Squarespace Ecommerce Review – A Good Option for an Online Shop?

Squarespace Ecommerce Homepage

Squarespace isn't the first name you come across when it comes to starting an online shop, they are better known for being a platform for business websites for creatives such as photographers, designers and artists. But is their ecommerce offering any good? Well in this review, I take a look at the platform and using my five key areas review structure to answer this question!

  1. Pricing
  2. Performance and Security
  3. Themes
  4. Features
  5. Ease of use

Now before I get into the review, I want to let you know that this post does contain affiliate links which means that if you click one of the links and purchase their service then I receive a referral commission. However, this partnership does not impact the honesty of my review, if I don't like something then I will say so!

1. Squarespace Pricing

Squarespace offer 4 packages in total but the personal package does not come with any ecommerce features, so I will just be including all the ones that can be used for an online shop.

Business
£21
+ a month

Unlimited Products

Unlimited Storage

3% Transaction Fee

Free SSL Certificate

24/7 Support

1 Year G-Suite

Advanced Analytics

Basic Commerce
£24
+ a month

Unlimited Products

Unlimited Storage

0% Transaction Fee

Free SSL Certificate

24/7 Support

1 Year G-Suite

Ecommerce Analytics

Related Products

Customer Accounts

Advanced Commerce
£37
+ a month

Unlimited Products

Unlimited Storage

0% Transaction Fee

Free SSL Certificate

24/7 Support

1 Year G-Suite

Ecommerce Analytics

Related Products

Gift Cards

Sell Subscriptions

 

I honestly wouldn't recommend going for the business package because of the 3% transaction fee. The basic commerce, offers you a lot more for only £3 extra a month.

At £24 and £37 a month respectively, the commerce plans are very similar in price to the purpose built ecommerce platforms so it will be interesting to see if they are as good!

2. Performance & Security

I like to test out the platforms performance, rather than just taking them on their word when it comes to performance. Fortunately they all give example sites for us to look at and I took 3 (of the very small selection!) and ran them through Pingdom's speed tool, once a day for three days to get some results for you.

Website 1: 2.37 Seconds
Website 2: 1.16 Seconds
Website 3: 1.94 Seconds

The three sites combined had an average load time of 1.82 seconds, which is pretty good and pretty much on par with some of the bigger ecommerce platforms. I do just want to say though that none of the sites I tested were pretty light on ecommerce content, only one of the sites I tested had ecommerce as the main function of the website for the other two, the online shop was just an add-on. As I said, the options I had to choose from were pretty slim!

It took some searching but I did eventually find that Squarespace say that all their servers are PCI compliant, which is something you do really want for an online store. You also do get a free SSL certificate with every package.

Payment Gateways

You are pretty limited when it comes to choice of payment gateways on Squarespace, in fact you have the choice of .......... two, yes two! PayPal and Stripe.

This is a really limited selection for an ecommerce platform, especially when the advanced package costs £37 a month! I hope they are planning to expand this in the future. Yes the two they offer a great for online shops that are just starting out but if you start to grow, you may want more flexibility on how you get paid. I was expecting Klarna to be on there as well but alas it wasn't.

3. Squarespace Themes

I tried to find the exact amount of ecommerce themes that Squarespace offer but whatever search I put in, it only ever showed my 10 results. I searched online store and ecommerce and got two different selection, so that must mean that there is at least 20 themes suitable for online shops. It would have been nice to see the full selection of available themes under to online store selection in the sidebar.

Squarespace Themes

Customisation

Customising your theme, once you have found one you like is pretty easy. You can simply hover over an elements on your site such as an image or your footer and you will be given the option to edit or make changes to the settings. Clicking on edit will either take you to the area in the sidebar to make changes or will take you to their block editor.

The block editor offers lots of options so you can change the look and feel of your site to fit your business. From looking through the example sites, themes and editor, it is my impression that Squarespace aims to produce websites that have a very minimalist look. While this may be perfect for some businesses, it may not be quite right for some others.

A bonus feature to customise the look of your site is their library of stock images, which is great if you are just starting out and currently don't have a good selection of images to pad out your sites content.

4. Squarespace Features

Unfortunately, Squarespace are a little light in the features department, especially when it comes to ecommerce!

Yes, the ecommerce functionality is there, you can add stock, make sales and process orders but beyond that there isn't much to offer. With the advanced plan you do get abandoned cart recovery, the ability to sell subscriptions and gift cards.

You do get a blog included on all plans but it is not the easiest I have used. There are lots of social media integration options such as products on Instagram, Facebook pixel and Pinterest save buttons, so if you want your website to be an extension of your social media accounts then Squarespace might be a good option.

5. Ease of Use

I would classify Squarespace as an easy web builder as it is aimed at people and businesses who have no previous web design experience. So I expected a lot more guidance when I signed up to my trial but it was very much a there is your dahsboard, have fun! No setup guide or wizard, no help or tips pop ups when I went on to a new section and I feel this is a big oversight.

Even someone like myself, who is used to trying out lots of different platforms and software needs a little guidance when I am brand new to something! I can imagine this could be quite daunting to someone who is just starting their first website.

Adding and Managing Stock

I found the commerce section of the dashboard the easiest area to use and it offers all the options you would expect on an ecommerce platform.

Adding a new product is easy, just go to commerce → inventory → then click the plus sign in the top right hand corner and a pop-up will appear with different tabs for product info, variations and SEO etc. Once you are done just click save or save + publish to put it on to your site. To edit the product navigate to the same area and just click on the product to make any changes you need.

Squarespace Add Product

Organising your products, however is a little more tricky. You need to create pages for your products to go into, which I get and it does create a basic hierarchy for your products but if you have a more complex set up in mind, then maybe Squarespace might not be the right choice. Moving your products between pages is also not that easy, I thought it would be on the edit product page but it is not.

Instead you have to effectively do a cut and paste from one page to the next, I only found this out after reading the documentation. I had to go into the documentation quite a bit on Squarespace, which is something I haven't had to do on many platforms as some of their processes are quite a bit different than what I have experienced before.

Managing Orders

I couldn't create a test order so I can't tell you how easy it is manage your orders, this can only be done on live sites that are on the plans with commerce features enabled. This is a little disappointing to say the least!

Conclusion

I wouldn't class Squarespace as a fully fledged ecommerce platform as in terms of features and functionality, it does fall short when compared to other platforms. So if you are looking to start an online shop and it be the main focus of your website, then I wouldn't recommend Squarespace.

However, it is not all bad news! If you are a designer, photographer, artist or anyone else that needs to website to showcase their business but would also like the option to be able to sell a few things on your site, then Squarespace is a really good option and it is pretty easy to use. Even if you do fall into this category, I would still find it hard to justify the Advanced Commerce package as I just don't think it offers enough for the price.

For me, the pricing is quite high for what you get, especially the Advanced Commerce package! If you are serious about starting an online shop, then you get much more functionality with other platforms for the same price.

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