Currently, there are millions of e-commerce websites operating across the world. While many businesses operate entirely online, some also have a physical location. It’s cheaper to run an e-commerce business than to operate a brick-and-mortar store. However, it takes a significant effort to launch an online storefront.
With that said, Shopify and Squarespace have made it easier than ever for business owners to run their businesses online. Compared to past options, these two e-commerce platforms are game-changers, and here’s why.
- Features are streamlined and work out of the box
- Shopify offers the following features:
- Squarespace offers the following features:
- Why Squarespace and Shopify are gamechangers
- Not all website platforms are this streamlined
- The problem with relying on multiple add-ons
- Security is top-notch with Squarespace and Shopify
- Which should you choose: Shopify or Squarespace?
- Do you only sell products? Choose Shopify
- Do you sell services? Choose Squarespace
- Already using WordPress? Consider switching to Squarespace
- Need a custom Shopify or Squarespace design? We can help!
Features are streamlined and work out of the box
Shopify and Squarespace are hosted e-commerce platforms, which means when you sign up for an account, you get a full package where everything you need is handled by the company. You don’t have to install any software and if you want to change your template, it only takes a few clicks. You can sign up for an account and start building your online store minutes later.
Shopify offers the following features:
- Easy-to-install themes
- A built-in blog
- Free and pre-installed SSL certificate
- SEO-friendly architecture
- Automated emails sent to customers
- User-friendly inventory backend
- Unlimited bandwidth – you never have to worry about your site crashing during a promotion
- Mobile-friendly app
- A Wishlist for customers
- Create PDF invoices, packing slips, and refund slips
Shopify also offers a variety of third-party integrations to alter your store’s design, help you convert more leads, market your products, provide better customer service, and make the shipping and delivery process better. Some of the most popular integrations add the following features:
- Landing page builders. A landing page builder gives business owners access to high-quality templates designed to convert. This includes templates for “coming soon” pages, pricing pages, product pages, and sales pages. With these templates, the content can be customized visually without having to edit code.
- Product review displays. Getting reviews on Shopify is great, but it’s better when those reviews are organized in a visually appealing manner. Shopify has integrations that will turn reviews into widgets that can be displayed anywhere across your store.
- Merchandising. Usually, Shopify allows products to have three options and 100 variants. With a merchandising integration, you can turn these numbers unlimited. There’s also an option to add extra charges for additional services (like gift wrapping), and you can create more dropdown menus and checkboxes.
- Better searching. Customers need to find what they’re looking for to make a purchase. Although Shopify’s native search feature is good, there are integrations that make it even better.
- Social media integrations. Connect your Shopify account to Facebook and Google to sell easily on both platforms.
- Extended email marketing. Some integrations let you send automated emails to customers for a variety of occasions, like birthdays, thank-you and welcome messages, and abandoned cart emails. Communicating with customers is important, and using abandoned cart recovery emails can generate an extra 3-14% in sales.
- Pop–ups. Add pop-ups to your Shopify site and get more email subscribers.
- Upsells and cross–sells. During the checkout process, these integrations will allow you to offer additional products to customers at a great deal.
- Customer rewards. This type of integration is used to create a rewards program where customers can earn points for every purchase and redeem their points for rewards.
Squarespace offers the following features:
- A user-friendly interface
- A built-in blog
- Connected social media accounts
- Audio and video embeds
- Clients can schedule appointments for your services
- Use a custom email address from your domain name
- Email marketing
- Host gated content
- A logo builder
- A marketplace full of expert designers ready to make customizations for your site
You can get the following extensions for Squarespace:
- Restaurant bookings. If you operate a restaurant, your customers can book reservations on your website.
- Integrations. Connect popular applications like Quickbooks, TradeGecko, TaxJar, Printful, and more.
- Lightboxes. Make anything pop up in a lightbox on the screen rather than taking people to a new page. This is perfect for images.
- Accordion tabs. Users can click on tabs that open new content right on the screen without reloading.
- Mega menus. A mega menu provides a large drop-down area with multiple navigation options, including images, when the user mouses over a main menu item.
- Extended search functionality. Expand the effectiveness of searches performed by your customers.
- Multilingual support. Get more sales when you offer your e-commerce store in multiple languages.
- Membership options. Collect monthly revenue from customers for monthly services.
- Automatic TOC for blogs. Generate a table of contents for your blog posts automatically.
- Upsells. Offer your customers additional items or service add-ons during the checkout process.
- Age verification. Place your entire store behind a barrier that requires users to acknowledge they are over 18 to enter.
- Testimonial slider. Add your store’s testimonials to a slider so your visitors can see how great you are.
Why Squarespace and Shopify are gamechangers
In the early days of e-commerce, setting up a store wasn’t as streamlined as it is today. Business owners had to install separate software applications to handle different aspects of their online shop. They also had to get their own hosting account and configure databases and run installations. For instance, it was common to need all of the following:
- A hosting account
- Shopping cart software
- Currency conversion extension
- Shipping calculator extension
- Extension to add customer emails to an email database
- A separate customer service portal
- Payment gateway account
- Payment processor account
Today, all of the above are considered basic features and are more or less integrated into hosted e-commerce platforms. When it comes to Shopify and Squarespace, everything is provided by the company. Business owners don’t need to install anything, buy a domain name, or even get a hosting account.
Not all website platforms are this streamlined
Although Shopify and Squarespace are two of the most popular options for building an e-commerce store, there are other options. For instance, many people build their online stores with a self-hosted version of WordPress. There’s nothing wrong with using WordPress, but it won’t work for e-commerce immediately out of the box.
WordPress is built, first and foremost, to be a blog, and you’ll need to work hard to turn it into an online store. You can use e-commerce plugins like WooCommerce, but you’ll probably need an additional handful of plugins to get all the basic functionality provided by Shopify and Squarespace. Once you get your store running, you’ll need to maintain it forever. You can’t afford to let any updates slip by or you risk getting hacked.
There’s another problem with using platforms that haven’t been specifically created to be online stores. The number of add-ons required to make it an e-commerce site can create conflicts that make your site not work properly.
The problem with relying on multiple add-ons
Having a bunch of separate applications just to run your online store is tricky because they don’t always talk to each other properly and are prone to producing errors. Surprisingly, these problems don’t just exist in the past. With some self-hosted e-commerce solutions, including WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, running an online store requires signing up for several different accounts (hosting, payment processing, etc.) and installing multiple plugins. These particular self-hosted platforms were not designed specifically for e-commerce, so you need to build your store piece-by-piece.
Security is top-notch with Squarespace and Shopify
Cybersecurity is incredibly important and should not be overlooked. Thankfully, with Squarespace and Shopify, you can rest assured that your online store is secure. Unlike self-hosted options, your site’s software will be automatically updated on the backend, and you won’t have to do anything. All updates with new features and security patches will be handled for you.
Which should you choose: Shopify or Squarespace?
There are pros and cons to every website platform, but some of the cons are actually just things that don’t work for specific stores or industries.
When you’re trying to decide between Shopify and Squarespace, it’s not so much a matter of which platform has better features – they’re both equally excellent, and you can find extensions to increase functionality. However, there are technical differences that make each platform better suited for different types of stores.
Do you only sell products? Choose Shopify
Shopify is a platform specifically designed for selling products. Although you can sell digital products on Shopify, it’s not designed for services. You’ll find that most of the templates are made to sell physical goods and trying to customize your store to sell services will feel a little odd.
Whether you have a handful of products or thousands, Shopify can meet all of your needs. You’ll pay a monthly fee for the plan that’s right for you, and you can upgrade at any time.
Do you sell services? Choose Squarespace
Squarespace is the ultimate e-commerce platform for selling services, including those that require booking in advance. For instance, it’s perfect for businesses like restaurants, massage therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, hotels, and more.
You can also sell products on Squarespace, so don’t worry if you need a platform to sell both. Squarespace has all of your needs covered.
Already using WordPress? Consider switching to Squarespace
WordPress is an amazing and powerful website platform, but it falls short of selling services that require booking appointments. You can get plugins that add booking features to your store, but if you’re using WordPress, you already have many plugins. The more you add, the more your site becomes a security risk, in addition to the potential for software conflicts.
No matter how long you’ve been using WordPress, consider switching to Squarespace to make it easy for your customers to book appointments. Most people find that Squarespace’s basic features are enough to run their site, which makes this platform easy and affordable.
Need a custom Shopify or Squarespace design? We can help!
Are you looking at Shopify and Squarespace as options for your website, but you don’t want to use pre-made templates? If you’d rather have a fully customized website layout that accurately represents your brand, contact us and we’ll work with you to create the perfect design.
When you work with us, our team of expert web designers will capture your vision and turn it into a stunning design specifically made for Squarespace or Shopify. If you’re ready to launch your e-commerce store, or you’d like to move to a new platform, contact us today for more information.
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