If you read this blog at all, you know I’m the Squarespace girl. But I don’t recommend Squarespace in ALL situations.
(I’ve been asked on a few occasions if I’m employed by Squarespace, and the answer is no. So I’m happy to say I can give an honest recommendation.)
I’d feel pretty guilty if I encouraged someone onto a website platform that really wasn’t a good fit and which makes that entrepreneurs life a heck of a lot harder.
So while I generally do recommend Squarespace, there are a select few situations where I’d recommend another platform to someone. One of those situations is related to e-commerce shops (but not all e-commerce shops!)
Read on for the situations when I’d recommend Squarespace and Shopify.
Squarespace is attractive to most people because it’s powerful but also truly easy to use, you don’t need a developer or designer to help you with your site. Creating a site, adding products and getting the whole thing launched to the world really is super easy and quick to do.
It’s also the clear winner in terms of ease of designing and customizing your sites look, as well as creating content on something like a blog.
Squarespace is an all-in-one platform which is another major draw. There’s no searching for plugins and very few situations when you’d need to add a 3rd party software on, because Squarespace really has thought of just about every website feature and function you may need, and built it straight into the platform.
This also means that because Squarespace is all-in-one, you don’t need to stress about security issues or some plugin leaving an area of weakness in your site.
I’m assuming if you’re currently considering Squarespace, those aspects are a pretty big draw for you. (Good thinking friend!)
Squarespace does have built-in e-commerce online shop functionality in the platform which is more than capable of not just the basics, but also some more advanced shop functionality.
But, the downside I see when it comes to Squarespace e-commerce is when it comes to the navigation options.
Squarespace doesn’t have the built-in ability to create navigation options like these 3 online stores:
(I say ‘built-in’ ability because technically you could code anything on Squarespace to create whatever you can dream up, but that involves hiring a developer and I’m assuming you just want to pick a platform that has what you want built-in, so you don’t have to hire a developer.)
Notice how once you hover over ‘Womens’ on Kiel James Patrick, there’s an arrow to the right showing more options within the ‘Womens’ category? That’s not a built-in ability with the Squarespace navigation options, so that wouldn’t be possible. (Unless you hire that developer.)
Same goes for the jumbo navigation options like with Nordstrom, where when you hover over a category and then columns and columns of subsection options appear.
And lastly as with this example from Gal Meets Glam, she has previews of dresses appearing in her navigation, that’s also not possible built-in with Squarespace.
So if those navigation options are important to you, Squarespace wouldn’t be an ideal choice and Shopify might be a better fit.
Shopify is the leader in e-commerce online shops. Shopify picked their niche and really became the leader in it, so kudos to you Shopify. (Shopify is one of the very few successful Canadian tech companies, so it holds a special place in my Canadian heart for that reason too.)
Shopify has ALL the bells and whistles you could ask for when it comes to an online store. Truly, it does it all.
But a platform that is uber powerful tends to also be not the easiest to work with, and I would say that Squarespce is generally easier to use.
If having a POS app (making sales in-person say at a market) or dropshipping is important to you, Shopify is the way to go, as that is functionality Squarespace just doesn’t have.
Use Shopify when:
You have a physical location
Makes sales in person
Have 200+ products and therefore need a lot of navigation options
Use Squarespace when:
There’s going to be a lot more to your website than just making online sales (creating a real brand, creating content, etc.)
Ease of use and design is very important to you
Have 200 products or less and therefore don’t need a lot of navigation options*
*I should clarify, a Squarespace online shop can indeed sell more than 200 items, organizing a lot of items though with Squarespaces navigation options is just not ideal.
If you do choose to go with Squarespace for your online shop, feel free to use the code PAIGE10 at checkout for 10% off your Squarespace plan purchase!