Better known for its attractive designs, Squarespace might not spring to mind when thinking about ecommerce platforms. However, it has quietly become one of the best choices for small, enterprising online stores. Squarespace has a range of built-in tools to help you sell stuff online – accounting by Xero, loads of beautifully designed ecommerce specific templates, easy-to-use backend functions, and more. But can Squarespace really challenge dedicated ecommerce platforms, such as Shopify?
Squarespace Ecommerce Features
Squarespace isn’t solely focused on ecommerce websites.
But it still offers the features you’ll need if you want to start an online store, along with some solid deals to get you the most bang for your buck. Here's our review.
Squarespace Product Management
Any ecommerce platform worth its salt has good product management, and Squarespace’s system is brilliantly simple.
Adding and editing products sold on your store is straightforward. In fact, you can get a product onto your site with just a few clicks. However, you can still add lots of detail to your products, from custom stock-keeping units to sizing and weight options.You can also import products from other services, such as Shopify, Big Cartel, Etsy, or via a .csv file.
All this will make it easier to manage your products and inventory further down the line, without it seeming overly laborious for small or new businesses. You can even list an unlimited number of products with Squarespace, regardless of which plan you’re on.
Squarespace Product, Service, or Software Sales
By default, Squarespace lets you sell physical products, services, or software on its platform. There aren’t many ecommerce platforms that will let you sell services or software, and even fewer that will let you sell them alongside regular physical products.
This makes Squarespace a great choice for any business looking to sell a variety of products.
In fact, when uploading a new product to Squarespace, swapping back-and-forth between the different types takes just a few clicks. If you want to, you can even sell subscription services (such as magazines) through the platform.
Squarespace has also launched Squarespace Scheduling which will let you quickly and easily add appointment scheduling to your site. This means that your customers will be able to book your services whenever they want.
Squarespace Design Features
Some ecommerce platforms are so focused on business management tools that they fail to provide top-drawer website features. As Squarespace was primarily conceived as a website building tool, rather than an ecommerce platform, it has no shortage of neat features to make your online store great.
For example, adding a password-protected members area is super easy, as is creating logins for guests. Squarespace also has an excellent blogging platform that you could put to good use to keep customers up-to-speed with your latest offerings.
Squarespace Third-Party Extensions:
Squarespace allows you to quickly and easily integrate a range of third-party services necessary for running a business.
For example, you could add the AfterShip extension to add branded product tracking pages and deliver bespoke automated notifications to customers.
Squarespace Payment Processing
With Squarespace you can sign up for Stripe and PayPal merchant accounts within 30 seconds, with no paperwork to sign. You can also take credit card payments using Stripe, or accept Apple Pay and PayPal.
This makes selling products a breeze, as customers can use any service they want to buy your stuff.
We’ll admit that Squarespace doesn’t have the most granular sales analytics tools on the market – head to Shopify or BigCommerce for that – but it does have a dedicated Analytics app to give you an insight into your store's performance.
With the app, you'll be able to track key website metrics such as traffic sources and where your visitors come from.
However, you'll also be able to keep an eye on sales metrics. For example, you can easily see your top products, track conversions through the purchasing funnel, and compare performance over time.
Integration with Square POS
Squarespace has a unique integration with point of sale giant Square. The two companies have worked to integrate Square's in-person point of sale expertise into Squarespace's ecommerce platform — allowing you to track real life sales and online sales seamlessly. This means that you won't have to worry about setting up a separate point of sale system.
You'll need to be on one of Squarespace's Online Stores plans and have a Square account to access the system — neither of which will take too long to set up. You'll also need a Square card reader but, again, these are easy to get hold of. At the moment, the Square-and-Squarespace integration is only available in the US to users with iPhone devices. Android and iPad support .
Squarespace is renowned for its high-quality templates, and its ecommerce-specific templates are no different.
“We’ve used Squarespace for many different projects over the years, because it’s an efficient tool for creating really beautiful sites,” says Josh Rubin, founder of COOL HUNTING.
“COOL HUNTING Omakase is a program that we launched a few years back, which is an annually-released, limited edition product collection. To sell this program, we needed a site which was as premium as our product.”
COOL HUNTING’s Omakase site is typical Squarespace – minimalist and consistent throughout, with space for loads of high-quality images. Each element looks great in isolation, but they don’t detract from each other when viewed as a whole.
Here are some of Squarespace's ecommerce templates
Let’s take a look at another Squarespace ecommerce website.
Squarespace Ecommerce Example
The ‘Jaunt’ template is one of Squarespace’s ecommerce-specific website templates, designed by its in-house team.
As with COOL HUNTING’s site, the template is minimalist, and this helps draw attention to the products without seeming overly sales-y or low quality. You can really see the attention and thought that has gone into the template by taking a look at its mobile view.
Even on a small-screened iPhone, the second row of products appears above the fold – meaning that potential customers don’t have to scroll down to find out there are more products to choose from.
As you dive deeper into the website, you find that the large text surrounding the images remains minimal, further highlighting the aesthetic appeal of the products.
There are many sites that take this kind of design approach, as you can see in our guide to What Makes a Good Website. However, there aren’t really any ecommerce platforms that allow you to build such a high-quality website from a template.
Squarespace offers four pricing plans, split into two categories: Websites and Online Stores. If you’re looking at Squarespace as an ecommerce platform, you should ignore the cheaper Website plans and focus on the Online Stores plans.
There are two Online Stores plans on offer – Basic and Advanced – costing $26 per month and $40 per month, respectively.
Price paid annually
The price per month you'll pay if you choose to be billed annually
Price paid monthly
The price per month you'll pay if you choose to be billed monthly
Abandoned cart recovery
$26 per month
$40 per month
$35 per month
$54 per month
With 1-year contract
With 1-year contract
The Basic plan removes the transaction fees present on the cheaper Website plans, and offers improved reporting tools as well as product, order, tax, and coupon management. Integration with the Xero accounting platform is also thrown in, as is the ability to host a secure checkout on your domain.
This makes the Basic plan a great choice for anyone looking to create their first online store, or run a realtively small operation. You'll have all the tools you need to get started, including with easy accounting and product management features.
The Advanced plan offers all of the above plus abandoned cart recovery, improved shipping options, flexible product discounts, gift cards, and the ability to integrate the Squarespace orders platform with third-party logistics and fulfillment providers.
The Advanced plan is perfect for more developed businesses as it prioritises customer control. When you're operating at scale, it's more difficult to keep on top of customer orders, so it pays to have automated tools.
What’s more, Squarespace’s Advanced plan costs a lot less than similar plans from most dedicated ecommerce platforms. Typically, dedicated ecommerce platforms start at around $30 per month, before increasing rapidly to around $80 per month and beyond.
Squarespace Ecommerce Fees
You’ll be pleased to hear that with Squarespace, there are no transaction fees to pay when you choose either the Basic or Advanced Online Stores plan.
On the cheaper Personal and Business plans, which aren't built for ecommerce, you will have to pay a 3% fee on transactions. But considering that the Basic Online Store plan only costs $26 per month, while the Business plan costs a relatively steep $18 per month, it’s arguably worth upgrading to the Basic Online Store plan if you plan to make any sales- and losing the transaction fees.
Squarespace does charge for credit card use, though. You’ll need to pay 2.9% + 30 cents for every credit card payment. These fees are fairly competitive across the industry. You also might have to pay a small fee for Stripe or PayPal payment processing- as per their guidelines- but this won’t be too expensive, and isn’t Squarespace’s doing.
Is Squarespace the Best Ecommerce Platform for Your Business?
We’ve made some passing references to other ecommerce platforms in this article. Now we’re going to really get under the skin of the leading providers, including Shopify, Wix, and BigCommerce, to help you find your ideal ecommerce platform.
Our score is based on independent assessments of ease of use, features, ecommerce functionality and value for money
Cheapest Ecommerce Plan (per month)
Priciest Ecommerce Plan (per month)
Number of extra sales channels
Physical Product Sales
Digital Product Sales
Click to check for deals, discounts and tiers of plans
BEST FOR SMALLER STORES
BEST FOR LARGER STORES
Wix is our top choice ecommerce website builder. It makes creating an online store brilliantly easy, and there's even a 50% discount on offer now
The best ecommerce website builder for larger businesses, with outstanding features, great websites, and a scalable platform
A genuinely high quality way to launch an ecommerce site for free, and also perfect for anyone already using Square POS.
Runs Shopify close with great sales features and has a Free Trial, but a small knowledge base and weaker website design let it down.
Can't match the scalability of the its rivals, but you'll get a great-looking, easy to use sales website.
A good alternative to BigCommerce with better web design. Can be confusing to use, though.
Has some advantages over Wix when it comes to sales features, but Weebly's overall platform isn't as compelling.
Squarespace vs Shopify
Shopify is probably the market-leading ecommerce provider at the moment. It serves some of the biggest stores in the world, along with loads of smaller businesses.
However, while Shopify is great at providing an in-depth, robust ecommerce platform – which makes it perfectly-suited to large stores – it might be slightly too much for smaller websites.
Shopify’s pricing reflects how it is mainly targeted at larger businesses. While Shopify’s cheapest plan costs $29 – only $3 more expensive than Squarespace’s Basic Online Store plan – the next plan up costs $79.
However, if you run a bricks-and-mortar store as well as an ecommerce site, Shopify’s point-of-sale system makes it a great choice.
- Unmatched sales and reporting features
- Simple to set up, use and edit your store
- Excellent and varied support options
- Fantastic design options
- Can become more expensive than rivals
- Charges transaction fees unless you use Shopify Payments
Squarespace vs Wix
Like Squarespace, Wix is also primarily designed as a website builder, but also functions as a surprisingly competent ecommerce platform.
However, given the choice, we’d pick Squarespace over Wix for our ecommerce platform. For starters, Wix can’t integrate other sales channels (such as Instagram) into its platform. What’s more, Wix lacks some more refined features that Squarespace offers, such as abandoned cart recovery.
Squarespace also offers more advanced sales reporting than Wix. While Squarespace has all the features we mentioned above, including revenue and conversion tracking, Wix requires a third-party, paid-for app to achieve similar results.
Wix is working hard on improving its ecommerce offering, though, so this could change.
Check out our full Wix vs Squarespace comparison
- Claim 50% off before Aug 5!
- Great design options
- Excellent help and support
- Competitive pricing plans
- Perfect for smaller sites
- Website templates can't be changed after publishing
- Storage space could be a little more generous
Squarespace vs BigCommerce
BigCommerce is similar to Shopify in that it is designed, primarily, for larger ecommerce sites. If you’re planning to create a small- to medium-sized online store, we’d still choose Squarespace.
BigCommerce works with more payment companies, is able to integrate more third-party sales channels, and has more in-depth sales reporting than Squarespace. But for most users, Squarespace will be far easier to understand, easier to set up, and easier to create a great-looking website with.
But what about other ecommerce platforms? Here's a look at how the leading providers stack up in our independent testing:
- Free Trial
- Integrates loads of sales channels
- No transaction fees
- Lots of built-in features
- Limited choice of website themes
- Restrictive storefront editor
- Places a cap on the value of sales you can make
Squarespace has a wide range of support options, as you'd expect from a website builder.
- 247/7 Twitter support
- 24/7 email support
- Video tutorials
- Live chat support Monday to Friday
Squarespace also has one of the most extensive and trustworthy user support forums in the industry. This means that you’ll be able to lean on the expertise of advanced users, as well as Squarespace’s support team, in the event of a problem.
Squarespace doesn’t lock any of these support options behind more expensive pricing tiers, either — you’ll be able to get the same level of support regardless of whether you’re paying $12 or $40 per month.
Sadly, Squarespace doesn't offer phone support in any capacity.
Yes, Squarespace is good for ecommerce – and surprisingly so for a service primarily designed as a website building tool. You get access to built-in accounting tools, a wide range of payment processing options, and some of the best online store templates on the market – if not the best.
Squarespace won’t be the best option for big online stores – we’d choose Shopify for that – but if you need a high-quality boutique online store, Squarespace might just be the way to go.
Find out more about Squarespace and ecommerce on Tech.co
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