Shopify vs Squarespace 2023 Comparison (Shopify Wins)

When comparing Shopify vs Squarespace, Shopify provides all the tools you need to start and grow your online business at an affordable price.

While Squarespace has intuitive website builder tools and allows you to sell online, you only unlock its ecommerce features at a higher pricing plan, and they are not as robust as Shopify’s.

However, Squarespace is one of our picks for the best website builder for small businesses, so if website content is more of a priority than online store functionality, Squarespace is the better option.

Based on our evaluation, we recommend:

  • Best overall and best for ecommerce: Shopify
  • Best for content management features: Squarespace

Squarespace vs Shopify Quick Comparison

When to Use Shopify


Shopify logo


  • User-friendly interface
  • Scalable platform
  • Extensive app marketplace for third-party integrations


  • Advanced features like reports, fraud analysis, gift cards, and real-time shipping rates only available for higher-tier plans
  • Transaction fees if not using Shopify Payments
  • Shipping calculator requires an annual plan

Where Shopify Beats Squarespace:

  • Native POS: Shopify POS
  • One-click checkout option: Shop Pay
  • Social Media Checkout Link: Shopify Starter ($5 per month)
  • Shipping discounts: Shopify Shipping and partner couriers
  • Marketing tools: Abandoned cart recovery even on first-level entry plan
  • Built-in email marketing tool: Shopify email
  • Extensive app marketplace: Shopify App Store

If you are a small business with online sales as a primary profit driver or have plans to grow your online store, Shopify is a better choice. It is suited to startups and growing businesses with its beginner-friendly interface, intuitive dashboard, and scalable management and sales features, along with thousands of third-party integrations. However, it is ideal for those who are seriously diving into ecommerce or dropshipping.

Moreover, Shopify enables you to sell on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, and offers a POS system that can connect seamlessly with your online store for omnichannel sales like buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS), and browse in-store, buy online.

When to Use Squarespace


Squarespace Logo.


  • Highly rated website templates
  • Several blogging features
  • Custom fields for products


  • Limited payment options
  • Transaction fees with a plan upgrade
  • Basic ecommerce functions, such as abandoned cart recovery and social media selling, are available only in higher plans

Where Squarespace Beats Shopify

  • More aesthetically pleasing website templates: Drag-and-drop functionality for 80 of its templates that look different from one another
  • Better SEO tools: Can edit product URLs, several blogging features
  • Product management: Native tools for selling physical, digital, and service products

If you are a small business that is more focused on producing web content than running an online store, Squarespace is a better fit than Shopify. You can use Squarespace to showcase your content portfolios, such as blog posts and image galleries, and sell physical, digital, and service-based products. These can be done quickly using the platform’s drag-and-drop website builders.

It also has excellent built-in blogging features, such as analytics, archive functionality, and a search feature. If you plan to sell just a few products as part of your main website and branding is a priority, Squarespace is for you.

When to Use an Alternative

Shopify vs Squarespace: Pricing & Payments

Both Shopify and Squarespace offer free trials and discounts when subscribing to annual plans. They have tiered pricing structures and custom plans for enterprises that are more or less the same.

When you compare plan inclusions, you will notice Shopify’s plans deliver more value.

Suppose you were to unpack both platforms’ ecommerce starter plans, Basic Shopify and Squarespace Business. Basic Shopify provides more robust features, specifically:

  • Additional sales channels such as online marketplaces and social media
  • Multiple inventory locations
  • Abandoned cart recovery

Shopify offers three subscription plans: Basic Shopify ($29 per month), Shopify ($79 per month), and Advanced Shopify ($299 per month). It recently offered a $5 per month Shopify Starter plan, which provides a checkout link and allows you to sell through social media channels.

When comparing Shopify vs Squarespace in payment processors, Shopify wins. It partners with over 100 payment gateways compared to Squarespace’s limited integrations. Shopify also has built-in payment processing through Shopify Payments and Shop Pay (its one-click checkout solution). You can start accepting payments from day one without needing to apply for and connect a separate merchant account. Shopify Payments is the easiest option for most small and new businesses, and Shopify’s transaction fees are pretty standard.

Regarding processing fees, both Squarespace and Shopify charge transaction fees (3% for Squarespace under Business and 2% for Shopify). However, with Shopify, you don’t pay transaction fees if using Shopify Payments as your processor.

Squarespace’s ecommerce features are only unlocked at its second plan, Business ($33 per month), and ecommerce analytics and POS integration are available at the Basic Commerce tier ($36 per month). Additionally, several advanced ecommerce features, including abandoned cart recovery, real-time carrier shipping rates, advanced discounts, and the option to sell subscriptions, are only found in its most expensive plan, Advanced Commerce ($65 per month).

Squarespace is limited to Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and—for installment payments—Afterpay and Clearpay. It is also worth noting that Squarespace doesn’t yet support Google Pay.

When it comes to processing fees, transaction fees get waived if you upgrade to Basic Commerce ($36 per month).

Shopify vs Squarespace: Site Builder & Maintenance

Shopify beats Squarespace in this category because of its available integrations even if Squarespace has better website templates. Shopify wins over Squarespace by a mile in available apps, offering more than 7,000 compared to Squarespace’s fewer than 30.

Shopify Site Builder & Templates

Shopify offers free and paid templates (starting at $150). The free options are different in design and cater to various industries, allowing you to have a variety of designs even with fewer templates. The paid ones are similar in quality to Squarespace’s themes, having modern design features such as full-bleed content, image animation, and video backgrounds. You also have access to a library of royalty-free stock images.

Shopify’s new website builder, Online Store 2.0 (OS 2.0), offers more customization options than the previous version (which has the WYSIWYG editor). OS 2.0 introduces sections and blocks that provide modularity, flexibility, and—to some extent—drag-and-drop capabilities.

More user-friendly setup with drag and drop building blocks.

With the OS 2.0 update in Shopify themes, you can expect a more user-friendly setup with drag-and-drop building blocks. (Source: Shopify)

As mentioned, one of Shopify’s strengths is its App Store—if there is something your store needs, it’s a near certainty that you’ll find it there.

Squarespace Site Builder & Templates

Since our last update: Squarespace introduced new website builder tools, namely:

  • Fluid Engine, Squarespace’s new site builder, which features better drag-and-drop functionality and a smart design grid that makes it easier to customize precisely.
  • Tools to design and launch merch using your business logo and automated print-on-demand dropshipping.
  • Features to create, manage, host, display, and monetize video content.

Regarding website templates, Squarespace wins because it provides hundreds of free, beautifully designed templates and has a drag-and-drop builder that allows you to see real-time changes. You can customize your website easily—from fonts, colors, and headers to custom coding. In short, Squarespace hits the right spot between ease of use and a design-forward mentality.

You can add visual effects easily to your images and text, such as fade-in/out, tilt, zoom, and pan out. It also has built-in integrations with Unsplash and Getty Images (stock photo sites offering free and premium photos), making adding images to your site easy.

Furthermore, you can craft creative video backgrounds by either uploading your video or a YouTube or Vimeo URL. A range of video playback speed options and color filters let you customize your video background further.

Showing how easily add animation effects to site elements in Squarespace.

Add animation effects easily to site elements in Squarespace by configuring styles in your Design dashboard.

One thing to note is that Squarespace’s latest version (7.1) doesn’t allow you to switch templates and carry over all the setup you have already done—design and commerce-wise. We encountered this issue when we set up our demo store. When we switched templates, we had to set up the Commerce portion of the website again.

However, suppose you still want to change your online store’s design. In that case, you don’t have to switch templates since Squarespace templates are very customizable—you can add plenty of sections and elements in various layouts to your pages.

When we built our demo store and realized changing templates would mean losing our current work’s progress, we just added the sections we liked from other templates without switching—and we could accomplish this easily.

Shopify vs Squarespace: Sales & Product Features

Shopify and Squarespace allow you to sell unlimited products and digital goods and services, although Shopify would require the use of a third-party app. While Squarespace offers better product options (more variants and built-in custom work order tools), Shopify wins in this category because of its real-time shipping calculators and available shipping discounts. Whatever Shopify lacks built-in features can be solved by integrating third-party apps, which it is known for.

Regarding sales features, both platforms know how important ecommerce marketing is for online stores, so both their platforms update their marketing tools to help get your site noticed. While Squarespace has better blogging tools and offers the same marketing features as Shopify, it only makes it available on higher-priced plans. Shopify has most of its marketing tools (such as Shopify email and abandoned cart saver features) accessible even on its starter plan.

Squarespace and Shopify allow you to sell physical products, digital goods, and services, but Shopify also lets you sell memberships, subscriptions, events, donations, and more. However, these would require using an app, which may or may not have added fees.

Product categories: Both Shopify and Squarespace have smart tags enabled. This means that products can automatically be segmented based on tags or categories. Shopify tags are not case-sensitive, but products have a limit of 250 tags.

Product options: Shopify lets you set up three options per product, and its limitation on product variants is only 100. Squarespace has higher limits.

Custom product or work order tools: In Shopify, this can only be done using third-party apps.

Shopify has a slight edge over Squarespace in managing inventory because of its fulfillment network for storing and fulfilling orders. You can even adjust inventory from the mobile app.

Moreover, a complete setup with Shopify POS lets you have full visibility to manage products and orders in an omnichannel setting. Shopify is our top recommendation for multichannel POS systems.

Both Squarespace and Shopify allow you to set up various shipping rules, such as:

  • Free shipping rates
  • Flat rates
  • Price-based rates
  • Weight-based rates
  • Calculated (“real-time”) shipping rates from third-party carriers

Real-time shipping rates are unlocked in both platforms’ highest subscriptions. With Shopify, you’ll need to be on the $299 Advanced Shopify plan. However, Shopify can provide real-time shipping quotes and discounts on any plan if you use Shopify Shipping and its partner couriers.

Shopify has industry-leading partnerships with social channels like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. If you want the ability to offer in-app social media selling, Shopify is for you.

For in-person selling or if you have a brick-and-mortar retail business, it also has a free built-in POS app, Shopify POS, available for all ecommerce plans (hardware prices are excluded).

Product categories: Squarespace has smart tags enabled but is more sensitive in formatting. You cannot enter tags using different cases as it results in entirely different categories, such as “pants,” “Pants,” and “PANTS” are three categories. However, Squarespace allows for unlimited tags.

Product options: Squarespace lets you configure up to six product options and has a 250-limit on product variants. It can also auto-generate stock keeping units (SKUs) for all the different combinations of variants.

Custom product or work order tools: If you offer product customization (such as engraving and special delivery instructions), you can easily do custom forms in Squarespace.

Customizing your products by utilizing custom forms in Squarespace.

You can customize your products by utilizing custom forms in Squarespace. Custom forms are ideal for collecting personalized information for a product, such as custom engraving or lettering instructions. (Source: Squarespace)

Shopify and Squarespace are a close match for inventory management. Both platforms allow you to sell unlimited products, add items manually or in bulk, generate revenue reports and direct email alerts for low stock.

While Squarespace lets you sell on Instagram and Facebook, you need to be on the Basic Commerce tier ($36 per month) to unlock this feature. Squarespace doesn’t have a native POS tool, but you can integrate your online store with Square.

Shopify vs Squarespace: Ease of Use

When we compared Squarespace vs Shopify, we found both to be intuitive and user-friendly. They provide easy-to-follow setup wizards—nearly anyone with minimal computer skills can pick it up immediately. Their dashboards are similar, with navigation control panels on the left and a help wizard easily seen as help bubbles or prompts. However, Shopify still wins in this category because of the level of customer support they provide.

When building an online store with Shopify, a clear-cut setup wizard makes it a user-friendly ecommerce platform. You can access its full feature set from every interface window, and all the tools are intuitive. And if you have any trouble with Shopify’s toolset, a wealth of help options will show you exactly how things are done.

Both Squarespace and Shopify are easy to navigate. Since Shopify has more robust features, you will have more options to set up and details to fill in. However, it doesn’t fail to provide tips and callout boxes throughout the process—and Squarespace’s navigation is more or less the same.

What gives Shopify an edge over Squarespace for customer support is that it provides live chat, email and, more importantly, phone support 24/7.

Squarespace’s dashboard is sleek, modern, and elegant. Its minimal layout helps you see things quickly, and we found it extremely smart of Squarespace to have different dashboards for Commerce and Design.

When we designed our demo store, it was easy to navigate between the two dashboards. We also found it helpful to cross off items on our to-do list based on store management and site setup.

During our Squarespace setup, however, we noticed that there is no option to add a product directly from the navigation panel (once the setup wizard is gone). You would need to click on Inventory to add a new product. This process can be counterproductive as you need more clicks to perform the most basic function—adding products—when it comes to store management.

Squarespace doesn’t offer phone support, and live chat is limited to weekdays (24/5).

Shopify vs Squarespace: Expert Score

When we compared Shopify and Squarespace in ecommerce features, Shopify wins in every category—pricing, site builder, sales and product features, and ease of use. Shopify is also extremely popular among ecommerce experts and the general public.

Shopify is our top ecommerce platform recommendation for small businesses. You can set up a Shopify store for more or less $500 with around $100 monthly costs. What we like about Shopify’s subscription plans is that on top of being affordable, it comes with built-in marketing tools you can use to promote your online store already.

Shopify also gives your business lots of room for growth. As you scale, Shopify has tools to help you advance your business, with real-time shipping calculators and a vast App store where you can find almost any integration you need.

Shopify user reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Most users’ feedback reflects what we noticed when we did our store demos. Shopify is intuitive, easy to use, and flexible enough for new and experienced sellers.

Squarespace is one of the best website builders for small businesses. Its ecommerce functionality is basic, at the very least, compared to Shopify’s robust tool set. If your business relies heavily on content and you just plan to sell products on the side, Squarespace is a better option.

However, note that the ability to sell online is unlocked at the $33 Business plan. You might want to consider subscribing to the entry-level plan at $14 a month and sign up for Shopify’s Starter plan at $5 per month. The plan lets you create product links and provides reports on your business performance. Overall, it comes out cheaper.

We encountered most Squarespace user reviews as a website builder, not an ecommerce platform. While Squarespace reviews show users are happy with the site builder and its beautiful templates, many agree that it falls short regarding its intuitiveness and customizability. Its interface isn’t the easiest to use, and when you figure out how to work around it, you will find that it cannot produce a fully customized website design.

Shopify vs Squarespace Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should I switch to Shopify from Squarespace?

If you are serious about online selling, Shopify gives better ecommerce tools (such as an abandoned cart saver, email marketing tools, and better inventory and shipping options) than Squarespace.

Which is more expensive, Shopify or Squarespace?

If you are using your website as an online store, subscribing to Squarespace’s ecommerce plan will be more costly at $33 a month compared to Shopify’s entry-level plan at $29 a month.

What can Shopify do that Squarespace can’t?

In our evaluation of Shopify vs Squarespace, Shopify wins in every category—price, ease of use, site builder features, and sales tools. Shopify has more built-in marketing tools to help promote your online store, and if you need a feature not yet available with Shopify, it has more than 7,000 integrations in its app store. Shopify also has a built-in POS for in-person selling.

How We Evaluated Squarespace vs Shopify

To help you decide which ecommerce platform is best for your store, we compared Squarespace and Shopify on price, ease of use, store builder and design tools, inventory management, and sales tools. We also added our expert opinion based on years of experience testing different ecommerce platforms.


Pricing and payment integrations


Store builder and design features


Inventory and sales features

15% of Overall Score

We considered the price point of each base plan that offers a complete online store, what plan options are available as your business grows, and payment processing options—including fees, flexibility, and one-click checkout options. Shopify is a clear winner in this category. It offers a better overall value with its Lite Plan at $9/month, a free connected POS app, and Shop Pay (its one-click checkout option). In comparison, Squarespace unlocks limited ecommerce functions at its second plan, Business at $33/month.

20% of Overall Score

We considered how easy it is to build and maintain a professional and attractive online store, including available templates, customization options, free domain and SSL certificates, unlimited storage and bandwidth options, and built-in SEO tools and site analytics. Squarespace offers better website templates and provides a better drag-and-drop site editing tool with more flexibility than Shopify’s WYSIWYG editor. Both platforms, however, make it easy to manage an online store when adding products and setting up backend tools.

25% of Overall Score

We looked at what kind of product assortments Shopify and Squarespace can accommodate and tools for in-store and mobile, integrated social media and marketplace selling, and marketing. We also consolidated shipping options and PCI compliance. Shopify wins this category by a mile, as it offers built-in tools for selling in-person and online, has several integrations with social media channels and marketplaces, and provides a one-click checkout option via Shop Pay.

20% of Overall Score

Because online stores operate 24/7, we prioritized platforms that offer 24/7 customer support and have multiple customer touchpoints, such as phone, email, and chat. While both provide a comprehensive help center, Shopify provides 24/7 customer support by live chat, email, and phone. Squarespace has limited support on weekends and does not provide phone support. However, both platforms are easy to use and provide beginner-friendly tools.

20% of Overall Score

Here, we considered overall value, quality of features, popularity/customer satisfaction, and ease of use. We also factored in our own experience working with each platform and feedback from businesses who use each system. Shopify beats Squarespace in our expert review because of its popularity, ease of use, and industry-leading innovations.

*Percentages of overall score

Bottom Line

We recommend Shopify for anyone launching an ecommerce platform. Businesses that sell or plan to sell primarily online will most likely benefit from its online store creation tools, numerous integrations, and shipping discounts. It also provides you with social selling and in-store POS features. It’s easy to sell your products as early as the first day of your free trial, so start yours today.

Visit Shopify

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