Shopify vs Squarespace: Head-to-Head Comparison (2023)

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Shopify vs Squarespace

If you’re creating an ecommerce website, the number of options and platforms can be overwhelming. Squarespace and Shopify are two of the most popular website builders, and they both offer ecommerce functionality.

Both of these platforms are excellent, and we strongly recommend them. However, we recommend them in different situations because they’re ideal for different types of users and purposes.

If you’re unsure which platform to use for your site, this Squarespace vs. Shopify comparison will answer any questions you have.

Shopify vs Squarespace for Ecommerce: Quick Overview

We’ll cover a lot of details in this article, but if you’re looking for a quick answer, here it is. The main difference between Squarespace and Shopify is that Squarespace is better for small business sites and content-based sites, and Shopify is better for sites where ecommerce is the primary focus.

Squarespace includes ecommerce capabilities, but these features are far more limited than Shopify’s. Shopify is, first and foremost, an ecommerce platform. Squarespace is a no-code website builder that includes ecommerce functionality.

You can certainly sell products (physical and digital) with Squarespace. In fact, it’s an ideal platform for certain users. For example, if you’re a photographer and you want to sell photos from your portfolio site, Squarespace can handle that. Or, if you’re a physical therapist and want to sell online courses from your site, Squarespace is a good fit.

In those situations, ecommerce is just one aspect of the site. On the other hand, if you want to start an online t-shirt shop, Shopify would be a better choice. In this case, ecommerce is the site’s primary purpose, and you would benefit from Shopify’s advanced capabilities.

Basically, you can set up a simple online shop with Squarespace, but Shopify can power a large ecommerce site with thousands of products.

Squarespace is better than Shopify for content management and creating sites that aren’t primarily online shops. Squarespace is ideal for small businesses, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, podcasters, and other creators.

Similarities Between Shopify and Squarespace


Both Squarespace and Shopify are popular website builders offering ecommerce functionality, making them ideal choices for businesses looking to create a seamless online presence. Let’s start by looking at the similarities between these two platforms.

One key similarity is their focus on providing an all-in-one solution for business owners, eliminating the need to rely on multiple separate tools to manage their online presence. Both platforms make it easy to set up and manage your site, including the products and services you sell.

Squarespace offers functionality for email marketing, appointment scheduling, managing courses and memberships, and more. (Some features require an additional fee.)

Shopify offers an even bigger range of features through optional apps or add-ons. There are Shopify apps for just about anything you can imagine. Some of them are free, but many come with a fee.

With Squarespace and Shopify, you can easily set up shop, customize your site’s design, add products or services, and handle various aspects of order processing without being a technical expert.

Both platforms use a template-based system to control the design and layout of your site, although Shopify refers to them as “themes” instead of templates. You can choose one of the free templates/themes or purchase a premium template/theme if you prefer. You can customize most aspects of the design and layout without any coding. Alternatively, you can hire a professional to create a custom site on either of these platforms if you’d like.


User Interface (Ease of Use)

Squarespace and Shopify both prioritize user-friendliness in their design, making it simple for business owners to create and manage their websites without extensive technical knowledge.

When it comes to ease of use, Squarespace comes out slightly ahead. Shopify offers a well-designed user interface, but as a more robust ecommerce platform, there’s much more going on. Squarespace is generally easier for simply creating or updating pages on your site.

Templates and Themes for Your Online Store

Both platforms offer a range of templates and themes designed to make your website visually appealing, user-friendly, and professional. However, Squarespace has a larger selection of free templates that you can use at no additional cost. They offer more than 100 templates created for specific types of businesses. You can browse them by industry or type (online store, portfolio, blog, etc.).

Squarespace Templates

Although each template has been designed for a specific type of business, you can use any template of your choice. An interior designer could easily use a template created for a wedding planner, and so on.

Squarespace templates are beautifully designed and include several pages (unless intended for single-page sites), so building an entire site is easy. You can add your photos and text, and your site will be ready in no time.

Of course, you can also use the Squarespace templates as starting points and customize them however you want. You can easily change colors, fonts, and other design aspects. You can also remove sections, add new sections, and use the drag-and-drop builder to customize the site without coding.

If the 100+ templates don’t meet your needs, you can buy a premium template from a third-party seller, or hire a Squarespace expert to create a custom design.

Shopify Themes

Shopify currently offers only 12 free themes. You may find a free theme that meets your needs, but most Shopify users purchase a premium theme. There are more than 100 premium options in the official Shopify theme store, and they range in price from $180 – $360. You can also buy other premium themes at sites like Envato Market and Envato Elements.

Most modern premium Shopify themes are beautiful and offer many design customization options. Even if you have to purchase a theme for $300, that’s a pretty low price for a great-looking ecommerce website.

Regardless of which platform you choose, your product photos will have a huge impact on the overall look of your site. High-quality photos will make your site look professional, and bad product photos will make any template or theme look bad. So don’t overlook the need to take high-quality photos of your products.

Overall, Squarespace comes out ahead in terms of templates because of its vast selection of free options.

Ecommerce Features

Let’s look at some specific ecommerce features and see how these platforms compare.

Product Types

Squarespace and Shopify offer various product types to cater to the diverse needs of business owners.

  1. Physical Products: Both platforms allow you to sell physical goods that require shipping and inventory management.
  2. Digital Products: Both platforms allow you to sell digital products like e-books, music files, or software downloads. However, Shopify requires you to use an app to provide the download to customers.
  3. Services: Squarespace allows the sale of services with options like online appointment booking (additional fee). Shopify also allows you to sell services, but you’ll need an app for appointment booking.
  4. Subscriptions: Neither platform supports subscriptions in its base service, but both offer it through an app or premium add-on.
  5. Donations: If you run a non-profit organization, Squarespace and Shopify both allow donations through a connection with third-party apps.
  6. Crowdfunding: There are Shopify apps for crowdfunding, while Squarespace does not offer this yet.

Both platforms allow you to sell just about any product, whether it’s through the base functionality, a premium upgrade, or an app. However, Shopify has a much more comprehensive selection of apps, so you’ll likely have multiple options.

Point of Sale (POS)

Shopify POS

Do you sell in-person in addition to online? Maybe you have a brick-and-mortar store, sell at events, or occasionally sell to clients from your office. Both Shopify and Squarespace support the processing of point-of-sale (POS) purchases.

The Shopify POS system can be used for in-person sales. Sales across all platforms and locations (you can manage multiple physical locations) integrate together for accurate inventory management.

Squarespace also offers POS support via integration with Square. Thanks to this integration, you can easily sell from your website, brick-and-mortar store, pop-up stand, or wherever you do business.

One key difference is related to pricing. Square charges no monthly fees, only a per transaction fee. Shopify offers a POS Pro plan ($79 per month per location) that provides additional features like staff management, omnichannel selling, inventory management, and more.


Dropshipping is a popular and convenient choice for business owners looking to sell products online. Both Squarespace and Shopify offer dropshipping capabilities for their users.

However, Shopify is the better option due to its more advanced ecommerce capabilities. With Shopify, it’s easy to integrate with third-party apps like Oberlo, allowing you to set up and manage your dropshipping business quickly. In fact, the combination of Shopify and Oberlo is probably the top option for any dropshipping business.


Dropshipping on Squarespace is possible through a connection with Spocket or Syncee.

Most dropshipping businesses sell hundreds or thousands of different products, and this is where Shopify comes out ahead. It’s a better fit than Squarespace because it’s more capable of managing a large ecommerce site.

Inventory Management

One important factor to consider when choosing between Squarespace and Shopify is inventory management.

With Shopify’s advanced inventory management system, you can easily track stock levels across multiple locations, set up automatic alerts for low-stock items, and synchronize your online store with your physical warehouse.

Squarespace does offer some inventory management features, but they’re more basic than what you’ll get from Shopify. Alternatively, you can connect a third-party inventory management app to Squarespace for an additional fee.

Overall, if you need robust inventory management capabilities as part of your ecommerce strategy, Shopify wins.

Tax Calculations

Both Squarespace and Shopify have built-in features that make it easier for business owners to manage taxes on their ecommerce websites. However, Shopify’s features are more comprehensive.

Shopify offers automatic tax calculations for physical products and digital goods, and support for international tax laws. Shopify will automatically apply the proper tax settings and amounts in many countries, so it’s relatively easy to set up.

Squarespace offers a free TaxJar extension that automatically calculates taxes, but only in the US. If you sell digital products or ship orders outside the US, some manual work will be involved to set up the tax rates.

Shipping Options

Shipping is an important consideration for anyone selling products online. Here are the shipping options available on Squarespace and Shopify:


  • Flat rate
  • Rates by weight
  • Carrier calculated (only available on higher-tiered plans and for domestic shipping within the US)
  • Free shipping


  • Ability to set up custom shipping rates based on weight, price, or destination
  • Integration with USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL Express, and Canada Post for real-time shipping rates
  • Automatic calculation of taxes and duties at checkout for international orders
  • Option to offer free shipping on specific products or orders over a certain amount

It’s worth noting that both platforms also offer the ability to print labels and generate tracking information directly from their systems. However, Shopify’s support of more carriers gives it a slight advantage.

Payment Gateways

One of the critical aspects to consider when choosing between Squarespace and Shopify for your website is payment gateways. Payment gateways process payments from customers.

Both platforms offer payment gateway options, including popular ones like Stripe and PayPal. However, Shopify’s payment gateway integrations go beyond standard options, allowing integration with over 100 different gateways worldwide. This makes it easier for businesses that operate in multiple countries or need specific regional preferences for their payment processing.

In contrast, Squarespace offers fewer options but does integrate with Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Afterpay. Afterpay is only available in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. If you’re selling in person, you can process payments with Square.

Third-Party Apps

Third-party apps extend the platform’s functionality (you may also see them referred to as add-ons, plugins, or extensions). They allow you to expand your online store’s capabilities beyond the built-in features. Both Squarespace and Shopify offer third-party integration to enhance their ecommerce features. Shopify calls them “apps,” and Squarespace calls them “extensions.”

Some apps and extensions are free, but many come with an additional price. It could be a one-time price or a monthly fee.

Shopify App Store

Shopify’s app store includes thousands of apps for just about anything you can imagine. There are apps for marketing, inventory management, shipping, promotions, and much more. Thanks to these apps, there’s virtually no limit to what you can do with a Shopify store. However, be aware that using a bunch of apps can significantly increase the amount you spend each month to run the site.

While Squarespace offers extensions, this is a relatively new development for the platform. At the time this article is being written, there are only 32 extensions available. That number will likely increase with time, but for now, you can see that Shopify users have access to far more apps.

Squarespace offers extensions for shipping, tax calculation, accounting, print-on-demand, and more.

Content Management Features

Both Squarespace and Shopify offer easy-to-use content management systems for creating and editing pages, as well as blogging capabilities. Both offer WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) editors that make it easy to add text, images, videos, and other content to your pages with just a few clicks. Let’s see how they compare in these specific areas.

Creating and Editing Pages

Squarespace and Shopify both offer a range of tools for creating and editing pages, but there are some key differences to be aware of:

  • Squarespace’s page editor is more intuitive and user-friendly than Shopify’s, making it easy to build beautiful, content-rich pages without coding experience.
  • Shopify’s page editor is more geared towards ecommerce functionality, focusing on product listings and shopping cart features.
  • Squarespace offers a broader range of page templates and customization options for page layouts and styling, allowing you to create unique, eye-catching designs.

Both Squarespace and Shopify provide simple ways to create beautiful websites with their respective page editors. However, Squarespace excels in this area. As a contentment management system and drag-and-drop website builder, this is what Squarespace does best, while Shopify excels at ecommerce.


Squarespace Blogging

Blogging is a powerful tool used by businesses to engage their customers. Adding a blog to your site is easy, regardless of whether you choose Squarespace or Shopify.

Since Squarespace is generally better for content management, it’s probably no surprise that Squarespace’s blogging features are ahead of Shopify’s. However, there’s not a lot of separation here, and these differences won’t be a major deciding factor for most users.

While setting up and running a blog is easy with either platform, Squarespace provides more options for displaying your blog posts. For example, you can display featured posts on your homepage or any page of your site, and you have control over the elements like the post title, featured image, excerpt, read more link, etc.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

One of the most important aspects of building a website is ensuring search engines can easily find it. Both Squarespace and Shopify offer good control over on-page SEO basics like title tags, page URLs, alt text, meta descriptions, and header tags. And, of course, you can add alt tags to images.

Additionally, Shopify provides access to third-party tools that help with a wide range of SEO, social media, and content marketing features. For now, Squarespace does not offer any extensions in these categories.

Another minor difference is that Shopify will remind you to create a 301 redirect when you change the URL of a page. Shopify will even create the redirect automatically if you tick the box. This is helpful because 301 redirects tell search engines that the page has permanently moved to the new location.

You can set up redirects in Squarespace, but it doesn’t remind you or automatically create the redirect for you.

Overall, Shopify has a slight advantage in terms of SEO, mostly because of the option to use third-party apps. But this is another area where the difference is minor, and it probably won’t influence your decision either way.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is essential to any online business, especially an ecommerce business. Both Squarespace and Shopify provide tools to grow your email list and create email campaigns.

Squarespace Email Marketing

Squarespace offers built-in email campaigns that allow you to send newsletters, promotions, and announcements right from your site’s dashboard. Some basic email features are included at no additional cost, but most require an upgrade.

There are some benefits to managing your email list directly from your website’s dashboard. First, the Squarespace email templates have a similar look and feel to the website templates, so you can create a nice branded experience that visitors will recognize. Also, everything is tracked in one place. You can view your email traffic compared to your organic traffic without leaving the platform.

If you prefer to use a third-party email marketing service, Squarespace offers integration with almost any of the leading platforms. Integration with Mailchimp is the easiest, but you can use Zapier to integrate with others.

Shopify offers email marketing through its Shopify Email app. There’s no additional charge to set this up, but you’ll pay a fee based on the number of subscribers (it’s free for up to 10,000 subscribers). Just like Squarespace, Shopify Email offers the benefit of managing everything in one place.

With the ability to start your email list at no cost, Shopify has an advantage in this area. However, it’s worth noting that the email marketing features of Squarespace and Shopify are limited and more basic than what you’ll get with a dedicated email provider like AWeber. If email marketing is a major part of your business, you may want to use a third-party service.

Customer Service and Support

As a business owner, you’ll want to know that your ecommerce platform offers good customer service and support. Both Shopify and Squarespace offer assistance through help desks and online documentation you can reference anytime.

Shopify’s 24/7 live chat and phone support provide quick solutions to problems faced by store owners. You can also submit a request via email, if you prefer.

In contrast, Squarespace offers support via email and online chat, but no support by phone.

It’s important to note that the level of support you receive will be impacted by the specific issue you’re dealing with. For example, if you’re using a third-party Shopify theme, Shopify’s support reps are unlikely to be able to help with any issues related to the theme. In this case, you’d need assistance from the theme’s creator.

The same situation is true of Squarespace as well. The Squarespace reps can generally help with any issues related to one of the templates they offer. But if your issue is related to a custom theme or a theme you purchased from a third party, they’re unlikely to be able to help.


Of course, price is another factor that should be considered. You’ll need to consider the initial cost of setting up your site and the monthly cost of maintaining the site.

Since Squarespace offers more than 100 beautiful templates that can be easily customized, most Squarespace users don’t spend any money on a custom design or third-party template.

If you go with Shopify, you’re more likely to need a premium theme, since the selection of free themes is very limited. The premium themes in Shopify’s theme store range from $180 – $360.

Squarespace’s Plans

Squarespace offers pricing plans that start at $23 per month if paid monthly, or $16 per month if paid yearly.

However, the base plan does not include any ecommerce functionality. You’ll need to pay at least $33 per month if paid monthly, or $23 per month if paid yearly to get ecommerce on your site. This plan also charges a 3% transaction fee (on top of credit card processing fees), so it’s only ideal for shops with limited sales.

Most ecommerce sites will need at least the Commerce plan, which costs $36 per month if paid monthly, or $27 per month if paid yearly. This plan has 0% transaction fees (credit card processing fees still apply). If you want to get all of the ecommerce features like advanced shipping, advanced discounting, and selling subscriptions, you’ll need to pay $65 per month if paid monthly or $49 per month if paid yearly.

Shopify’s Plans

Shopify‘s Basic plan is $39 per month if paid monthly or $29 per month if paid yearly. This plan offers basic reporting and does not include most of Shopify’s shipping features. The credit card fees for online purchases are 2.9% + $0.30.

The next step up is the Small Business plan, which costs $105 per month if paid monthly or $79 per month if paid yearly. This plan includes standard reporting and all of the shipping features. The credit card fees are 2.6% + $0.30.

The Advanced plan costs $399 per month if paid monthly or $299 per month if paid yearly. This plan offers advanced reporting, plus third-party calculated shipping rates. The credit card fees are 2.4% + $0.30.

Keep in mind that most Shopify stores also use third-party apps that come with additional fees. The amount you’ll pay depends on the specific apps you use.

As you can see, using Shopify has the potential to be much more costly than Squarespace. However, the advanced ecommerce functionality will justify the cost for many businesses.

Squarespace’s Advantages

To help you choose the right platform for your situation, let’s look at the advantages of each. Compare these advantages to the needs of your business, and you’ll know which one is right for you.


One of the advantages of Squarespace over Shopify is its simplicity. Squarespace has a more intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it easier for beginners to create a website without any previous experience in web design or development.

With its drag-and-drop functionality, users can easily customize templates according to their needs.

Speed of Implementation

One of the key advantages Squarespace has over Shopify is its speed of implementation. Squarespace websites can be set up in just a few hours, making it ideal for small businesses and entrepreneurs who need to get their websites up and running quickly.

Content Management

Managing the content of your website is easier with Squarespace. This makes sense since Squarespace is a content management system (CMS) that offers ecommerce capabilities rather than an ecommerce platform that offers content management.

Online Appointment Booking

Squarespace has an advantage over Shopify when it comes to online appointment booking. Squarespace offers native appointment scheduling that allows businesses to set up slots for clients to book appointments (and pay) without having any additional tools or integrations.

On the other hand, Shopify does not offer this feature natively and requires third-party apps or tools to facilitate online booking systems.

Additionally, Squarespace’s built-in membership features make it easy for users to create memberships with different access levels, discounts, and loyalty programs.

Shopify’s Advantages

Shopify excels in most areas related to ecommerce.

More Advanced Ecommerce Capabilities

One of the key advantages of Shopify over Squarespace is its more advanced ecommerce capabilities. As an ecommerce-first platform, Shopify offers comprehensive solutions for everything from sales optimization features to inventory and order management.

Shopify’s advanced online sales capabilities also make it easier for businesses to handle high-volume transactions and multiple product types. With its service business management tools, content presentation options, shipping integrations, payment gateways, and third-party app support, Shopify provides a complete package for those who are serious about scaling their ecommerce operations beyond basic online storefronts.

Inventory and Order Management

When it comes to managing your inventory and orders, Shopify is the top choice between these two website builders. With Shopify, you get powerful tools for product management, shipping management, order fulfillment, and multichannel selling that make running an online store a breeze.

For example, you can easily track your inventory levels in real-time and create purchase orders to reorder products before they run out of stock.

On the other hand, Squarespace’s inventory features are more basic and don’t offer advanced capabilities like Shopify’s.


When it comes to shipping, Shopify has the upper hand. Its advanced shipping and fulfillment features make it a popular choice among online retailers who need more flexibility when managing their orders.

Additionally, Shopify integrates with several shipping carriers such as USPS, DHL, UPS, FedEx, Canada Post, and more.

Squarespace also provides some shipping features but falls short compared to Shopify.

Integration With Other Tools

Shopify has the edge over Squarespace regarding integration with other tools, such as marketing apps and inventory management. Shopify’s advanced platform allows seamless integration with other services to help you streamline your business operations. There are thousands of apps available, while Squarespace currently offers only 32 extensions.

Final Verdict

Now that we’ve covered all the details, it’s time to choose Shopify or Squarespace. Thankfully, the decision is pretty simple. If ecommerce is the primary function of your business, Shopify is generally the better option. And if you run a content-heavy website that also includes a small shop, Squarespace is likely the better choice.

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