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Shopify vs. Squarespace
Both can help you open an online store, but only one offers in-house payment processing.
Shopify and Squarespace are designed with the online merchant in mind, each platform equipped with web-hosting, theme collections, app integrations and more. But Shopify caters to merchants who sell in person, Squarespace is better suited to those seeking a customizable site-building experience.
Shopify is the clear winner for those new to web design and who need point-of-sale hardware to sell in person. It's easy to set up an online store, tech support is available 24 hours a day and the platform is equipped with integrated payment processing and shopping cart software. It's a one-stop-shop for merchants building their first online store.
Squarespace is a platform best equipped to serve those who want full control over the design of their online store. You'll need to set up your payment processing through a third-party provider, but the platform has over 100 responsive, customizable web themes to choose from with detailed analytics software and advanced blogging support.
How easy is it to set up a store?
Setting up a Shopify online store is fairly straightforward — even for beginners. It has just 12 web themes to choose from but offers the benefit of round-the-clock tech support by phone, email and live chat to provide assistance should you run into any roadblocks. It also integrates with over 3,200 apps and plugins to help you customize the user experience.
A Squarespace store is a little harder to get up and running. But that's because the platform prides itself on its extensive portfolio of fully customizable, professionally designed web themes. Users have reported a steep learning curve for Squarespace's website builder, but it offers in-depth web analytics and advanced blogging tools to help you tailor your store to your exact specifications.
Which should I choose?
Choose Shopify if you want to build an online store with integrated payment processing and in-person point-of-sale (POS) support.
Choose Squarespace if you don’t mind using a third-party payment processor and want more control over the design of your online store.
Shopify is a hosted e-commerce platform that offers an online store builder alongside payment processing and point-of-sale systems. It boasts a comprehensive network of third-party app and plugin integrations and works best for businesses that plan to sell both in-person and online.
Squarespace is a website builder for e-commerce that specializes in customizable themes and advanced blogging support. It offers payment processing through its partners Stripe and PayPal and works best for businesses that want to open an online store and have web design experience.
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Both Shopify and Squarespace can help you set up an online business — but the ideal platform for your business depends on two factors: how much web design experience you have and whether you plan to sell in person.
Before you pick a platform, explore your options with multiplemerchant services providers.
Frequently asked questions
Can I transfer an existing website to Squarespace?
Yes, you can import content from an existing website into Squarespace with a few clicks. You can also bulk-import products from Shopify, Etsy and Big Cartel.
Does Squarespace offer web hosting?
Yes, Squarespace’s plans include web hosting.
Will I be locked into a contract when I sign up for Shopify?
No, paid Shopify plans are billed month-to-month and you can cancel without penalty at any time.
Does Shopify offer web hosting?
Yes, Shopify’s plans include web hosting. The exception is Shopify Lite, which you need to host on your own website.
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