Squarespace Review 2023: Pros, Cons and Alternatives
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Squarespace is a website builder that serves both businesses and individuals. For small businesses, Squarespace can help you sell subscriptions, offer custom merchandise, take appointments and put exclusive content behind a paywall. This e-commerce website builder is a good choice for companies focused on developing a strong brand and repeat customers.
Squarespace facilitates product sales, but if that’s your primary focus, consider other options for your e-commerce platform. Squarespace only offers a few integrations with social media and online marketplaces, and it lacks some of the sophisticated inventory management tools that competitors offer.
Here’s how to decide if Squarespace is right for you.
Price when billed annually
Payment processing is provided via Stripe Payments. Stripe charges 2.9% plus 30 cents per online credit and debit card transaction. This is on top of the 3% transaction fee for Squarespace Business customers.
Online marketplace integrations
Squarespace’s key features
Squarespace is best for businesses focused on building customer loyalty. The features that really set Squarespace apart — gated member areas and appointment booking — come with additional fees, but those costs may be worth it for your specific brand.
Gated member areas
Squarespace lets you set up private, paywalled parts of your website that are only accessible to paying members. You can use a membership site to sell an online course, premium content or access to specific products.
These membership sites come with fees on top of your monthly subscription charges. Plans include:
Starter: $9 per month plus a 7% transaction fee on purchases by members. Includes one member area.
Core: $18 per month plus a 4% transaction fee. Includes up to three different areas.
Pro: $35 per month plus a 1% transaction fee. Includes up to 10 member areas.
You can use member areas with any Squarespace plan.
Squarespace Scheduling is a separate Squarespace service that facilitates appointment booking. You can set your staff’s hours, automate intake forms and appointment reminders, accept deposits or full payments and sync appointments to your existing calendars. The top-tier plan even offers Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, compliance features.
Squarespace Scheduling comes with additional fees. Plans range from $16 to $49 per month. However, you don’t need a Squarespace website to use the Scheduling service.
All Squarespace users can offer custom merchandise through an integration with Printful, a print-on-demand service. You can choose to sell any of the products that Printful offers — and there are many, from T-shirts to tote bags to puzzles — without having to keep inventory in stock. Instead, when users make a purchase, Printful will create their order and then ship it directly to the customer.
You’ll need to be on at least the Squarespace Business plan to accept payments for print-on-demand merchandise, since the Personal plan doesn’t include payment processing.
Users on the Commerce Advanced plan can sell subscriptions to products and services. Whenever a customer’s payment is processed, their order will show up in your order dashboard for you to process. Payment frequency can range from weekly to annually and you can set payments to expire after a certain period of time — for instance, if you sell a farm share subscription that’s only available during the growing season.
Squarespace features by plan
Here’s what each of Squarespace’s plans include and how to figure out which is best for your business. Remember that the features that really set Squarespace apart — gated member areas and appointment booking — both come with additional fees, as discussed above.
Squarespace Personal: Best for independent contractors
Squarespace’s entry-level plan doesn’t include e-commerce features, so you can’t use it to sell products and services or take payments online. But if your business is small and client-focused, Squarespace Personal may be sufficient — you can share examples of your work, testimonials, your pricing and your contact information.
Price: $16 per month when billed annually.
Features at this level:
Drag-and-drop website builder.
Two contributors total.
Custom print-on-demand merchandise.
30 minutes of video storage.
Squarespace Business: Best for membership- or appointment-based businesses
Squarespace Business offers introductory e-commerce features, including unlimited product listings, inventory management and shipping tools. However, you’ll have to pay a 3% transaction fee on all your sales at this level. Once your sales exceed $133 per month, it’s worth it to pay a few extra dollars to upgrade to the Commerce Basic plan.
For that reason, Squarespace Business might be a good choice if you plan to rely on Squarespace Scheduling for taking bookings and payments or Member Areas for selling premium content. You’ll still have the option to sell products and merchandise, but you can focus on those other revenue streams and only sell products when you need to.
Price: $23 per month when billed annually.
Additional features at this level:
Unlimited product listings.
Ability to accept payments.
One year of Google Workspace for free.
Pop-ups to promote your products and services.
Squarespace Commerce Basic: Best for most product sellers
Squarespace Commerce Basic comes with most essential e-commerce features, including integrations with other marketplaces, product waitlists and customer reviews. Users can also integrate with Square to take in-person payments. If you’re making steady online sales and want to sell in person too — even if it’s only occasionally — this is probably the right Squarespace plan for you.
Price: $27 per month when billed annually.
Additional features at this level:
Merchandising features, including product waitlists and low stock alerts.
Integrations with Facebook and Instagram.
Customer product reviews.
In-person sales facilitated by Square POS.
Squarespace Commerce Advanced: Best for subscription businesses
Squarespace Commerce Advanced offers additional sales features, like automatic discounts and free shipping on orders over a certain dollar amount. This is also the level at which you can pursue subscriptions as an e-commerce business model.
Depending on the price of your recurring subscriptions, you may only need to sell a handful to make up the difference between the monthly cost of Commerce Basic and Commerce Advanced.
Price: $49 per month when billed annually.
Additional features at this level:
Dynamic shipping rates and free shipping on qualifying orders.
Abandoned cart recovery notifications.
Automatic discounts on qualifying orders.
Subscription and member management
Squarespace offers lots of tools to help those whose businesses rely on relationships with loyal customers. You can sell subscriptions to your products and services, plus create gated member areas where users can access exclusive content or online courses. You can also create product waitlists to build anticipation for new or returning items.
It’s convenient for you that Squarespace offers all these features under its own roof. With Shopify, for comparison, you’ll need to use a third-party app to facilitate subscriptions. Third-party apps can work well, but customer support is usually provided by a different company and services may come with additional costs (as some do with Squarespace as well).
Squarespace’s appointment-booking software stands out for its all-in-one set of features. Not only is it convenient for your team — you can set up separate calendars for each staffer and location that needs one and sync appointments to your existing calendar system — but Squarespace Scheduling lets customers to fill out intake forms, get reminder emails and texts and pay a deposit in advance.
Squarespace Scheduling comes with an additional monthly cost. But you can use it with any of Squarespace’s plans, which means you can choose the plan that’s best suited to your business. And compared with competitor Square Appointments, Squarespace is likely to be cheaper for businesses with multiple locations — Square charges an additional fee for each location you add.
14-day free trial
Squarespace offers a generous two-week free trial. That should be plenty of time for you to try building an e-commerce website, run test orders and experiment with Squarespace’s features before deciding whether it’s right for you. For comparison, Shopify’s free trial is only three days.
No free version
Despite its lengthy free trial, there’s no free version of Squarespace. If you just need an online portfolio or only sell a handful of items at a time, consider seeking out a free e-commerce website builder instead.
Limited inventory and shipping features
If you sell high volumes of physical products, Squarespace probably isn’t the best online store builder for you. The platform offers basic inventory management tools and the ability to print U.S. Postal Service shipping labels, which may be sufficient for some businesses. But if you want to track inventory across multiple locations, edit orders, fulfill orders in bulk or get discounted shipping rates with multiple carriers, you’ll need a platform with more product management features.
Limited sales channels
Squarespace only offers direct integration with Facebook, Instagram and Google Shopping. You can import items from an Etsy store onto your Squarespace website, but it won’t automatically sync when you make an Etsy sale and you’ll have to manage inventory separately. If you want to sell products on multiple social channels and marketplaces — like Amazon, eBay, TikTok or Walmart — shop around for another website builder that better supports omnichannel commerce.
Alternatives to Squarespace
Square Online: Offers a free plan
Square Online offers similar features to Squarespace, including unlimited product listings, coupons and appointment booking with Square Appointments. It’s an especially good choice if you also operate a brick-and-mortar business, since you can schedule in-store pickup. But you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan if you want a custom domain. Read NerdWallet’s review of Square Online.
Shopify: Better for high-volume product sellers
Shopify comes with advanced features for managing inventory and customer orders. You can edit orders after they’ve been placed, for instance, whereas with Squarespace you can only cancel orders. You can also use Shopify to store inventory at multiple locations and transfer goods between them, including at Shopify fulfillment centers. For those reasons, it’s a better choice for businesses that sell large numbers of physical products. Read NerdWallet’s review of Shopify.
BigCommerce: Better for omnichannel sales
BigCommerce can help you manage multiple storefronts and sell on a wide variety of platforms. While Squarespace offers lots of tools for creating your brand identity and developing customers’ loyalty to it, it lacks integrations with marketplaces like TikTok, eBay and Amazon. BigCommerce is better suited to e-commerce companies that focus on meeting audiences on other platforms instead of bringing them to their own websites. Read NerdWallet’s review of BigCommerce.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.