Squarespace is website builder that does all the heavy lifting for you. In fact, it is not specialised in ecommerce like a dedicated online store builder such as Shopify but is a one-stop-shop solution to build websites for all kinds of purposes.
With Squarespace Commerce, it has a devoted platform for online stores. It will help you build your business from start to finish without technical knowledge or design skills. It allows you to focus on your daily operations of managing a store, without you worrying about domain registration and web hosting.
A distinguishing feature of Squarespace is its emphasis on design, and they offer gorgeous themes.
- Pros and cons of Squarespace
- Who is Squarespace for?
- How easy is Squarespace to use?
- Squarespace themes and templates
- How to manage your ecommerce store in Squarespace?
- Squarespace integrations
- What marketing and SEO tools does Squarespace have?
- Payment options
- Squarespace security
- Squarespace customer support
- Squarespace pricing
- Is Squarespace the right pick for you?
Pros and cons of Squarespace
TL;DR Squarespace is known for its premium pricing and it doesn’t offer a free tier. You have a 14 days free trial and that’s it. But this also means it does not slap its brand on your website.
- Beautiful and professional looking website: You don’t need technical knowledge and designer skills to build your website.
- Strong security and reliability: Squarespace has proven that it can handle high traffic volumes. It also provides you with SSL security.
- Free domain: You can get a free domain if you choose to subscribe to an annual plan. Note that if you want to transfer your domain, there will be a transfer fee.
- Strong ecommerce features: With Squarespace Commerce, managing your store is a cinch.
- Can be slow at times: Squarespace’s loading times can be slow. This can make managing your store a hassle for you. Now imagine that your website loads slowly, do you think your visitors will be patient and not take off to another site?
- Restrictive templates: Squarespace’s themes are amazing. If your design fall within the boundaries of what their designers have foreseen, you will be totally fine. If however, you have ideas that go beyond, you can not realise it. This can limit your creativity.
- No extension market: You can not extend the functionalities of what Squarespace has thought of. If
- Limited payment options: You are limited to use Stripe, Paypal, or Square. And Square for example is only available in the US.
- High pricing: Ease of use and high quality themes have their price.
Who is Squarespace for?
Squarespace is a good place to start for anyone who wants to have professional looking and beautiful websites. Its ecommerce solution is a good starting place for anyone looking to take their sales online.
If sleek, visual templates and great design are a must-have for you, then Squarespace is your pick. The various website builders all have different key areas and are therefore suited to different concerns. For example, if you’re on a tight budget, Ecwid would be the better option.
How easy is Squarespace to use?
When you first visit Squarespace, it asks questions like what your website is intended for, to help you choose a template.
Once your account is created, it will ease you into its dashboard with a short guided tour.
Building a website along with an online store is quite easy. You can easily add or remove elements and move them around by dragging and dropping them. The dashboard itself is clean and self-explanatory.
The Design section in the left-hand menu gives you many options so that you can customise the templates. You can set your logo and adjust a long list in the style editor. It also gives you a CSS editor, if you’re comfortable with it.
If you have ideas that are not covered by the themes provided, it will get hairy. Without custom coding, you will not be able to costumise outside of what the themes and templates have foreseen.
Squarespace themes and templates
The themes offered really don’t disappoint. As all modern themes should be, they are responsive and will look good on the different sized devices that we use.
For this review, I will concentrate only on the template of the category ‘Online Stores’. At the time of the review, Squarespace offered 8 themes.
When you create an account with your chosen theme, 4 pages are pre-made. These are your templates and they are fully customisable. That means you use them as a baseline and edit it to match your brand colours and style.
Squarespace thoughtfully made it so that you can duplicate a page from one of the templates (Shop, About, Contact, Stockists). With this function, you can quickly create more pages and then customise them to your needs, instead of building each page from scratch.
What I especially like is that all themes are attractive and compared to Shopify, you don’t have to pay just to get a beautiful theme.
How to manage your ecommerce store in Squarespace?
Under the section Commerce you find all you need to manage your inventory, process orders, set discounts, and manage payments.
Should your products have variants like color, size, weight, you can easily add them to the inventory. The inventory also supports unlimited SKUs or products. Squarespace Commerce also handles digital products. Inventory management within the dashboard is easy: You can send notifications, handle refunds, and carry out other essential tasks for your store. There are also options for updating stock, configuring sales taxes, and printing shipping labels.
If you plan to also sell offline, you will be happy to know that Squarespace has integrated Square as a payment processor so that you can accept credit cards, mobile payments, and cash. The best part is, you can sell offline and keep everything synced with your online inventory. You will need the Squarespace Commerce app, and a Square card reader.
If by chance, Squarespace does not cater to your needs out of the box, you can add extensions (also known as plugins or apps) to extend the functionality. At the time of this review, it provides 33 extensions but does not have a plugin market.
With the help of these extensions, you can integrate your accounting, customer support, or logistics. Given that is has no plugin market, it is not as customisable as WordPress.
What marketing and SEO tools does Squarespace have?
Out of the box, Squarespace provides search engine optimization (SEO) features. You can edit page titles, meta descriptions, and add Google My Business locations. To track all your metrics it also has a built-in analytics function.
SEO is key to the success of your online business. In short, the higher your store ranks, the more potential customer will turn up. If you want to know more about SEO, we have an SEO whitepaper.
You can do your email marketing directly in Squarespace. Just as you’d expect, it email campaigns are beautifully designed and like the website templates easy to create and edit.
It has basic automation, where you can send simple automated follow-up emails based on somebody subscribing to a list or buying a product. Drop us a line if you want a detailed review of the Squarespace Email Campaigns.
To use Squarespace Email Campaigns, you have to add it as an additional paid service.
You can connect your ecommerce store with your social media profiles in different ways.
The usual way is to add the different social media icons to your site.
You can also sell on Facebook and promote your products on Pinterest or Instagram.
Since Squarespace was initially a website builder for blogs, its blogging functionality is easy to use and an integral part of your website. It does not feel like an after-thought that was added because blogging is a must-have in the marketing tool kit.
As with other blogging tools, you can write and schedule posts, enable comments, push posts to social media. Squarespace’ s blogging feature consists of a landing page, which displays multiple blog posts and the individual blog posts.
Like the email marketing feature, popup forms is a built-in but paid add-on.
The forms like the rest of the website can be customised to your brands colours and style. You can control when, how often, and where the pop up is shown.
You can connect your Squarespace store with Stripe, Paypal, and Square out of the box. Via Stripe, you can also accept Apple Pay.
But, depending on your country, Stripe may not be available. Note too, Square is only available in the US.
You should also take into account that depending on your country, both Stripe and Paypal will tack on a transaction fee of around 2.9% plus 30 cents per successful charge.
Via Stripe and Paypal, you can accept all major credit cards.
You are save with Squarespace. When you register a domain name, Squarespace provides you with a free WHOIS privacy and SSL certificate to protect your site. A site is secure when you see the URL beginning with beginning with https:// and a closed padlock icon next to it.
Further, Squarespace can handle high traffic volumes on your website, regardless of the plan you choose.
Squarespace customer support
Squarespace’s customer support is available 24/7 via email. There is also a Twitter channel. If you want to have a live chat, you can reach Squarespace on Monday and Friday between 04:00 to 18:00 EDT and Tuesday to Thursday between 04:00 to 20:00.
If you are out of chat hours, you will find a comprehensive knowledge base with guides, videos, webinars, and a community forum where you can ask your fellow merchants for advise.
The first thing to mention is that regardless of the plan you choose, you will get included SSL security, unlimited storage and bandwidth, and last but not least great themes to choose from.
Squarespace website builder pricing
If you want to start your website without ecommerce plans yet, Squarespace website builder has 2 tiers for you to try out. If you still want to accept payment, you will have to embed the Paypal button yourself or get a developer to do it for you. But these 2 tiers do not give you the full ecommerce features.
Business at $18 per month is suited for a team larger than 2 as you can invite unlimited contributors. It gives you the full ecommerce features, but Squarespace will take a 3% transaction fee. This tier is a good choice if you want to test out the waters in ecommerce. You can just upgrade your existing Squarespace website to this level and add your products. In your analytics, you can then observe which products sell well.
Squarespace Commerce pricing
The 2 tiers in Squarespace Commerce do not slam you with a 3% transaction fee and offer more ecommerce and marketing features. Both also offer POS, the point of sale functionality that allows you to sell offline and keep your stock in sync.
Basic at 26$ per month is meant for smaller businesses that don’t need advanced marketing options like abandoned cart function or who don’t sell subscriptions.
Advanced at 40$ per month is the plan for you if you have many orders, need advanced marketing integration, give flexible discounts, sell subscriptions, and real-time carrier shipping.
As you can see, the plans are not as affordable as Wix or even Shopify. But in my opinion, the very well designed themes and also the ease of use make Squarespace a good choice. If you would custom-design your own website, it would come at a price north of $10’000.
Is Squarespace the right pick for you?
Squarespace aims to make online website design accessible to people from all walks of life. It is well suited for beginners starting with their first online presence and who value good design.
Squarespace Commerce specifically allows you to build and your online shop without any technical knowledge from A to Z. Its marketing integration with social media and blogging is pretty solid.
Squarespace seems to be better suited for those with little technical confidence and knowledge. Don’t expect to get all functionality or scalability you want later down the line.
As Squarespace offers a free 14-day trial, you’ve nothing to lose and can see for yourself, if Squarespace is right for you.
Does Squarespace not cover all your needs? Check out other ecommerce solutions.