Looking for ecommerce software? Here's how Squarespace and Etsy stack up.
Daniel Adams and Mark Hammersley
Last updated 19o August 2020
4.5 Stackupp rating
$ 16.00 / month
Best forIt’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.
3.8 Stackupp rating
$ 10.00 / month
Best forsmall retailers that sell vintage items, handmade products, or craft supplies.
Can't decide between Squarespace and Etsy?
Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of Squarespace and Etsy. 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.
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.
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.
Etsy is a well-known marketplace and ecommerce platform for retailers that offer vintage items, handmade products, and craft supplies.
It’s a straightforward, cost-effective option for small businesses and individuals with an inventory that meets Etsy requirements. By running your store on Etsy, you’ll avoid many of the challenges that come hand-in-hand with larger solutions like Shopify and WooCommerce, while also gaining access to one of the world’s largest third-party marketplaces. You can upgrade to Etsy’s separate solution, called Patterns, which enables you to build your own store and sell whatever you like on it while still using the Etsy engine.
Retailers with diverse inventories and high product turnover, however, will almost certainly need a more feature-rich platform.
you’re a small independent retailer specializing in handmade or vintage items (or craft supplies). Etsy has a forever-free plan, along with an inexpensive premium option, so it’s an incredibly cost-effective solution.
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 Squarespace and Etsy platforms are to run.
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.
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.
You won’t find a platform that is easier to use than Etsy. This is partly due to the fact that there aren’t lots of complex features (which some might see as a downside) and partly due to the simple, intuitive design of the seller dashboard. Etsy makes essential tasks, like creating listings and generating reports, nearly effortless.
“Discovering Etsy and opening a shop enabled me to take control of sales.”
“Etsy has allowed me to build an international customer base that already appreciates handmade products.”
“Etsy has been an incredible experience for me.”
Etsy is our winner for ease of use
Powerful features are great, but we all know first impressions count. So, do Squarespace and Etsy templates actually look any good? See for yourself. We outline each platforms design options, plus showcase a few real life examples.
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.
Design flexibility and freedom isn’t one of Etsy’s strongest points. Most Etsy stores look very similar, and there’s a reason for this: Etsy only offers a limited number of customization options.
As a seller, you can change the colours, fonts, and photo styles in your store. You’ll also be able to upload a unique logo and banner - which has the option of a photo “carousel” - and set a homepage description.
Users of the Etsy Plus premium plan will have access to a handful of additional features, such as the option to highlight top-performing products on the homepage.
Customizing your store is a very fast and straightforward process. While design freedom is limited, this won’t be a problem for people with little development experience who already like the standard Etsy storefront.
Squarespace is our winner for design
Everyone’s favourite topic - pricing. Let's dive in to see if Squarespace or Etsy offers better value for money.
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.
At first glance, Etsy looks like one of the most cost-effective ecommerce solutions on the market. It has a forever-free plan and even the premium option, Etsy Plus, only costs ten dollars per month. “Pattern by Etsy”, a service which allows you to run an “independent” online store on your own domain (in conjunction with your Etsy store) only costs $15 a month.
But it’s crucial to take account of fees. Retailers are charged $0.20 for every listing. When a sale is made, Etsy takes a 5% transaction fee, along with a 4% payment processing charge, which amounts to nearly 10% of the overall item price.
If you only process low sales volume, then these fees can be viable. With higher volumes, however, Etsy becomes less feasible.
Squarespace is our winner for cost
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 Squarespace's and Etsy's support measure up?
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.
Etsy has an excellent support package, even on its free plan. Along with one of the largest seller communities on the web and extensive and in-depth training materials, users can also take advantage of live-chat and phone service.
Inexperienced retailers, in particular, will find a lot to like in the comprehensive tutorials and “seller handbook”. The online forum, through which users can join “teams” to exchange ideas and collaborate, is an excellent learning tool.
All support options are accessible from a tab in the seller dashboard, so assistance is easy to find when you need it.
Squarespace is our winner for support
The final say. Let's wrap up our thoughts on each platform.
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.
Retailers considering Etsy should understand that it isn’t an ecommerce platform in the traditional sense. It’s not a standalone app like Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. You should only consider it as an option if you’re planning to sell your products to the broader Etsy marketplace.
If you do fall into that category, however, then you’ll find a lot to like - it’s a streamlined, easy-to-use platform at a fantastic price.
Furthermore, Etsy “Pattern” enables retailers to have a store at their own domain that isn’t bound by typical Etsy restrictions but is still managed from the central store manager. If you think it might be for you, sign up for a free account and give it a whirl.
Overall, we found Squarespace to be the better ecommerce platform.
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