly important.

Shopify knows it – so, it has some excellent analytics features, available straight out of the box.

shopify advanced analytics

It’s not just some “these people go here, and these go here” sort of thing – it’s an excellent, all-inclusive business report page. Sadly, not all plans are made the same here.

The Basic ($29/month) plan users won’t get access to custom advanced reports about sales, profits, and customer actions. You need to get the regular Shopify ($79/month) or higher plan for that.

Of course, there are some alternative options, like connecting your site to Google Analytics, or – you guessed it – using an app.

Hey, this one seems neat:

shopify report pundit

It’s paid, costing $15 a month. But it’s less than paying an extra $50 to move from Shopify Basic to Shopify, and you’ll get 80 different types of pre-built reports and various dashboards to follow.

Squarespace has analytics, too – and they aren’t bad, either. There’s a basic dashboard, including all the core website data.

squarespace basic analytics

And, if you were to use the eCommerce-capable plan (I’m guessing you would!), there’ll also be access to advanced eCommerce analytics, such as the purchase funnel.

It lets you see the purchase path for your visitors – and be able to see where you lose most of your potential customers, so you can optimize the site even further.

squarespace purchase funnel analytics options

Alternatively, if this isn’t enough, you can use Google Analytics. It’s free to use and includes a lot of great insights.

Overall, when it comes to business features on Shopify vs Squarespace – these are two very different worlds. Shopify focuses on excellent third-party options, that can get a little expensive. Squarespace tries to go in-house, and offers just enough for a beginner user.

Performance – two decent options

  • Squarespace performs a bit better than Shopify in terms of performance, loading nearly a second faster.
  • Overall, both platforms have fairly good performance results, hovering just around the business standard.

What’s good of an online shop, if it moves slower than a tired mule? Farmer comparisons aside, it’s very important to keep your online store fast. It increases transactions, and lends to a better overall user experience.

For this final Shopify vs Squarespace comparison, I put both of my test sites to a test. I measured them with GTMetrix – a tool, that looks up website speed, and overall platform optimization.

Here’s how Shopify did:

shopify site performance

And here’s Squarespace:

squarespace performance is better than shopify's

Overall, Squarespace did just a little bit better. Full Squarespace website loaded in 2.8s, compared to Shopify’s 3.7s. However, it took a pretty similar 1.5s to load the top halves for each of the websites.

Squarespace fits within Google’s recommended threshold for modern business websites, which is 3s. Shopify does not.

The difference between load times isn’t all that massive: both platforms are solid options for your online business. Squarespace did just slightly better.

Shopify vs. Squarespace – conclusion

Both platforms do a very similar thing – in their own special way.

ShopifySquarespace
Rating4.6 ★★★★★4.2 ★★★★
PricingNo free plan, plans start at $29/month14-day free trial, plans start at $12 a month
Ease of UseeCommerce-focused setup process, limited site editingWebsite building-focused setup process, more editing options
Templates9 free templates, 64 premium templates, and a massive third-party market110+ free templates, only 7 focused on eCommerce
eCommercePowerful built-in features for all types of usersSolid in-house features, tailored for beginners
Business FeaturesA solid list of in-house and third-party features. Good email marketing.In-house features, good social media, and blogging options
PerformanceA very similar, solid, real life performanceSlightly better than the business average
WebsiteShopify.comSquarespace.com

Honestly, I’m still pretty big on Shopify. It’s an excellent choice if you’re really super serious about building a big eCommerce business. There are thousands of excellent apps, and hundreds of great in-house features that take care of even the smallest things about selling online. You can find more information in our Shopify review.

There’s only one thing worth concerning yourself with – the prices. If you’re in a locale that supports Shopify Payments, I fully endorse using it. The bigger plan you take, the bigger are your discounts on transaction fees and shipping: saving you a massive deal of money.

But if you get too excited with the apps, or choose to use a different payment gateway, you may end up paying a lot. I endorse Shopify – just make sure to sign up for everything while keeping a calculator by your side.

Meanwhile, I was incredibly sold of Squarespace’s simplicity. Whatever I wanted to do there, I could do effortlessly. Setting up a custom website? Making my store? Running email marketing campaigns? Check, check, check.

Squarespace is a very well-tuned product. And if you’re not planning to spend days upon nights learning the most intricate features – this is the way to go. It can do less than Shopify: but it will cost less, and be easier to use. If that’s something you would like – there isn’t a platform better than Squarespace. Find out more about it in our Squarespace review.

Overall, for me, this Shopify vs Squarespace comparison doesn’t have an outright winner.

Shopify is a better eCommerce platform. Squarespace is a better website builder. See which kind of product you want more – and then pick accordingly.

Shopify vs Squarespace FAQs

Is Shopify better than Squarespace?

Shopify is better than Squarespace in terms of eCommerce features. However, Squarespace offer better design customizability on websites.

Can you use Shopify with Squarespace?

You can use Shopify with Squarespace, by adding a Shopify “Buy” button to your existing Squarespace website. It’s a good way to combine both platforms together.

Can you transfer Squarespace website to Shopify?

You can transfer your products, orders, and customer data right from Squarespace to Shopify. However, you can’t transfer your website theme.

Is Shopify as easy as Squarespace?

Shopify is very easy to use – but Squarespace is just a little bit easier, and better suited for beginner users.

Is Shopify or Squarespace cheaper?

If you just compare the pricing of the two, Squarespace is generally cheaper. But if you’re a big business making many sales, expensive Shopify plans will be cheaper in the long run, thanks to reduced transaction fees.

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