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Whether or not Squarespace is right for your business has a lot to do with what you’re looking for in an e-commerce website. If appearance is your focus, Squarespace offers some of the most visually appealing page designs and templates available for e-commerce businesses.
Keep in mind though, that Squarespace is known for being a website host. It only added e-commerce support more recently, so that's not necessarily what it does best. This comprehensive review can help you decide if Squarespace is a good fit for you.
You’ve likely heard of Squarespace as one of many resources to build a small-business website, but it actually offers more than basic website-building functionality. Squarespace allows users to create their own website by using pre-made templates, adding or editing features via the drag-and-drop method. This means you don’t need any coding or developer knowledge and can get your website up and running in just a few hours.
In addition to being a website builder, Squarespace also offers e-commerce capabilities, web hosting, analytics, domain purchasing and has a host of marketing tools to help you grow and share your website and business, making it a comprehensive solution.
Keep in mind, the features in each of the plans are cumulative, meaning each plan encompasses the features of the previous plans while providing unique functionality.
Three of Squarespace’s plans come with e-commerce functionality (all except the Personal plan). If e-commerce is especially important to you, you will likely need to opt for one of its Commerce plans. With these plans, you won’t have to pay additional transaction fees on top of your payment processor’s fees, and you’ll receive more comprehensive features. Plus, you’ll have the option to sync a so you can sell both online and in person.
All of Squarespace’s plans come with 24/7 email support and live chat support from 3 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET on weekdays, as well as online resources like the Help Center and Community Answers forum.
You can change plans or cancel at any time, and you can also take advantage of its free trial before you commit to a paid plan.
Here are some of the major features this platform offers:
One thing Squarespace is especially well-known for is its ease of use. Building a website is simpler than ever with Squarespace’s host of ready-made templates. You can even preview them before signing up to get an idea of which designs would serve your business best, and its templates are sorted by business type so you can easily see which would be the best fit.
You can customize your chosen template as much, or as little, as you like using its drag-and-drop tools, meaning you don’t need a coding background to create a website you’re proud of and that showcases your business in the best light. If you happen to have coding knowledge, though, you can also apply custom CSS to make any changes (except if you choose the Personal plan). Additionally, Squarespace’s designs include a unique mobile experience, customizable content layouts, the ability to add video backgrounds and more.
Squarespace allows you to sell unlimited products through your website and also features product image zoom, quick view, embed, custom forms and more for a user-friendly shopping experience. You can also accept payments from 20 different currencies if you’re selling internationally. Squarespace uses Stripe as its payment gateway, so if you decide on Squarespace, you’ll also be using Stripe, Apple Pay or PayPal. It comes with 128-bit SSL encryption for security between your customers and your shop.
Customers are also able to make their own accounts on your site so that they can easily sign in and check out for a more seamless shopping experience. With some plans you can also have access to gift cards for your customers to give and use in your store.
Squarespace has its own set of marketing tools that you’ll have at your disposal if you create an e-commerce site with it. It offers email marketing campaigns to make it easy for you to share your products and any blog posts you might have. It also has built-in search engine optimization tools to help you create and understand an SEO strategy for your business.
Squarespace also offers social media tools for marketing. You can link your various social media accounts — like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more — to your website so customers can connect with your business in multiple ways. You can also autopost between accounts once you’ve linked them.
Squarespace has an app designated for analytics, so you can check up on your page views, sales, audience stats and more from anywhere.
For even more robust analytics, you can add your Google Analytics account. The Squarespace Analytics app shows you what devices people are using to access your site, abandoned-cart information, traffic sources, content popularity and more. You can also get analytics on your email campaign strategies and see what yields the highest engagement. There are also tracking tools for revenue, orders, how many items you’ve sold, what performs best and worst and more about your shop.
With Squarespace’s web platform as well as the app you’ll be able to see your products and your inventory in real-time. You can also search through your inventory by the titles, hashtags associated with them or the SKUs. You can also edit the stock levels and add limited-availability notices and low-stock emails so you know when you’re about to run out of an item.
You can also designate users who have store manager permissions, meaning if you aren’t available to manage the store, you can designate an employee to control inventory and orders.
Overall, Squarespace reviews are positive when it comes to its robust template offerings and the ease of use. The biggest complaint users have is with Squarespace’s customer service. Many reviews mention the lack of positive customer service experiences, whether they were unable to get support over the phone, were sent in circles while trying to solve a technical problem or failed to receive an email response in a timely manner.
Squarespace users also said they had a hard time canceling their automatic renewals and some were even charged after trying to cancel.
On a positive note, users do highlight how easy to use and beautiful the templates are. Some also note that they’ve had nothing but good experiences with the customer service live chat feature.
If Squarespace doesn’t quite sound like the right e-commerce platform for you, another option may serve your small business needs better.
An immediate leg up Shopify has over Squarespace is that it was designed to be an e-commerce-specific platform and, as a result, has more features specific to e-commerce. Shopify offers more than 1,000 integrations for you to customize your website beyond the built-in features. Shopify may also be a better option if you have a larger business or plan to scale quickly, as it's more equipped to handle all your e-commerce needs. Conversely, if you have a smaller business, Squarespace may be the better choice. Because it offers so much, Shopify is also more expensive than Squarespace.
If you’re unhappy with Squarespace’s exclusive partnership with Stripe as a payment gateway, BigCommerce may be a better option for your e-commerce website. It gives you the chance to choose your own payment gateway, and it integrates with most major providers. It also won’t charge you extra processing fees for using a third-party payment service provider.
Furthermore, some of the features you immediately get with BigCommerce are only available with the more expensive plans from Shopify, like gift cards. It’s also easy to use and intuitive, but it will likely cost you a bit more than Squarespace would.
Similar to Squarespace, Weebly started as a website builder. However, after being acquired by in 2018, it significantly upgraded its e-commerce capabilities. While it offers many of the same features as Squarespace, it is a less expensive option. Not only does it offer a free plan — with shopping cart functionality — but its most expensive option comes in at only $26 per month with an annual subscription.
You also have some functionality, like gift cards, available with any of Weebly’s plans (including its free option). Plus, if you already use Square as your POS, this would be a natural choice.
If you’re looking to create a website to showcase your specific business or industry in the best way, Wix may be the right option for you. While it includes e-commerce functionality with its Stores vertical, it also provides specific features to showcase your blog, music, photography, video, events or restaurant. So, if you haven’t been able to highlight your products or services in the right way yet, Wix may be the solution.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.