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1. Understanding Shopify and Squarespace

Shopify vs. Squarespace [2023]: What's right for your business?

In 2023, the digital marketplace continues flourishing, with platforms like Shopify and Squarespace leading the charge, empowering businesses to establish robust online presence. 

Both platforms are revered for their unique strengths, yet the decision of which to adopt hinges on individual business needs and aspirations. 

As ecommerce evolves, so do the capabilities of these platforms, making it essential for entrepreneurs to discern their nuances. 

Dive into our detailed comparison of Shopify and Squarespace to ascertain which platform aligns best with your business objectives, ensuring a streamlined and prosperous online journey.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Shopify is a dedicated ecommerce platform with robust features for online selling, while Squarespace is a versatile website builder with ecommerce capabilities tailored for creatives and smaller businesses.

  • Shopify is streamlined for ecommerce, making it user-friendly for online store setups. Squarespace is design-focused, with a slight learning curve for newcomers.

  • Shopify has varied pricing tiers and offers more ecommerce customization. Squarespace offers flat-rate pricing and excels in design customization.

  • Shopify is built for advanced ecommerce needs (multi-channel selling, inventory management). Squarespace is ideal for basic online selling.

  • Choose Shopify if ecommerce is your focus, especially on an international scale. Opt for Squarespace if you prioritize design and have light ecommerce needs.

Understanding Shopify and Squarespace

Before comparing, let's look at what Shopify and Squarespace are.

Having a reliable and user-friendly platform is crucial when building an online presence. This is where Shopify and Squarespace come into play. Both platforms offer unique features and tools that cater to the needs of businesses, but they differ in their approach and target audience.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is a leading ecommerce platform that empowers businesses to create and manage their online stores. With its intuitive interface and robust features, the Shopify site has become a go-to choice for entrepreneurs looking to establish a successful online business.

One of the key advantages of Shopify is its ease of use. Even with little technical knowledge, you can quickly set up your online store and start selling products. Shopify provides a wide range of customizable themes and Shopify templates, allowing you to create a visually appealing storefront that aligns with your brand. You can take advantage of advanced Shopify features on Shopify+ as well.

  • User-friendly: Even those without a technical background can set up and run a Shopify store with ease.

  • All-in-one solution: Shopify provides hosting, security, payment gateways, and all the essential elements required to launch an ecommerce site.

  • App ecosystem: The Shopify App Store offers many apps that can extend the functionality of your online store.

  • Secure and reliable: Shopify provides SSL certification and ensures that your store is PCI compliant. Plus, it offers excellent uptime, ensuring your store is always online.

  • Mobile responsive: Shopify themes are optimized for mobile devices, an essential feature as mobile ecommerce grows.

  • Multiple sales channels: You can sell not only through your store but also on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon.

  • Transaction fees: Unless you use Shopify Payments, you will incur additional transaction fees.

  • Limited customization with basic plan: For advanced customization, you often need to upgrade to more expensive plans or hire a developer.

  • URL structure: Shopify's URL structure isn't as clean or customizable as some would prefer, which can be a minor SEO concern.

  • Migration issues: If you decide to move away from Shopify in the future, migrating your store can be a challenging task.

  • Costly advanced features: Some advanced features and integrations require purchasing apps, which can add up.

What is Squarespace?

On the other hand, Squarespace is a versatile website builder offering ecommerce functionality. It is known for its stunning templates and user-friendly interface, making it a popular choice among creative professionals, artists, and small businesses.

With Squarespace, you can create visually appealing websites without any coding knowledge. Its drag-and-drop editor allows you to customize your site's layout, fonts, colors, and more. Squarespace also offers a wide range of templates designed to showcase your products or services in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

  • Sleek design: Squarespace offers a range of beautifully designed templates that are both modern and responsive.

  • User-friendly: The drag-and-drop editor makes it easy for users without any coding knowledge to create and customize their site.

  • All-in-one platform: Hosting, domains, SSL certificates, and other essentials are included. This unified approach simplifies the website-building process.

  • Mobile-optimized: All templates are optimized for mobile devices, ensuring a seamless browsing experience for users on any device.

  • Blogging tools: Squarespace has built-in blogging tools that rival other dedicated blogging platforms.

  • Ecommerce ready: It provides tools for online stores, including inventory management, product variations, and secure checkout.

  • Limited customization: Advanced users might find the customization options limited, especially regarding complex functionalities.

  • Price: Some users believe that its plans are a bit pricey, especially when considering the costs of additional features or integrations.

  • Limited apps & extensions: Unlike some competitors, Squarespace doesn't have a vast ecosystem of third-party apps or extensions.

  • Learning curve: While user-friendly, there's a slight learning curve, especially for those new to website builders.

  • Ecommerce limitations: While suitable for small to medium-sized businesses, its ecommerce capabilities might not be robust enough for larger online stores.

Shopify vs. Squarespace [2023]: What's right for your business?

Shopify and Squarespace, two of the most prominent names in online platforms, remain top choices for entrepreneurs and businesses. Each comes with its strengths, suited for different business needs. Let's dive deep into a comparative analysis to decide which platform aligns best with your objectives.

Ease of use

  • Shopify: Known for its user-friendly interface, the Shopify website offers a drag-and-drop builder with intuitive navigation. Shopify dashboard is streamlined for ecommerce, making it straightforward for those looking to set up an online store quickly.

  • Squarespace: While also offering a drag-and-drop interface, Squarespace is more design-focused. Creating visually appealing websites is easy but might take a slight learning curve for beginners.


  • Shopify: The Shopify store offers multiple pricing tiers, from the basic package suitable for new businesses to more advanced packages catering to scaling and large businesses. Remember to account for additional costs from plugins or transaction fees for your ecommerce website.

  • Squarespace: With its flat-rate pricing structure, Squarespace can be more budget-friendly for small businesses. Ecommerce features are available in higher-tier plans.


  • Shopify: Its extensive theme store and Shopify apps integration provide a higher level of customization, especially for ecommerce functionalities.

  • Squarespace: Squarespace excels in design customization with an array of modern templates, although it might not be as feature-rich as Shopify for ecommerce.


  • Shopify: Offers robust analytics features. Users can track sales, customer data, and other ecommerce-specific metrics.

  • Squarespace: Provides comprehensive Google analytics insights, including traffic sources and user behavior, but might not delve as deep into ecommerce analytics as Shopify.


  • Shopify: Built with ecommerce SEO in mind, it offers SEO-friendly product listings, meta descriptions, and URL structures.

  • Squarespace: Comes with strong SEO tools for website content but might require third-party integrations for advanced ecommerce SEO.

Payment processing

  • Shopify: Integrates seamlessly with many payment gateways, including its own Shopify Payments.

  • Squarespace: Primarily uses Stripe, which might be limiting for some international businesses.

Marketing features

  • Shopify: Even a basic Shopify website offers advanced tools like abandoned cart recovery, email marketing, and integration with social selling platforms.

  • Squarespace: While a Squarespace website provides essential marketing tools, it might not be as ecommerce-centric as Shopify.


  • Shopify: The Shopify app store boasts various apps with thousands of plugins catering to nearly every business need.

  • Squarespace: Has its integrations for essential tools but doesn’t offer as vast a range as Shopify.

Ecommerce features

  • Shopify: Being primarily an ecommerce platform, Shopify excels in features like inventory management, product listings, and multi-channel selling.

  • Squarespace: Suitable for businesses with light ecommerce needs, offering basic online selling capabilities.


  • Shopify: Highly scalable, catering to both startups and large online stores. The platform grows with your business.

  • Squarespace: Ideal for small to mid-sized businesses. Larger ecommerce operations might find it restrictive.

Suitability for selling internationally

  • Shopify: Designed for global ecommerce with multi-currency, global payment gateways, and localization features.

  • Squarespace: This can serve international audiences but might not be as tailored for global ecommerce as Shopify.

Choosing between Shopify and Squarespace boils down to your business needs. If you're heavily focused on ecommerce, especially with an eye on international expansion, Shopify's specialized tools might be more beneficial.

Who wins the Shopify vs Squarespace battle?

Where Shopify wins

Shopify and Squarespace serve somewhat different core audiences, though there is overlap in their offerings, particularly when it comes to ecommerce. Here's where Shopify generally has an edge over Squarespace:

  • Ecommerce focus: Shopify was built as an ecommerce platform first, and this focus is evident in its robust set of tools tailored specifically for online selling. Squarespace started as a website builder and later added ecommerce functionalities.

  • App ecosystem: Shopify boasts a vast App Store with thousands of third-party integrations and plugins that can add a wide array of functionalities to a store. Squarespace's extension marketplace is comparatively limited.

  • Scalability: Shopify can cater to a broad range of businesses, from small startups to high-growth businesses and enterprise-level operations with Shopify Plus. Squarespace is generally more suitable for small to medium-sized businesses.

  • Point of Sale (POS): Shopify offers its POS system, allowing seamless integration between online and brick-and-mortar sales. Squarespace also offers a POS system, but it's limited and not as mature as Shopify's.

  • Payment gateways: Shopify integrates with many payment gateways globally, providing flexibility to merchants in different countries. Squarespace has fewer payment options in comparison.

  • Customization: While both platforms offer themes/templates, Shopify allows for deeper customization, especially with access to the platform's Liquid code.

Where Squarespace wins

While Shopify is renowned for its comprehensive ecommerce functionalities, Squarespace has its own advantages, especially for specific user profiles and use cases. Here's where Squarespace generally has an edge over Shopify:

  • Design & templates: Squarespace is renowned for its aesthetically pleasing and professionally designed templates. The platform is designed for users who prioritize visual appeal and want a website that looks polished without requiring a designer.

  • All-in-one solution: Squarespace offers a holistic approach with website building, blogging, and ecommerce all in one platform. This can benefit users who want a unified solution without hopping between platforms.

  • Ease of use: For users without any technical background or those who don't want to mess with coding, Squarespace provides an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that is straightforward to use.

  • Content creation: Squarespace is inherently strong in content creation. Its blogging features are more developed than Shopify's, making it an excellent choice for content-heavy sites or those that combine content marketing with ecommerce.

  • Pricing transparency: Squarespace has clear, straightforward pricing without additional transaction fees if you use third-party payment gateways. Shopify charges transaction fees unless you use Shopify Payments.

  • Built-in features: Many features with Squarespace (like SSL certificates or certain ecommerce features) might require external apps or additional costs on Shopify.

Where does Shopify and Squarespace tie

Shopify and Squarespace, while distinct in many ways, do have overlapping strengths and functionalities. Here's where they often tie or are comparable:

  • Customer support: Both platforms offer robust customer support, with live chat, email support, and extensive documentation available. They're both dedicated to helping users overcome challenges.

  • Mobile responsiveness: Shopify and Squarespace provide mobile-responsive templates, ensuring that sites look good and function well on various devices.

  • Security: Both platforms offer SSL certificates for their sites, ensuring that data transferred between the website and its visitors is encrypted and secure.

  • SEO capabilities: While the specific tools and features might differ slightly, both platforms strongly focus on SEO. They offer the necessary tools to optimize sites for search engines.

  • Social media integration: Both platforms allow easy integration with various social media platforms, making it simple to market products on different channels.

Use cases of Shopify and Squarespace

Shopify and Squarespace are among the most popular website builders and ecommerce platforms. Here's an overview of their suitability for different use cases:

Ecommerce businesses

  • Specialized for ecommerce: Shopify was built primarily for ecommerce, offering extensive tools tailored for online sales.

  • Integration with multiple payment gateways: Shopify integrates with many payment gateways globally.

  • Expandability: With its dedicated App Store, businesses can easily expand functionalities as they grow.

  • Print on demand integration: It seamlessly integrates with Gelato for those looking to dropship.

  • Integrated solution: Squarespace offers a sleek, all-in-one solution with beautiful templates.

  • Ease of use: It's user-friendly, especially for beginners.

Verdict for ecommerce

For serious ecommerce businesses, especially those planning to scale, Shopify would generally be a more suitable choice due to its specialized ecommerce tools and broader integration options.

Artists and photographers

  • Sell art/photographs: Artists can easily set up shop to sell prints or originals.

  • Customization: With a range of apps and plugins available, artists can customize their site to have features specific to their needs.

  • Digital products support: For those selling digital art or photo prints, Shopify supports digital product sales natively.

  • Print on demand integration: Shopify integrates with print on demand services, like Gelato, making it easy for photographers and artists to sell prints without managing inventory.

  • Stunning templates: Squarespace is known for its aesthetic appeal, which is great for showcasing art and photography.

  • Portfolio features: Built-in portfolio layouts are tailored for artists and photographers.

  • Integrated online store: For artists looking to sell occasionally, this ecommerce platform is sufficient.

Verdict for artists and photographers

For those primarily focused on showcasing their work, Squarespace is typically the better choice due to its visually appealing templates and portfolio-centric features. However, if selling art is the primary focus, Shopify might be worth considering.


  • Monetization flexibility: If bloggers want to introduce merchandise or physical products in the future, Shopify offers an easy transition into ecommerce.

  • Extensive app ecosystem: The vast app store can help bloggers integrate features like SEO tools, social media feeds, or email marketing services.

  • Built-in analytics: Shopify provides robust analytics to help bloggers understand their audience's behavior and tailor their content accordingly.

  • Stunning templates: Known for its visually appealing designs, Squarespace offers a range of beautiful templates ideal for bloggers who want a visually-driven blog.

  • All-in-one platform: Squarespace has integrated analytics, SEO tools, and social sharing capabilities, making it easier for bloggers to manage everything from one dashboard.

  • Affordability: For bloggers not looking into ecommerce, Squarespace can be more affordable, especially when considering the features included in the base price.

  • Easy to use: With its drag-and-drop interface, even those new to blogging can create and customize their site without a steep learning curve.

Verdict for bloggers

For those primarily focused on blogging, Squarespace would generally be more suitable because of its integrated blogging tools and visual layouts. However, if one's blogging supplements their online store, Shopify might make sense.

Gelato's print on demand solution: The ideal way to sell custom products on Shopify and Squarespace

In the digital age, customization is king. Customers crave products that resonate personally with them, making print on demand solutions like Gelato pivotal for businesses. Whether you're using Shopify or Squarespace, integrating Gelato can transform your ecommerce game. Here's how:

  • Custom products made easy: With Gelato, it is seamless to sell custom products, be it t-shirts, mugs, or even bespoke wall art featuring your unique photos and artwork. There is no need for bulk inventories or vast storage spaces; products are printed only when ordered, ensuring efficiency and reducing overhead costs.

  • Flawless integration with both platforms: Gelato's API integrates effortlessly with both Shopify and Squarespace. This seamless integration means a smoother customer experience and less backend hassle.

  • Global reach with local production: One of Gelato's strongest suits is its vast global network. It allows for products to be produced closer to the customer. This reduces shipping times and costs and ensures better environmental sustainability by minimizing transportation.

  • Quality assurance: Gelato isn't just about convenience; it's about quality. Whether it's a custom t-shirt or wall art, you're guaranteed premium printing that'll make your designs pop.

  • Dynamic product options: From apparel and phone cases to custom wall art with personal photos or artwork, Gelato offers a broad range of products. This diversity means you can offer customers more choices, catering to a wider audience.

  • Simplified logistics: Gelato takes care of production and shipping, simplifying logistics. As a business owner, you can focus on design, marketing, and customer engagement rather than the nitty-gritty of order fulfillment.

  • Optimal pricing models: With print on demand, you only pay for what you sell. No bulk orders or dead stock. Gelato offers competitive pricing, ensuring good profit margins for your business.

  • Real-time updates: Stay informed at all times. With Gelato's integration on Shopify and Squarespace site, receive real-time updates on order status, shipments, and tracking, ensuring you and your customers are always in the loop.

  • Showcase your art: For artists, photographers, and designers, this is a golden opportunity. Transform your artwork into custom mugs, phone cases, wall art, apparel, and more. Gelato allows you to monetize your creativity on a global scale.

In the ecommerce world, differentiation is crucial. Gelato's print on demand solution provides just that, enabling businesses on Shopify and Squarespace to offer custom products with ease and efficiency. Whether you're an artist wanting to sell custom wall art or an entrepreneur eyeing the broad market of custom products, Gelato's integration with these platforms makes it a choice par excellence. Sign up for Gelato today!


Which platform is more user-friendly for beginners?

Both platforms are designed to be user-friendly. Shopify has a more streamlined approach to ecommerce, allowing even those with little technical knowledge to set up an online store. Squarespace provides a design-focused interface with a slight learning curve for those new to website building.

How do the pricing models of Shopify and Squarespace compare?

Shopify offers multiple pricing tiers, from a basic package and extending to advanced options for large businesses. Costs might also arise from additional plugins or transaction fees. Squarespace uses a flat-rate pricing structure, with ecommerce features becoming available in higher-tier plans.

Which platform is better for scaling my business?

Shopify is designed to be highly scalable, catering to both new entrepreneurs and massive online ventures. It's built to grow with your business. Squarespace is more suited for small to medium-sized businesses; larger ecommerce operations might find it limiting regarding advanced features.


Next steps

Start selling products with Gelato