Shopify vs Squarespace: Choosing the Best Digital Home for Your Business

Read Time: 10 min

With 4.80 million eCommerce websites powered by Shopify in 175 countries, the platform stands out as a top choice for online selling; however, it may not be the best choice for every business. Squarespace saw a 29% increase in stores designed on the platform during the first quarter of 2023—a 6.3% increase quarter over quarter [1] My Codeless Website. “Real-time Squarespace Statistics“. Accessed on April 3, 2024.

With its designer-quality templates, Squarespace appeals to the aesthetically inclined, while Shopify’s comprehensive eCommerce tools cater to businesses aiming to scale rapidly. As you weigh the pros and cons of Squarespace and Shopify, understanding their unique features and limitations is crucial in determining which platform best aligns with your business goals. This comparison guide will provide insight into the difference between the two, helping you navigate the best choice for your online presence.

Shopify and Squarespace: A Quick Overview

Someone using Shopify or Squarespace to make a purchase on a mobile phone.

Both Squarespace and Shopify enable users to launch and scale an online store with no coding experience, offering an array of design options to match your business vision.

Squarespace is, first and foremost, a website builder that caters to eCommerce needs at different tiers. It simplifies creating and managing a website with various customizable templates and built-in features.

Shopify, on the other hand, started the other way around. Originally a dedicated eCommerce platform, it has evolved to include website building. It supports the expansion of online stores with unlimited products and diverse sales channels, offering a wide selection of customizable themes.

Shopify vs Squarespace: Pricing and Costs

When deciding between Shopify, Squarespace, or any other eCommerce alternative, the best solution really comes down to your unique business model and needs. While comparing Squarespace and Shopify platform costs, it’s important to consider monthly subscription fees, transaction fees, add-on services, developer rates, and any other associated costs. In addition, you’ll want to compare the features included with the price to ensure the best value for your money. Let’s dive into the pricing you can expect from these two platforms.

Squarespace Pricing

Squarespace offers four plans; however, the Personal plan does not offer eCommerce functionality.

The three relevant plans are the Business, Commerce Basic, and Commerce Advanced plans at $25, $29, and $55 per month. This fee applies to annual subscriptions, whereas month-to-month subscriptions are more costly.

All three plans have a free custom domain for the first year and advanced website analytics. However, there is a significant difference between the Business and Commerce plans. With a Business plan, you incur a 3% transaction fee for all sales in addition to credit card processing fees. Commerce plans, on the other hand, eliminate this additional sales charge. (Note that different fees apply for selling digital products such as e-books, courses, and videos on demand.)

The Commerce Advanced plan is the only one that enables subscription sales. It also features additional services such as advanced shipping and automated promotion calculations at checkout.

Shopify Pricing

Shopify’s pricing plans are more varied, starting at $5 and going all the way to $399. Note that choosing an annual subscription qualifies for a 25% discount compared to monthly payments; prices may also differ depending on your location.

To use a custom domain name without the Shopify branding in your URL, there’s an extra charge of $14 annually.

Shopify offers users an integrated payment gateway called Shopify Payments. If you prefer to integrate and use an alternative third-party payment provider, you’ll pay an additional per-transaction fee over and above the payment processing fee.

There are five basic options:

  • The Shopify Starter plan is for users who want to sell only on social media or who already have an existing (non-Shopify) site and want to add social selling capabilities. Monthly subscription fees sit at $5, with an online per-transaction fee of 5% for sales. The additional fee for transactions not using Shopify Payments is 2% of the transaction value.
  • The Basic plan is ideal for new eCommerce businesses featuring two staff access accounts. A $25 monthly subscription fee includes an online per-transaction fee of 2.9% + $0.30. In-person per transaction fees are 2.7% of the transaction value.
  • The Shopify plan features five staff access accounts and costs $65 monthly. Online transaction fees are 2.6% + $0.30, while the in-person transaction fee is 2.5%.
  • The Advanced plan costs $399 monthly but has various additional features and lower processing fees. Online transaction fees are 2.4% + $0.30, and in-person transactions are charged at 2.4%.
  • Shopify Plus targets enterprise-level businesses, offering custom transaction rates based on credit card sales volume. The comprehensive package costs $2,000 monthly and includes omnichannel commerce and B2B eCommerce features.

Squarespace vs Shopify Themes and Templates

When it comes to setting up an online store, a critical element of attracting and retaining customers is the visual appeal and functionality of your website. Both Shopify and Squarespace offer a variety of themes and templates to help you create a professional and inviting online presence.

Shopify’s collection includes a choice of 10 free templates and over 50 premium templates. Premium templates cost between $140-180. Many templates include industry-specific features to enhance site functionality. However, some of Shopify’s themes lack omnichannel commerce, which may require additional customization.

On the other hand, Squarespace is renowned for its superior design capabilities, offering sleek, modern, and highly responsive templates across all devices. Squarespace’s focus on design is evident, providing options particularly suited for creative industries while also accommodating a wide array of other sectors. Easily identifiable action buttons make it easy for consumers to navigate the site.

Shopify’s strength lies in its eCommerce functionality, making it ideal for businesses focused on scaling and sales features. Squarespace shines in its design-forward approach, perfect for those who prioritize aesthetics and ease of use.

Two hands shaking.


Both platforms are designed to be accessible to users without technical expertise and coding knowledge. Although they’re both good choices regarding user-friendliness, Squarespace has a slight upper hand.

Shopify streamlines managing an online store with clear navigation, drag-and-drop functionality, and well-documented instructions. It offers a guided setup that helps users quickly launch their store, and its dashboard is designed to manage everything from products to orders with minimal hassle. However, while Shopify is celebrated for its user-friendly interface, customization is limited, making it difficult to create a truly one-of-a-kind website.

Meanwhile, since Squarespace focuses on visual appeal, it offers a suite of design tools that allow for fine-tuning aesthetics and layouts without needing technical skills. The platform is known for its all-in-one approach, meaning less reliance on third-party apps than Shopify.

Functions are usually where you’d expect to find them, and the platform is highly intuitive. If you want to make more specialized adjustments with code, Squarespace offers accessible code editing with a Business plan or higher.

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Apps and Extensions

Shopify boasts a vast app store with thousands of apps and plugins to supplement and optimize eCommerce functionality. From advanced product options, SEO tools, and marketing to shipping and inventory management, there’s an app for almost every conceivable need.

The availability of diverse third-party apps also means that Shopify can integrate more seamlessly with other systems and software, allowing for more concentrated and streamlined business management and operations.

Squarespace takes a more integrated approach with its extensions and plugins, focusing on providing a curated selection tightly integrated into the platform’s core features. While the number of extensions available on Squarespace is fewer than Shopify, the platform ensures that these extensions meet standards for design and functionality.

Squarespace’s extensions can cover various needs like eCommerce enhancements, social media integrations, and marketing tools. However, the selection remains limited—which could be either a drawback or a benefit, depending on how you view the curated, less-is-more approach.

Features and Functionalities

Both Shopify and Squarespace include SSL certificates, hosting, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited products. However, since Shopify is specifically designed with eCommerce in mind, it includes eCommerce features in all of its plans. Squarespace, however, requires you to move to the next tier to access some standard features for managing an online store.

Shopify Features

All Shopify plans allow you to:

  • Manage brand assets, including logos, colors, and slogans
  • Create new orders and input payment information directly in your Shopify admin
  • Offer discount codes and allow customers to combine discounts to increase sales
  • Set and adjust prices by country or region
  • Access an overview of sales, payments, and outstanding transactions, as well as detailed finance reports

Shopify plans also include the following features:

  • Built-in fraud analysis when using Shopify Payments
  • Abandoned cart recovery with automated emails to remind customers of a pending or incomplete checkout
  • 24/7 customer support through the Help Center assistant chat
  • Shopify POS app for both iOS and Android, enabling you to process in-person payments in physical stores and pop-up locations

Squarespace Features

Special features included in the Business and Commerce plans include the ability for customers to:

  • Easily checkout on your domain without redirection to a different site
  • Create a personal shopping account for faster checkout
  • Buy courses, memberships, and video on demand

The Commerce Basic and Advanced plans also include the following features:

  • POS system for in-person payments
  • Product reviews
  • Advanced merchandising
  • Social selling capabilities on Facebook & Instagram
  • Limited availability of labels to increase purchase urgency

Meanwhile, the Commerce Advanced plan is the only plan that includes:

  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • The ability to sell subscription products
  • Advanced shipping
  • Advanced discounts
  • Commerce APIs
A document with a pie graph.

Reporting and Analytics

Regarding reporting and analytics, both Shopify and Squarespace provide users with valuable insights into their websites’ performance.

Shopify offers comprehensive reporting and analytics features that are particularly robust for eCommerce tracking. Users can access various reports, including sales reports, customer behavior, marketing performance, traffic sources, and conversion rates. Shopify’s analytics help store owners make informed decisions based on real-time data. Higher-tier plans provide even more advanced reporting features that can be key for strategic planning.

While offering a more streamlined approach, Squarespace also provides solid analytics tools built into the platform. Squarespace’s analytics dashboard overviews website traffic, sales, audience engagement, and conversion metrics. The interface is user-friendly and visually appealing. However, Squarespace’s analytics might not delve as deeply into eCommerce specifics as Shopify’s, potentially making it less detailed for users who require in-depth eCommerce data.

For businesses that are strongly sales-driven and data-centric, particularly those looking to scale quickly, Shopify’s extensive reporting capabilities might be considered superior. On the other hand, for creatives or small business owners who need a more straightforward overview of their site’s performance without complex data analysis, Squarespace’s built-in analytics would likely suffice and be preferable due to its ease of use.

Payment Processor Options

Shopify and Squarespace offer reliable payment integrations but have distinct approaches and options catering to different business needs. Let’s go through them below.


The platform provides a proprietary payment solution, Shopify Payments, which is built into the platform and allows for a seamless checkout experience. Shopify Payments accepts various payment methods, including credit cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. If you prefer an external payment gateway, Shopify also supports over 100 different payment providers worldwide, allowing for great flexibility. However, it’s worth noting that using external payment gateways on Shopify incurs additional transaction fees.

Furthermore, customers can pay directly on your online store if you use Shopify Payments. With an external provider, customers are redirected to an external checkout page to complete their purchase.

Shopify Payments is not available in every country. Merchants located in a country where Shopify Payments is not supported must use a third-party payment gateway—and pay additional fees accordingly.


Squarespace also offers an integrated payment solution—Squarespace Payments. This allows you to accept various credit and debit cards and other options, like Apple Pay. They have also recently incorporated Afterpay/Clearpay, providing customers with a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) option.

While Squarespace’s payment options may not be as extensive as Shopify’s, they cover the major providers that a typical small or medium-sized business generally requires.

Squarespace or Shopify: Which Is Better for Your Business?

The best choice between Shopify or Squarespace for eCommerce will depend on your specific business setup. Shopify excels with extensive eCommerce features, making it ideal for businesses of all sizes, particularly those focused on long-term growth. It offers robust sales tools, an expansive app marketplace, and diverse payment gateways.

With its designer-quality templates, Squarespace is more suited for entrepreneurs prioritizing aesthetics and ease of use. It’s perfect for small and mid-sized businesses with simpler eCommerce requirements.

Both platforms are user-friendly. However, Shopify stands out for extensive online sales capabilities, while Squarespace shines for visually driven businesses seeking an elegant web presence.

The Best Payment Processor For Your eCommerce Shop

An integral part of running a successful eCommerce business involves offering your customers payment convenience. High transaction fees, however, can dig into your profits. PaymentCloud is a merchant services provider that works alongside business owners to provide customized payment processing solutions that suit their growth phase. We offer a secure payment gateway, direct cart integration, quick processing, and extensive integration options. In addition, we provide fraud and chargeback prevention, and our services are PCI-compliant.

Integrating PaymentCloud into your store allows you to expand your payment processing capabilities and offer customers easy payment options. Chat with a payment expert today to match the right solution to your unique business needs, and get started with an eCommerce merchant account.

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Can You Use Shopify With Squarespace?

You can integrate your existing Shopify store with your Squarespace site or domain to sell products across both platforms and promote your Shopify store through Squarespace. Depending on the level of integration, you may need custom code to do this.

Can You Transfer Your Squarespace Website to Shopify and Vice Versa?

You can migrate a Squarespace website to Shopify (or the reverse) using data export and import features, although it will require you to manually recreate elements that don’t directly transfer, like certain customizations and templates.

The process can be complex, and it’s advisable to seek the assistance of professionals specializing in platform migration to ensure that no critical data is lost.

Which Is More Scalable, Squarespace or Shopify?

Shopify is more scalable than Squarespace, and it is designed to support businesses from startups to large-scale enterprises. While Squarespace is well-suited for small and mid-sized businesses, it may prove restrictive as eCommerce operations grow.

Article Sources

  1. My Codeless Website. “Real-time Squarespace Statistics“. Accessed on April 3, 2024.

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