Square and Squarespace might sound like two parts of the same puzzle, but they’re actually very different solutions, with unique benefits to offer. Today, we’re going to look at both Square and Squarespace, to help you decide which one might be right for you.
If you want to run a successful business in today’s online world, you need a few crucial things. A good idea of the products or services you’re going to offer is number one. An understanding of your target audience and market position is number two. The third essential item on your list, is a website that you can use to showcase your products, and process transactions.
The good news for today’s business owners is that there’s no shortage of eCommerce website builders out there. From Shopify and WooCommerce to Magento and Wix, there seems to be an endless selection of products to choose from. The biggest challenge for today’s entrepreneurs, is finding the solution that works best for them.
Introducing Square and Squarespace
First things first, let’s get a better look at what Square and Squarespace actually are.
Square, otherwise known as SquareUp to some, is a point-of-sale provider that helps companies to accept and process payments with a variety of high-level devices. Square is best known for the card readers it offers, which allow companies to take purchase payments virtually anywhere, without even needing a traditional register.
However, there’s more to Square these days than meets the eye. Although it’s still best known for it’s point of sale systems, it also offers tools for inventory management and product management, specialist systems for restaurants and bars, and a full online site building service.
If you’re already using Square to process payments in the real world, and you’ve decided that it’s time to take your strategy online, then you can access all the functionality you need in the same convenient space.
Squarespace, on the other hand, is a platform specifically for building websites. You don’t necessarily manage your offline store with Squarespace, but you can build a site for selling online using pre-built templates and hosting. There’s also no support for plugins, third-party apps, extensions, and so on.
Squarespace has its limitations, but it can still accomplish quite a bit. Squarespace websites can include processing for online transactions, eCommerce, and access to various payment systems, including Square, Stripe, and PayPal. You can also access Squarespace for various other forms of payment processing even if you don’t have a Squarespace website.
Square vs Squarespace: Features
The most important thing to consider when you’re comparing two tools like Square and Squarespace, is what you can reasonably do with each tool. Square, as mentioned above, isn’t necessarily an online store service first and foremost. The solution started life as a point of sale provider, and that’s still one of the major facets of what Square offers.
With Square, you can easily accept in-person transactions in your store, and there are various unique tools for specific needs too, such as booking systems, or restaurant management tools. You don’t necessarily need to build an online store to use Square, but you can definitely do so.
Square’s online store builder called Square Online (read our full review here), is as easy to use as the rest of the portfolio. There’s no need for any excessive coding skills or knowledge, and you can jump immediately into building with free unlimited hosting, and a free URL. You even get access to responsive website design tools, inventory management services, and integrated reporting for tracking your results.
Your Square Online store will seamlessly integrate with the other products available from Square, and you can even use other payment processes with your shop, depending on the package you choose to buy. While Square doesn’t have as many advanced features as some competitors, it still has plenty to offer.
Squarespace, on the other hand, focuses entirely on digital store building. Squarespace stands out as perhaps the best tool for website building if you’re looking to showcase your creativity with blogging and a beautiful website. Squarespace’s blogging functionality is similar to WordPress, with tons of features to choose from, and there’s a fantastic form builder too.
Squarespace is all about giving you the tools you need to deliver excellent online experiences. There’s a rich publishing platform hidden behind the stunning interface, and Squarespace comes with dozens of great templates to choose from to get you started.
The templates are some of the most attractive around, and you can also combine them with “starter layouts” for your website. There are customizable pages and content, duplicate pages, a comprehensive design panel, and even access to CSS.
The Squarespace mobile app allows you to control various aspects of your website on the go, including adding blogs to your workflow for later publication. In terms of commerce functionality, you can use Squarespace to sell products, services, subscriptions, digital content, and more.
Square vs Squarespace: Pricing
Although pricing shouldn’t be the only thing you think about when you’re choosing an online store builder, it’s definitely an important consideration. No-one can afford to spend over the odds for their digital tools.
The good news is that Square Online makes it relatively affordable to set up various kinds of online store. There’s a free plan that allows you to pay nothing but transaction fees. You pay for payment processing at 2.9% plus $0.30 of each sale, and that’s it. There are some limitations to the free option however, such as only having the option to accept payments through Square.
If you need a more advanced setup, you can access:
- Professional — $16 per month,
- Performance — $26 per month,
- Premium — $72 per month.
The premium packages also have a slight discount available if you’re ready to pay annually. All paid plans come with unlimited storage and remove Square ads from your site. You can also access extra features the more you pay, like third-party integrations, Facebook ad management, and eCommerce analytics.
Squarespace pricing is also relatively straightforward. The cheapest option is the personal site, for $16 per month, but this doesn’t offer access to store building functionality. Your full list of options include:
- Personal — $16 per month
- Business — $26 per month
- Basic Commerce — $30 per month
- Advanced Commerce — $46 per month
The personal plan is the only one that doesn’t offer eCommerce. However, all other plans allow you to sell unlimited products. The Advanced commerce plan comes with the most functionality, including abandoned cart recovery, discounts, and real-time shipping calculations.
If you opt for Basic or Advanced commerce, you can also avoid transaction fees, but you will need to still pay the processing fees of your chosen payment processor.
Square vs Squarespace: Ease of Use
Once you’ve figured out which store building solution works with your budget, the next crucial thing to consider is ease of use. You need to feel comfortable using the tools that you rely on to build a successful store. Square Online store is easy to use, with a system that allows you to sell everything from digital products to physical goods.
You can accept donations, sell event tickets, and more. Setting up your website is extremely straightforward, and even managing your inventory on the back-end is simple enough with an intuitive interface.
Square Online offers a wide variety of themes to choose from to help you build your store, and the templates look quite professional. All of the templates you can access will be responsive for mobile users, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to access all of your customers. Once you’ve chosen the theme that suits you, you’ll be able to enter additional information for your store, including the URL you would like to use.
There are various additional integrations that you can set up with your store too, such as Weebly and BigCommerce links, if you would prefer to use Square just for payment processing.
Squarespace is similarly easy to use, and ideal for people who really want to ensure that they can stand out online. Squarespace is best known for being an attractive website builder with drag-and-drop functionality. You can access a range of features through the clean interface, with plenty of editing options to make your site more unique.
When you want to edit parts of your page, the boxes that appear will allow you too make changes to the color scheme, layout, background images and more. Squarespace is a tool that follows the “what you see is what you get” editing style, so when you make changes in the backend you’ll be able to see what it’s going to look like on the front-end. This isn’t the case with tools like WordPress.
Square vs Squarespace: Product Management
Running an online store isn’t without its challenges.
One of the more complicated tasks that business leaders will need to come to terms with, is managing products and inventory. Fortunately, both Square and Squarespace can make this process a little simpler. If you’re already using Square for your point of sale systems, then your Square inventory will automatically sync the information between your offline and online accounts.
In other words, if you sell a product in the real world, the number of products you have available to sell online will decrease, and vice-versa. This is an extremely helpful thing for people who want to sell online and offline at the same time. Square also updates all of your inventory for you when you’re new to the online landscape.
As soon as you set up your store, you can begin importing items that you want to sell, with a straight-forward user interface. You’ll also be able to implement any modifiers for your items (like colors and sizes), and any extras you want to include with the purchase.
Square Online gives you the freedom to separate all of your products into categories too, which make them a lot easier to manage. If you import your items and don’t add a category, or include sales tax info, you can just go to your dashboard to update everything later.
Square also allows users to set “advanced” options on products. For instance, you can change whether an item is visible in your store depending on whether you’re ready to launch something new or not. Other inventory management features include:
- Bulk upload options
- Low stock alerts
- Notifications for inventory levels
- Inventory level tracking
- Automatic offline and online syncing
- Customizations and product options
Squarespace isn’t quite as comprehensive at offering inventory management options for your online store, but it does have a lot of extra features to offer. For instance, the inventory panel in the Squarespace mobile and online apps allows you to check your inventory whenever you are. You can check the price of each item, how many products are available, and so on.
Setting up product pages with Squarespace is pretty easy too. You can do it on your iOS app, ro on a computer. All it takes is clicking the “add product” button on your product page. Here you can choose the price of the product, add crucial information, and pictures. You an also edit the stock level on each product either individually, or in bulk.
- Edit, upload and organize product details
- Manage your products and inventory from a mobile app
- Set up subscriptions for products
- Enable limited availability labels
- Low-stock notifications
- Service product limits
Square Online and Squarespace also give you the option to connect with various payment processors, although you’re limited to using Square as your only option if you’re on the free website account.
Square vs Squarespace: Customer Service
It’s easy to overlook customer service when you’re looking at each site builder with a focus on which credit card payments you can take and what checkout procedures you can deliver. Before you start building your store on your chosen eCommerce platform, however, you need to know that you have the right level of support. Square allows you to contact them via @SqSupport, or you can contact the sales team be filling out an online form.
The Square contact page for support does take you through to a Weebly page, however, so be aware of that. That’s because Square does offer most of its site building functionality through Weebly, rather than building its own proprietary tool.
Square also has its own knowledgebase where you can search for
If you would prefer to take the DIY approach to getting your support, then you can try visiting the Square Knowledgebase. It's a pretty comprehensive database for people who are getting started in the sales marketplace. There are plenty of articles to browse through, screenshots, and other useful tidbits. Plus, you can visit the robust seller community for extra guidance as well.
Customer support on Squarespace comes in the form of email guidance and live text chat which is available from 4am to 8pm EST. There’s no phone support unfortunately, which makes it difficult to speak to someone if you have a real problem with your Squarespace tech.
However, the presence of live chat support does make it a little easier to get information about anything fast, from SEO support, to issues with social media connections. If you’re a small business owner who prefers not to use the phone for assistance, then you may prefer the live chat system anyway.
Square vs Squarespace: Verdict
Square is likely to be your preferred website building tool if you’re looking for a solution that integrates seamlessly with your offline point of sale system. If you already use Squareup.com for your payment methods in the real world, then it will feel natural to use the same service for your online store too. This company can help you to go from selling on Etsy to having your own eCommerce site in no time.
Square is easy to use and convenient, with a range of predictable pricing plans and even a free option to get you started. It’s also suitable for tracking a range of payment options, and you can choose from a boatload of themes to make your store stand out, although there are some more comprehensive products out there in this regard.
Square Online does have some issues with account stability, and the customer service isn’t ideal, however. You may also find that calculating shipping rates isn’t the most convenient process with Square too.
On the other hand, Squarespace gives you an excellent way to build a beautiful website with some of the most attractive themes around. You can use video backgrounds to make your website stand out, and you don’t need developer knowledge to get started.
Squarespace has no transaction fees to worry about, and people generally love it’s SEO and content marketing functionality too. Unfortunately, Squarespace suffers from limited access to offline point of sale tools, and there aren’t a huge range of apps to choose from.
Our advice, if you’re on your search engine looking for the right website building service right now, is to check out both options in depth. Experiment with free trials and see how it feels to use the available features, then make your choice based on what you discover.