Squarespace Review 2021
Squarespace combines perfect visuals with ecommerce functionality to build a beautiful online presence.
The all-in-one ecommerce platform for creatives
With humble roots as a simple content management system for aspiring website owners in 2003, today Squarespace is a renowned all-around ecommerce platform with millions of websites to its name. With exquisite designs and a highly intuitive dashboard, Squarespace is the go-to choice for entrepreneurs from all industries, including actor and Arch Motorbikes co-founder, Keanu Reeves.
But while Squarespace plays host to a variety of businesses, it is the creative industries that are perhaps best served by the platform. An emphasis on visual content and on physical goods (as opposed to digital or dropshipping products) makes it the ideal platform for artists, potters, photographers, fashion designers, and so on to sell their wares.
Of course, no ecommerce platform is without its flaws. Despite marketing itself as an all-in-one store builder, Squarespace has some glaring faults that will make the seasoned entrepreneur wince. Most notably is its lack of abandoned cart recovery in the Basic plan, an absence that forces users wishing to take their store to the next level to upgrade. This is at a much higher cost than simply buying a dedicated abandoned cart app would be (if Squarespace had an app store, which they unfortunately do not).
But for creative solopreneurs who yearn for a space to monetize their passion, Squarespace is the perfect ecommerce solution. If you want to turn your hobby into a business today, sign up to Squarespace now.
Squarespace calls itself “the all-in-one platform to build a beautiful online presence”, and it certainly delivers on that. Exquisitely-designed websites are at your fingertips, with a range of built-in features that novice ecommerce entrepreneurs can use to create and build a solid online store with ease. An intuitive dashboard and wealth of guides, tips, and tutorials make it easy for beginners to get started, making it an attractive platform for those at the bottom of the ecommerce ladder.
Technically speaking, Squarespace offers four pricing plans: Personal, Business, Basic, and Advanced. However, only the two latter options are dedicated especially to building an online store. The former two plans are geared towards websites, rather than specifically ecommerce.
The Basic plan is $26 per month billed annually, while the Advanced option is just $40 per month. This puts it on the low-to-middle end of the scale of good quality ecommerce platforms.
With the Basic plan including SSL security, 24/7 support, and unlimited products, it’s a strong positive for the platform. And as an added bonus, if you pay annually you can receive a free custom domain — another definite pro.
$26 pm ($30 month to month plus taxes)
$40 pm ($46 month to month plus taxes)
One of Squarespace’s main USPs is its offering of an out-of-the-box ecommerce experience that’s both visually pleasing and user-friendly. It’s a bold promise in an industry in which third-party apps tend to dominate but, thankfully, Squarespace delivers.
It was launched as a user-friendly website builder, and it has retained that feel as it’s grown into a fully-fledged ecommerce platform too. A diverse array of industries successfully use Squarespace to sell products online, and it’s easy to get started with your own online store.
Squarespace is aimed more towards SMEs and solo enterprises, but it’s certainly viable to grow your business with a modicum of success through the platform. Unlimited products are allowed at even the most basic level. And while it isn’t as rich in third-party features as it’s dedicated ecommerce competitors such as BigCommerce, it’s still perfectly usable in its most basic form.
Ecommerce Comparison Features
Free to Install
Free to Install
Ease Of Use
Squarespace’s dashboard is highly intuitive and visually clean, and each category is divided into natural subcategories, making it easy for novices to find what they need. And for ecommerce entrepreneurs on the move, the Squarespace mobile apps let you upload and update content on the go.
Squarespace is renowned in the industry for its beautiful, award-winning designs. They’re mobile-friendly, highly customizable, and are perfect for displaying particularly visual products such as art or apparel.
The number of dedicated online store themes are somewhat limited (around 15-20), but the standard themes are more than enough to get by on.
As mentioned earlier, Squarespace started life as a website builder, and it continues to offer a strong content management system to its users. It has a good range of built-in plugins, integrations, and widgets on offer, although it lacks a dedicated app store.
Squarespace’s blogging feature is naturally comprehensive, and while it doesn’t offer the same degree of customization as WordPress, you won’t be left wanting. Its page editor is straightforward and intuitive to use, and this extends to uploading and updating individual products as well.
Plugins & Extensions
Squarespace is one of the few ecommerce platforms to not offer an app store. It seems intent on emphasizing its all-in-one offerings, and this might put many experienced ecommerce entrepreneurs off.
Having said that, its out-of-the-box apps are more than enough for smaller businesses to get started with. Although it has to be said here that the fact that an abandoned cart recovery tool isn’t included in the Basic plan is disappointing. Abandoned carts account for a significant portion of lost sales, and lacking either a built-in app or the option to buy one is a serious negative.
Squarespace supports a range of products, although some with more ease than others. While it technically does allow you to dropship or sell online courses, it’s not as straightforward as selling physical products. For example, Squarespace users often have to use workarounds to dropship through the platform. This is where it falls down in comparison to its competitors.
It also lacks a strong import/export capability for non-physical products, although it does allow for general importing and exporting of content across platforms.
Managing your inventory is easy and straightforward. And with no limits on products or transactions, it’s easy to scale your stock as your store grows — another pro when compared to other online store builders.
Squarespace provides customer accounts as standard in its Basic plan, storing basic customer information including contact details, average order value, total spent, and so on.
It’s easy to manage your customer base, and Squarespace offers rudimentary customer segmentation options too. Its core integrations suffice but, as mentioned earlier, it lacks the abandoned cart recovery option in its Basic plan.
As part of its all-in-one ecommerce offering, Squarespace’s marketing features are fairly decent. Social selling and integrations are included as a matter of course, and it provides its own email campaign feature as part of the package.
For ecommerce novices, this gives you a chance to get a feel for email marketing in general. But for experienced entrepreneurs more familiar with the email tools and capabilities on the market, it might feel somewhat limiting.
That said, Squarespace is continually upgrading its offering, and new marketing features are in the pipeline which promise to improve current capabilities.
As stated before, Squarespace does not provide an abandoned cart recovery option. If or when you need it, you are essentially forced to upgrade to the more expensive plan — a serious point of contention. The same is true for its automated discounts and offers.
Squarespace provides a healthy array of SEO tools to help you optimize your website for search engine queries. Basic SEO factors such as meta descriptions, page titles, custom URLs and sitemaps are all catered for. Users also have the option to set up 301 redirects.
But SEO as a whole is a diverse discipline, and Squarespace can only go so far to help you optimize your site. The rest of it relies on extra endeavours such as creating content, adding alt text, and so on.
Unfortunately, Squarespace does not provide built-in PPC ad integrations. If you do wish to display days on Google or social networks, you’ll have to create them with third-party applications. For some, this might be a big no-no, although for others it may simply be par for the course.
Thankfully, most major social media platforms can connect with Squarespace websites. Its built-in features include icons, embeddable content, and the option to share Squarespace content onto your social platforms as well. And as mentioned before, Squarespace enables social selling across Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest too — a strong point in its favor.
Squarespace’s built-in email campaigns feature is a double-edged sword. For a short time, its Early Access email tool is free to all Squarespace customers, letting them send a considerable 50,000 campaigns each month.
However, when this ends, Squarespace users will have to pay for the feature. It is not clear yet whether it will let users invest in an alternative third-party app. But for now, users are able to send targeted campaigns to customers, which will help you grow your store — but only up to a point. It remains to be seen how Squarespace will deliver on its email marketing campaigns in the future.
All Squarespace pricing plans come with unlimited bandwidth and storage. It also includes cloud-hosting, ensuring your website receives minimal downtime periods. Finally, it provides both web and domain hosting (if required), keeping it simple and straightforward for beginner entrepreneurs as they build their first store.
For data monitoring and reporting, Squarespace relies on Google Analytics. Users connect their Google Analytics account with Squarespace, so the latter doesn’t really provide its own bespoke reporting options.
Google Analytics is a popular free tool that proves sufficient for plenty of businesses. However, if you have an analytics software of choice, you’ll find Squarespace’s limited capability stifling. As before, this makes it a good beginner ecommerce platform, but not necessarily good for experienced entrepreneurs with more specific visions.
Squarespace also has a Commerce API, which lets code-savvy create data management applications for their own store. It is built on HTTP, with request and response body content in JSON. For novices this might seem alien, but those entrepreneurs with programming experience will find this a useful addition that provides some extra customization for their stores.
A common theme in this review is that Squarespace is perfect for ecommerce novices, and that’s particularly exemplified in its support for its customers.
Squarespace provides a wealth of detailed guides and tutorials covering a dizzying array of topics. Everything you need to know for creating and growing your online store is covered, and more articles are being added regularly.
As well as articles and essential guides, Squarespace also provides videos, webinars, and workshops for dynamic and diverse educational materials. And its dedicated platform forum is a great opportunity for sourcing tailored solutions to your problems.
With regards to customer support channels, Squarespace offers 24/7 support… but only for email. It has no phone support, and its live chat, while a welcome addition, is only open between 4am and 8pm Eastern Time. While this is fine for Squarespace users in those time zones, it does limit users from abroad who are not.
That said, their support is responsive and thorough, and the in-house Squarespace support personnel are knowledgeable and helpful.
How to set up a Squarespace store
- To get started with a free trial, head to the Squarespace website and click Start A Free Trial. You will be asked to either answer some questions or browse templates. We recommend starting with the former, as there will be time to look at themes later.
2. You’ll then be asked the purpose of your website, and asked to choose a homepage layout, and fonts.
3. Next, you’ll have to choose the pages you want to include. This can be changed later, but for now we recommend going for:
4. Next, click on Preview Website. You will be presented with the choice to either Start Editing or Preview Website. Click Start Editing, then enter your details to create an account.
5. You will be presented with the Squarespace dashboard. On the left is the main menu, where you can access the various submenus required for administering your website, and on the right is your website preview.
Squarespace is an easy-to-use platform with a straightforward dashboard and an emphasis on powerful, attractive visuals. While its out-of-the-box features aren’t exhaustive, Squarespace still provides a wealth of tools that can help ecommerce novices grow a decent online business from scratch.
But for seasoned entrepreneurs or growing businesses, you might find that Squarespace leaves you wanting. Its lack of an app store or third-party integrations feels a little too like having your wings clipped.
Ultimately, it’s affordable and easy-to-use, making Squarespace perfect for creatives who want to turn their talent into a small business. Sign up to Squarespace today!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Squarespace templates free?
Squarespace offers a range of free website templates, although it often provides paid designs as well.
Does Squarespace have a free option?
Squarespace does not have a free option, although it does offer a free 14-day trial for beginners.
Does Squarespace have email?
Squarespace currently offers free email campaigns, although only for a limited time. It is unclear at this stage whether Squarespace will offer third-party email integrations after it starts charging for email.
Are Squarespace websites ADA compliant? (Americans with Disabilities Act)
Squarespace includes some features which stop it from being ADA compliant. However, there are certain changes you can make yourself to make it as compliant as possible. Squarespace has a recommended list of changes here.
Are Squarespace websites mobile friendly?
All Squarespace themes and websites are mobile-friendly and responsive as standard.
Can Squarespace host my domain?
Yes, Squarespace can host your domain.