Shopify vs Wix vs Squarespace

The decision to launch an eCommerce website is responsible and challenging as there are lots of aspects to consider the make the endeavour a success. If you have currently made up your mind to establish professional web presence for your retail business, then the choice of the right web building tool is what you should start with.

There are lots of all-in-one and specialized eCommerce solutions out there. They differ in complexity, pricing, flexibility, convenience and, what’s most important, feature set. To make the right choice, it’s crucial to pick, analyze and compare the best tools. That’s exactly what we are going to do right away. This review will help you choose the service that will let you launch a full-featured web store that will bring you profit and attract the target audience in the long run.

Shopify vs Wix vs Squarespace Comparison Chart Overview

Website BuilderEase of UseFlexibilitySEODesignSupportPricingVerdict
Shopify10/1010/1010/109/1010/109/109.6/10
Wix10/109/109/109/1010/109/109.2/10
Squarespace8/107/108/109/1010/107/108.2/10

The number of eCommerce web building services is quite extensive out there, but, when it comes to the feature set, web building process and the options provided, only a few of them are really worth the attention. Today, we will have a look at three popular website builders, each of which allows building functional and quality online stores. The services that are under review today are Wix, Shopify and Squarespace.

Ease of Use

Shopify. Shopify is a renowned leader in the eCommerce niche. The system is a top notch destination for entrepreneurs, who have an idea to start and manage a feature-laden web store, irrespective of its size and specialization. The eCommerce software especially works great for large hypermarkets with thousands of digital or physical products offered for sale. As a specialized platform, Shopify is exclusively focused on web store development and, thus, comes with a broad range of tools and features needed to successfully complete the task.

The service is convenient and user-friendly, yet it takes some time to get used to its dashboard and control panel. Fortunately, Shopify offers a detailed wizard that will guide you through the most complex stages of the web design process with ease.

Shopify Backend

As soon as you register with the system and configure the major web store settings, you’ll be offered to proceed to the Shopify Storefront Editor, where you can fine-tune your website design. The editor is divided into two areas – the control panel, where you will make the edits and the live preview area, where the changes will be displayed in the real-time mode. For those users, who wish to manage their web stores on the go, the system allows installing Shopify apps for Android and iOS.

Wix. Wix doesn’t need any introduction at all. This universal website builder is used to build different types of websites and it also works well for building quality online stores. Wix is a nice choice for users with diverse web building skills and expertise level as it is super easy, convenient and affordable.

Wix Editor

It comes with a WYSIWYG website editor, which simplifies the web building process and allows controlling all its stages as well as the result. It’s easy to get used to the intuitive interface of the system and explore the tools needed to create a decent online store.

Wix editor is one of the simplest in the contemporary niche and its also convenient and understandable to everyone. It’s easy to explore and master it, no matter what experience you have. There are multiple prompts and tips that guide you through the process of website creation, thus simplifying it. Wix also uses the “absolute positioning” method that allows picking and placing website elements and widgets on any web page spots depending upon website type and layout. However, this approach has a notable demerit – Wix templates are not switchable. Mine that when picking the design.

Squarespace. Squarespace is a quality website builder, which can be effectively used to build online stores. When it comes to the ease of use, though, the service is a bit more complicated as compared to Wix or Shopify. It requires preliminary exploration of its feature set.

The platform allows creating web stores that look stylish and trendy, but it is still less intuitive. It takes time to look through the tutorials before you can proceed to the web building process.

Squarespace editor looks complex and somewhat oversaturated with elements and tabs. It takes time to browse and master it, especially for first time users. Even though, it resembles the WYSIWYG editor at first sight, it still requires more time to understand its principles.

Another disadvantage of the website builder is absence of the preview feature. This means that you won’t be able to control the web design process in details. The result will be displayed after you publish the project. Your website visitors will see it as well. So, if there are any bugs or mistakes you will be able to fix them only after your website becomes accessible on the web. This is a huge demerit for all user categories as it requires attention and responsibility.

Conclusion: It’s difficult to call these website builders extremely simple and intuitive as they have much to offer to users and encompass lots of features and tools. However, Wix and Shopify are much simpler as compared to Squarespace and they are more effective, when it comes to ecommerce website development. If this is the first time you are going to build a website, it makes sense to pick any of these systems based on the goal you pursue.

Flexibility

Shopify. As far as Shopify is centered around eCommerce website creation, it provides a powerful feature set needed to cope with the tasks of any complexity level. By using the tools the system offers, you can launch full-featured small-to-large online stores with excellent performance. The website builder is known for its Point of Sale (POS) software, which makes it possible to create and manage online stores as well as to sell products at your retail storefront.

By using Shopify, you get a full-featured eCommerce CMS, which additionally comes with integrated mobile commerce options. The system has introduced Shopcodes (these are standard yet unique QR codes applicable for each product) to simplify the process of mobile shopping. Another highlight of the system is the Augmented Reality feature that makes shopify use entertaining, fun and really trendy. Shopify offers and opportunity to create 3D images of all products retailers offer for sale to let customers view them in details from all the angles.

What’s more, the platform offers an opportunity to use the external card terminal you have, accept orders in the offline mode, integration with Xero, Quickbooks and other accounting software, create multiple staff accounts etc. Shopify also allows synchronizing your web store with Amazon Marketplace account, which contributes to the effective product promotion and increase of sales volume.

As far as Shopify is an eCommerce platform, it is highly concerned about the security of users’ payments and confidential info. Apart from the SSL Certificate connection option, the system developers have introduced an advanced Fraud Protect Feature that is currently available for the US retailers. The tool automatically prevents the potential fraudulent actions, making it possible to secure your orders and financial transactions.

Shopify can boast a powerful blogging platform, which can boost your web store popularity by keeping the target audience interested in the shopping process and increasing customer loyalty. Among other notable Shopify features, it makes sense to mention the abandoned checkout recovery, availability of over 70 payment gateways, automatic taxes, multilanguage support, free Facebook and Google credits, Shopify App Store with free and paid applications and widgets, product reviews, SSL certification, live view mode and more. These are the most crucial features Shopify offers to its clients.

Apart from specific eCommerce features, Shopify comes with an extensive range of marketing tools and features. Access to customer profiles, Shopify Ping mobile app that makes it possible to run and manage your business from any pace you are in, Buy One Get One or BOGO discount integration, dynamic checkout procedure, Shopify Tap & Chip Reader are only some of them.

The eCommerce software has also made it possible to create marketing activity and sales attribution reports whenever it is required. Due to the impressive UPS Shopify Shipping feature, you can also investigate and compare the shipping rates set by your competitors, set up delivery date parameters, initiate discounts, issue bonus certificates and use other privileges the system offers.

Wix. Wix eCommerce platform is one of the most user-friendly and convenient website builders. The service has gained extensive popularity around the world and thousands of users pick it as a trusted eCommerce system. As of today, the number of Wix eCommerce subscribers has exceeded 430000 users in over 190 countries of the world.

Among the tools and features that make Wix a decent eCommerce solution, the following ones are the first to mention: drag-and-drop website editing options, abundance of design customization tools, well-structured and visually appealing showcase windows and product galleries, professional online store management, adjustment of tax and shipping settings, multiple payment options, secure organization of the shopping process, creation of discounts and coupons, 24/7 tech support.

Wix Store

Wix Store Manager allows organizing your products into collections, highlight specific products on your website (define bestsellers and promote monthly specials), add product options such as colors, shapes, sizes etc., add multiple photos and detailed descriptions for each product, customize “thank you messages”, adjust payment settings etc.

Wix comes with a reliable blogging platform, which also makes it possible to add a blog to your web store to boost its performance. Wix ADI tool is another highlight of the system, due to which even a newbie can create a quality eCommerce website from scratch almost in no time. If you wish to make your website more functional, Wix App market is what you should make use of. This is the place, where you can find free and paid widgets and applications to be further integrated into your online store.

The website builder lets you create the mobile version of your web store via the use of its advanced mobile editor. What’s important, the eits you make in the mobile mode do not impair the design and functionality of the desktop version. However, the eits you make in the desktop mode will automatically be displayed in the mobile version of your project. That’s a handy option for most retailers.

Squarespace. Squarespace is a full-featured website builder, the range of options and tools of which are more than enough to launch a decent web store. Even though, the system doesn’t have a WYSIWYG editor and app market, it still offers eCommerce features, which contribute to effective, quick and convenient web building process.

Mind that it takes more effort and time to explore and master Squarespace eCommerce features. This is because online store creation is not the major mission the website builder was built for. It was initially created as a system to launch portfolios and blogs and, that is why, its eCommerce feature set is less compact than those of Wix or Shopify. Squarespace has an app for Android and iOS, which makes it possible to create and manage online stores anywhere and anytime.

With Squarespace, you can launch small-to-mid-sized online stores. The system lets you create a stunning product show window to display the items you offer for sale in the most favorable light. What you can do here is adding and managing products and their prices, adding image and video galleries, multiple product variations, setting up shipping and payment options, initiating loyalty programs for regular customers etc.

The website builder offers a convenient style editor and drag-and-drop functionality that ensures high end performance of web stores created with the system. Thus, you can select and apply certain styles on your website pages. Having picked the one for one page, it will be automatically applied to the rest of the pages. This concerns cover and product pages, blogs, galleries event an index pages.

The website builder allows selecting and integrating lots of eCommerce apps and widgets for social media buttons, image galleries, niche tools for restaurants and cafes. It’s also possible to integrate Squarespace Metrics App or Google Analytics into your project to keep track of its efficacy and performance.

Conclusion: When it comes to eCommerce functionality, Shopify is the best solution, if you wish to develop a large-scale project. Due to its strong eCommerce focus, the software will cover an amazing variety of web design needs, ensuring the best result possible. Wix, however, also works well for the creation and management of small and medium online stores. Its eCommerce feature set is rich and advanced. Squarespace, in its turn, lacks eCommerce functionality and it’s also a bit more complicated to master as compared to its main competitors.

SEO

Shopify. When it comes to SEO, Shopify doesn’t have any problems at all. The website builder offers a broad range of features and tools needed for effective web store promotion. These include advanced SEO settings, integrated statistics, set up of external statistics collection services and other options that help attract and retain potential and regular customers. What you need to boost your eCommerce website search engine positions is to learn the basics of SEO promotion and make use of multiple tools the system offers.

Wix. Wix is a SEO-friendly website builder. Actually, it is one of the systems, which excels at this parameter. Due to the integrated SEO Wiz tool, the system makes it possible to effectively adjust SEO settings when needed. This is done in a quick and comfortable way. Just follow the instructions the system offers to set up your website SEO parameters (manual set up of meta tags for each page, anchor links, redirect tools etc. are needed). What’s more, it is possible to choose and install applications from the AppMarket to track your web store statistics. By making use of the Google Analytics System, you can analyze your current web store statistics to speed up your website indexation and modify the promotion strategy on time.

Wix SEO

Squarespace. Squarespace cares for the enhancement of SEO parameters of web stores built with the system. Some of the integrated SEO-friendly features the website builder is known for include automatic site map generation, reliable SSL certification, clear HTML markup, automatic tagging to improve search engine indexing, clean URLs for all website pages, automatic redirects for multiple domains, meta-tags, AMP tool, website statistics collection tool etc.

Conclusion: All website builders are SEO-friendly. They make it possible to easily set up the required parameters so that your online stores could rank high in the search engines. The systems allow connecting Google Analytics and other statistic tracking parameters to check how optimized your project is and whether it requires any improvements.

Designs

Shopify. Shopify template gallery is not that rich, but the themes it offers are of high quality. All in all, there are over 45 responsive templates (10 of which are free), which are sorted out by industry. They come with ready made content, but there is also CSS code editing option, which makes it possible for web designers to create and customize unique eCommerce websites.

Shopify - Free Themes

As soon as you register with the system, you are offered a basic Debut theme, which can further be changed to any template that comes up to your business requirements. The cost of the paid templates ranges from $100 and up to $180, which is quite expensive for an ordinary user. However, there is no big difference between free and paid themes, except for the fact that the latter are more stylish and creative. Whatever template you will go for, you’ll get a set of customization tools to create the design you hope to avail.

Even though, the final template choice is not that extensive, Shopify allows for creative freedom due to the availability of design variations. Each theme comes with 25-3 styles you may choose from. There is also a detailed description and a preview option that displays the project in the real-time mode. You can also browse a collection of ready-made samples to get an idea of how your project may eventually look.

If needed, you can select and set up several designs at a time, having specified one of them as a major theme. Shopify allows for the template switch, which means that you can replace the selected design with another sample, if there is something you don’t like about it. Additionally, you can make use of the opportunity to upload your own template to customize its design from scratch.

Wix. When it comes to the design aspect, Wix template collection is one of the most stunning. This also concerns eCommerce templates, the number of which currently exceeds 38 themes. The templates are mobile-optimized right from the start, which means that your web store visitors will be able to access it on the go. Mind that Wix doesn’t have product import/export options, so, get ready to upload the products manually. Wix templates feature high quality, stylish design and advanced functionality. There is no template change options here, so, if you decide to change the theme you’ve chosen, all the submitted content will be lost.

If you don’t manage to find a suitable eCommerce template in Wix designs collection, you can select a blank theme and customize it with regard to your needs. Thus, you can add, edit and manage content blocks, integrate widgets and add-ons from Wix App Market and use versatile design customization tools to give your project one-of-a-kind look.

Wix Templates

Squarespace. Squarespace designs are awesome, but they look a bit monotonous because of the similar structure. There are no many themes here, but each of them comes with refined fonts, strict but clear layouts and rich imagery. What’s important, you can apply custom CSS to any theme, if you wish to give it personalized look. Squarespace designs are responsive by default, which is a benefit in itself. Any template can be changed on the go, if needed. What’s more, Squarespace comes with the integrate Cover Page Builder that makes it possible to create outstanding designs out of content blocks you can pick and customize as you wish.

Squarespace Themes

Conclusion: Wix is the leader in the template choice and versatility of designs. Offering hundreds of high quality themes, it unveils lots of advantages to web store owners. Shopify is also good, when it comes to template choice, although, its template collection is not that extensive as compared to Wix. The system, however, abounds in deep and flexible design customization settings. Squarespace themes, in their turn, are not quite professional or versatile. They lack customization options as opposed to Wix and Shopify.

Technical Support

Shopify. Shopify tech support is definitely worth its cost. The system is known for its powerful knowledge base, how-to guides, Live Chat with Shopify experts, email support etc. The most informative and helpful, however, is the system’s forum. This is the top notch destination for people facing challenging technical problems.

Finally, Shopify makes it possible for the software owners to visit its integrated eCommerce University, where they can come across lots of eBooks, video tutorials, webinars and lots of other web-based resources to enrich your knowledge and improve your skills.

Wix. Wix tech support center is impressive and powerful. Whatever questions or problems you have, you’ll find the answers here. Each element in the control panel comes with icons that provide tips on how to edit it correctly. The website builder also provides an extensive help center that comes with how-to articles, videos, step-by-step tutorials, manuals etc.

Wix also offers a powerful forum and support center, which provides answers to multiple questions. If you still have any questions left, it is possible to contact the custom support team via email. Additionally, there is an opportunity to make use of the call back feature. Nothing special is required to do that – just leave your online inquiry and wait until Wix experts will get in touch with you to help solve your problems.

Squarespace. Squarespace offers 24/7 email customer support, Live Chat available on weekdays from 11am to 7pm EST, an informative knowledge base and a community-managed FAQ section. These services are provided for free. Premium plan users can additionally make use of the live chat support, tutorials and email help. Thus, it is possible to get answers to any system-related questions you might have during the web design process.

Conclusion: Whatever website builder you will go for, you may be sure that you’ll get quality and professional customer support. The systems provides all kinds of assistance, ranging from online tutorials and up to live help. Due to this versatility of options, users may choose variants they are interested in.

Pricing

Shopify. The eCommerce software currently has four paid plans, including Lite ($9/mo), Basic Shopify ($29/mo), Shopify ($79/mo) and Advanced Shopify ($299/mo). The cost of each plan is defined by the range of features provided, such as design customization tools, availability of gift cards and discounts, disc storage capacity, bandwidth, abandoned cart recovery etc.

Mind that Shopify is transaction-free, but it still charges fees for all credit card transactions. Thus, Shopify is more expensive as compared to Wix and Squarespace, but its feature set and results are worth the cost. For all those users, who wish to test the system features, Shopify offers a free 14-day trial period, after the end of which you should select one of the paid plans.

Wix. Wix has a free neverending version and five paid plans. The free plan is enough only to test the basic features of the system. However, if you wish to create a web store, then it makes sense to upgrade to one of the advanced plans, such as eCommerce ($16.50/mo) or VIP (24.50/mo). As you see, the price range of the system is much more affordable than that of Shopify, while the quality of online stores and their feature sets are on a decent level and come up to the contemporary niche requirements.

What you should also know is that Wix frequently introduces discounts, special offers and bonuses for first-time users and loyal clients. To be informed about the upcoming offer, you should sign up for the system newsletter. That’s a surefire way to save big, while using the outstanding eCommerce feature set of the website builder.

Squarespace. Squarespace doesn’t have any free plans. There is only a free 14-day trial required to test the features of the system only. Paid plans include two options, namely Websites (Personal or Business) – $16-$26/mo and Online Stores (Basic or Advanced) – $30-$46/mo billed month-to-month. The cost may be discounted, if you make one-time yearly payment. Thus, Squarespace is more expensive than Wix, but more affordable than Shopify.

Conclusion: When analyzing the pricing policy of website builders, I should conclude that Wix is the most affordable system. It has a separate plan for online stores, which covers a broad spectrum of web store-related needs. Shopify, in its turn, has more extensive pricing options for all user categories. Squarespace is more expensive than Wix, but its plans are more affordable than those offered by Shopify.

Bottom Line

When it comes to building eCommerce websites, the choice of the best web building tool matters a lot. This is because the final result and the cost of the ready made website will depend upon the feature set the website builder offers. If you are right about to build an online store, it makes sense to choose between Shopify, Wix and Squarespace. Each service has its pros, cons, eCommerce tools and pricing aspects.

  • Shopify is a distinct leader in the eCommerce web building niche. The website builder is completely focused on web store creations and, thus, offers a powerful feature set needed to accomplish the task. Shopify allows building small-to-large web stores, the number of products in which may range from several dozens and up to several thousands. This is a universal eCommerce website builder that is worth the money invested.
  • Wix is a great alternative for newbies, who wish to launch and manage small and medium web stores. The range of features it offers is more than enough to reach the goal. The website builder is known for its stunning eCommerce templates, SEO characteristics and affordable pricing policy. Is there anything else a non-techie might need?
  • Squarespace is a nice choice for users, who are looking for deeper web store design customization and are ready to invest more into their websites. The website builder has almost the same feature set as Wix, but it is more expensive. It is also more difficult to master the system, which takes more effort and time.

Each project is unique and it comes with a distinctive set of features suitable for the development and effective management of online stores. Shopify is the undeniable leader of the eCommerce web design niche as it offers advanced functionality needed to design and promote small, medium and large online stores. Wix, in its turn, also comes with integrated ecommerce engine, niche templates and a separate eCommerce plan. If you plan to create a small or midsize web store, then this website builder will also work great for this purpose. Squarespace obviously lacks eCommerce functionality and it’s also more difficult to master. It will hardly be a good choice for most retailers. Anyway, I recommend exploring and analyzing each website builder from the point of view of functionality and pricing policy in advance. Take your time to learn what exactly each system offers and whether it comes up to your eCommerce web building needs. Good luck!

Malcolm Thomas

My name is Malcolm, I'm a blogger. I mostly spend my time reviewing website building software and helping others turn their ideas into exceptional websites. I like meeting new people, so feel free to contact me anytime.

You may also like...