Squarespace for Ecommerce Review
Quality design, strong sales
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?
- Brilliant templates for online stores
- Deep customization options
- Unlimited product listing
- No transaction fees on some plans
- Great value for money
- Could integrate a few more sales channels
- Reporting can feel slightly basic
- Limited apps can seem restrictive
In this Squarespace ecommerce review, we'll cover:
- Squarespace Ecommerce Features – Squarespace has (almost) all the sales features you need
- Squarespace Ecommerce Templates – The best online store template designs on the market
- Squarespace Ecommerce Pricing – Surprisingly affordable, and with no transaction fees
- Squarespace vs Shopify – Shopify for big stores, Squarespace for boutique stores
- Squarespace vs Wix – Wix is good for ecommerce, but Squarespace is even better
- Squarespace vs BigCommerce – If you want a great-looking site, get Squarespace
- Squarespace Support – Squarespace has one of the best user communities in the industry
- Is Squarespace Good for Ecommerce? – It won’t be right for all online stores, but it might be perfect for yours
Squarespace Ecommerce Features
While Squarespace isn’t solely focused on ecommerce websites, it still has the features you’ll need if you want to start an online store.
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.
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.
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 allows you to quickly and easily integrate a range of third-party services necessary for running a business.
For example, 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.
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 its sales overview and purchase funnel tools should definitely give you enough to manage your store.
With the sales overview tool, for example, you’ll be able to track key metrics such as revenue, units sold, revenue per visit, and more, as well as segment reports by traffic source, device type, and other variables.
The purchase funnel tool is especially useful for helping to optimize aspects of your website based on user data – you can see where customers are losing interest in the journey to buying a product, and improve your site as a result.
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. However, the two companies should be rolling it out to more users fairly soon.
Create your own stunning online store with Squarespace now
Squarespace is renowned for its high-quality templates, and its ecommerce-specific templates are no different. It only has ten dedicated ecommerce templates, but you can add online store elements to any template in the collection.
“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 all ten 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 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.
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.
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.
If your business is just starting out, you could get away with using the Basic plan. However, the Advanced plan is the best option all round, offering some third-party integration and improved shipping options.
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.
|Monthly cost (paid annually)||Free||$26||$40|
|Online sales per year||$0||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Mobile-optimized website and checkout||N/A||Yes||Yes|
|Abandoned cart recovery||N/A||No||Yes|
|Advancing shipping options||N/A||No||Yes|
|Discounts||N/A||See Deals||See Deals|
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.
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.
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.
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:
|Verdict||The best ecommerce platform with unmatched features, great websites and a scalable platform.||Runs Shopify close with great sales features, but small knowledge base and weaker website design let it down.||Can't match the scalability of the first two, 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.||Like Squarespace, Wix isn't as scalable for big businesses, makes creating a sales site easy||Has some advantages over Wix when it comes to sales features, but Weebly's overall platform isn't as compelling|
|Value for Money|
|Help and Support|
|Ease of Use|
|Try it Today||Visit Shopify||Visit BigCommerce||Visit Squarespace*||Visit Volusion||Visit Wix||Visit Weebly|
* Save 10% on Squarespace with code ‘TECH10'
Squarespace doesn’t offer phone support, but does offer social media, live chat, email, and video tutorials to help solve your problems.
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.
Squarespace is one of the best value ecommerce platforms on the market and you can take a further 10% off with code 'TECH10'
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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