- Stunning storefront design templates
- Good product catalog
- Basic SEO tools
- Ability to sell subscriptions and services
- Abandoned checkout recovery
- Secure checkout
- Basic sales features
- Pricey subscription plans
Sometimes it’s just better to have a stunning storefront than access to the widest palette of ecommerce tools. When you are just about to start selling online, it’s wise to focus on the best customer experience in order to convert visitors into customers by amazing them with the design of the store and its stunning product images. And that’s what is so good about Squarespace: it provides the most impressive design themes for business owners to tap into to give the online storefront a professional look. This is because at its core the platform was designed for building websites. If the service convinces you to upgrade to a commerce plan after the 14-day free trial, then select its subscriptions start at $18 per month for businesses and jump to $26 per month for ecommerce sites.
One thing that strikes you when visiting websites and online stores built using Squarespace is their stunning designs. It’s the calm you need after tiring your eyes with sites and navigation menus of websites using more dated design methods. By combining this striking power of clean and user-friendly storefront design with a user-friendly customer backend that lets you easily manage products, Squarespace has created a good ecommerce platform. However, sometimes a user-friendly interface is not enough to drive the user through the steps necessary to design their own web store. For customers with no coding skills, an intuitive user interface is key in providing the best experience and unfortunately Squarespace has a couple things to polish on this side, while the feature list could certainly be longer.
This is where Squarespace truly shines. It all starts with picking a template from the 69 free ones available – all mobile compatible by default – which users can install with one-click. All the themes are brilliantly designed, so it will be hard to decide on the best for you.
The good news is that Squarespace retains the formatting used on previous templates – which isn’t true of other ecommerce platforms – except that templates without the store option built-in require additional steps to add the products back in. Editing the design is very easy – simply drag and drop – so it’s quite good fun turning a basic theme into an online storefront that reflects your personality and style.
To start adding products, you either pick one of the online store templates or simply add a “products” page. These pages yet again reflect Squarespace’s attention to a well-balanced design, so you’ll get a clean user interface for uploading images and descriptions of your physical or digital products, services, or gift cards. The product variants and the ability to add further info and forms are nice additions to the description, as such tools will help you to share enough info for customers to make a good decision. The SEO part, however, lacks some features that are provided by competitors, such as adding metadata for every product.
While the blog section fosters inspiring entries, Squarespace’s limitations imposed on the platform can easily become annoying. The platform only allows users to access premium features after upgrading to a Commerce plan, which is odd as the company doesn’t even offer a money-back guarantee. When dealing with online store creation, having a good design isn’t the only key selling feature, so to test all of the business options with Squarespace or even run a test order, it is necessary to sign up for at least one month of service.
The service includes the basic sales functions but falls short when compared to other ecommerce platforms. Users can create discounts or even keep count of the products they have in stock, but that’s about it. Squarespace works with two payments processors: PayPal and Stripe. If you are operating the store with Stripe’s coverage, then you can accept credit cards and Apple Pay, while for the rest of the world there is PayPal, a service that is available in 200 countries.
A neat addition of the abandoned cart recovery feature is a good a way to communicate with the customer and perhaps recover a lost sale, something that business owners will likely tap into. The one-page checkout will definitely speed up the sales process and eliminate the roadblocks between the customer and the desired product. When it comes to shipping, Squarespace enables real-time shipping rates from FedEx, UPS, and USPS at checkout to provide shipping costs to customers.
Compared to the marketplaces of competitors, Squarespace’s App market shows limited effort invested with only three apps for expanding the core features of the ecommerce section. All three are very useful: Printful provides on-demand printing, shipping, and warehousing; TaxJar automates sales tax management; and finally Shipbob automates order fulfillment. But that’s about it, so there is plenty of room for growth in this area of the platform.
Despite this lighter ecommerce features list, Squarespace positions its prices at the higher tier of starter packages in the overall market. The platform offers two commerce subscription plans, with the Basic one starting at $26 per month if billed annually (otherwise $30 per month). The higher-priced Advanced plan is $46 month-to-month or the equivalent of $40 per month when paying annually. The latter plan enables additional features such as abandoned cart recovery, subscriptions, and gift cards, among others.
The good thing about the commerce plans is that, unlike Squarespace’s website plans, there is no transaction fee whenever a sale is made and no limit on the number of products put up for sale. Users get a free, custom domain if they select annual billing as well as 24/7 email support access. On the lower end, Squarespace offers a subscription for businesses priced at $18 per month with annual billing, but that plan includes a 3% transaction fee.
Having someone to reach out to even in the middle of the night can save serious cash, and Squarespace is keen on that idea. Alongside a comprehensive knowledge base where you’ll find articles and video tutorials on how to get started or solve a handful of specific common issues, users can also get help via email 24/7 or live chat between Monday and Friday during 8am to 8pm. Live chat help is prompt and effective, so if quick assistance is necessary then this could be the right option. Phone support is missing, but hopefully this will be part of the service sometime in the future.
There’s a certain need to accept some of the limitations of Squarespace if you want to make use of its impressive visual designs. Getting set up with the online store is not as intuitive as it is with some competitors, its awkward backend making it necessary to make use of the provided video tutorials to avoid getting stuck. Also, the restricted features list doesn’t empower users the same as equivalently priced services, though important functions like the abandoned cart recovery are very welcome. But the storefront design will absolutely amaze users, so if that’s what you are looking for, Squarespace is definitely a good option. However, this service best fits smaller businesses with lower traffic but a higher budget for design; higher-traffic stores will require the more merchant and sales-centric platforms that can be found at this price or lower than Squarespace’s $26 per month subscription plan.