Shopify, Woocommerce or Squarespace: Best E-commerce For Creative Businesses
We’re fortunate enough to live in an online world, where physical storefronts are no longer a must. But, just like the right location or building makes all the difference, so does your choice of e-commerce platform.
The right e-commerce platform will act as a solid foundation on which to build your jewelry empire. With the right platform, you’ll be able to grow your business, make online sales with ease, stress less about bookkeeping, and focus on your jewelry.
There are dozens of big names in the e-commerce platform game, and a few that commonly come up. To help you find the right e-commerce platform, we’re going to compare Shopify vs Squarespace vs Coocommerce. But first, let’s take a look at what you need to consider when shopping for any e-commerce platform.
What to look for in an e-commerce platform
No two businesses have the same needs. Whether you’re a fledgling or flourishing jewelry business, you need to make your e-commerce platform hunt personal. It’s for your business, after all.
When looking at any e-commerce platform, there are several questions you need to ask.
- Is there a trial? Many platforms provide a free trial. Take advantage of this and give any e-commerce platform that interests you a whirl. Be sure to plan ahead for your trial and dedicate as much time as possible to the platform during it.
- What can you afford? Plain and simple, you have to consider your budget. Some e-commerce platforms are made for startups and incredibly cheap. Others are angling for enterprise clients and will charge a pretty penny. Put your budget at the forefront of your search.
- What kind of volume do you need? If you’re only making a handful of sales each month, you likely don’t need a platform or plan that’s intended for people selling in bulk. But, it’s still a good idea to find a platform that can serve both audiences. (Ideally you’ll grow!)
- Do you already have a website and host? Some e-commerce platforms include hosting and website design. If you already have a website and host setup, you can broaden your options a bit and find a dedicated platform that doesn’t necessarily offer hosting.
- Do you need an in-store or physical POS? If you have a retail location or regularly sell at trade shows and markets, a point-of-sale (POS) setup is a good idea.
- How well does the platform scale? Your business will grow, and so too will your needs. If price is a factor, get what you can. But, ideally you want an e-commerce platform that can scale with your business.
The above questions will keep you on the right path and help you avoid going with the wrong e-commerce platform. But, remember: no decision is forever. If you choose a platform and feel you made a mistake, look into migrating to another platform.
Shopify is one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world, and for good reason: you can do almost anything with it.
Whether you’re just starting a business, or have customers around the globe, Shopify has a plethora of plans and features that make it a solid e-commerce platform:
- More than 70 themes that are easily customizable to fit virtually any business type.
- Web hosting and domain registration through Shopify, which is especially great if you’re starting from square zero.
- Mobile friendly storefront is available, with Shopify web themes also supporting mobile.
- Paid specialist services, like digital marketing and SEO assistance.
- Shopify Compass, a giant learning hub led by experts in business and marketing.
- Shopify Point of Sale, which allows you to easily set up your Shopify store in a brick and mortar or trade show and take payments.
There’s little Shopify can’t do. But, what about the other competition?
WooCommerce is a tried-and-true e-commerce plug-in that’s used by hundreds of thousands of businesses. Woocommerce, like Shopify, has several features that draw in audiences:
- WooCommerce runs on WordPress, meaning if you’re familiar with WordPress, you’re familiar with Woocommerce. This also allows for a lot of themes and extension overlap between WordPress and Woocommerce.
- WooCommerce is a powerful content tool, which is especially great for those looking to run a blog, incorporate video marketing, or integrate social media content into their store.
- WooCommerce is open source, meaning virtually anything’s possible. With a large online community, you can find solutions to almost any problem you’re wanting to solve.
- There are more than 400 extensions supported by WooCommerce. This means many of your favorite WordPress extensions could work on your e-commerce site.
WooCommerce is a powerful e-commerce store that’s especially useful in the hands of a developer. Whether that’s you or someone you hire is another question.
Squarespace is an online website builder that’s known for their intuitive site builder, flashy themes, and wide variety of uses. But, unlike Shopify and WooCommerce, Squarespace isn’t solely an e-commerce platform.
- Squarespace features online store templates, as well as traditional portfolio and web templates.
- You can use Squarespace-specific product pages to showcase your products in a professionally-designed manner.
- Squarespace supports unlimited payment methods, meaning you can take virtually any kind of payment. This is great for those with international clientele.
- Squarespace has a low cost of entry, with their $18/month plan taking 3% of transactions, and their $26/month plan taking 0%.
Squarespace is often used by those looking to showcase their work via a portfolio or flashy site, but their e-commerce sites are equally gorgeous. If you’re wanting a professionally-designed site that’s easy to put together, Squarespace isn’t a bad option.
Shopify vs Squarespace vs WooCommerce
Comparing Shopify vs Squarespace vs WooCommerce is no easy task. All three e-commerce platforms have their strengths and weaknesses, and none of them is a blatantly “bad” choice. To better determine which is right for you, it’s important you consider the following areas.
When it comes to pricing, all three options have a wide variety of plans and costs associated with them.
- Shopify starts at $29/month and goes up to $299/month, with a 2.4-2.9% fee + 30 cents tacked onto any purchase depending on your plan. If you’re a high volume store, this adds up quickly.
- WooCommerce is technically an e-commerce plugin, not a site, so it’s free to use. But, you still need a site host, domain name, and payment processor. These can vary in cost.
- Squarespace starts at $18/month for business plans, and goes up to $40/month. The $18/month plan charges a 3% fee on all purchases, while the $26 and $40 plans have no transaction fees. This gives them an edge over Shopify in the pricing department and makes them especially appealing to high-volume stores.
If you’re comfortable setting up your own payment processor and essentially building your site from scratch, or don’t mind hiring a developer, WooCommerce is potentially the cheapest. But, Squarespace has a mid-tier plan that’s cheaper than Shopify’s entry-level plan, and requires no transaction fees, so they’re worth considering if they’re in your budget.
Support is always worth considering, as the last thing you want is a downed e-commerce site and no way of getting it back up.
- Shopify features a support request form, online help center, web community, email, and chat support. If you have a problem, you have multiple routes of finding an answer.
- WooCommerce support isn’t as broad as Shopify’s, with your options being limited to an online help center of documents and resources, and a help desk that allows you to submit a ticket. Still, the help desk is fairly quick at assisting customers.
- Squarespace has an online help center with videos and guides, a searchable help center, and the ability to connect online with an advisor.
All three options offer fairly solid support. Keep in mind, all three platforms are incredibly popular, so you’ll have numerous YouTube videos at your disposal as well. Well this isn’t as ideal as live support, it can help you find answers you need, quickly.
Shopify, WooCommerce, and Squarespace all have fairly customizable platforms, but there are some clear pros and cons to each in this department:
- Shopify has more than 70 themes that are all customizable to a great extent. You can make most of their themes work for your jewelry business, easily add in your branded colors, and ultimately own the theme with your look. But, extension options are limited.
- WooCommerce is a plug-in that runs on WordPress, so customizability is essentially unlimited here. WooCommerce works on most WordPress themes, and there are hundreds of thousands of those. Let’s not forget the hundreds of extensions WooCommerce works with. In short: you can customize anything with WooCommerce.
- Squarespace is more customizable than Shopify, as you have a wider number of templates to choose from as well as a web builder. This puts Squarespace ahead of Shopify, but still behind WooCommerce as far as customization.
All three e-commerce platforms will likely allow you to make the site you want. But, if you’re wanting near-unrestricted customizability, WooCommerce is hard to beat.
Additional features and services
You can find virtually any service on the freelance market, but it’s still nice to have built-in services available. Your options vary quite a bit depending on the platform you choose.
- Shopify offers a wide variety of add-on services, from their POS system to digital marketing support. Shopify also includes a marketing suite, featuring analytics and email marketing campaign tools. These can be beneficial as you grow your business, but keep in mind there are also free alternatives in the wild if you choose another platform.
- WooCommerce is a plug-in, so the add-ons are understandably limited. But, keep in mind you can supplement WooCommerce with virtually any WordPress extensions or plugins, and use your own freelancer services if you want marketing and what not.
- Squarespace is rather light in the add-on service area, but they do have a variety of marketing tools that allow you to launch and track various campaigns. This is similar to Shopify, with the added benefit of Squarespace’s lower monthly cost.
If you’re looking for an absolute all-in-one experience, Shopify is hard to beat. But, if you’re wanting flexibility and don’t mind finding freelancers for additional services, WooCommerce is free and completely open. And lastly, Squarespace is cheaper than Shopify and still includes many of the same powerful tools Shopify does.
Marketing your new store
No matter the e-commerce platform you choose, you need to market your jewelry business if you want your brand to truly shine. With our Ultimate Online Marketing Guide for Jewelry Designers, Makers, and Retailers, you can make marketing a breeze with:
- Strategy tips for email, website content, social media, and more
- Organizational tips for your marketing
- An online checklist for marketing your jewelry brand
- A 10 step plan to building a marketing campaign
- And so much more
Your art deserves to be seen by the world. Take your first steps toward making that happen with our free guide today.