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With over two billion people regularly shopping online, it makes more sense than ever to launch an e-commerce store. But it’s not enough to simply build an online store and expect your ideal customers to find it. As a business owner, you will need to include top-notch design, an easy-to-navigate menu, maximized SEO and eye-pleasing aesthetics. Many platforms offer e-commerce options, with most of them integrated into your website for one-stop service.
Squarespace is a general website builder that has e-commerce functionality, while Shopify is an entire platform geared toward helping customers sell online. While both are solid options, they both have their own distinct advantages and drawbacks. We take a close look at these popular platforms to help you choose the right fit for you.
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 e-commerce integrations at three different levels
Shopify was created specifically as an online store solution, and has subsequently added on a website building 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 within a website. Both platforms allow users to create exactly what they want, thanks to a plethora of available designs and options. Neither requires any 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.
Both Shopify and Squarespace allow users to create an online store that offers physical and digital products, along with services. The platforms differ in how they organize and display items, as well as the ease of transition to in-person, physical point of sales (POS).
Squarespace has a stylish 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 feature, allowing for up-close product viewing.
Squarespace does have an in-person sales option, utilizing a Square card reader to take in-person cash or card payments that integrate with the online store. These POS transactions are only permitted within the United States.
Shopify places less emphasis on the online store aesthetics, preferring to pay close attention to the functionality of the site. Store pages have attractive template and design options, but the focus is on enhancing growth and scalability. While a built-in zoom function 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 beginning, and sellers are able to purchase a point-of-sale kit that includes a barcode scanner, card reader, cash drawer and receipt printer. In addition, POS transactions are permitted outside of the U.S.
SEO (search engine optimization) uses keywords and high-quality content to help your online store reach a larger audience, potentially with buyers from all over the world exploring your site.
Fully maximized SEO is essential for business success, but can be a challenging undertaking without the help of support tools. Both Shopify and Squarespace offer users integrated SEO support, although they go about it in two different ways.
Shopify is set up to meet the objectives of Google’s Core Web Vitals requirements. These include three metrics: page loading time, responsiveness and visual stability. In addition, 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 enhance SEO.
Squarespace users can configure meta titles, descriptions and custom URLs to match their page content, but must do so manually without any suggestions. Google Analytics is available with all plans, and the platform allows for easy social media integration. Users may not install any third-party SEO apps, such as Yoast, and instead must rely on the provided built-in SEO support options.
Creating a blog can help boost your business, drive more traffic to your website and potentially serve as another source of revenue. While adding one to your website does tack another item on the to-do list, a blog made in conjunction with an e-commerce site can be extremely effective for marketing.
If this is 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 blogging functionality with its service. Building, publishing and managing your blog works in a very similar fashion to Squarespace. This could be useful if you want to supplement your online store with written content that tells your audience more about the products you sell. You could also give tips and tricks for getting the most out of your products.
For most e-commerce categories, including POS, customer support and SEO tools, Shopify is ahead. This is mainly due to the fact that it was originally designed to power online stores, and it’s been around long enough to have perfected a lot of elements. On the other hand, Squarespace is geared more toward general website building for all of your different pages, with some extra e-commerce functionality for selling. The best choice for you will ultimately come down to what you want out of your online presence.