Shopify vs . Squarespace: That is the Best Option for You?

Shopify vs. Squarespace: Which is better?
Choosing a website platform is an important decision. Whichever platform you pick will heavily affect many aspects of your project or business’s marketing and operations. Plus, switching platforms in the future can cost a lot of time and money.
But deciding which platform to use isn’t easy.
At first glance, Shopify and Squarespace look like similar products — both allow you to build a website and sell online without coding skills. So, what sets Shopify and Squarespace apart? And which platform is best for your needs?
In this article, we’ll compare Shopify vs. Squarespace in 9 key areas:

General Overview
Pricing and Value
Payment Gateways and Transaction Fees
Themes and Design
Customer Support and Guidance

Let’s dive in!
(Disclosure: This website is a part of Shopify inc. media properties. Although we strive to publish objective, accurate, and factual content, this article may contain biased opinions.)

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Shopify vs. Squarespace: General Overview
Before we explore the details, let’s get a general feel for both Shopify and Squarespace.
Shopify was made to enable businesses to set up and manage online stores. In contrast, Squarespace was built as a more general website builder for content-based websites, such as portfolios, brochure websites, and service-based business websites.
Over the years, Shopify’s ability to handle content has increased dramatically — especially with the help of third-party apps. And Squarespace has added ecommerce functionality to the platform to enable users to sell online.
As a result, you can use either platform to build an online store or a content-based website.
However, although Shopify and Squarespace have extended their functionality over the years, it’s fair to say their focus has remained the same.
Shopify is still focused on providing an integrated suite of business tools to help “anyone, anywhere” start a business.

And Squarespace still positions itself as a more general set of “simple tools for your big ideas.”

You’ll see this theme play out in the rest of this article. 
So, it’s important to ask yourself an essential question from the outset: Do you want a content-based website, or would you also like to sell through your website at some point?
Shopify vs. Squarespace: Pricing and Value
Cost is a vital consideration when weighing Shopify vs. Squarespace. So, which platform is cheaper, and which one provides more value? Let’s take a look.
Shopify has 5 different pricing plans to choose from:

Shopify Lite: $9 per month
Basic Shopify: $29 per month
Shopify: $79 per month
Shopify Advanced: $299 per month
Shopify Plus: $2,000+ per month

It’s important to note that Shopify Lite doesn’t come with a website. Instead, it provides access to Shopify’s basic commerce features, including a point-of-sale (POS) solution and online ‘Buy Now’ buttons (more on this later).
Shopify Plus is the platform’s enterprise solution, used by the likes of Gymshark, KKW Beauty, Wholefoods, and Fitbit.

Shopify also provides a free 14-day trial so you can check out the platform for yourself before signing up. 
Squarespace offers 4 pricing plans:

Personal: $12 per month
Business: $18 per month
Basic Commerce: $26 per month
Advanced Commerce $40 per month

It’s worth pointing out that Squarespace’s ‘Personal’ plan is fairly limited. For example, you:

Can’t use MailChimp to capture website visitor’s email addresses
Don’t get access to promotional popups and announcement bar features
Can’t customize your website with CSS or javascript (which is important when the extensions available are so limited — more on this later)

Consequently, most users will likely want to upgrade to the ‘Business’ plan fairly quickly. This plan is a little cheaper than the ‘Basic Shopify’ plan. 
However, when you consider that Squarespace charges a 3% fee on every transaction on the ‘Business plan,’ the ‘Basic Shopify’ plan seems to offer more value — especially as Shopify offers far more out-of-the-box ecommerce features.
Shopify vs. Squarespace: Ecommerce
Even if you’re not interested in selling right now, there may come a point when it makes sense to start earning money online. So, it’s worth considering Shopify vs. Squarespace for ecommerce.
Of course, if you plan to start a business or take an existing business online, this section is especially significant for you.
So, what’s the deal?
Unsurprisingly, every single Shopify plan allows you to sell via your website and other online sales channels like Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, eBay, and Walmart.

In comparison, you’ll need to upgrade to the Business, Basic Commerce, or Advanced Commerce plans to sell via Squarespace. Squarespace also enables you to sell via Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon.

Squarespace’s ecommerce features are arguably a little easier to use than Shopify’s at first — but this is probably because Shopify has far more ecommerce features available than Squarespace.
For example, Shopify provides a “Buy Now” button feature. 
This allows you to embed products anywhere online where you can add a snippet of code, such as in blog posts. So, if you were to partner with influencers to promote your products, you could give them the option to embed products within the post itself.

Shopify also offers more advanced ecommerce features that Squarespace doesn’t.
For example, cross-border ecommerce is an attractive opportunity for many online businesses. Unfortunately, Squarespace doesn’t offer a multi-currency option. In contrast, Shopify provides a multi-currency tool that allows users in other countries to view prices and checkout in their local currency. With the ability to source products from all over the world, functionality like cross-border ecommerce is vital in today’s interconnected economy.
It’s also worth noting that Shopify’s extensive app store provides virtually limitless ecommerce potential (more on this soon).
All in all, Shopify wins the ecommerce battle, hands down.
Shopify vs. Squarespace: Payment Gateways and Transaction Fees
To sell online, you need a payment gateway to facilitate transactions.
You can use more than 100 payment gateways with Shopify, including all the big ones, like Amazon Pay, Stripe, and PayPal. Plus, the platform has its own gateway, Shopify Payments.
That said, Shopify charges an additional 2% if you use any service other than Shopify Payments. But unless you have a strong attachment to another payment gateway, Shopify Payments is the way to go anyway, thanks to its seamless integration with the platform. 

Alternatively, Squarespace integrates with just 4 online payment gateways — Stripe, Paypal, Afterpay, and Apple Pay.
So, what about transaction fees?
Shopify Payments charges 2.9%, plus $0.30 per transaction on the ‘Basic Shopify’ plan, and the charges decrease as you upgrade to the ‘Shopify’ and ‘Shopify Advanced’ plans to 2.6% and 2.4%, respectively.
With Squarespace, transaction fees vary depending on which payment gateway you use, although the rates will likely be similar.
Bottom line, Shopify takes the lead thanks to its streamlined process and ability to integrate with so many payment gateways worldwide.
Shopify vs. Squarespace: Themes and Design
When it comes to building a website, appearance matters — a lot. So, let’s compare Shopify vs. Squarespace on design.
Shopify offers 9 free website themes and 72 paid themes that cost between $100 and $180. Each of these themes offers multiple variables, too — so there are more options available than you can see at first glance.

Still, in the very unlikely scenario that you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can always purchase one of the 1,200 Shopify themes available on Theme Forest from third-party developers.
On the other hand, Squarespace provides 127 templates that are free to use.

Shopify and Squarespace both offer stunning, professional responsive designs — this means they adapt automatically to different screen sizes.
However, most of Squarespace’s templates seem to be geared toward users who want to showcase a portfolio or other content. And Shopify’s appear to be better equipped to manage ecommerce.
Shopify vs. Squarespace: Apps
With the vast ocean of digital tools available online, no website builder or ecommerce platform can create and manage everything in-house. For this reason, both Shopify and Squarespace provide a library of apps and extensions.
You can use apps and extensions to:

Change the appearance of your website
Increase sales with specialized tools for things like email marketing
Improve the shipping experience for customers
Add widgets for media, social media, and more
Source products

Shopify’s App Store plays host to more than 6,000 apps and integrations — simply put, there’s an app for basically everything you can think of.

Squarespace offers just 24 extensions — although this number is likely to grow over time.

Understandably, this is a huge win for Shopify.
Practically speaking, this means that if you sign up to Squarespace and you discover that it doesn’t provide a feature you’d like, you’re stuck. Whereas with Shopify, it’s very likely there’ll be an app to fill the gap.
Bottom line, Shopify’s app store provides users with virtually unlimited customization potential without the need for coding.
Shopify vs. Squarespace: Dropshipping
Dropshipping is a popular way to start selling products online without purchasing inventory upfront, storing products, or shipping orders to customers. Instead, a third-party dropshipping supplier will handle all of those things for you! 
Check out the image below to see dropshipping in action:

Thanks to Shopify’s colossal app store, the platform has an abundance of dropshipping apps — including print-on-demand services that enable you to sell products with your own designs on them.

Also, Shopify has Oberlo — we empower entrepreneurs to kickstart their dream business with a streamlined Shopify dropshipping app and dedicated dropshipping resources.
In comparison, Squarespace provides one dropshipping app and 2 print-on-demand apps.

Again, Shopify’s huge app store means it wins the dropshipping category.
Shopify vs. Squarespace: Customer Support and Guidance
To get the most out of Shopify and Squarespace, you’ll need to learn about the platforms’ features and functions. You may also run into problems that you need help to solve. So, it’s worth considering what resources and customer support are available to help you.
Shopify has an enormous amount of resources to help users get started with the platform and grow a profitable business online.
For example, there’s an extensive help center, an active forum, and 24/7 customer support. Plus, you can get support in 21 languages via email, phone, or live chat.

If that’s not enough, Shopify also provides a wealth of blog resources, free online courses, and the Shopify Masters podcast, which are all jam-packed with actionable insights and tips.
Squarespace offers support via email and live chat. And like Shopify, there’s also a help center, forum, blog, and series of educational webinars.

In short, Shopify and Squarespace both offer a good amount of support and resources. However, Shopify has the edge here as it offers free phone support on every plan.
Shopify vs. Squarespace: POS
If you plan to sell in person — or think you might want to in the future — it’s worth considering Shopify vs. Squarespace’s point of sale (POS) solutions.
POS systems enable you to take payments via hardware that’s integrated with your online store, unifying your online and offline inventory management, sales data, and customer data.
Shopify has its own POS (called Shopify POS) and a comprehensive range of POS hardware that you can purchase in bundles or individually, depending on your needs. This POS system is tightly integrated with Shopify and it’s available on all plans — including Shopify Lite.

Squarespace has partnered with POS solution Square to offer users a way to take payments in person — although it’s only available to users based in the United States. Also, Squarespace only allows you to integrate a card reader and doesn’t offer other hardware.

Shopify is the clear winner here with a more powerful, streamlined, and flexible POS system. Plus, it offers far more hardware options.
Final Thoughts: Which Is Better, Shopify or Squarespace?
Shopify and Squarespace are both brilliant website builders with stunning themes and plenty of features.
So, which one should you use? 
Here’s our take: If you want to create an inexpensive and simple content-based website only, consider Squarespace’s ‘Personal’ plan. However, if you want access to more features than Squarespace’s personal plan or you want to start selling online or in person, use Shopify.
Shopify provides more features out-of-the-box than Squarespace, especially in the ecommerce department. For example, Shopify offers more payment gateway options, phone support, and a superior POS system. 
Plus, Shopify’s vast app store dwarfs Squarespace’s collection of extensions and integrations, providing ample room for growth and customizations.
Sign up for Shopify’s free 14-day trial to check it out firsthand.
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The type of Founder’s Zodiac: How can one Spark Great Details, Based on Your Perspective Type

After studying some of the one million business owners who use Shopify, we discovered that founders tend to fall into one of five personality types. Which one are you? Start with our quiz.

You’re a born entrepreneur, Stargazer—you just know it! So why can’t you come up with a business idea? Don’t worry, the idea is just the seed. The important work happens as you tend to and grow that idea with all of your natural entrepreneurial traits. But until the seed is planted, you might feel stuck. So how do you get unstuck and train your brain to produce great ideas? 
If that one big idea is the only barrier between you and the life you’ve always wanted, roll up your sleeves. It’s time to do the work!
If that one big idea is the only barrier between you and the life you’ve always wanted, roll up your sleeves. It’s time to do the work! Ideas might strike like lightning when you least expect it. But often they need to be actively summoned with, say, meditation, a change of scenery, or structured ideation techniques.

✨ Shortcuts

QUIZ: Discover your entrepreneur type
How you best come up with ideas will depend on your personality type. Do you ideate effectively in groups? Are you inspired by art, nature, or books? Understanding a little more about you will allow us to unlock the best strategies to help you come up with a winning small business idea.
Take our quiz to discover your Founder Sign. Already know your Sign? Skip ahead. 

How to come up with a successful business idea
Let’s be clear: no new business idea is guaranteed to be successful. But if you’re running your ideas through the right checkpoints, asking the hard questions, seeking feedback, and being open to pivoting, you have a solid chance of reaching success—whatever success means to you.
But first—the idea. We have to start with the raw ingredients before we add fire and bake them down to a refined dish. Brainstorming is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of ideation, but even brainstorming takes many forms, from a solo freestyle approach to organized group sessions.
Later, we’ll discuss the different formats for more structured brainstorming exercises, but as a warm up, let’s explore some methods for limbering up our brains and releasing creativity. 
10 ideation boosters for aspiring entrepreneurs
Simple routine changes in your life can kick-start a flow of ideas. Exercise, better sleep, more water—all common recommendations for whatever ails you. But taking care of your basic physical needs can have positive psychological effects like improved confidence and motivation. And you’ll need plenty of that on this journey, Stargazer.
Try these ideation techniques, life hacks, and simple exercises to give your brain a boost and come up with new business ideas:
1. Break your routine 📆
Shake up your usual routine by taking a new route to work, eating outside rather than at your desk, or doing something new on a Saturday night. A rigid routine might keep you productive, but it’s easy to move through it on auto-pilot, missing out on inspiration.
2. Chill out 🌞
There won’t be any vacancy for those fresh ideas if your mind is booked solid with other concerns. Carve out time that’s dedicated to self care, whether for you that’s swinging in the hammock or getting absorbed in hobbies.
3. Doodle 🖍
Think of this as completely unstructured visual brainstorming. Just start drawing and let your page fill with scribbles, words, and images that flow from your mind. Don’t judge your drawing ability—this exercise is meant to spark creativity.
4. People-watch and observe new surroundings 👓
Be present and take a look around you. Park yourself on a public bench or on the patio of a café you’ve never visited before and take note of what and who you see. Observing how people interact with their surroundings might spark an idea that solves a problem.
5. Meet and engage with new people 🤝
Gain energy from people with different perspectives and run ideas by new friends. Join entrepreneur social groups to engage with folks who are keen to swap ideas and give/get feedback. You might even meet your future business partner this way!
6. Consume content and culture 📺
Read books, listen to audio books or podcasts, watch documentaries, or try a new album or genre of music. Whatever your medium, get inspired by other creators. Don’t limit yourself to just business content—even fiction stimulates creative thinking.
7. Try journaling 📕
Ideas might strike you in the middle of a dream or a bike ride. Get in the habit of jotting them down to revisit later, even if you don’t have the time to fully flesh them out in the moment. If writing doesn’t come naturally to you, try a journal with structured sections, questions, or exercises.
8. Ask for feedback 🎤
Don’t live in a vacuum. As you start to come up with a few ideas, workshop them with friends or people who would fit the description of your potential customer.
9. Test half-baked ideas 📈
If you’re having trouble validating your ideas on paper, what if you tested them out through a prototype or beta version of your idea, shared with a select testing group. Informal polls or surveys on social media might help confirm your idea’s viability.
10. Meditate 🧘‍♂️
This is “Chill out 2.0.” Mindfulness has been shown to improve divergent thinking (that is, using a free-flowing creative process to explore multiple idea paths). There are plenty of resources, from apps to guided meditation podcasts, that can help you truly access the power of mindfulness.
Structured brainstorming and ideation exercises for great business ideas
Now that we’re limber, let’s start the workout. Formal brainstorming techniques can help squeeze out more startup ideas now that your brain is primed for creativity. Whether you opt for a solo practice or a formal exercise with a group, try these methods of brainstorming at any stage—from coming up with a business idea to growing your dream even bigger:
Classic brainstorming (verbal)
In its most widely accepted format, brainstorming is the process of throwing out any and all ideas unfiltered. Participants call out words or thoughts verbally then engage in conversation to help each other build on ideas. You can set your own rules for the session (like time limits) but the fewer restraints, the more vast the ideas. If you have a lot of people or an imbalance of voices, try a round-robin approach, where each person around the table must submit at least one idea in sequence.
Brainwriting (written)
Brainwriting is similar to the verbal version but is done silently, on paper. This method may be preferable if you are in a larger group—that way all voices have equal opportunity to be heard. You can use Post-it notes to gather ideas, then discuss as a group. Other variations on silent brainstorming to investigate are: brain netting (online version using a tool like Miro), rapid ideation (lightning round), or method 6-3-5 (timed and structured).

Formal brainstorming techniques can help squeeze out more startup ideas now that your brain is primed for creativity.

Storyboarding (visual)
Storyboarding is a visual method of brainstorming that you may use in the latter part of your ideation journey. Say you’ve come up with a great startup idea, you’ve gathered feedback, and you’re ready to flesh out that idea. You can use a storyboard to illustrate scenarios or situations that apply to your idea or work through solving a problem via narrative. Also try other visual methods of brainstorming, such as vision boarding or mood boarding.
Mind mapping (visual/written)
Mind mapping is a brainstorming format that is great for solo ideation. It involves writing the central idea or theme at the centre of a page then “mapping” word associations off of that idea. You can then continue to branch out additional word associations from each of those spin-off ideas. This exercise can also be done in a group using a whiteboard or online whiteboarding tool.

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Ideation strategies for every Founder Sign
Now that we’ve overloaded you with tips for how to ideate, let’s discover which ones work best for you, based on your entrepreneur personality. 
👟 Skip to your sign:

Feature sign: The Trailblazer

No shortage of ideas here, Trailblazer! You’re full of them. Where you might stumble is focusing on just one or doing the work to validate that idea beyond your passion for it. For you, ideating in a group is ideal, because you could use voices of reason to balance your gut instincts.
How to come up with a business idea as a Trailblazer
Ideation techniques picked just for your personality type:

Warm up your brain for ideation by engaging in activities that improve your focus, say guided meditation or a brisk walk in fresh air.

Seek feedback at every stage. Tap into your community to share your ideas widely and use outside perspectives to help shape and hone your ideas. Be sure to share early—if you fall too deeply in love with an idea, you may have a hard time hearing constructive criticism.

Try visual brainstorming techniques like mood boarding, mind mapping, or storyboarding that let you express yourself creatively.

The Outsider

Ideation is hard for you, Outsider, because you like to operate within a strict routine. Inside the bubble you’ve created for yourself, it may be challenging to gather inspiration. Pushing outside of your comfort zone will expose you to creative stimuli and help shake off the brain dust. But first, you have to be open to new ideas. Therein lies your biggest challenge.
How to come up with a business idea as an Outsider
Get unstuck and open your mind to new ideas by trying these techniques, handpicked for you:

Try a more structured brainstorming approach that prompts you with set questions rather than a brain dump style which may be too overwhelming.

Get out of your comfort zone. Even baby steps like breaking routine or visiting a new restaurant can bring inspiration into your life.
As a lone wolf, ideating in a group may be uncomfortable for you. Instead, seek outside perspectives through online surveys or send partly fleshed out ideas or a skeleton business plan to trusted friends and family for their asynchronous feedback.

The Mountaineer

What’s your North Star, Mountaineer? What’s that one big idea that has your undivided attention? Chances are, you’ve already found it and you’re pushing toward it with pure, uninterrupted dedication. If not, you might be feeling a little lost right now. You’re driven by goals that you map the rest of your life around. So let’s find that one big thing, shall we?
How to come up with a business idea as a Mountaineer
Discover your true calling through these ideation techniques picked just for you:

Call on your most trusted allies—ideally a group of people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives and who are confident enough to challenge your ideas. Bounce ideas in an informal brainstorm or organize a structured session.

Expand your circles. Seek out new experiences, travel, and meet new people. Expose yourself to situations that inspire and spark ideas. 

Devour media of all kinds—go to a gallery, start a new book, follow online creators. Soak up creativity from work that influences you.

The Firestarter

Ideas? You’re dripping with them, Firestarter. If we know you, you’re probably chasing down half a dozen of them right now. Ideas are what drive you, so you’re not looking to nail yourself to just one. Leave that to the Mountaineers. For you, finding deep pools of inspiration, ideas, and collaboration is where you’ll thrive. So where are they?
How to come up with a business idea as a Firestarter
Try these methods for gathering ideas, picked for your personality type:

Get out there. You are nothing if not the life of the party and the center of the action. Surround yourself with folks like yourself who inspire friendly competition, but also seek out counterpoints. Healthy debate with those who think differently will only strengthen your ideas.
Don’t settle on just one. Narrow your ideas to the most promising and put them into practice. The best ones will reveal themselves through trial and error.
When you’re ready to grow a business idea, formal brainstorming exercises with a group can help supercharge the ideation process.

The Cartographer

You’re equipped with all of the qualities to lead a productive ideation session, Cartographer. Your attention to detail and ability to examine all angles tend to produce iron-clad ideas. Where you falter is in letting go. Being too rigid at this stage of the process might cause you to miss truly creative and wild ideas. Early in the ideation process, don’t worry too much about the fine detail—we’ll get to that part later.
How to come up with a business idea as a Cartographer
Try these ideation strategies picked just for Cartographers like you:

As a creative, you probably already know what inspires you and your work. But as a creature of habit, you may find that you revisit those same sources over and over. Eventually, you’ll deplete those resources. Read a book by a new author, try a film genre that you don’t normally watch, and crowdsource some new podcast recommendations from your friends. 
Solo mind mapping is a great exercise for Cartographers because it marries creativity and structure.
Validate your idea. After gathering inspiration and landing on a new business idea, it’s time to give it shape. Market research, informal focus groups, or surveys can help you gather qualitative and quantitative data to support your sharp instincts.

If you’ve yet to determine your Founder Sign, take our quiz, then sign up for our newsletter. The Founder’s Zodiac runs every month and offers up advice and relevant content curated just for your type. 
Illustrations by by Alice Mollon