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With over two billion people regularly shopping online, it makes more sense than ever to launch an online store. But it’s not enough to just create an online store and expect your ideal customers to find it. As a business owner, you will need to include top-notch design, easy-to-navigate menu, optimized SEO, and eye-pleasing aesthetics. Many platforms offer e-commerce options, most of them integrated with your website for one-stop service.
Squarespace is a general-purpose website builder with e-commerce functionality, while Shopify is a comprehensive platform to help customers sell online. While both are solid options, they both have their own pros and cons. We take a close look at these popular platforms to help you choose the best one for you.
Squarespace vs. Shopify: At a Glance
Squarespace is a beginner-friendly website builder designed for users who want everything in one place. Subscriptions offer a range of pricing plans and include templates, site management, and plugins. Squarespace offers eCommerce integrations at three different levels
Shopify was created specifically as an online store solution, and later added a website builder component. Each of its plans offers ways to grow an e-commerce site with unlimited products and multiple sales channels. Users can choose from a variety of templates and themes to customize an online store site.
Shopify and Squarespace each offer the ability to start, maintain, and grow an online store on a website. Both platforms allow users to create exactly what they want, with a plethora of designs and options available. Neither requires coding knowledge or programming expertise.
Making the right choice for your business will be a personal decision, based on the features you need and how you want to connect with your customers.
How the Platforms Stack Up
Products and sales
Shopify and Squarespace allow users to create an online store that offers physical and digital products, as well as services. Platforms differ in how they organize and display items, as well as how easy it is to transition to a physical in-person point of sale (POS).
Squarespace has an elegant system in place to sell products, manage online orders, and process transactions. Store pages are beautifully designed, can be customized to match brands, and an express checkout feature is available.
It also offers a 360 degree zoom function, allowing close viewing of products.
Squarespace offers a sell-in-person option, using a Square card reader to accept cash or card payments in person that integrates with the online store. These POS transactions are only permitted in the United States.
Shopify places less importance on the aesthetics of the online store, preferring to pay more attention to the functionality of the site. The store pages have attractive templates and design options, but the focus is on improving growth and scalability. Although a built-in zoom feature is not included, there are options for this feature to be added with a third-party app.
Shopify has offered in-person sales options from the start, and sellers can purchase a point-of-sale kit that includes a barcode scanner, card reader, cash drawer, and receipt printer. In addition, point-of-sale transactions are permitted outside of the United States.
SEO (search engine optimization) uses high-quality keywords and content to help your online store reach a wider audience, potentially with shoppers from all over the world exploring your site.
Fully maximized SEO is critical to business success, but can be a difficult undertaking without the help of supporting tools. Both Shopify and Squarespace offer users built-in SEO support, although they go about it in two different ways.
Shopify is configured to meet the goals of Google’s Core Web Vitals requirements. These include three metrics: page load time, responsiveness, and visual stability. Additionally, Shopify takes the content of a page and generates suggested titles and meta descriptions based on what it sees, saving the user time. There are also best practice prompts and built-in marketing tools to improve SEO.
Squarespace users can configure custom meta titles, descriptions, and URLs to match their page content, but have to do it manually without any prompts. Google Analytics is available with all plans and the platform allows for easy social media integration. Users cannot install third-party SEO apps, such as Yoast, and instead have to rely on the built-in SEO support options provided.
Considering a business blog?
Starting a blog can help boost your business, drive more traffic to your website, and potentially be another source of income. Although adding a blog to your website adds another item to the to-do list, a blog created in conjunction with an e-commerce site can be extremely effective for marketing.
If that’s something you decide to pursue, Squarespace makes the process simple. The platform has blogging features and capabilities that include analytics, post scheduling, and the ability to archive posts.
Shopify also offers a blog feature with its service. Creating, publishing, and managing your blog works very similarly to Squarespace. This can be useful if you want to supplement your online store with written content that tells your audience more about the products you sell. You can also give tips and tricks to get the most out of your products.
For most ecommerce categories, including point of sale, customer support, and SEO tools, Shopify is ahead. This is mainly because it was originally designed to power online stores, and has been around long enough to have many elements perfected. On the other hand, Squarespace is geared more towards building general websites for all your different pages, with some additional e-commerce features for sale. The best choice for you will ultimately depend on what you want from your online presence.