Squarespace ecommerce: Review of the Squarespace shop for small businesses 2020
With stunning templates and plenty of design flexibility, we recommend Squarespace if you want maximum creative control over your online shop
But it’s not all surface. Squarespace offers top quality sales features to help you build an online shop that not only looks great, but works well too – and all for a great price.
That’s why we ranked Squarespace second in our definitive list of the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses.
But is a Squarespace shop the right choice for your business?
To help you decide, we’ve put Squarespace ecommerce through its paces by testing it on the key factors we know matter most to you, including ease of use, sales features, and the help and support on offer.
Read on for our comprehensive review.
Squarespace ecommerce overview
As a non-ecommerce-specific website builder with a focus on design and affordable pricing, Squarespace is a close rival to Wix, which narrowly pipped it to the post in our guide to the best ecommerce platforms for small businesses.
But what really shines for Squarespace ecommerce is its design flexibility. On top of having some of the most aesthetically appealing templates on the market – described as “sleek, stylish, and modern” by our researchers – it gives you the freedom to customise your website to your heart's content.
And that goes a long way. Having an attractive and well-designed website is half the battle when it comes to projecting an image of professionalism, securing customers, and making sales.
Our testers also admired the “depth and quality” of Squarespace’s ecommerce features, which support its customers in effectively managing and running their online stores. Whether you sell products or sell services, you’ll find a range of in-built and third party tools to suit your needs.
However, some testers found that the creative freedom offered came at the cost of ease of use: the backend editing function isn’t as intuitive as rivals', for example. And although its sales features are top notch, it offers fewer payment options than other ecommerce platforms.
Overall, though, your Squarespace online shop will look fantastic – and have you shifting products like there’s no tomorrow.
Squarespace ecommerce pricing
A Squarespace ecommerce plan will cost you anything from £15/month to £30/month (when paid annually).
That’s great value when you take into account the quality of website you can create, and the comprehensive range of sales features on offer.
All prices listed are paid annually. You’ll be paying about 25% more every month if you choose to pay on a rolling monthly basis.
- Fully integrated ecommerce
- 3% transaction fee
- Sell unlimited products
- No commerce transaction fees
- Point of sale integration
- Customer accounts
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Powerful ecommerce analytics
- Advanced shipping
There is an additional premium services package, Squarespace Select, which combines the builder’s most advanced packages with ‘white glove’ services, including a dedicated account manager, design and SEO consultations, and priority support.
Squarespace also offers custom solutions for larger organisations, or those with more unique needs.
Contact Squarespace for more information on its Select package, or other custom solutions.
Our methodology: How did we evaluate Squarespace ecommerce for small businesses?
We’ve ranked Squarespace as our second best ecommerce platform for small businesses based on extensive user testing, and an assessment of the six key factors that matter most to you – the small business owners.
Those six factors are website features, sales features, design flexibility, help and support, value for money, and ease of use.
Each factor was given a score out of 5. Those six scores were then combined to get the overall score.
Squarespace achieved a very commendable 4.5. Let’s see how those scores break down.
Squarespace websites come with a comprehensive suite of tools and services to help you succeed, including analytics, marketing, and third party extensions.
However, you should note that your access to certain features depends on whether you choose a Classic, Advanced, or Unique template. For example, the Advanced templates can do everything the Classic ones can, but with the addition of features such as quick view and zoom.
Squarespace’s SEO support is limited in comparison to other builders. However, it has recently upgraded its marketing capabilities with the ability to conduct email campaigns, and feature promotional pop-ups and social media live feeds on your website pages.
It also has a pretty nifty logo maker, which enables you to easily design and create a logo for use across your business website.
Squarespace offers an excellent range of high quality ecommerce features to help you manage your online store, nearly all of which are in-built, rather than third party (as with Wix).
Products and inventory
Unlike some of its rivals that impose restrictions, Squarespace ecommerce allows you to sell unlimited physical, digital, and service-based products on your site.
It’s easy to manage products from the backend, with tags, categories, and a drag-and-drop sorting tool. You can then add rich product descriptions, embed images and videos, and link internally to related products to give your shoppers a great browsing experience.
Within the inventory space, you can use stock management tools, revenue reports, and stock level email alerts to help monitor your product sales.
Squarespace ecommerce supports quite a limited range of payment options, including PayPal and Stripe. It doesn’t directly allow digital wallet-type payments, but customers can choose to make an Apple Pay payment within Stripe.
If you intend to offer any of your products on a recurring basis, you can also offer your customers a subscription plan.
If you don’t opt for a Basic Commerce or Advanced Commerce plan, Squarespace will charge you two fees: a payment processor fee, and a Squarespace transaction fee (3%).
But it’s easy to avoid this additional fee by choosing the Basic or Advanced Commerce plan from the start, which will probably save you money in the long run.
Multichannel integration is limited with Squarespace, but you can choose to place product tags on Instagram posts. These will redirect anyone who clicks on them onto your site, where they can then pay for items. This feature starts at an additional £14/month.
With the Squarespace Checkout Style Editor, you can customise the colouring, logo, and headers to match the aesthetic of your site. It might seem trivial, but consistent branding throughout the payment process helps to maintain trust.
You can set up custom emails to be automatically sent to your customers, for everything from creating an account to abandoning a basket or shipping an order. Guest checkout is not currently supported, so anyone making a purchase will have to create an account.
Squarespace shipping is supported by UPS, which enables you to automatically calculate shipping rates for different regions.
You can also add on a third party app called ShipStation, which prints shipping labels in bulk for all major carriers. It can help you save time on fulfilling orders, and offers discounted rates on specific carriers like FedEx.
Squarespace does not currently support selling in multiple currencies, but it does provide a number of features that support those selling overseas.
For example, setting up alternative shipping options for customers in different global regions is a very efficient process, and taxes are automatically amended based on whatever shipping zone is selected.
Squarespace has a nice range of analytics available through its sales overview dashboard, including revenue, order volume, and conversions.
It also allows you to track the purchase funnel, and break down what percentage of people who viewed a product went on to buy it.
However, unlike some major ecommerce builders, Squarespace does not support stock monitoring statistics. This can make things difficult as your business grows, and shifts more and more stock.
Squarespace users can rest safe in the knowledge that their website is protected by a comprehensive range of security features, including free SSL certificates, secure customer accounts, and Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance.
Unfortunately, Squarespace offers very little in the way of third party accounting apps. However, you can print individual and bulk invoices, and make use of the analytics we discussed earlier for your bookkeeping.
Squarespace is our top ranked platform for creative control. It might have fewer templates than its rivals, but those that it does have look stunning, and can be edited to your heart’s content.
And unlike with many other builders, you can change your template at any given time, so there’s no great pressure to choose the right one the first time round.
The only minor issue is that, although your website content will be repopulated on the new template, the navigation link order might not follow – meaning you’ll personally have to rearrange it.
Help and support
Deleted pages and blog posts can be restored up to 30 days after their removal.
Squarespace has a live chat function, but no phone support. However, its knowledge forum is regarded as one of the most trustworthy and supportive in the industry. You should be able to find answers to most of your questions here.
Value for money
Squarespace ecommerce compares very favourably with the likes of Shopify and BigCommerce when it comes to value for money. Its sales features are just as good as these two ecommerce-specific platforms, and yet it’s much cheaper.
Ease of use
Although our testers thought Squarespace’s editing interface was “clean and easy to navigate”, they also found it quite challenging to use. There are very few visual cues to guide you, and you can only use the ‘undo’ button while editing.
However, our testers suggested that these challenges come hand in hand with a great deal of design flexibility – a small price to pay if you really value your creative freedom.
Squarespace ecommerce verdict
Squarespace ecommerce offers sales features to rival any of its competitors, as well as the most stylish templates of any builder we’ve reviewed – and it’s great value to boot!
If you want to take full advantage of Squarespace’s extensive features and really hit the ground running with your online shop, we’d recommend opting for one of its more premium plans from the off. Its Advance ecommerce plan is the only one that gives you abandoned cart recovery, advanced shipping, and commerce APIs.
Those who are new to building an online shop may find Squarespace quite challenging to use. But if you’re prepared to be challenged, we’d wager you’ll end up with a better looking website than you would if you used a rival platform.
Can you sell things on Squarespace?
You can start selling online with any of Squarespace’s plans except its Personal plan.
Ecommerce functionality is introduced with Business, and gets progressively more advanced as you upgrade. We would recommend choosing either its Basic Commerce or Advanced Commerce plan if you want to create a fully functional, fully optimised shop.
Is Squarespace good for ecommerce?
Squarespace’s sales features are more than a match for any of the ecommerce-specific builders.
We think it’s a great choice for any small business that wants to build an online shop that works well and looks great.
Is Squarespace better than Shopify?
It really depends what your priorities are. Squarespace is better if you want a great looking online shop. But if you want a more powerful ecommerce foundation for your online store, Shopify is probably a better option.
Shopify offers more sophisticated backend functionality when it comes to scaling your business and adding hundreds of products. However, you can’t just build a website on Shopify, whereas Squarespace gives you the tools to create an amazing website, then build an online store into it.
How much is Squarespace ecommerce?
Squarespace ecommerce plans range in price from £15 to £30/month when paid annually. The more you’re prepared to spend, the more comprehensive your ecommerce package will be.
How do I add an ecommerce site to Squarespace?
It’s easy to add ecommerce functionality to your Squarespace site. Just select one of its Commerce plans to gain access to a suite of essential sales features, and other tools you can use to make your online shop a success.
Here’s how to get started:
- Find an ecommerce template
- Register or transfer your business’s domain name
- Start adding products and connect a payment processor
- Alternatively, if you sell services, you can set up appointments through Squarespace scheduling
- Use the website builder to customise your online store categories and content