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5 min read

Shopify vs. Squarespace: Which website builder is best in 2022?

By Amanda Pell · July 5, 2022
Hero image with the logos of Shopify and Squarespace

As a child of the 2000s, I have firsthand horror stories about what it used to take to make even the most rudimentary website. I grappled with (and lost to) dinosaurs like Macromedia Dreamweaver, and I remember knowing with certainty that I was never going to become a web creator. But today, the hardest part of building a website isn't the construction itself—it's choosing the platform with which to build it.

Two of the most popular and powerful drag-and-drop website builders, particularly for eCommerce sellers, are Shopify and Squarespace. After spending time developing test sites with both platforms, I put together this guide to help you determine which website builder best fits your needs.

Shopify vs. Squarespace at a glance

Let's just call a spade a spade: Shopify and Squarespace don't offer the same service. Shopify is designed for eCommerce sellers to create functional online storefronts, while Squarespace is a general-purpose website builder designed as much for personal use as for business selling. 




⭐⭐⭐⭐ Generally more expensive than Squarespace, but not by much; offers a much wider suite of tools and features for your money

⭐⭐⭐⭐ Marginally cheaper than Shopify, but with significantly fewer eCommerce features

eCommerce capabilities

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Sellers could operate long-term using the comprehensive tools included in Basic plan; mid-range plan adds better reporting capabilities and automated workflows

⭐⭐⭐ Basic commerce plan includes only the truly basic eCommerce necessities; users must upgrade to standard plan for access to a more comprehensive suite of tools; automation is not an option with any plan


⭐⭐⭐ Ample tools to create a professional store and site, but fewer templates and less polish than Squarespace

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Huge template library, advanced product display options, and additional apps for creating high-quality visual content

Apps and integrations

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Massive app marketplace with hundreds of sales, marketing, fulfillment, store management, and accounting integrations; integrates with Zapier

⭐⭐⭐ Integrates with a handful of platforms and offers a short list of extensions, but nowhere near as robust as Shopify's offerings; integrates with Zapier for form submissions

If you're scaling a store, Shopify offers a stronger suite of tools to do it

Both Shopify and Squarespace provide all of the tools you need to run an eCommerce store, but Shopify provides the tools you need to run an eCommerce store really well. Shopify shines in areas that make clear that it was built by people who know what it takes to do eCommerce.

  • Sales: From your Shopify home base, you can integrate directly with other sales channels and sell via Facebook Marketplace, Instagram Ads, TikTok Ads, and even Amazon and Walmart.

  • Payments: Shopify works with a long list of payment gateways, including the usual suspects like Apple Pay and PayPal, pay-later platforms like Affirm and Klarna, and even international and crypto-based payment systems. Squarespace, on the other hand, only works with PayPal, Stripe, and Apple Pay.

  • Shipping: With direct USPS, UPS, DHL, and dropshipping integrations, Shopify allows sellers to calculate carrier rates, print labels, and take advantage of major shipping discounts all within the platform. 

  • In-person selling: Shopify has its own point-of-sale system with transaction rates that are lower than Squarespace, which only offers point-of-sale capabilities via Square.

Shopify also has a massive library of apps that you can use to add any number of extra business functionalities, from inventory management and invoicing to automatic page translation and GDPR compliance management. Squarespace has a reasonable list of integrations as well, but nowhere near the amount and variety offered by Shopify.

Screenshot of Shopify's app marketplace
Shopify's expansive app marketplace provides powerful tools for eCommerce sellers.

These features won't matter quite as much to those who are just starting out or who are running a smaller, more basic business on the side; it's primarily those with an eCommerce focus who are aiming to scale who will really lean heavily on Shopify's additional features and tools.

Squarespace is more visually advanced and offers greater design options

Though Shopify is no slouch in the visuals department, Squarespace does have an edge when it comes to design. Both platforms utilize a no-code, block-based page editor that's easy to set up and edit. But the sheer number and quality of Squarespace's templates blows Shopify's pre-made designs out of the water.

Screenshot of Squarespace's selection of templates
Squarespace's template selection far outstrips Shopify's offerings.

I found that the process to add products was almost identical for both platforms, but Squarespace's product displays are leaps and bounds prettier than Shopify's. You can set up beautiful detail pages for each product, add zoom or lightbox functions for photo clicks, and even upload 360° turntable images for users to rotate. 

Screenshot of one example of Squarespace's product page layouts
Squarespace shines when it comes to product page visuals.

If you're a serious seller running a large-scale operation, the visual enhancements that Squarespace offers probably won't be worth sacrificing access to Shopify's more advanced eCommerce tools. But smaller businesses and solo sellers may find the trade-off worthwhile.

Both platforms offer great marketing tools, but for different types of users

In keeping with the theme, Shopify offers more functionality in its marketing tools, while the ads and marketing materials you create with Squarespace will be markedly more beautiful.

Shopify has a big leg up on Squarespace due to the fact that it allows you to sell on other marketplaces and sales channels like Facebook, Google, Pinterest, TikTok, and Instagram—all without installing any additional integrations or apps. Putting your products in more stores is going to lead to a natural increase in sales and brand awareness. The Shopify app marketplace offers hundreds of hyper-specific marketing tools, like pop-up ads and forms, spin-to-win widgets, reviews and loyalty programs, and more. 

Functionally, Squarespace's marketing tools are limited. It integrates with Amazon and Facebook, but only for tracking purposes; you can't sell via social sales channels directly from your Squarespace store. The platform does integrate with Mailchimp and Google Ads, but little else. 

What Squarespace does well, in marketing and across the board, is visual design. The platform has a supplementary app called Unfold that provides photo and editing tools for sellers to create beautiful social and on-site marketing materials.

Screenshot of Squarespace's marketing tools
Squarespace's tools help sellers create impressive visuals.

The app has templates for social posts and stories as well as highly aesthetic Linktree-style bio sites that can be used to collect all of a seller's various profiles and links. What it lacks, though, is tools to implement those marketing materials strategically.

Shopify vs. Squarespace: which should you choose?

Which platform you choose depends entirely on which features are most important to you. If you want a powerhouse eCommerce platform, you're going to want to go with Shopify. If you're more interested in cultivating a beautiful website experience and can live with slightly more limited sales and marketing tools, Squarespace is for you.

Once you've chosen, take a look at our guides on how to get the most out of each platform:

This article was originally published in July 2019 by Matt Ellis.

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