Going live with a fully-featured digital store is not a problem even for people with no special skills. The main question here is how easy it is to manage, promote, customize, or scale your project in the future. This is where you will need a niche-oriented software with all needed features in the pack. Shopify and Square are the two website builders designed with the focus on eCommerce.
Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce building platforms. With more than 400,000 merchants using it to create their projects and over 500,000 active shops powered by the software. It has everything you may need as an entrepreneur. The platform is easy to use and manage. It offers promotion and marketing tools, a powerful reporting feature, eCommerce templates with built-in widgets, and multiple integration capabilities.
Square is a platform that has made a name for itself mainly thanks to its merchants’ services and point of sale solutions. The software is not a website builder but a backend solution for already existing websites. It can be integrated with different website builders and Weebly in particular to meet the needs of non-technicians. The system delivers a combination of advanced eCommerce features and payment processing services that let you sell both digital and physical goods.
The two platforms offer different ways to launch and manage the store despite the same goals they serve. Let’s find out, which one is better for eCommerce and why.
Website Builders Comparison Chart
|Best for:||Digital stores of any size||Small and medium shops|
|Easiness:||Beginner and pro||Beginner|
|Templates:||9 free eCommerce templates||About 100 Weebly templates to use with Square|
|Technical Support:||Live Chat, Email, Phone, tutorials, Help Center||Tutorials & guides, Square online community, ticketing system|
|Blogging Options:||Integrated blogging||No blogging|
|SEO Options:||Meta titles and descriptions, 301 redirect||Item titles and descriptions for the product page|
|Pricing:||From $9 to $299 per month||From $0 to $72 per month|
|More info:||Shopify Review →||Square Review →|
Shopify vs Square: General Overview
Shopify has proved to be one of the best eCommerce website builders. It helps to create multilingual digital stores of any size to sell unlimited products and process online transactions with numerous different payment gateways. The system is an all-in-one solution. You get everything needed in the pack to launch a fully-featured online shop.
The second benefit here is that users do not need to have technical skills. The website builder is very easy and intuitive. Besides, you will hardly need to edit your shop much, as the system has eCommerce-ready templates with all required widgets and add-ons already integrated. You simply upload product images, add content, connect a domain, and go live.
The key Shopify benefit is the ability to scale your project using advanced features that include not only product management and analytics, but also user acquisition, dropshipping, cart abandonment prevention, integration with Amazon, point of sale systems, and more.
Square does not boast such flexibility as it is mainly a backend solution. It means that you can integrate it with your existing website or the one you build from scratch to create a digital store. The good news is that Square can be seamlessly integrated with the project on Weebly (and some other platforms like WordPress or BigCommerce). For users, it means a simple and fast building process, an all-in-one platform with hosting and domain included, and the ability to see online as well as at land-based shops when it comes to merchandise or physical goods.
Square has been known for its merchants’ and payment processing solutions. Some of them were integrated to be used online including virtual terminals and online card readers, advanced POS systems, powerful analytic features, product synchronization across all sites, and more. However, the system mainly works for small and medium projects. At least for now. What’s more, it comes with a free plan.
Both platforms serve eCommerce needs well. However, Shopify seems to be a more flexible platform while Square is mainly a backend solution that requires integration with a separate website builder. Besides, Shopify lets users create projects of any size. Square is mainly for small and medium stores.
Shopify vs Square: Which Is Easier to Use
Shopify is a user-friendly platform that makes it possible to launch a completed website in several hours. Although it may take some time for non-technicians to figure out how everything works in here, the system offers a 14-day free trial to test the functionality. You are very unlikely to have problems with building a shop with Shopify. All you need is to provide a few facts about the shop during the registration process.
Then you will get access to a collection of custom and responsive templates. They were designed to meet eCommerce needs. Although the collection is not particularly huge, users can still select the one that meets their expectations. Choose the theme from a relevant niche, customize it, create capturing product pages, insert relevant content, connect a domain, and go live.
All major eCommerce options are enabled by default. You will not have to connect payment gateways or shopping carts separately. They are already integrated with every template in addition to a ready-made checkout page and other settings that can be changed inside the dashboard.
Square is an eCommerce tool but not a website builder. It can be integrated with an existing Weebly website along with some other systems. To create a store, you will firstly need to open a Square account and then sign in to Weebly where the website building process will generally take place. Keep in mind that not all plans offer integration with Square. Make sure you select a Premium or Pro plan.
Then you may choose either to create a one or multi-page store depending on your needs and coverage. Meanwhile, users will also have to manage settings inside the Square dashboard as well. The platform requires business details that include the type of store and niche, payment gateways you plan to use, contact details, so on.
The next stage is to add products with photos, titles, and descriptions’. When Square is set and ready, you need to go back to the Weebly dashboard and connect the two platforms in the “Custom Billing Design” option. All products will be automatically synchronized and managed across two systems.
Shopify is a simpler option as you have all tools in one place while Square requires creating two separate accounts and managing the system across two different platforms.
Shopify vs Square: Design and Flexibility
To understand which platform will suit you the most, you need to clarify what features or capabilities it provides. Both solutions offer an expanded list of eCommerce tools to grow, manage, and promote your business online.
Templates and Editing
Shopify is an all-in-one website builder. It offers several ways to go live with your shop. The first one is to choose a ready-made template, modify it, add content, and publish. The selection of free themes includes about 9 baseline options. They are responsive and stylish. Besides, they have all major services and widgets already built-in. If you want something more than just typical layouts, you may benefit from paid themes that cost around $180 (see Shopify online store examples).
The second option is to build a new website from the blank avoiding baseline templates. In this case, a user will have a chance to add necessary page elements, blocks, and sections from the list provided inside the editor. Here we have product lists, galleries, blog post overlays, and more. Simply add it to the page and customize it with standard typography, styling, or design instruments.
Experienced users will appreciate access to the website source code with the ability to manage assets as well as the code configuration.
Square does not have templates itself as well as advanced designing or customization options. This is where Weebly comes as a great relief offering over 100 different layouts also designed for eCommerce.
Just the same way as with Shopify, you can either use a pre-designed theme or create a new store from scratch. Each section can be removed or rearranged to create the structure you need. Besides, your website will come with pre-installed widgets.
Product and Inventory Management
Shopify makes it fast and easy to add new products. Users will be able to create a fully-featured product page with item photos, videos, titles, and descriptions. Besides, it is possible to configure currency (the system comes with multi-currency support), specify product dimensions and specs as well as set inventory.
You can create different categories and sort items by type, price, or other parameters. What’s more, the system lets users create 100 different variations of the same item. It will let customers sort the products by different filters (size, vendor, product type, etc.). Also, you can sort the products out by adding a special tag, which will make it easier for buyers to find the product they need.
As the website builder helps to create multilingual stores and target different countries or regions, a special feature makes it easy to automatically calculate shipping rates depending on the buyer’s location. It is good for either a small shop that has to deal with domestic shipping as well as for stores with international coverage.
Square comes with a comprehensive dashboard to manage products and inventory. However, it works mainly for inner customization. If you want to make visual changes for the product page you will need to switch to Weebly. Inside the Square panel, you will find tools to keep control over employees, launch promo campaigns, create gift cards, and special deals.
Square is to handle the inner shop management. You will be able to control employees, manage invoices, monitor customers, generate clients’ info, create gift cards, enable virtual terminals, and more. It is high time we had a look under the hood to see what features Square users may access.
The system has an automated product import feature. Once you have added new items, they will appear across two platforms (Square and Weebly) without the need to manage the process manually. Users are free to import single items or product catalogs.
What’s more, you can track them separately thanks to the inventory synchronization option. Every time a product is sold, the info will be displayed in both the Square and Weebly dashboard.
Shopify comes with integrated gateways that include Shopify Payments. They are free to use and offer zero commissions for every transaction. Unfortunately, not all countries support the feature. So, you might need to find another alternative, which will hardly be a challenge.
The platform can be used along with such popular systems as PayPal and Amazon Pay. Besides, you connect Apple and Google Pay to process mobile payments.
Square is a well-known provider of services for merchants. They include payment processing solutions, which means a wide selection of gateways to be connected. Users may opt for third-party solutions such as Airpay, 2Checkout, Bambora, and others in addition to options available by default (PayPal, Amazon Pay, Google, and Apple Pay).
In addition, the system offers a virtual terminal that helps not only to process payments but also to create customizable and branded invoices. An integrated card reader will make it easy to accept payments in person.
Marketing & Promotion
Shopify makes it easy to launch marketing and promo campaigns, create gift cards, generate promo codes, and other special deals. With email marketing campaigns and newsletters, you will be able to send personalized offers depending on your customers’ preferences.
Platform users will have a chance to represent and sell your products across different sales channels. You can find potential customers on Facebook and Instagram or create full-scale product lists on Amazon and eBay.
Square does not differ much in terms of offering ways to promote your business. They are mainly focused on powerful marketing campaigns that are able to divide customers into groups automatically. You can manage groups and send personalized deals and offers in accordance with the group’s preferences. In addition, it is possible to create gift cards, share promo codes, offer rewards, and points in exchange for items, so on.
Shopify has a powerful reporting feature that provides not only typical insights about sales and customers but also Live Views – a supreme feature that depicts current stats in real-time. Also, users are able to overview average daily traffic and order value, identify the best-selling items, profit margin, acquisition, and more.
Square uses multiple crucial metrics to depict current stats. They include transaction tracking, gross sales, and real-time stats including hourly sales. What’s more, analytics can apply to several shops or land-based sites.
The two platforms have a full set of eCommerce features including various sales channels, integrated POS, powerful analytics, and marketing tools. However, Shopify delivers more flexibility especially for bigger stores that plan to cover international target audiences using different sales channels.
Shopify vs Square: General Pricing Comparison
Shopify has four different plans depending on your project goals. But only three of them will let you create a fully-featured website. The Lite plan costing $9 per month is for those who want to sell via social media. The rest of the three plans are as follows:
- Basic Shopify costs $29 per month. It is mainly for small shops with baseline features and a 2%-transaction fee.
- Shopify costs $79 per month for medium stores with professional reporting, promo tools, and retail hardware support. Transaction fees here are 0,5%.
- Advanced Shopify costs $299 per month with 0% fees, advanced reporting, shipping rate calculations, and more.
Besides, you may want to opt for a more unique paid template that will cost you around $180. Hosting, SSL certificate, and domain are already included in that price.
Square has a free plan. Unlike many other platforms do, it is not just to test the system. The free package is enough to get started with a small shop and sell unlimited products. But it certainly lacks features to scale your business. In this case, you may open:
- Professional account costing $12 per month with a 1-year free domain and removed ads;
- Performance account costing $26 per month with discount shipping labels, customer reviews, and other features.
- Premium account is for bigger shops costing $72 per month. It offers real-time stats, shipping rate calculations, etc.
You should also add 2.9%-transaction fees for each plan. Don’t forget that you will also need to purchase any of the two Weebly plans. The Pro plan will cost you $16/month while the Performance plan starts at $29.month.
Although Square plans look cheaper, it appears that creating a store even with the entry plan may turn out to be more expensive than a fully-featured Shopify Basic or Shopify plan.
Shopify vs Square: Which One is Better for SEO?
Shopify is a full-cycle website builder with integrated SEO tools. The main benefit is that you do not need to be an SEO expert. All settings are easy to configure. For example, you will be able to edit titles and descriptions for product and other website pages, customize URLs, set 301 redirects in case of necessity, etc.
What’s more, there is an integrated blogging feature that makes it easy to add a new blog to the website with a click. It comes with a simple content management system where you can also change SEO settings, set the preview ode for each page, and post articles that can be of great interest to potential customers.
Square does not offer much of SEO optimization. However, users will be able to make their shops more search engine friendly with editable product page titles and descriptions. In addition, powerful analytic tools will make it possible to monitor traffic and identify the best traffic sources.
Shopify is certainly a better option in case you want to make your website more SEO-friendly while Square has only baseline optimization instruments.
Which One is Best for eCommerce – Shopify or Square?
Shopify is a flexible eCommerce solution that helps to create projects of any size (see stores powered by Square). You can either sell on social media at minimum cost without actually creating a website. Users may run a small or medium shop with all major tools to manage and promote products online as well as represent them on the biggest online marketplaces.
The software has options for growing and scaling stores that look for zero transaction fees, international coverage, and multilingual support.
Square is a perfect option for small and medium stores (see examples). It has a free plan with a set of eCommerce instruments and unlimited projects to sell. On the one hand, it helps to scale and grow your business with advanced inventory and product management tools, payment processing features, etc. On the other hand, it is only a backend for already existing platforms, which means limitations.
Shopify is a better option for those who look for an all-in-one solution without the need to manage different accounts separately. You get all the required features in one package despite the store size or complexity.
Key Differences Between Shopify and Square
|Ease of Use:||Starter and pro||Good for newbies and non-technicians|
|Functionality:||All-in-one eCommerce website builder||Backend solution to be used with a website builder Weebly|
|Design:||Free and paid eCommerce themes||Typical digital store layouts|
|eCommerce:||Product management, Shopify Payments, integration with Amazon and eBay. Sales via social networks, marketing and promotion||Inventory management, POS, virtual terminal, mobile payments, promotions|
|Blogging:||Integrated blogging engine||No blogging|
|Small Business:||Good for stores of any size||Works only for online and land-based shops|
|Pricing:||From $9 to $299 per month||From $0 to $72 per month|
|SEO:||Meta titles and descriptions, 301 redirect||Item titles and descriptions for the product page|
|Customer Support:||Live Chat, Email, Phone, tutorials, Help Center||Tutorials & guides, Square online community, ticketing system|
Which Is Better for Online Store: Shopify vs Square
Choosing between two credible and trusted platforms is always a challenge. However, the review has shown crucial differences that will help you decide, which software is better and why.
Shopify is an ultimate eCommerce platform that meets any business need. You can create stores of any size and benefit from minimum or zero transaction fees, ease of use, advanced marketing, and promotion features, stylish niche-oriented themes, and more.
Square is only a backed solution to be used or integrated with already existing websites. It can’t be used as a stand-alone platform, which comes with certain limitations for the user. On the other hand, it is a good software to sell both physical and digital products at various locations at the same time.