It’s down to these two eCommerce titans!
If eCommerce is a commanding factor in your online business, then you have likely been faced with some daunting choices that might have you stuck in the starting gate. TMRC has decided to help take some of the guesswork out of it for you by giving you a side-by-side comparison of the two biggest and best players in the game; Shopify and Squarespace.
The choice is easy, right?
Each platform comes from very different origins. First, there’s Shopify, which by name alone would indicate a clear advantage, but not so fast! Shopify has command over some powerful eCommerce tools. Then comes Squarespace whose foundation was to put a design-forward platform in the hands of the layman to make beautiful websites. So I guess it’s as simple as what’s important to you, right? Easy choice, right? We are talking about eComm so it must be Shopify, right? Well, Squarespace surprisingly has plenty to say about that having pivoted over the years to also have some great eComm features that don’t make this a slam-dunk decision.
Great minds think alike.
In a few ways, these platforms are alike. Both put powerful tools in the novices’ hands. Though it is possible to interject some custom coding for those who are extra particular. But if you are this person, a word of warning, buckle up as your drifting from the big reason to choose an off-the-shelf solution. That reason is simplicity.
Both are secure. SSL is offered throughout and it’s in both companies’ best interest to keep their houses in order when it comes to keeping a close eye on any nastiness, junk, or otherwise dark activity that persists out there on the inter-web.
Compared to the Facebooks and Googles of the world, the customer service is pretty darn good. For the most part, they are easy to reach, though Shopify may hold a slight edge for those who like to talk on the phone as they offer phone support where Squarespace does not. However, we have had good results with Squarespace’s email, and chat support is rather timely in their responses.
KONG: aka Shopify
For a classic eComm environment, you can’t mess up too bad going with Shopify. They have more features and tools than you probably would use and it’s great for small to big stores. There are lots of free and paid add-ons, app, and various integrations to get you dialed exactly how you would like. You can tell that business, not pretty pictures is why this platform is the real deal. All of your critical analytics, inventories, etc are front and center for you. SEO tools are also very good (insert dig on Squarespace here). When it comes to getting your money, there are tons of payment options too.
The downsides as you can guess are in design. With just a handful of free themes to choose from it’s very evident from the start that it’s all business here. Branding, UI/UX, and a great aesthetic are critically important for all businesses (take out work for it!). So falling behind in this area is a big deal to us. There are other themes that you can pay for, but Squarespace is sexy. Shopify, not so much. Think Apple vs Microsoft. The other bad news is the lack of a native blog environment. There’s plenty of ways to skin the cat, but if blogging is part of your marketing strategy (and it should be!), then you have to pay up. This leads to the final dig on Spotify … it gets pricey in a hurry. If you don’t like getting nickeled and dimed, you may get frustrated.
Godzilla: aka Squarespace
Squarespace is the “OG” when it comes to live on-page, drag-and-drop editors. We’ve been using it since day one and it’s great. It continues to evolve and if you go some time without using it, it can feel like relearning all over again. It’s still pretty easy though. I’d stop a little short of saying a monkey could use it, but it’s close! Nearly all the templates are flawless and beautiful. If you are a designer, it’s hard to not convince yourself that this is the only option to go with. Contrary to Shopify, the blogging blocks are fantastic and included in the price. The eComm features are nice as there are some features you get in their advanced plan (still only $40/mo) that you have to really pay up for with Shopify. With Squarespace at $18-40 per month, it’s hard to beat the price with Shopify well north of that.
Now, remember, you get what you pay for and Squarespace simply doesn’t match up to the breadth and complexity that Shopify offers when things get right down to business. This is evident across the board not only from app and backend functions, but page view options, product pages, etc are all far less informative to the consumer and the owner. We always hoped that Squarespace’s SEO tools and functions would measure up as they claim, but sadly they’re just good, not great. Most businesses need great. Fewer collection and payment options are also a bit of a letdown. The final dig on Squarespace is that sometimes you just want to talk to someone and as we mentioned earlier, there is no way to get them on the horn when you need an immediate fix.
And the winner …
If you don’t know the answer by now, then you may be in trouble. And shocker, we aren’t picking one over the other. The good news is that you have a fantastic opportunity to choose between two no-fail options. The answer lies within grasshopper. It simply depends on your business. Medium to large scale operations, lots of inventory, etc then it’s a no-brainer, Shopify all day long. Startups, brand-centric, few products, keep it simple approach its Squarespace for sure. Sure there is some nuance if you are skirting into some grey areas for your business. Simply put, if you care a lot about design, it’s Squarespace. If you care more about dollars and sense, then Shopify. If you want both, maybe get in touch with us and we can help you decide!