There have been several website builders that have come on the scene. Some of the most memorable may include WordPress, Weebly, and Wix.
However, e-commerce sites can be a little bit different. They offer much more control when it comes to selling a product or service on the internet. Two of the undisputed e-commerce site legends are Squarespace and Shopify.
But, which of the two should be crowned the e-commerce website king? Keep reading to learn more about each website, the features offered to the user, and a final determination of which site is really the best.
The interesting thing about Squarespace is that it didn’t actually start as an e-commerce website. Squarespace was founded in 2003 as a blogging platform. However, it expanded its scope of offerings to include e-commerce options. Now, the site offers dedicated e-commerce website plans.
Shopify was founded a year after Squarespace in 2004. It has more than 1.2 million customers and has been offering e-commerce solutions for businesses of all sizes and types for years. This puts Shopify a bit ahead of Squarespace in the e-commerce world, but the two are very comparable.
FEATURE 1: PAYMENT OPTIONS
Payment options have become increasingly important in today’s tech-based world. People want to have as many options as possible when paying for goods and services over the internet.
Squarespace offers PayPal and Stripe payments as well as traditional credit card payments. Shopify has Squarespace beat on this feature, offering Amazon payments in addition to the other options offered by Squarespace.
Having more options for payment is most definitely a plus for online shoppers.
FEATURE 2: SHIPPING
Both Squarespace and Shopify have pretty similar shipping options. Each site allows the host to show shipping rates, create shipping labels, and connect with customers easily.
FEATURE 3: POINT-OF-SALES INTEGRATION
Squarespace is once again beat by Shopify for not having very many tools to manage point-of-sales integration. Shopify has options to help physical store owners integrate their in-store and online sales easily.
One of the packages, the “Retail Package,” allows access to tools like accepting payments and staff accounts.
FEATURE 4: ADVANCED BUSINESS TOOLS
Speaking of tools, a lot of people who have an e-commerce website are hoping to make data reporting and end-of-year reports as painless as possible. Squarespace offers a tax and accounting tool called Xero, as well as an inventory tool that makes e-commerce selling that much easier.
Sadly, it is once again beat out by Shopify. While they both offer great business tools, Shopify does advanced business tools just a bit better, offering more in-depth reporting and management capabilities.
FEATURE 5: FUNCTIONS OUTSIDE OF E-COMMERCE
Businesses want more from a website than the ability to sell on it. More and more businesses want to use their website to spread information through blogs, videos, and photos. However, some e-commerce sites are much better for these functions than others.
Thanks to its background in blogging, Squarespace takes the cake on this one. Squarespace allows the website owner to optimize using SEO, design an attractive and custom website, and more. This can be done in Shopify, but is much more difficult and requires the use of other apps and plug-ins that might cost the website owner more money.
FEATURE 6: USABILITY WITHOUT TRAINING
More and more business owners are looking to manage their own sites for a number of reasons. To begin, a lot of small businesses don’t have the funds to secure a full-time website manager who will update and design their website. Other business owners simply want to have access to all aspects of their business and have the ability to change or edit information easily.
More and more websites are making their interfaces easier and easier to use. How do these two websites compare?
The sign-up process is simple, and so is the design. Both Squarespace and Shopify gather some information from you like the type of business you own and what you’re looking for in your website. It then suggests a few themes and designs. Your website can be started in minutes.
FEATURE 7: THEME OPTIONS
Themes are important to business owners because they can convey the vibe of the business to online shoppers. Branding is also an important part of theme options. The themes on both platforms are great.
Squarespace has more than 100 free templates to choose from. The designs vary, but are mostly minimalistic, allowing for creative customization. Shopify offers only 10 free options and 55 paid options. For the business owner on the budget, Squarespace is the way to go.
FEATURE 8: PRICING OF THE PLANS
Plan pricing is important for budgeting matters. You want a good-quality website that fits into your budget. A lot of the Squarespace and Shopify plans are pretty close in price. However, Squarespace offers a limited free version whereas Shopify offers a 14-day free trial.
Basic plans are pretty close in price, but Shopify is much more expensive when you get into the more advanced plans. You’ll be spending hundreds of dollars more on an advanced plan with Shopify than you would with Squarespace. You might also have to buy a theme if you use Shopify!
WHICH IS THE WINNER?
Both sites are kings in their own way.
If you’re OK with losing out on a few extra payment options, but you’re looking for a site with blogging capabilities, Squarespace is for you! However, if you’re wanting a site that focuses only on the e-commerce aspects of online business, Shopify is the one you would go for. Shopify is also the clear king for those who have both a physical and an online store. The business integration tools are too good to pass up!
As far as affordability, Squarespace is the clear winner. The plans are much more affordable and you won’t likely have to buy a theme. You can also use a limited version of it for free for as long as you’d like, but you’ll only get 14 days free on Shopify!