Going to set-up an ecommerce site? You’ll need to choose the right platform. Each platform has their own strengths and weaknesses. Two of the most popular options in the ecommerce market are Shopify and Squarespace.

Before you make your decision, it is important to understand the pros and cons of each. And of course, each of the platforms are designed for specific purposes which might be right for your business. Choosing one because it has the right pricing plan could come back to haunt you – especially if you later find out that your platform doesn’t have what you need. Knowing the various benefits of each system can help you to make an informed decision.

The most recent statistics show there are in excess of 820,000 Shopify stores. On the other hand, Squarespace has more than 1.4m sites – although not all of these are shops. Whichever you choose you will be in safe hands, as these are industry-leading platforms. This article will provide an insight into the right choice for you. Read on to find out more; this knowledge could be the key to ensuring that your business is a success.

Design and look

How your website looks is important – having a stunning website can impress visitors and entice customers into buying. This is just as true of ecommerce sites as it is for any. 

Shopify certainly provides users with a wide range of themes (10 are free, while others are available at a cost) although there is limited flexibility in these themes. There are multiple ways to get themes on Shopify : you can look at their theme store, go on some specialised websites, or ask an agency to get a custom one. Shopify partners with agencies for their clients. 

Squarespace, however, is far better equipped and offers a much wider range of choices. In fact, without having a website custom designed, Squarespace offers some of the sleekest and most professional-looking websites of any builder. 

Winner: Squarespace (1-0)

Features

The sales features provided by the site builder are the tools at your disposal to make it easier for you to sell online. One key issue here is the payment options available. Squarespace only offers PayPal, Stripe, and Apple Pay, while Shopify include a huge range of options for payment including their own gateway Shopify Payments.

Shopify also outperforms Squarespace in issues such as shipping options and inventory management. Shopify is purely designed for online stores, so perhaps this is not unexpected. You can create an E-Commerce store on Squarespace, but the website-builder being a more general tool for digital actors, it doesn’t always provide the best features for E-Commerce merchants. 

Winner: Shopify (1-1)

Search engine optimisation

To be successful in the world of ecommerce, you need to ensure that your business can be easily found on Google and other search engines. This means that search engine optimisation (SEO) is a vital task for your business as a whole if you want to be successful. Squarespace offers some standard features to help you manage your SEO, but trying to deal with anything complicated can be a nightmare.

Shopify offers a more comprehensive range of features that make it easier for sites to ranking higher on Google. It also includes best practice prompts and a specific SEO app. 

“Squarespace ecommerce sites are notoriously difficult to manage from an SEO perspective,” says Justin Aldridge, Technical Director at SEO specialists Artemis Marketing “and we would always recommend looking for digital marketing agencies who are approved Shopify partners if you are looking for help with your SEO”. 

Winner: Shopify (1-2)

Pricing

Current pricing for Shopify starts at $29 per month for the basic package, jumps up to $79 for the standard Shopify package, and then tops out at $299 for the advanced package. Squarespace, on the other hand, charges £20 per month for a basic commerce store, and up to £30 per month for an advanced commerce store. 

Of course, you can argue that it is worth spending more to get a more comprehensive service, but from a simple number crunching perspective, it can’t be argued that Squarespace is cheaper. 

Winner: Squarespace (2-2)

Ease of use

Shopify is extremely simple to use even if you lack any kind of technical expertise. It has a drag-and-drop system which makes it extremely easy to move elements around a page, as well as a very clear user interface. 

Squarespace looks more attractive, but the actual business of dealing with the system day to day is more challenging than Shopify. So, if simplicity is what you’re after, Shopify is the right choice. 

Winner: Shopify (2-3)

Customer support

Both Shopify and Squarespace offer excellent customer support. Shopify is available 24/7 over the phone, on email, or live chat, while Squarespace is a little more limited. They do have an excellent forum, however, which can answer a huge number of questions. And live chat support is available Monday to Friday from 4am to 8pm EST.

Winner: Draw! (2-3) Shopify wins overall