We recently received an email from a reader asking which eCommerce platform is better: Squarespace or Volusion. Well, these site builders aren’t directly comparable, because they have different user market and are used for different purposes. Nevertheless, we’ll try to outline the key differences between these site builders in today’s post.
The goal of today’s post is that by the end of it, you will know how to choose the right eCommerce platform to suit your needs. If you’re not interested in reading the full version of the article, you cam jump directly to our brief Volusion vs Squarespace comparison.
Choosing an ecommerce platform is a tricky task, since each player makes it hard for you to compare pricing and features, and you simply end up picking the most famous one. Our goal here is to help you take an informed decision.
Before comparing eCommerce options, take the time to define what you need now, and what you may need in the future. A good eCommerce platform is one that solves your current problems, and leaves enough room for growth and deeper customization.
So, here are some of the most popular eCommerce solutions, and our take on them:
If you have a pre-existing website you’d like to start selling from, and you only have a few products in stock, then you don’t have to completely rebuild your website – ‘Buy now’ or ‘Add to cart’ buttons might be the smartest (and easiest) solution for you.
Integrating them is as easy as copy-and-pasting some code where you’d like that button displayed. All the heavy lifting – creating the payment form and ensuring that everything’s secure – will be handled for you. This is called hosted checkout.
Some of the most popular services of this kind are PayPal, Amazon Payments, 2Checkout and others. Most are free to use, but you’ll be charged a per transaction fee.
Embedded shopping carts
If you have a pre-existing website, but you have a variety of products to sell online, then embedded shopping carts might be what you need.
How it works. First, you need to create an account with a web service providing embeddable shopping carts, let’s say Ecwid. Once you have completed your Ecwid profile, you can easily add your store to many sites. This technology makes it look as though your store is on your site, but technically, it is hosted on Ecwid.
Hosted shopping carts
If you don’t have a website yet, or you need something more powerful than a copy-paste button or embedded shopping cart, then a hosted shopping cart or eCommerce site builder might be the most reasonable option for you.
These are also pretty easy-to-use. You don’t have to see any code if you don’t want to. All you need is to sign up and start customizing a default website.
The choice of hosted eCommerce options is enormous. There are both lightweight and feature-heavy solutions. Let’s compare Volusion vs Squarespace to give you a better understanding of how these services operate.
Volusion. Volusion is an industry-specific site builder that allows for creating full-featured webstores. Here are some features: recurring payments, customer accounts, product import/export, coupons/discounts/gift certificates, newsletters, ROI tracking and even the ability to set up your own affiliate program.
With Volusion, you can choose from over 50 payment gateways. Volusion plans start at $15/mo. The most expensive subscription is $135/mo.
Disadvantages: You can’t set up a blog with Volusion. If your business needs a blog, then this site builder isn’t the best option.
Squarespace. Unlike Volusion, Squarespace is a versatile site builder that offers a built-in commerce solution. It isn’t as powerful as that of Volusion, and is currently only available in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada. Squarespace Commerce is more affordable – the most expensive plan is $24-$30/mo and lets you sell unlimited products.
Disadvantages: Squarespace isn’t focused solely on commerce, so its feature set is inferior to the ones offered by niche site builders. The good news is that you can easily add a blog to your Squarespace store.
If you have a WordPress website, you can take advantage of a shopping cart plugin. There are many trusted plugins developed specifically for WordPress.
This option works best for those who want to keep their WordPress site. Some of the most popular plugins are Jigoshop, WooCommerce and others.
To wrap it up
Choosing a free or cheap solution seems to make sense when you have a few products to sell, but it might cause problems in a year when you need to expand your online shop. So make sure you choose a platform that lets you improve your webstore as your business grows.