Squarespace ecommerce platform review

Squarespace is a website builder startup that was launched in the beginning of 2014. To this date the company has received more than $70 million in funding from investors. (source)

While Squarespace started more as a general purpose website builder intended for helping people to create good looking personal websites easily, it has steadily beefed up its commerce offering​ and these days it offers a full e-commerce platform option. However, the big questions are exactly how good the platform is?  And how well does it do when compared to the more established players in the same industry such as Americommerce? Keep reading and you will find out!

E-commerce site templates

The designs of the templates offered by Squarespace look clean and generally speaking look like they should look like in 2015. One really nice feature that Squarespace has with the templates is that they show examples of actual stores using every template, which might help you visualize how your store would look like. I haven't seen a feature like this on the other platform providers, although they often provide general examples of successful stores using their service.

If one were to compare Squarespace's templates to those offered for an example by Bigcommerce and Shopify it would be easy to say that the templates offered by Squarespace look bit simpler - which can be either a good or a bad thing depending on the person.

Creating and modifying your store

To put it shortly: creating your store by using Squarespace is easy. And doing bigger and smaller modification to the store is easy as well. There is really not much more to be said about it. The system is intuitive so you don't need massive (if any) prior experience with creating website to be able to launch your store with Squarespace. When compared to other website builders there is no major difference in the easiness.

Pricing and plans

Squarespace offers 3 different plans for customers looking to use their e-commerce website builder. The cheapest plan is called "personal" and costs $8 billed annually and $10 billed monthly. The medium plan is called "professional" and costs $16 when billed yearly and $20 if you opt to use the option to pay for every month individually. The most expensive plan is called "business" and costs $24 when paying it on yearly basis and $30 when paying on monthly basis.  

When you compare Squarespace's pricing to the more established e-commerce solutions providers it is easy to see that their prices are cheaper and especially the most expensive plan is considerable cheaper then the most expensive plans on other sites. However, obviously one should also consider the features available for each plan on each provider.

 Like on other providers, also on Squarespace the price of the plan is directly correlated to the number of features it offers. For an example, if you opt to use the cheapest plan ("personal") you can sell only 1 product on your website. Which is stricter limit than I've seen on any other provider for their cheapest plan. Although to be fair, for an example at Shopify the cheapest plan is also slightly more expensive than it is on Squarespace. The cheapest plan on Squarespace allows you to add only 20 pages in total to your site, which is also extremely tight rule compared to the e-commerce platform providers. 

Luckily though, Squarespace has no limit on the number of pages you can add to your site on either of the more expensive plans.  However, only the "business" plan allows you to also sell unlimited amount of products.

Transaction fees and payments

Squarespace has teamed up with Stripe* to provide payment options for the e-commerce businesses using Squarespace. With the help of Stripe you can easily accept all the major credit cards on your webstore. Stripe charges 2.9% + 30c transaction fee for every successful transaction. So for an example, if someone buys $100 worth items from your webstore you will pay $3.2 ($2.9+$0.3) in transaction fees. Squarespace doesn't charge a fee on top of the Stripes' fee. The transaction fee charged by Stripe is the same for every payment plan, so there is no point in upgrading a plan just to reduce the transaction fee. Which is something that you can do for an example at Shopify (more info)

*Stripe is well funded startup company focusing on the payment industry.

Other features

Squarespace offers store owners the ability to create coupons, which can be a create way of generating additional buzz for your store. Squarespace also supports all the most important and basic search engine optimization features such as having custom titles, URLs and product descriptions. Squarespace has also a wide variety of different sales states / metrics available for for store-owners.

Squarespace also has a 24/7 customer service team ready to help you, if you run into problems or just have general questions.

Final verdict

It is clear that Squarespace is turning out to be a serious e-commerce platform provider and when choosing between the different platforms to launch your store on in 2015 it would be silly to ignore them. In my opinion Squarespace is especially well suited to companies and individuals selling custom / unique products and a limited range of items. If you are looking to sell a larger amount of different products and products that people are usually familiar with before arriving to your store, some of the older ecommerce platform providers might be a better fit for your due to the type of templates they offer and due to the amount customizable features they have.

About the Author Atte

Moi!

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