When preparing to launch an online store, a user must plan all the details in advance. From the number of products, selling channels, and the target audience to scaling abilities, analytics, marketing, and promotion – those are the key issues that you need to take into account before choosing a platform for your future shop.
Square and Squarespace are two industry-leading names that have been playing in the same league for many years. And while the first one has been for a while in the eCommerce niche, another one is only about to conquer it.
Square – is probably the most popular and trusted name in the field of payment processing. The brand has made a name for itself with advanced point of sale systems, virtual payment terminals, and a bunch of additional services designed for merchants of any type. Today, it has teamed with Weebly to enter the eCommerce arena with its custom website building solution for those who want to sell not only at land-based sites but also online.
Squarespace is a proven and one of the longest-running website builders in the niche. It powers millions of sites as well as eCommerce projects. The platform evolves to deliver new advanced features for merchants and digital stores of any size. Users are free to sell unlimited projects via stylish and responsive shops built using custom templates with built-in features, integrated widgets, and a rich set of eCommerce instruments.
In today’s battle, we will try to figure out which platform is better for those who want to sell products and process payments online.
Website Builders Comparison Chart
|Best for:||Small and medium shops||Small business and eCommerce|
|Templates:||About 100 Weebly templates to use with Square||100+ stylish responsive templates|
|Technical Support:||Tutorials & guides, Square online community, ticketing system||Live Chat, Email, Knowledge Base, tutorials|
|Blogging:||No blogging||Integrated blogging functionality|
|SEO Options:||Item titles and descriptions for the product page||Meta tags editing, SEO checklist|
|Pricing:||From $0 to $72 per month||From $12 to $40 per month|
|More info:||Square Review →||Squarespace Review →|
Square vs Squarespace: General Overview
Square has started its way as the supplier of merchants’ solutions for physical stores. It has developed a series of processing services and other tools that can be used at millions of land-based stores across the globe. The most important thing we need to clarify here is the fact that the platform itself is not a website builder. It does not let you create a new store from the ground.
However, in 2018, the company acquired Weebly to create a brand new offer for users who want to sell products online. The idea was to integrate Weebly’s ecosystem with Square services and create a single eCommerce solution.
As a result, we have an easy to use website builder with all major solutions delivered by Square. It does not matter what niche a seller represents. The system is flexible enough to meet different business needs. However, it currently works for small and medium shops. Larger projects and marketplaces will find it a bit limited in features and scaling capabilities.
Squarespace is one of the most popular website builders. It made its first appearance on the market back in 2004 and can be considered as a niche veteran. More than 2 million active users select the tool to create different websites including digital stores. More than half of all projects powered by Squarespace deal with selling goods or processing payments online.
The key benefit here is that Squarespace is an all-in-one website builder. It means that with eCommerce features, you get a set of instruments to create a store, customize it, market, and promote. What’s more, the building process does not require technical skills in coding or web design.
To go live with a store, a user will have an array of stylish templates to choose from. They come with integrated payment options, shopping cart features, G Suite support, custom logo maker, cover page builder, and other worthy instruments to grow your business online. Besides, any plan you choose already includes hosting and domain without the need to manage them separately.
Both systems bring different options to launch eCommerce projects. However, with Squarespace, you get everything within a single package without the need to manage two different platforms combined in one. Square is not a website builder. If you want to create an online shop, you will need to use it only combined with the Weebly ecosystem.
Square vs Squarespace: Which One Is Easier to Use?
Square has proved to be a very easy software even for newbies who are new to the platform and the website building process. It comes with a user-friendly dashboard. While we consider it as a part of the Weebly website editor, this fact makes using the software even simpler. You will have a chance to create any site layout, edit content, customize some of the page sections, preview your store, and finally go live.
However, to get started, you need to sign in to both Weebly and Square. If you do not have any of the two valid accounts, you will not be able to use them together. Handling two accounts at the same time may seem to be a bit time-consuming. But, as you will see further, it will hardly be a huge problem.
First of all, we will need to create a Square account. At this stage, you are supposed to provide project details that include:
- What kind of store it is going to be;
- What payment options you will use;
- The name of your future store;
- Shop details and contact info.
The process may take some time. So, if you are in a hurry, you can complete this stage later once the account has been successfully activated. The system will transfer you to the dashboard where you will be able to manage sales, add new sites and shops, generate reports, track stats, so on.
The second stage is to integrate Square with Weebly following these steps:
- Sing up to the website builder.
- Go back to the Square dashboard.
- Connect Weebly using a custom Billing Design option.
- Choose a template and start the building process.
Squarespace looks much easier and less time-consuming. An automated assistant welcomes every new user and guides him or her throughout the entire building procedure. To build your first store, you need to provide some info about the project (niche, goals, etc.). Then you may choose from a variety of templates, customize them, add products, and eventually go live.
The platform uses intuitive algorithms that offer layouts depending on the project info you have submitted. However, you are not obliged to stick to those options, every user is free to switch to another template whenever needed.
All themes have integrated eCommerce options. They can be customized or modified without coding skills. Besides, Squarespace is an all-in-one website builder. You pay a monthly fee and get all the required features along with the domain name, hosting SSL, and other assets.
Squarespace is certainly faster and simpler to get started and launch the first store. Besides, it comes with all the needed options in one package. Square may take it longer, as you will need to create two separate accounts. But the building process is also very fast, intuitive, and easy even for newbies.
Square vs Squarespace: Design and Flexibility
The ease of use is the first thing users look for along with eCommerce features. In this section, we will try to show how simple it is to use both platforms. Keep in mind that Square will be reviewed within the Weebly website builder.
Templates and Editor
Square itself does not have ready-made templates or layouts for your future store. It comes as a backend solution for eCommerce. But thanks to the Weebly ecosystem, users will be able to select from about 100 responsive templates that include pre-designed stores. They have some built-in options and can be customized. For example, users can change the layout structure and rearrange some of the page sections.
Weebly makes it easy to create a new site from scratch instead of using ready-made templates. You may choose any block you want, upload new background or product images, edit content, so on. Besides, you are free to change typography, bloc styles, add new pages, and more. Once again, no coding is required.
Squarespace has over 100 templates in its collection. They are responsive and, compared to Weebly’s, very stylish. This is where the platform is hard to beat. Apart from customizable blocks and modules that you may add any time (covers, contact forms, galleries, headers, appointments, and more) there is a separate mobile editor to create a perfect cross-platform look of your future store.
The system lets you add different visual effects, replace custom texts or images, choose different typography styles, change fonts, create and add unique logos using a custom Logo Maker tool.
Square has been developing merchants services for many years. It has come up with a bunch of eCommerce instruments that can be integrated into your shop. They include:
- Items Importing – the feature helps to import and manage products across both Square and Weebly. What’s more, you do not need to update items on stock manually. They will be updated automatically on both systems. Users may import catalogs, track inventory, and more. Besides, all products are synchronized automatically as well. You will be able to see all changes once an item has been sold.
- Payment gateways – Square makes it possible to accept payments using all major payment options as well as mobile payment services such as Google and Apple Pay. The system makes it possible to create branded invoices as well as customize them with texts, titles, and other info to be delivered directly to the customer.
- Virtual terminal – a great feature for merchants who want to accept payments via credit cards right inside the browser without the need to buy additional equipment.
- POS & Card reader – an option for shops that plan to sell physical goods. A custom point of sale solution will suit projects that deal with hospitality or dining services.
Most of the above-mentioned options come as separate add-ons. Your store will initially have some baseline features such as inventory management, integrated shopping cart, payment gateways, promotions, and product management. The rest are paid and should be added separately.
Squarespace is not only about templates designed with a focus on eCommerce. It has all major selling options already integrated. For example, you will not need to connect payment gateways manually. Your store will already have Stripe, PayPal, and other popular options already integrated. You only need to activate them inside the dashboard with a click.
Besides, you will have an advanced product management system, inventory tracking, SEO tools. Currency settings, product titles and description editing, “add to cart” feature, loyalty offers for marketing and promotion, ready-made checkout page, and other options on default.
Marketing and Promotion
Square boasts an advanced promotion package featuring automated tools. They let users easily divide customers into different categories. You can create specific groups and send them personalized offers based on their preferences. Additional marketing instruments include gift cards, promo codes, different types of reward programs, and other options to boost customers loyalty.
Squarespace comes with powerful email marketing functionality. It helps to create personalized letters, schedule emails, send automated campaigns and newsletters for retargeting, inform customers about special deals, and more.
Square comes with a comprehensive dashboard to track all crucial metrics and stats. The only downfall here is that you will have to switch between the Weebly and Square dashboard although all the inventory will be automatically updated in both systems.
A powerful reporting feature will make it possible to track all transactions, sales per hour, net gross, revenues in a particular location in case you run several land-based sites, and observe stats in real-time.
Squarespace boasts an advanced reporting functionality that provides all the insights on traffic, sales, users’ location, and geography. Besides, you will be able to sort sales by product, generate the purchase funnel data, identify the most effective sources of traffic, find out the most popular keywords used by buyers to find the product, so on.
Squarespace appears to be a more flexible solution. Users will benefit from all features without the need to switch between several platforms. It helps to build, customize, and edit the website as well as set a fully-featured store. Square also boasts rich feature set, but it is more an addition to a website built on a third-party platform.
Square vs Squarespace: General Pricing Comparison
Square pricing starts with a basic free account. It comes with all fundamental options you may need to get started including shopping cart features, product and inventory management, POS, etc. If this is not enough, you may opt for any of the available paid accounts:
- Professional – costs $12/month and already includes a 1-year free domain and removed Square ads.
- Performance – costs $26/month with all features from the previous plan + lost sales recovery function, clients’ reviews, and more.
- Premium – costs $72/month. It ensures lower processing rates and additionally offers a shipping calculator.
Keep in mind that Square establishes additional processing fees that are 2.9% + 30¢ in addition to the account cost.
If you do not want to buy Square accounts, you may simply opt for Weebly plans that include integration with the platform. The plans that will suit your needs are:
- Professional costing $16 per month.
- Performance costing $29 per month.
Both plans come with a free domain, SSL, integration with Square, and other features.
Squarespace initially has 4 plans for different needs. But as we are planning to launch a digital store, we will look for packages that already have eCommerce features. They include:
- Business Plan costs $18 per month and offers baseline eCommerce tools.
- Basic Commerce costs $26 per month. It will suit growing shops with integrated POS solutions, customer accounts, and 0% transaction fees.
- Advanced Commerce costs $40 per month. It offers advanced marketing tools, cart abandonment prevention, discounts, email marketing, etc.
Square may seem to be cheaper to get started at first. However, you will need to upgrade your account in case you want to scale your business while Squarespace offers affordable plans with all needed functions. Besides, additional Square functions are paid as well.
Square vs Squarespace: Which One Is the Best for SEO?
Square initially cannot offer SEO tools to optimize the website and content. All you can do is to add item titles and descriptions to the product page. On the other hand, we consider it as a backend for Weebly. The website builder offers keyword tracking tools, as well as a chance to edit meta tags for each website page.
Squarespace provides a custom SEO guideline and checklist that can be found inside the dashboard. It contains instructions and tips to boost the store search engine ranks. Users are free to edit and update page titles and descriptions, change content formatting, and more. If you are new to the process of SEO optimization, you may consult local experts.
The two platforms look similar in terms of SEO options. They have the same functionality. However, Squarespace seems to care about its users more thanks to an ultimate SEO checklist integrated into the dashboard along with the team of SEO experts always ready to help.
Which is The Best for eCommerce – Square or Squarespace?
Square works great for small and medium businesses, as it is limited by the features delivered by the Weebly ecosystem (see Square website examples). Besides, it does not reserve some room for scaling. But if you do not plan to grow into a global marketplace with thousands of goods to sell worldwide, Square provides everything you might need to sell items, process payments, launch promotions and campaigns, and track stats.
The only problem here is that Square is a backend solution but not a stand-alone website builder. So, if you do not like using Weebly or other software compatible with the system, you will have to look for a Square alternative.
Squarespace is an all-in-one eCommerce platform for users who want to build, launch, and scale their digital stores (see Squarespace ecommerce sites). It is easy to use with clear and intuitive shop settings. Most of the features are already integrated without the need to manage them manually. The system has a powerful reporting feature, a variety of marketing and promotion tools, integrated payment options, shopping cart, and checkout functionality.
Both platforms were designed with eCommerce users in mind. They work great for online shops but only until you need to grow your business. This is where Squarespace wins as a stand-alone website builder packed with necessary merchants’ services and online techniques.
Key Differences between Square and Squarespace:
|Ease of Use:||Good for newbies and non-technicians||Good for beginners and experienced web designers|
|Functionality:||Backend solution to be used with a website builder (Weebly)||Drag-and-drop editor + templates will built-in features|
|Design:||Typical digital store layouts||100+ themes for different niches including eCommerce|
|eCommerce:||Inventory management, POS, virtual terminal, mobile payments, promotions||Editable cart and checkout page, advanced analytics and email marketing|
|Blogging:||No blogging||Integrated blogging feature|
|Small Business:||Works only for online and land-based shops||Great for small businesses, portfolios, etc.|
|Pricing:||From $0 to $72 per month||From $12 to $40 per month|
|SEO:||Item titles and descriptions for the product page||Title and description editing, SEO setup guide|
|Customer Support:||Tutorials & guides, Square online community, ticketing system||Live Chat, integrated assistant, tutorials, and articles|
Which One Is Better for Online Store: Square or Squarespace?
Before you decide, which platform to choose, you need to set clear goals. Try to plan your business ahead and consider moments when you might need to scale and grow it. So, make sure the system you opt for delivers enough tools for that.
Square comes with a great Commerce package that includes product management, promotions, email marketing, tracking, and more. But it works only for small/ medium projects. Besides, it is not a stand-alone website builder but only a backend solution to be used with another software and Weebly in particular. It means you will need to manage two systems at the same time despite automated inventory synchronization.
Squarespace looks like a better option (see also Squarespace alternatives) with all needed instruments in one place. You will benefit from stylish and customizable platforms, already integrated eCommerce functions including shopping cart, payment gateways, and so on. Besides the system offers additional tools such as sales loss recovery, reward programs, etc. Also note SEO settings, customization, and design features that are great to create an engaging digital store from the ground.