Starting a feature-rich online store is frequently a challenge, especially if you haven’t managed to pick a trustworthy software to use. With so many professional web design tools available in the market, it takes effort and time to choose the right one. Shopify and Square are certainly worth your attention as these are two renowned eCommerce leaders.
Shopify is a full-featured eCommerce software that does not require any presentation. Its flexibility, abundance of design customization tools, multiple integrations and powerful functionality make the system a reasonable solution for the development of large-scale digital stores.
Square is the best POS and payment processing service for reliable business growth. It works great for all types of businesses – from startups and up to multi-store solutions, offering state-of-the-art merchant options to sell both online and offline. Having acquired Weebly, the software has become a universal web design solution for eCommerce website development.
Comparison of these two platforms is not a standard one as the systems differ from each other in terms of implication, goals, integrated functionality, pricing and special features.
It is possible to set up and manage a digital store with each of them, but the approach and results will differ anyway. One of the platforms, though, will be the winner of the comparison, offering more flexible eCommerce tools and covering a broader range of website development tasks. Let’s get started now.
Shopify vs Square: General Overview
Shopify has won worldwide popularity as a powerful eCommerce software suitable for the development of all types of digital stores – from standard online shops and up to hypermarkets with thousands of products available in stock.
It doesn’t make sense, however, to set up small web stores with the system as there are lots of simpler alternatives for this very task. The use of Shopify is mostly recommended for large-scale eCommerce projects that excels at performance and customizability.
Shopify was first introduced to the market in 2004 and it has gained worldwide popularity since that time. According to recent stats, the number of projects launched with the software has reached 5,893,344 and it keeps growing steadily.
The software has much to offer to all user categories yet it still works best for entrepreneurs, who are just willing to start selling online as well as for those, who already run digital stores yet have an intention to boost their sales and reach new business objectives.
Square became a popular eCommerce market representative in 2009, having evolved immensely since that time. It now offers an opportunity to build powerful integrated omnichannel solutions to help their clients sell online and effectively manage their inventory tools. Additionally, they have embedded financial POS tools to let users trade online.
The platform partners with sellers of all sizes, having unique solution sets for every business type. These include retail and professional services, food and beverage options, large businesses etc.
After its merge with Weebly in 2018, the software has granted access to the new web store package to let subscribers set up and manage eCommerce projects without any coding awareness.
This has become a superb option both for Weebly and Square subscribers, who now have an opportunity to start small and medium digital stores, using a variety of built-in tools and special features available in stock. These include promotion, marketing, analytics, eCommerce tools and many more.
According to recent reports, the number of Square users has exceeded 301,828. This is not an impressive stats, of course, but this is still a notable achievement that distinguishes the system from other payment processing tools.
Shopify vs Square: Which One Is Easier to Use?
Shopify can hardly be called a simple web design platform. There is nothing too complicated about it at first sight. When you start exploring the software, however, you will come across multiple nuances that will prevent you from the quick set up of a full-featured eCommerce project.
The interface of the platform is quite niche-focused, abounding in special tools, features and elements. Newbies will certainly find it complicated, which will eventually require more time for the system exploration and web store creation.
Along with a standard content editor, the system has a handy drag-and-drop feature, which may somewhat simplify the process of web page editing. However, to set up a ready-made web store structure, you just need to arrange and modify the sections. The core of your project will remain the same.
The entire web page editing process resembles that of working with Google Docs or MS Word yet it also has extra tools to create/add logos, show/hide elements, change default fonts/colors etc.
Users, who possess coding skills, in turn, can work with the system’s Liquid coding language or CSS. This guarantees more advanced customizability and flexibility, although, special programming background is also required.
It definitely takes effort and time to set up projects with Shopify. Irrespective of web design skills you have, it may generally take several days to explore the system and to learn how to work with it.
If there is anything you don’t understand for some reason or you need extra help, Shopify customer support team is always at your disposal. It is currently available through several channels based on the available problem and your requirements.
The software lets you use interactive guides and tutorials enlisting the major steps to set up a website from scratch. Additionally, users can create individual threads on Shopify forum to discuss urgent problems with other subscribers.
If this is not enough and you need more help, go ahead to contact the support team via phone or live chat.
Square was developed with the only goal – to simplify the process of web store creation for beginners and to let them manage their projects with no coding at all. However, the platform somewhat differs from standard website builders and, thus, it may take some time to explore and master it.
While Square is a solely payment processing software, its integration with Weebly website builder has made it possible to set up feature-laden eCommerce websites. To get started, you will need valid Weebly and Square accounts as well as a subscription that complies with your individual requirements and current needs.
Having registered with Square, you will be redirected to the dashboard. This is the place to manage settings and customers, add new locations (if you with with physical storefronts), view reports etc.
To be able to proceed to web store creation and its further customization, you will need to connect the existing Weebly account. To do this, pick a “custom Billing Design” feature in the Square dashboard. Choose Weebly in the list of suggested solutions to be redirected to the control panel of the website builder.
When working on your digital store creation, you will have an opportunity to select either a single-page project (it will mainly work well for a standard medium online shop) or a multi-page store with more powerful features.
As soon as you make the choice, you may proceed to your eCommerce project creation/management. Weebly grants access to multiple niche templates, integrations and advanced tools needed to start a digital store. Connection of Square account will add an opportunity to process payments online, which is a must for a professional online store.
Shopify vs Square: Design and Flexibility
Flexibility, design customization and eCommerce focus are the next issues to compare, when reviewing Shopify and Square. While the major Shopify implication goes down to web store creation, Square sees its mission in providing advanced payment processing options. Its integration with Weebly, however, allows starting feature-rich online shops. Let’s compare these aspects of both systems now.
Shopify comes with an integrated POS (Point-of-Sale) software. This makes it a worthy solution to sell products both online and offline. Due to the Android and iOS compatibility, the platform allows managing a web store and accepting mobile payments even on the go.
The major Shopify POS features include an opportunity to manage orders and staff members directly from the software dashboard, set/customize printed receipts, integrate “collect from the store” and “buy online” features, support multiple offline storefronts etc.
Square Point of Sale app is also compatible with Android and Apple devices. You can download it for free when required. The app comes with a complete suite of POS features that help you effectively manage your business.
Due to the POS feature, Square users have an opportunity to open/split tabs, accept various types of payments – credit/debit cards, cash, mobile wallets, paper checks, gift cards etc., issue refunds, set taxes and discounts, manage customer info and feedback, provide/receive free prompts etc.
Likewise, the system offers extra features like invoice issues, sales data presentation, report creation, integration with third-party business solutions like Weebly eCommerce platform or accounting software.
An interesting innovation is the new QR code-based feature, which makes it possible for clients to order food directly from their phones and pay the bills when needed. Each QR code is linked to a certain table in a restaurant to notify the staff where to deliver the orders and save visitors’ time. The feature, however, is currently available for Square users in Canada, Australia, UK and the US.
Shopify ensures an effective and quite simple product management process. Having created a web store, you may instantly start adding products to the catalog, assigning their special characteristics, descriptions, titles as well as uploading media files etc.
You also have an opportunity to set inventory tools, pick currencies, select product dimensions and other special features.
One of the undeniable Shopify highlights is an opportunity to create up to 100 product variations. The feature will come in handy, when you decide to create separate product lists, seasonal collections and other groups of items for personalized deals and special offers.
The software also allows organizing collections by product types, vendor, special tags and other required parameters.
Square product management options are versatile and numerous as well. However, you wont go without Weebly integration here. The website builder lets you create a new project and start uploading products to the catalog.
As soon as you are done with that, you will be able to manage the uploaded items, set their titles, add images and descriptions. Likewise, it is possible to set SEO parameters for each product page, track traffic and sales etc.
Inner web store management is Square’s responsibility. The software allows controlling the staff, monitoring clients, managing invoices, creating gift cards, generating customers’ info, enabling virtual terminals etc.
Most users evaluate an opportunity to import products sold in Weebly to further track them in the Square dashboard. Product catalog import is available here as well.
Shopify subscribers have several online payment options to choose from. The first one implies the use of the integrated Shopify Payment functionality. It is absolutely free for everyone – that is, there are no commission fees for all the transactions made with the system.
Unfortunately, this payment gateway is currently supported by several countries only. As a result, many users will face the need to choose from other payment processing methods. These include Paypal, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.
Additionally, you will have to choose from multiple third-party options available on the list. They may be sorted out by the payment methods for more effective and fast navigation.
Square merchants’ solution allows accepting and processing payments, using a variety of available gateways. These include debit/credit cards as well as the main mobile payment services, such as Google Pay and Apple. All the transactions made with Square are ultimately safe.
Invoicing option is supported here as well. Square subscribers can use the built-in tools or connect third-party services to send and manage invoices. Square invoicing tools support recurring and one-time invoices along with installment payments.
Additionally, the system provides help with contract creation, using a range of pre-designed templates. Users can manage them with regard to their business info. File attachment option is available here as well, letting the system subscribers add images, purchase orders and other types of files.
All in all, Square Payments solution allows completing the following tasks: adding/removing a bank account, saving/updating payment methods on files, managing PCI compliance issues, using file security/email notifications cards as well as reporting features etc.
Shopify has its own App Store that allows choosing and integrating extensions and add-ons to enhance your web store performance. All the widgets are divided into multiple categories to simplify the choice.
These include product navigation/manage apps, inventory tools, marketing and promo solutions, security items and many more. Some applications are free, while others are paid. There are also extensions that come with a free trial to let users test them before purchase.
Square offers several applications to help you effectively manage all the business-related issues. These apps are all affordable and functional.
You can purchase all of them or pick the required extensions only and purchase them separately. This depends on your business needs, its specialization, available budget and other aspects. Due to this opportunity, Square can be easily considered a scalable product.
The major Square applications include POS, Appointment, Square for Retail, Inventory, Online Store, Invoices, Cash App, Banking, Capital and more.
When it comes to integrations, Shopify is certainly on the top of the list. The software grants access to the extensive App Store with a broad selection of free and premium extensions. Square also allows for app connection, but their choice is not that rich and it is restricted by specific system implications.
Marketing & Promotion
Shopify offers an impressive selection of integrated marketing tools to effectively grow your business and grow customer base.
The software comes with an advanced built-in email marketing tool, which grants access to newsletter templates, layouts to share new collections, personalized offers, special deals etc. This is a perfect option to directly interact with customers and to grow the mailing list.
With Shopify, you can start/customize new promo campaigns and manually create discount codes. It is up to you to set the value, type and products to match the selected campaign parameters.
Square delivers exceptional email marketing functionality. It can divide customers into groups in the automated mode to easily manage personalized offers and newsletters.
No matter what number of clients have joined the project, Square makes it possible to divide them by categories. These include new, lapsed and returning clients.
The software offers multiple tools to launch loyalty campaigns, create gift cards and let clients earn reward points in exchange for products or other features.
Shopify marketing features are extensive and versatile enough to let you enhance your web store performance, interact with customers and boost their loyalty. Square also delivers email marketing options yet they are not that rich as compared to the competitor.
Shopify stands out from the crowd due to its advanced analytic system. It makes it possible to track sales and orders in multiple ways.
All reports are displayed in a separate dashboard, which reflects the major metrics. These include user sessions, total sales, average order value and other parameters. The software generates several report types in the automated mode. Along with sales stats, the reports include profit margin data, acquisition settings and other must-have aspects.
Square provides detailed business insights that come with numerous metrics to track. Along with baseline characteristics that tackle transactions and gross sales aspects, users have an opportunity to control sales statistics and hourly sales related to a certain location in the real-time mode.
This feature will come in handy to users, who own several websites and face the need to track their performance.
Special eCommerce Features
Shopify positions itself as a solely eCommerce platform. No wonder, it abounds in multiple niche-specific features and tools. They refer to multiple web store creation/management aspects, including design customization, product/order/web store management, marketing/promotion, integrations, functionality, pricing etc.
Due to the AR tool, Shopify customers have an opportunity to see the products available in stock from a realistic point of view. Powered by the advanced 3D Warehouse technology, the AR tool allows seeing product characteristics in details, including its color, size, special features, quality etc. Available in the 3D mode, products look more realistic, which contributes to enhanced shopping experience.
Shopify subscribers now have an opportunity to sell products via social networks. For example, if you have a Twitter account, you can start selling on your profile to attract customer attention.
Another feature Shopify has recently introduced is the Shop Cash rewards. It is free for every user. It ensures a convenient checkout process, letting users get financial benefits for the purchases made with Shop Pay.
With the software, you have an opportunity to use the Marketplace Kit to connect your project to several merchants. This allows trading worldwide, using the advantages of popular brands like Twitter, Tik Tok, Spotify and more.
When it tackles the eCommerce aspect, Shopify Linkpop should also be mentioned. As a powerful bio tool, which guarantees a fast and safe checkout process.
Thus, you get an opportunity to convert potential users into real customers along with managing your web stores from social media bio.
Square abounds in payment processing and eCommerce website management features. Due to the availability of the inventory synchronization feature, the platform allows selling online and offline.
Having bought a product in the local storefront, for example, the system will automatically synchronize the process in Weebly and Square dashboards.
The software comes with a virtual terminal that lets you charge cards from your browser. This is where you can get the major payment options, including debit/credit cards from your computer.
There is no need to buy special equipment or download extra software. It is available directly in the virtual terminal. Additionally, users can print and send receipts by mail here.
Another interesting thing about Square is the availability of multiple payment processing equipment options. The software allows choosing from several card reader models and buy your processing hardware either as a bundle or as a one piece solution.
With this purpose, the system offers the following types of card readers: Square Reader for magstripe (a free one), Square Reader for contactless and chip options ($49 or $78), Square Stand for contactless and chip ($169), Square Terminal ($299), Square Register ($799) and accessories that come at various prices.
Additionally, the software makes it possible to make instant deposits. It generally takes around one or two days to transfer the money from the transactions to the bank account. At the same time, this allows you to instantly deposit the funds for extar 1.5%. If needed, you can schedule same-day deposits at 1.5% as well.
These are only a few payment processing options Square offers to its clients. There are multiple solutions you can choose with regard to your eCommerce project specialization, characteristics and special parameters.
Design Set Up and Customization
Shopify includes a versatile and quite rich collection of professional eCommerce templates. They are free and paid yet the cost does not affect the quality a lot. All themes have pleasant, quality and user-friendly look that corresponds to the selected niche (see Shopify examples).
The amount of free themes now constitutes 18 samples, while that of premium themes has reached 70 items. Whatever design you go for, you will be able to customer and edit it as required, using the toolset available in stock.
Along with standard editing options, Shopify makes it possible to use CSS/HTML editing skills. This, however, works best for code-aware users only, who possess programming knowledge and know how to reach the expected result.
Whether you decide to opt for a free or premium template, you shouldn’t worry about their mobile optimization. All Shopify themes are responsive by default, which makes them applicable to any device.
You can switch between the designs on any stage of the customization process. The submitted content won’t be lost. The cost of paid designs ranges between $140 and $180, which is not quite affordable for everyone.
Square does not have web store themes and advanced design tools. Users may browse a few custom layouts only, but they won’t impress them anyway mainly because of the limited style options (see Square examples). This is where Weebly integration works wonders.
The website builder grants access to an extensive collection of templates for digital stores. Their number has exceeded 100 themes. You can browse the collection and pick any samples with regard to your project specialization and eCommerce objectives.
Weebly templates are made of built-in sections. You can remove, replace or customize any of them. There is also an opportunity to select a blank design and start a brand new project from scratch with Square, adding various blocks/sections, changing styles, backgrounds, colors and other special parameters.
Shopify vs Square: General Pricing Comparison
Shopify pricing policy is above average. Considering a strong eCommerce focus of the system, however, the cost of using it complies with the integrated feature set, performance and available tools.
The software has a free 3-day trial and four paid subscriptions that differ in services, terms, tools, integrated functionality, web store size and other parameters. Just consider your project characteristics to pick the most suitable solution. The main Shopify plans are as follows:
- Starter ($5/mo) – works well for users, who intend to start selling via social networks or messaging apps. The plan comes with a Linkpop tool, built-in analytics, Shopify checkout feature, order management, customer support etc.;
- Basic Shopify ($21.50/mo billed annually) – a perfect choice for a standard digital shop, which involves 24/7 support, basic reports, POS, website and blog integration, unlimited products, free SSL Certificate connection, up to 4 inventory locations, 2 staff accounts, 77% shipping discount etc.;
- Shopify ($62/mo billed annually) – a suitable solution for a growing online business. The plan grants access to 5 staff accounts, gift cards, up to 88% shipping discount, up to 5 inventory locations, a professional reporting option etc.;
- Advanced ($266/mo billed annually) – the subscription allows using a set of professional digital business tools. These include a report builder, real-time carrier shipping, third-party calculated shipping rates, 15 staff accounts, up to 8 inventory locations, and other features.
What’s more, the software allows choosing an advanced Shopify Plus plan. It offers enterprise-grade eCommerce features for large-scale business projects. The cost of the subscription starts at $2000/mo yet the final budget is discussed individually with the company managers.
Square allows choosing between two pricing alternatives. It offers an opportunity to subscribe to one of its premium subscriptions. These include:
- Free ($0+processing fees) – allows selling in person, over the phone or out in the field.
- Plus (from $29/mo+processing fees) – offers advanced features designed for restaurants, appointment-based businesses and retailers. This is a group of subscriptions tailored for the needs of various businesses. Just browse the available packages and pick the one that suits your business most.
- Premium (custom price+processing fees) – provides an opportunity to build a plan that meets the complexity of user operations.
Every plan comes with account takeover protection, quick payment transfers, fast online signup, free Square Reader for magstripe tool, end-to-end encrypted payments, live phone support, active fraud prevention, free Square POS app, dispute management solutions etc.
Processing fees are also divided into three types:
- With card present – 2.6% + 10¢ per transaction;
- With card not present – 2.9% + 10¢ per transaction;
- Keyed in – 3.5% + 15¢ per transaction.
Another pricing option Square offers is to connect to one of the existing Weebly plans. The option is viable for Pro and Business plans from the Website group of subscriptions as well as for all Online Store plans.
Shopify vs Square: Which One Is the Best for SEO?
Shopify comes as a SEO-friendly software that allows launching web stores perfectly optimized for the search engines. Users have an opportunity to individually adjust SEO parameters. These include meta tags (titles, descriptions, keywords), Alt tags for images etc.
The system generates a web store sitemap in the automated mode. It is also possible to integrate statistics tracking/analytic tools to watch the functionality of your digital store.
Square features favorable SEO functionality, which makes it possible to create content suitable for the search engines. The major advantage is that all the settings are easy to configure, irrespective of coding skills a user has.
Users can independently edit meta titles and descriptions for web pages, add and adjust 301 redirects, set up page URLs etc.
Key Differences Between Shopify and Square
|Ease of Use:||Shopify is a globally recognized|
eCommerce software, which serves the only purpose – web store creation and further management. It comes with an intuitive dashboard, built-in drag-and-drop editor, numerous iterations and eCommerce tools that help reach professional results.
|Square is a renowned payment processing platform that offers state-of-the-art merchant solutions to sell products online and offline. The system comes with POS software, integrable services, versatile marketing solutions as well as other payment-related issues.|
|Functionality:||Shopify niche specialization goes down to online store development/promotion. The software provides access to eCommerce-specific features and tools. They are indispensable, when it comes to effective product and web store management, design customization, sales/client tracking capabilities etc.||The platform delivers a broad spectrum of payment/web store-related features. These include product import/management solutions, invoice/payments options, inventory synchronization tools, POS, marketing and analytics features etc.|
|Design:||The software cannot boast a rich collection of eCommerce templates yet all the themes are professional and quality here. Users may choose from 18 free and around 70 premium designs. They are responsive and customizable by default. The cost of paid templates ranges between $140 and $180.||Square has several templates in its own catalog and it also allows connecting to Weebly to pick and use eCommerce designs the website builder has in stock.|
|eCommerce:||Shopify is the best eCommerce software. It grants access to numerous niche features, tools. Templates, integrations and special features. This is more than enough to start a full-featured online store, irrespective of its size and specialization.||The system works great for eCommerce website creation as it offers numerous payment alternatives to suit any business. However, it has to be used with Weebly website builder to ensure the unsurpassed web store development experience.|
|Blogging:||The platform includes a quality blogging engine. Thus, it is possible to connect a blog to your project and to customize it as required. The toolest is available in stock here. No coding is required to set up a blog with Shopify.||Square has quite a nice blogging app – Square Online -that lets you add stories to a website. You can post useful content based on your project niche focus. Blog templates are available here as well, although their choice is quite limited.|
|Small Business:||Shopify works great for small business website creation granted that your project has an eCommerce focus.||Square is a great solution for small business project development. Offering advanced payment and product management solutions, Weebly integration, several applications for quality management of diverse business types, the software is really worth user attention.|
|Pricing:||The platform has a 3-day free trial and 4 paid plans to choose from. Their cost starts at $5/mo.||The system offers two pricing options. The first one implies choosing one of the Square subscriptions. There is a free plan here, while the price of premium plans starts at $29/mo plus processing fees. Another option is to connect to one of Weebly accounts.|
|SEO:||Shopify is a SEO-friendly platform. It makes it possible to set up SEO parameters for all web store pages and to use analytic/statistics tracking tools to enhance the project promotion.||Square also delivers quality SEO parameters. Users can fill out meta titles for website pages, adjust 301 redirects, manage URLs etc. These and other features contribute to high positions of your eCommerce project in the search engine results.|
|Customer Support:||Shopify Help Center, eCommerce University,|
Informative Forum, Shopify Community, live chat, email, phone support, multiple tutorials.
|Extensive knowledge base, tutorials, guides, blog, ticketing system, Help Center, active community.|
Comparison Conclusion: Which One Is Better?
Shopify and Square are two giants of the contemporary eCommerce niche. Each of them has a certain specialization, characteristics, implication, web design approach and eCommerce parameters.
Shopify is the best eCommerce software that is focused on the development/management/promotion of digital stores. The platform excels at design customization options, offering a collection of professional web store templates. It also boasts powerful integrations, SEO and marketing features needed to manage a digital store with no coding background.
Square is a leader in the payment processing niche. It delivers an extensive selection of payment-related solutions as well as marketing, promotion and analytic options. Its integration with Weebly website builder has made it possible to run professional online stores, using the toolset available in stock.
Having reviewed and compared the platforms, we can conclude that Shopify prevails over Square in terms of eCommerce website development. It will satisfy your long-term needs mainly due to its strong web store-related focus. Square can enhance the payment processing potential of your online shop yet its integrated functionality will not be enough for professional eCommerce application.