Starting a website now is much easier than before be thanks to the introduction and development of numerous user-friendly, innovative and effective website builders. Lately, many website builders have been integrating eCommerce features so as to help its users turn their websites into online stores. When it comes to choosing a solution to build a online store , the best option would be the one which perfectly compromises various factors such as your business type, your budget and your technical knowledge.
Currently, Wix vs Squarespace vs Shopify are among the most brilliant nominees for the best eCommerce website builders. This article is an intensive analysis on the key features of these three platforms. Keep reading this till the end to get:
- Brief introduction of Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify
- In-depth analysis of important functionalities
- Advice on what eCommerce platform is for your business
What are Wix vs Squarespace vs Shopify?
Wix is a cloud-based platform founded in 2006, claiming itself as the leader in website creation with professional teams in various countries in the world. To website owners, Wix is a simple website builder with a drag-and-drop interface and a development wonderland for complete beginners. It has been empowering 3,800,881 websites all over the globe in diverse aspects such as online store, photography, music, designer, food, fitness, event, blog, etc.
Shopify is a hosted eCommerce platform founded in 2004. Basically, Shopify is the most favourable option for beginners who know nothing about programming, coding and web development to start and manage their own online store. Now Shopify is used by 1,233,255 live websites in the world.
Squarespace is a hosted CMS solution to create and manage websites, blogs, portfolios and online stores. Similar to Wix, Squarespace lets businesses of all types create professional websites with the drag-and-drop interface. Currently, Squarespace hosts 2,143,632 live websites worldwide.
Wix vs Squarespace vs Shopify are all heavyweight champions among website builders. All these three platforms are incredibly easy to use. You can easily create and manage websites with them without any technical skills.
However, Wix vs Squarespace vs Shopify are launched for different purposes. Wix and Squarespace were initially created as website builders to support content-based websites. Shopify, on the other hand, is an eCommerce platform created solely with the purpose of driving sales for online merchants. Therefore, there are significant variations among these competing platforms. Please take your time to learn what exactly each system offers and whether it comes up to your eCommerce web building needs.
Price is the first thing you should consider when searching for an eCommerce platform. Whether you’re a small business just getting started or an already established brick & mortar business moving online, you need to know exactly what you’ll be paying.
Wix pricing varies slightly between its 2 options: Website and Business & eCommerce.
When it comes to creating a website, there are 4 pricing plans. The cheapest as well as the most basic plan ($4/month) for connecting your own domain with your Wix site. Your site will still show Wix ads. (This plan is not available in all countries). From $8/month with Combo plan, customers can have an ad-free website which also includes hosting and a domain name for 1 year. If you need more professional and advanced features like your own domain name or eCommerce, you must choose from one of their premium plans, Unlimited or Business VIP.
When it comes to launching an online store with the Business & eCommerce option, the price ranges from $17 to $35 per month.
Squarespace pricing comes with 4 plans. The most basic plan costs $12 per month (Personal plan) which enables you to get a 20-page-website. If you want to start an online store, you have to go for the other 3 plans. Business plan is $18 for a fully integrated eCommerce store with a 3% transaction fee. Both 2 Commerce plans (Basic at $26 and Advanced at $40) do not charge any transaction fees along with more eCommerce functionality enhancements.
Shopify users will be charged both the platform fee and payment processing fees. It offers 3 pricing plans which are defined by the range of features provided.
The most popular Shopify Plan among new online store owners is Basic Shopify at $29 per month. This plan provides users with all the basics for starting a new business. Shopify plan costs $79 in which you can find more functionalities integrated into your store. The last plan is Advanced Shopify with $299 per month which comes with advanced features for scaling business.
When evaluating the pricing policy of these 3 website builders, we can conclude that Wix is the most affordable solution, followed by Squarespace and Shopify. Each platform comes with separate plans offering different sets of features. For a more in-depth look, let’s dive into the functionalities of each platform.
Wix vs Squarespace vs Shopify all strive to bring the best support to their customers and all of these platforms are acclaimed for their high-quality support service. To give their customers a leg up when running a website or opening an online store , they provide a huge resource of knowledge base including instruction tutorials and FAQs. In addition, each of these platforms is packed with its own forum and community where business owners and experts share their knowledge and support each other. Whatever website builder you will go for, you will surely get quality and professional customer support.
In case knowledge base materials and their communities do not help with technical issues, customers can resort to direct support from these platforms. Shopify provides support via various channels: social media, email, live chat and phone. Wix and Squarespace are more restricted when it comes to support. Wix offers phone support (via callback) and Squarespace only has chat support.
Website builder functionalities
When it comes to website builders, users always expect to launch and manage a website or online store as quickly and easily as possible. Wix vs Squarespace vs Shopify are absolutely easy-to-use solutions.
To Wix, Squarespace and Shopify users, it is a breeze to get used to the intuitive interface of the system and explore the tools needed to create websites. All these platforms facilitate their users throughout the process from creating, to running and managing websites. From the dashboard, you can conveniently navigate to all the core features.
With all these three platforms, there is no complicated installation process involved. Just a few clicks away, you can sign up an account and then create a site. Let’s see how customers think about these platforms. (source: capterra)
“I’m tempted to say that Wix have no, or a straight (linear) learning curve as one can get started immediately after creating an account on Wix”
“Squarespace was the easiest to get set up – fast. And it’s the easiest to maintain, in my opinion! Many of my colleagues talk about their website woes, and about how hard it is to change certain things on their site”.
Shopify – “I run my mom’s business for her (an eCommerce site) and we set up the entire thing from scratch, with little knowledge of the platform.”
When picking a website builder, you have to consider both the quality and quantity of its templates and designs. It is of great importance to opt for a platform that offers multiple modern, mobile-friendly, customizable and functional designs. Otherwise, the platform has to provide sufficient customization options.
Of all these three platforms, Wix owns the largest reservoir of templates with more than 700 templates including 300+ free themes. Squarespace and Shopify are the runners up with over 100 templates and 70 themes respectively. Wix, Squarespace and Shopify themes are all stunning and designed for diverse website types such as businesses, blogs, artists, tourisms, portfolios, restaurants and more.
Of all the three platforms, Wix is considered to be having the coolest drag-and-drop features. Squarespace and Shopify also offers drag-and-drop sections, but you are not given full control over website editing. There are still certain fixed regions for every element to be placed on Squarespace websites. Unlike Shopify and Squarespace, Wix users can literally drag and drop any element and sections to customise to their own taste.
However, one of the drawbacks of Wix design flexibility is that it could be confusing for eCommerce newbies who doesn’t had a clear idea of what features to add and how to organise contents on their website. Another thing I need to mention is that once you have chosen a Wix theme, you will not be able to change it.
Finally, all three solutions allow themes customisation using CSS/ HTML languages (for Shopify, you also need to have a basic understanding of Liquid, Shopify’s templating language). This way of editing is mainly taken by web designers because it requires certain technical knowledge expertise. Especially to Squarespace users, it is advised that this utility should only be used to modify fonts, colors and backgrounds. Using CSS to change other website elements could cause display issues due to the incompatibility with the existing template and Squarespace gives no support for code-based solutions.
Wix automatically creates a mobile-friendly version of their sites. However, they are not fully optimizable. This is because Wix uses an absolute positioning approach for their pages. In this way, site elements are positioned by pixel rather than user’s screen. Therefore, Wix users have to edit themes using the mobile editor to make them fully compatible with different screen resolutions.
Squarespace and Shopify templates are tailored to be responsive for mobile devices. Visitors can easily navigate your site on any devices they choose, from desktops to tablets to smartphones. This is a plus for Squarespace and Shopify because the majority of web traffic is now from mobile devices.
Besides creating regular websites, Wix, Squarespace and Shopify also come with eCommerce functionalities.
When you run an eCommerce store, security should be taken into serious consideration. Wix, Squarespace and Shopify all commit to offer the highest level of security for store data and customers information.
SSL is the standard security technology available to help with establishing encrypted links between browsers and web servers. You can use it to ensure that all of the data moving between a web server and browser can stay private. Wix, Squarespace and Shopify all get SSL certificate protection which helps safeguard both store and customer data.
Moreover, they also equip their stores with PCI Compliance. The purpose is to increase controls around payment data to secure your orders and financial transactions from potential fraudulent actions. Therefore, either Wix, Squarespace or Shopify is very security-conscious since they have implemented the best security practices.
Inventory is the quantity of a particular product that is available for sale. Inventory management is an important part of running your store. Inventory tracking can help you avoid out-of-stock situations, or let you know when you need to supplement your product. Wix, Squarespace and Shopify all cover this area.
Wix allows users to keep track and modify its inventory. To be more specific, you can both automatically track the number of a certain product in stock and manually set inventory status for each. However, inventory, SKU and weight are the only information that you can fill in to keep track of the store inventory.
Regarding Squarespace, In the inventory panel and the Squarespace Commerce mobile apps, users can search and manage the product inventory from a single location. Squarespace allows you to view, organize, search, and edit your inventory.
Since Wix and Squarespace are designed for small and medium-sized online stores, inventory management capabilities are rather limited, thus requiring users to integrate additional apps to expand and facilitate this task.
Shopify is exclusive for eCommerce, thus offering a full package when it comes to inventory. Shopify’s inventory management solution helps you stay organized, avoid costly errors and track all inventory activities easily. With Shopify, you can perform various tasks including setting up and organizing products, managing product variations, assigning barcodes and tracking stock counts.
Point of sale (POS)
POS (Point of sale) function allows you to unify your online and retail stores by adding your offline sales to the online system.
Shopify offers a built-in POS system and it is available for every Shopify plan. However, to unlock more features, like staff management and hardware integration, you need to be on the 3 main plans of Shopify or Shopify Plus.
On the other hand, SquareSpace and WIX users can take advantage of the platforms’ partnership with Square. However, the app is only available in certain plans of Wix (Business Premium Plan) and Squarespace (Commerce Basic and Advance plan).
In general, Shopify’s POS checkout system is more innovative than Wix and Squarespace. Shopify accepts all major credit and debit cards in addition to gift cards. This helps to ensure a smooth and stress-free checkout process for your customers. Meanwhile, Wix and Squarespace POS only accept payment through credit cards, mobile payments, and cash.
Currently, it is impossible to set up a POS system in Wix and Squarespace outside the US. Meanwhile, Shopify POS is available to stores based in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.
Apps and extensions
In addition to the core functionality, Wix, Squarespace and Shopify users can customize their stores to meet more requirements through the integration of thousands apps available on their App store.
Shopify stands out from the eCommerce community with its wealth of apps. In total, there are more than 4100 apps. Wix possesses an App Market with over 300 apps both made by Wix and by third parties. Squarespace offers a limited number of extensions with only 19 apps all of which comes from third parties. Obviously, Wix and Squarespace offer a less impressive range of apps than Shopify.
Though the number is limited in Wix and Squarespace, you can still find apps with diversified functionalities including shipping & fulfillment, finance, inventory & products, and sales & marketing. Many apps have both free and premium versions available.
A cool thing about the Shopify marketplace is that the majority of extensions are made for eCommerce, which is contrary to Wix app store where you find plugins mostly for regular websites.
SEO and Blogs
SEO is the process of optimizing your website for search engines. It makes your eCommerce store visible among the millions of sites that are competing for attention in the grand market. After all, the ultimate goal of SEO is to boost sales and revenue.
SEO and marketing features are all inclusive in Wix, Squarespace and Shopify. They make it possible for their users to easily perform SEO tasks so that your online stores could rank high in the search engines. Users can modify meta tags, URLs, keywords, anchor links, heading tags, alt text and more. Moreover, they also come with multiple built-in SEO features such as instant Google indexing, Google analytics, structured data, XML sitemap, Robots.txt file, and Canonical URLs. To have an overview of SEO features of Wix, Squarespace and Shopify, let’s have a look at the table below.
Besides SEO setting features, Wix, Squarespace and Shopify all equip their websites with the built-in blogging engine. When it comes to blogging, categories and tags are of great significance to content organization and SEO of the websites. Shopify blog posts only allow users to use tags to classify various articles. Wix, in contrast, just supports blog posts categorization. While Wix and Shopify only cover one aspect, Squarespace surpasses these two competing platforms by supporting both blog post tags and categories.
Which one suits you the best?
Shopify is undoubtedly the champion as it offers advanced and powerful functionalities needed to design and promote online stores. Wix and Squarespace are also integrated with eCommerce features along with a structured approach for creating web stores and content-based websites.
Therefore, if eCommerce is the main focus of your site, you should go for Shopify. On the other hand, if you expect to bring knowledge and information to viewers, we would highly recommend Wix and Squarespace.
Wix vs Squarespace vs Shopify all come with a wealthy set of features to foster the development and facilitate the management of any websites. If you are running your website on another platform and wish to migrate to Wix, to Squarespace, or to Shopify, LitExtension could help you with our automated data migration tool. Beside these three, LitExtension also supports migrating data among over 100 shopping carts with high level of security and accuracy.
Here are some detailed migration guides for you:
To see the migration process in action, we provide free DEMO migrations with limited entities transferred. Should you have any questions, please contact LitExtension for help. All questions and recommendations from you will be responded to and answered promptly with our dedicated support team.
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