Shopify vs Squarespace: Who Should Host Your eCommerce Store?
The best eCommerce platform is forever an ongoing discussion and debate in the business world. Shopify is clearly one of the biggest contenders in the space, but they are definitely not alone. When it comes to providing the ultimate experience to match your needs and expections, how does Shopify stack up against one of their competitors — Squarespace?
We want to put them to the test, taking a look at the critical features and aspects of both platforms.
While we obviously prefer Shopify, we’ll be performing an unbiased comparison of the two platforms including where they excel and fail. It’s important to be completely clued up when it comes to finding the best platform for your eCommerce business. Let’s do this!
Both Shopify and Squarespace offer unique and beautiful themes for any consumer to make use of. However, choosing a platform is down to your individual preference and how you think your business would benefit from the platform itself.
Shopify is a highly regarded platform that is well-equipped to handle any website content you wish. It is primarily focused on sales and includes features that are driven to meet your requirements as an eCommerce business.
Whereas, Squarespace is more general which has basic eCommerce tools for building a basic web-store.
Typically, if you want the biggest and best eCommerce business, you will opt for Shopify. It has more features to suit your needs, but it will come at a higher price than getting the basics of Squarespace.
Shopify was founded in 2004. By 2008 it was generating enough profit to serve as a solid eCommerce service for entrepreneurs and business owners. The basis of Shopify has always been centered around creating web-stores whereas Squarespace can work for anyone.
Squarespace has a style editor which makes it exceptionally easy for a non-technical person to customize their website how they wish. Since it was founded in 2003, the platform has become popular and loved by many people around the world due to its accessibility and blog-hosting service.
Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of both Shopify and Squarespace when they’re placed side-by-side and compared. We’re looking at five factors that are critical to the success of your online business. We’ll take a look at scalability, security, cost and pricing, design and SEO.
Scalability is one of the essential elements you must consider when you’re in the earlier stages of growth. When you’re setting up your business, the boring scalability stuff may not seem to matter, but over time it will start to become apparent that it’s something everyone should think about. Your businesses growth is important if you want to keep succeeding and expanding – nobody ever became successful without growth, especially in the eCommerce industry.
When it comes to scaling up on Shopify, the process couldn’t be any simpler. Most customers who come to us for Shopify websites have found that they have outgrown Squarespace and its available features – they’re looking for something bigger and better. Shopify has a large ecosystem of 3rd party apps available to add functionality onto your store which means you’re not limited to certain elements like Squarespace. If you want to scale up with Shopify, you can simply purchase a larger package available.
The scalability is a little more difficult when it comes to Squarespace. There is a limited number of features available for larger stores as eCommerce businesses can only advance to a certain tier before they outgrow the site. If you’re an eCommerce business successfully having orders every day and want to be the best, Squarespace will most likely not be able to cater to your needs.
Unfortunately, cyber attacks are common for even the smaller businesses in the industry but if you’re hosted by a platform with closed-source and 24/7 support you’re better protected from these attacks.
A study in 2018 revealed that it costs a company over $3 million worldwide when they have a data breach. Since, the eCommerce industry is one of the most vulnerable in the world, and it’s always better to mitigate the risks of being attacked.
The closed-source platform is sure to rid of all your security concerns when it comes to cyber-attacks. Shopify is controlled by an internal security team who work for Shopify which means you don’t need to worry about external sources to your credit card information and other data.
Likewise, to Shopify the Squarespace internal team deal with any security and safety concerns you may have. Cyber attacks are very rare on Squarespace, but it should be noted that live 24/7 support isn’t available. Live chat and email is only available from 3 am to 8 pm EST on working days with no support over weekends. If you’re looking to email, then Squarespace typically takes 24 hours to reply.
While it may be Shopify again, due to customer care being available 24 hours a day for seven days a week, in terms of security, they’re practically equal.
#3 Cost and Pricing
Wherever possible, it’s understandable you would want to reduce the cost of your eCommerce store. There are sometimes hidden additional costs for plans, and it’s essential you consider how you’re going to utilize the platform and make the most of the plan you choose. Both Shopify and Squarespace offer it’s customers monthly plans but what they include differs across the platforms.
There are five monthly plans for Shopify; lite, basic, standard, plus and advanced. These pricing plans start from $9 up to around $299. All of the plans (excluding the lite version) offer customers free hosting and the ability to sell an unlimited number of products. However, the more you pay for your plan, the better the store you’re going to have. The advanced plan including lower payment processing fees, gift card features, and better shipping rates.
There are four monthly plans for Squarespace users: basic, business, basic store, and advanced store. These all range from free to $40 a month. The basic tier website has no eCommerce capability so for a basic eCommerce store you will be looking at around $26 a month (as of January 2019). The basic and advanced store plans are for webstores and offer a wide variety of features depending on how much you’re paying.
Shopify is more expensive when it comes to pricing, so if you’re looking for an eCommerce store that is budget friendly, you will want to opt for Squarespace. However, regarding getting the most for your money, Shopify is clearly the winner. When taking into account security, scalability and design available on Shopify – Squarespace can’t compare. Remember, Squarespace can only provide themes and no backend accessibility which is limiting as a growing eCommerce business. You will find that many of your competitors use Shopify despite the price difference.
The platforms both offer ‘themes’ which customers can choose to use to make their own custom website. Shopify and Squarespace are white-label systems which mean there is no trace of the platform used by external sources. It is truly incredible to see the beautiful and unique themes available on the platforms.
One great aspect of Shopify (since we haven’t listed a lot already!) is that you’re able to implement themes to your website but also make comprehensive changes to the themes if you have a knowledge of web development. CSS, Liquid and HTML are all great languages to improve and change your eCommerce store. Manipulating the theme will create an even more custom look for your store.
Offering over 50 templates for your eCommerce store, you’re able to quickly customize these with the styling editor and make it unique to your store. It doesn’t matter if you want something clean, professional or minimalistic, there will be something perfect for your business. Squarespace prides themselves in user-friendly designed templates that anyone can change if they wish.
The design is a difficult aspect to consider as Shopify and Squarespace are ideal for a wide range of business owners. For the smaller eCommerce businesses with little knowledge of CSS and HTML, Squarespace maybe better. Whereas if you’re more able to change and manipulate your store, Shopify is the ideal option.
SEO stands for search engine optimization and is the main element for any modern-day eCommerce site. Without a great SEO strategy, your store isn’t going to reach those you want it too. While SEO may not be at the forefront of your mind, it should be! Since around 93% of online searches start with a search engine, it should be your goal to be as high as possible in the rankings. The better SEO you have implemented onto your site, the more traffic and customer you’re going to have.
With plenty of SEO capabilities, Shopify allows consumers to have premium extensions where needed but also allows for inbuilt SEO strategies. There is no need to confuse yourself with SEO as it is already sorted for you. Third party apps are a great addition to your SEO and marketing tools if you wish to improve them. If you want to hire an external company to improve your SEO strategy, we would definitely recommend looking at our plans.
SEO is inbuilt with Squarespace and ensures search engines can find you. If your eCommerce business uses Squarespace, then you’ll be able to access real-time analytics to give you a sense of where your customers are coming from and how you can improve this.
Shopify retakes the lead with this one. It can cater for any business – no matter how big or small you are. Those who are growing in the industry will find Shopify, and it’s inbuilt SEO capabilities helpful in finding success.
It’s time we admit that Shopify takes the cake when compared to Squarespace and other similar platforms. Shopify has a range of beautiful and easily manipulated templates whereas Squarespace simply can’t keep up.