Squarespace vs Shopify: Which is Better?

Squarespace vs Shopify: Which is Better?

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Ease of Use
  3. Customization and Themes
  4. E-commerce Features
  5. Pricing Comparison
  6. When to Use Squarespace
  7. When to Use Shopify
  8. Pros and Cons of Squarespace
  9. Pros and Cons of Shopify
  10. Conclusion


When it comes to building websites and online stores, there are two popular options: Squarespace and Shopify. While both platforms are excellent in their own right, they have distinct differences that make them better suited for certain purposes. In this article, we will explore the key factors to consider when choosing between Squarespace and Shopify, including ease of use, customization, e-commerce features, pricing, and when to use each platform. By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of when to use Squarespace and when to use Shopify for your website or online store. So let's dive in!

Ease of Use

One of the most important considerations when choosing a website builder is the ease of use. Squarespace and Shopify offer different approaches in this aspect.

Squarespace provides an intuitive and user-friendly interface with its visual editor. Editing a page in Squarespace is as simple as clicking the "Edit" button and making changes directly on the page. The visual editor allows you to see how everything looks in real-time, making it easy to create and customize various elements such as text, images, and galleries. Squarespace's flexibility in building different types of websites, including online stores, is a significant advantage for users who need a versatile and easy-to-use platform.

On the other hand, Shopify focuses primarily on building online stores. While it offers an editing interface, it is not as visually oriented as Squarespace. Shopify's editor requires users to save and view the page to see the changes made, which may not provide the same real-time visual feedback as Squarespace. The emphasis on online stores means that Shopify's editor is designed to cater specifically to the needs of e-commerce, with predefined pages like home, product, and checkout pages. This specialized approach may limit the flexibility compared to Squarespace but streamlines the process for creating and managing online stores.

Key Highlights:

  • Squarespace's visual editor allows real-time editing and customization of various elements.
  • Shopify's editor focuses on e-commerce-specific pages but may lack the same level of real-time visual feedback.

Customization and Themes

Another critical aspect to consider is the level of customization and the availability of themes/templates offered by each platform.

Squarespace offers around 110 templates created by Squarespace alone. These templates are meticulously designed and tested to ensure compatibility, quality, and responsiveness across various devices. With Squarespace's templates, users can have confidence in the aesthetics and functionality of their websites. The platform's section editor provides a convenient way to create visually appealing splash sections. Although customization options are extensive, Squarespace also allows advanced users to have more control by modifying colors, fonts, and other elements through custom coding.

Shopify, on the other hand, offers nine free themes and 76 paid themes. Additionally, there is a vast marketplace of third-party theme providers offering thousands of themes. While this variety provides more options, the quality and compatibility may vary. Customizing themes in Shopify may require more advanced knowledge and coding skills, especially when specific changes are desired. While Shopify offers some customization options for colors and fonts, making extensive modifications might involve editing CSS code, which might be intimidating for users without coding experience.

Key Highlights:

  • Squarespace offers a comprehensive selection of professionally designed templates, ensuring aesthetic appeal and compatibility across devices.
  • Shopify offers a larger variety of themes but with potential variability in quality and compatibility.
  • Customizing themes in Shopify may require advanced coding knowledge.

E-commerce Features

When it comes to e-commerce, Shopify excels in providing an all-inclusive and robust platform. Shopify's core focus is on building online stores, and as such, it offers a wide range of e-commerce-specific features and functionalities out of the box. From payment processing to tax calculation and integration with shipping services, Shopify streamlines the complexities of running an online store.

Accepting credit card payments on Squarespace requires integrating with a payment processor like Stripe, adding an extra step to the setup process. On the other hand, Shopify simplifies this by offering its own payment processor, Shopify Payments, which seamlessly integrates into the platform. This simplification ensures that payment processing is taken care of from the start for Shopify users.

Managing taxes is another area where Shopify's focus on e-commerce shines. Shopify has built-in provincial tax rates, making it easier for Canadian users, for instance, to set up accurate tax calculations. Squarespace, on the other hand, requires manual configuration of tax rates for each province, which may be time-consuming and prone to errors.

Shopify also offers extensive integration with shipping services, making it convenient to estimate shipping costs for customers and print shipping labels. Squarespace's integration is limited to FedEx or USPS, which may not cover all users' needs.

Additionally, Shopify's App Store offers thousands of apps to expand the functionality of online stores. With apps like restock alerts, live chat support, and product reviews, Shopify provides a comprehensive ecosystem to enhance the customer experience and address specific business needs. Squarespace has a similar feature called Squarespace Extensions but with a much smaller selection of 31 extensions, limiting the customization options compared to Shopify.

Key Highlights:

  • Shopify's e-commerce features cover all aspects of running an online store, including payment processing, tax management, and integration with shipping services.
  • Squarespace requires integrating with a payment processor for credit card payments, adding an extra step.
  • Shopify's App Store offers a wide range of apps to enhance online store functionality, while Squarespace's Extensions are more limited in options.

Pricing Comparison

The pricing structure of each platform is an essential factor to consider when making a decision.

Squarespace offers four plans: Personal, Business, Basic Commerce, and Advanced Commerce. The Personal plan, starting at $12 per month, is suitable for basic websites without e-commerce. The Business plan, priced at $18 per month, adds e-commerce functionality with transaction fees. The Basic Commerce plan, at $26 per month, provides e-commerce features without transaction fees. The Advanced Commerce plan, the most expensive at $40 per month, offers advanced features like abandoned cart recovery and advanced shipping options.

Shopify offers three main plans: Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify. The Basic Shopify plan, priced at $29 per month, includes all essential features for starting an online store. The Shopify plan, priced at $79 per month, adds more advanced features like professional reports and better shipping discounts. The Advanced Shopify plan, at $299 per month, is designed for high-volume stores with additional features like advanced report building and third-party calculated shipping rates. Shopify also offers a Shopify Lite plan, specifically for selling on social media and in-person, at $9 per month.

When comparing prices, it is crucial to consider the features included in each plan. For an accurate comparison, Squarespace's Basic Commerce plan, starting at $26 per month, is a closer match to Shopify's Basic Shopify plan.

Key Highlights:

  • Squarespace offers plans ranging from $12 to $40 per month, with Basic Commerce plan as the closest match to Shopify's Basic plan.
  • Shopify's plans start at $29 for Basic Shopify, with additional plans at $79 and $299 per month, catering to different business sizes and requirements.

When to Use Squarespace

Squarespace is an excellent choice for small websites, personal blogs, and businesses that require a versatile website builder. If you have a business that does not focus primarily on e-commerce or requires other types of content, such as blogs or portfolios, Squarespace's user-friendly interface, extensive template selection, and customization options make it an ideal solution. Squarespace also excels in specific types of commerce, such as restaurants, appointment scheduling, memberships, and courses, where it offers tailored features to support these industries.

Pros of Squarespace:

  • Intuitive and user-friendly interface.
  • Extensive template selection created by Squarespace.
  • Flexible customization options.
  • Suitable for various types of websites, including different types of commerce.

Cons of Squarespace:

  • Limited e-commerce functionalities compared to Shopify.

When to Use Shopify

If your primary focus is on building and managing an online store, Shopify is the go-to platform. It offers a comprehensive set of e-commerce features and a dedicated editor for online store pages, making it more streamlined and efficient for e-commerce purposes. Shopify's payment processing integration, built-in tax rates, shipping service integration, and the extensive app store ensure that your online store is equipped with essential features and can be enhanced with various add-ons as needed.

Pros of Shopify:

  • All-in-one platform for building and managing online stores.
  • Seamless payment processing with Shopify Payments.
  • Built-in tax rates and shipping service integration.
  • Extensive app store for expanding store functionality.

Cons of Shopify:

  • Less flexible for non-e-commerce websites or businesses with diverse content needs.


In conclusion, both Squarespace and Shopify are excellent website builders, each with its own strengths and focus. Squarespace is a more versatile platform suitable for various types of websites, including online stores, blogs, portfolios, and more. It offers a user-friendly interface, extensive template selection, and flexible customization options. Shopify, on the other hand, excels at e-commerce-focused websites, providing a robust set of features, seamless payment processing, and integration with shipping services. It is an ideal choice for businesses that primarily require an online store.

When deciding between Squarespace and Shopify, consider the specific requirements, scale, and nature of your website or online store. Evaluate the importance of ease of use, customization options, e-commerce features, and pricing to make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and goals.

By considering these factors, you can choose the right platform that will best support your website or online store's growth and success. So go ahead and explore the possibilities offered by Squarespace and Shopify to bring your ideas to life online!

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