BigCommerce vs. Squarespace

Looking for ecommerce software? Here's how BigCommerce and Squarespace stack up.

Matthew Taylor
Daniel Adams

Matthew Taylor and Daniel Adams

Last updated 10o July 2020


BigCommerce

4.4  Stackupp rating


Pricing from

$ 29.95 / month

Free Plan?

Trial


Best for

Small to medium retailers looking for a hosted and easy-to-use platform at a reasonable price-point.

Squarespace

4.5  Stackupp rating


Pricing from

$ 16.00 / month

Free Plan?

Trial


Best for

It’s best for small and medium retailers that don’t need extensive support for different languages and access to a large integration and extension library.

BigCommerce or Squarespace: Which is best?

Can't decide between BigCommerce and Squarespace?

Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of BigCommerce and Squarespace. See how each platform stacks up across ease of use, design, support and value for money.

Let the comparison begin. Don't worry, we'll guide you.

Is BigCommerce right for you?

BigCommerce is a popular ecommerce platform with a number of solutions for small and medium-sized retailers. Custom enterprise plans are also available.

BigCommerce appeals particularly to users with limited development skills because of its usability out-of-the-box. That said, those wishing to make more complex backend changes can do so.

Smaller retailers experiencing growth are also drawn to BigCommerce because of its scalability features. The BigCommerce feature-set has everything you would expect, including responsive website templates, shopping cart, and payment integrations, single-page checkout, analytics, and more.

Retailers looking for a fully-hosted solution at a reasonable price point will find BigCommerce appealing. Customer service ratings are consistently high, and BigCommerce customers can take advantage of an active, helpful community of fellow users.

Advantages

  • Easy-to-use from the get-go and fully hosted, which removes the hassle of maintaining servers.
  • A wide selection of features with regular updates and a diverse addon market (with many free options).
  • No transaction fees for use of popular payment gateways.

Drawbacks

  • Some features, like price lists, are only available on the more expensive plans.
  • Can be difficult to make extensive design and backend changes.
  • Themes and add-ons are often quite expensive.

Use if you are a small to medium-sized retailer with limited development skills (or budget) and expecting your store to grow.

Is Squarespace right for you?

Squarespace Commerce is an excellent choice for retailers that want to create and manage a stylish store. The platform is easy-to-use, includes a wide selection of features, and allows for unlimited products.

Squarespace Commerce is the “cool kid” of site-builder ecommerce platforms. Users have access to a powerful set of features - including unlimited bandwidth and storage, analytics, and POS - along with a library of sleek, professional templates.

It’s a fully-hosted solution, so you won’t have to take care of any backend tasks.

But while we like Squarespace Commerce, it’s not perfect. The editor does take a little getting used to. What’s more, the number of integrations on offer is a little limited.

Advantages

  • Easy-to-use site builder and management dashboard.
  • Stylish and professional themes
  • Unlimited products

Drawbacks

  • Promotion features only available on top plan.
  • Small number of themes.
  • Number of integrations is limited.

Use Squarespace Commerce if you’re looking for a platform that combines ease-of-use with the option to take advantage of more advanced features like POS, discounts and promotions, and theme editing.

Ease of Use

Our first comparison criteria, ease of use. Why? Because it’s the most important.

Think about it. You don’t want to invest a lot of your precious time setting up an online store and tweaking the design only to find out that it’s a pain in the butt to manage day to day.

We take a look at how simple the BigCommerce and Squarespace platforms are to run.

How easy is BigCommerce to use?

Rated 4/5 for Ease of Use

BigCommerce is very easy to use. After signing up, you’ll be guided through the process of setting up your store.

You can access essential features from the central BigCommerce dashboard, including product listings, customer information, analytics, app integrations, and more. Once your store is ready to go, day-to-day tasks of managing orders and content can be handled easily through the main interface. Adding new products and running reports are straightforward tasks.

One reason that BigCommerce doesn’t score a straight 10 out of 10 is because designing extra functionality beyond what’s offered directly can be tricky.

What BigCommerce customers are saying...

I've been on BigCommerce since 2010 and it's terrific. Support is great, and they're always improving the platform and coming out with new features. The app directory is robust but almost everything you need is already part of the main package.
We have been using Big Commerce for over 7 years now and love the functionality of it compared to other platforms. The online technical support is great too and we use this very often!
BigCommerce has been good to work with. The e-commerce store is easy to manage.

How easy is Squarespace to use?

Rated 4.5/5 for Ease of Use

While the site-builder is very easy to use, it does take a little getting used to. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the basics, however, you’ll have no trouble changing everything from your logo to your color scheme.

The management dashboard, from where users manage listings, orders, and analytics, is intuitive and easy to navigate.

What Squarespace customers are saying...

Beautiful template designs, user-friendly features, website is loading well. Very well coded and developed.
Easy to use, hugely customizable, great templates.
I love Squarespace. I have built my entire business on Squarespace, to annual revenues of over 500K.

Squarespace is our winner for ease of use

Design

Powerful features are great, but we all know first impressions count. So, do BigCommerce and Squarespace templates actually look any good? See for yourself. We outline each platforms design options, plus showcase a few real life examples.

How good are BigCommerce's themes?

Rated 4/5 for Design

BigCommerce offers a robust default design along with dozens of free and paid themes in the theme store. The themes on offer are well-optimized and cater to a range of ecommerce sectors and site preferences, including for both large and small catalogs.

Crucially, BigCommerce offers an intuitive storefront editor for managing your store’s frontend design, and you can tweak most aspects of the default theme. It’s possible to make limited CSS and HTML changes. Developers that want to build a theme from scratch can take advantage of the BigCommerce framework.

One drawback is paid themes can be quite pricey, running into several hundred dollars for the paid options. Nonetheless, you have a range of free themes to take advantage of.

BigCommerce Examples

  • Avery Dennison
    Avery Dennison
Item 1 of 3

How good are Squarespace's themes?

Rated 4.5/5 for Design

Squarespace Commerce strikes a rare balance for an ecommerce website builder by combining intuitive, accessible customization tools with the option to make more advanced code changes.

Because the site-builder has a lot of options, it does require a little familiarization. But once users have overcome that initial hurdle, an array of customization opportunities open up.

The only downside is that, while the templates are beautifully-designed and mobile-optimized, only ten are offered. If you’re thinking about opting for Squarespace, check that one of the themes meets your needs before signing up to a paid plan. There’s a free trial, so you can take the platform for a test-drive first.

Squarespace Examples

  • 2 HR SET
    2 HR SET
Item 1 of 3

Squarespace is our winner for design

How much do they cost?

Everyone’s favourite topic - pricing. Let's dive in to see if BigCommerce or Squarespace offers better value for money.

How much does BigCommerce cost?

Rated 4.5/5 for Pricing

BigCommerce has three pricing options: £$29.95/month, $79.95/month, and $249.95/month. There is also an enterprise edition that includes unlimited API calls, price lists, and ShipperHQ (a leading rules engine for working out shipping prices). You can save a little on the monthly fee by opting to pay annually. There are no up-front fees for getting started, and 24/7 support is included at all price-points. There is also a two-week free trial to sample the platform before jumping in.

Features are generally uniform over most of the paid plans, although the middle “Plus” plan includes some features you may need which aren’t included in the “Standard” plan, such as the “cart saver” for remembering abandoned carts. Paid templates usually average around $200.

How much does Squarespace cost?

Rated 4.5/5 for Pricing

All in all, Squarespace offers excellent value for money. The feature-set is extremely robust and includes unlimited products, multi-channel management (through the “Shopping Feed” integration), POS, abandoned cart emails, customer accounts, and more. It’s also possible to sell digital products and subscription services.

The only area where Squarespace falls is the limited add-on library. Compared to a solution like Shopify, Squarespace doesn’t offer smaller, less obvious features like countdown timers or personalized promotions.

To take advantage of all the features, you’ll need to sign up for the “Advanced” plan, but smaller retailers will get by happily on the “Basic” plan. The “Business” plan offers a limited feature-set and is designed for webmasters that want to sell a small number of products.

It's a draw!

Help and Support

If things go wrong (and they often do) you need to know someone’s there to help get you back on track. So, how does BigCommerce's and Squarespace's support measure up?

How good is BigCommerce support?

Rated 5/5 for Help and Support

BigCommerce routinely ranks as one of the best ecommerce platforms for customer support. Seek out any review site online and you will find glowing praise for the level of customer service.

24/7 live agent support is provided on all plans. API and priority support is offered for the enterprise plan.

How good is Squarespace support?

Rated 4.5/5 for Help and Support

The support package offered by Squarespace is excellent and users generally report high levels of customer satisfaction.

Customer support is available 24/7 via email and on Twitter. Live chat is available between 4 AM and 8 PM on weekdays.

Because Squarespace is a well-known and popular site-builder, a large community of users are active on the forums, which is another bonus.

BigCommerce is our winner for support

The Bottom Line

The final say. Let's wrap up our thoughts on each platform.

BigCommerce: Our Verdict

BigCommerce is an excellent choice for small and medium-sized retailers that need an easy-to-use platform that is ready to scale. Superb management functionality, covering product listings, orders, and reporting, combines with an intuitive and easy-to-use dashboard. This streamlines the process of carrying out routine day-to-day ecommerce tasks.

Users also get a lot of bang for their buck. All plans allow for unlimited products and unlimited customer entries in your CRM. Furthermore, BigCommerce retailers can take advantage of a library of templates and add-ons (for Facebook, MailChimp, Quickbooks, etc.). 24/7 customer service is provided on all plans. On the downside, themes can be expensive, often reaching several hundred dollars. Equally, if you are eager to make extensive design changes to your frontend, BigCommerce might not be for you. That said, the development framework is an option for advanced developers.

Oh, and there’s a 15-day trial. So you can dip your toes in the water before diving in.

Squarespace: Our Verdict

Squarespace is a popular ecommerce platform and site-builder with a loyal band of users. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use solution with a comprehensive and powerful set of features, then take advantage of the free trial and give it a test-drive.

One of the best aspects of Squarespace is its applicability to retailers with a range of coding abilities. Non-developers can take advantage of the feature-rich site-builder (which is easy to navigate one you’re familiar with all the options) and build a highly-customized site. Developers, on the other hand, can customize and alter a site’s code extensively using the “Developer Mode”.

So what about the downsides? While we’re big fans of Squarespace, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Although the feature-set is excellent - covering omnichannel listings, customer accounts, POS, promotion features, and email marketing - the integration library is a little sparse. Without coding experience, retailers will find it difficult to add smaller features, like countdown timers or personalization, without advanced coding abilities. If you want access to a large add-on library, a solution like Shopify might be preferable. Furthermore, while the themes on offer are superb, there’s only ten of them.

Overall, we found Squarespace to be the better ecommerce platform.

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