Our rating(3.5/5)
Squarespace is s popular website builder for professionals and small online businesses.
Squarespace is known for its stunning web designs, but ecommerce is part of the offering too. Setting up an online store is fast with the curated templates, but integration limitations mean you can’t expand on features with external tools.
  • Highs: Beautiful web designs. Relatively simple to use. Quick to set up a website.
  • Lows: Extra transaction fee on Business plan. Limited options to extend features. No POS integration. Few ecommerce templates.
  • Best for: Business wanting a visually stunning, beginner-friendly online store managed only through Squarespace.

How Squarespace works

Squarespace is an all-in-one website platform for building and running a personal blog, business website or online store. Hosting is including, i.e. you get a website builder, design templates and hosting of one website per subscription plan.

Accepted payment methods

VisaMastercardAmerican ExpressApple PayPayPal

Squarespace is known for their very stylish templates, taking all the design work out of creating a new website.

The ecommerce features are only accessible on the paid plans called Business, Basic Commerce or Advanced Commerce. The cheapest plan available, called Personal, does not have online selling features, so we won’t cover that one in this review.

British Squarespace sites can be connected with Stripe to accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Apple Pay payments. It is also possible to receive PayPal payments and mobile payments through Venmo (owned by PayPal).

Squarespace ecommerce pricing and payments

Squarespace ecommerce pricing is just a monthly or annual subscription fee determined by your level of plan and frequency of payment.

The cheapest plan with ecommerce functionality is Squarespace Business for £21 + VAT on a per-month basis or £180 + VAT upfront for a year (works out as £15 + VAT each month). Squarespace Basic Commerce costs £24 + VAT when paying monthly or £240 + VAT upfront for a year (same as £20 + VAT a month). Squarespace Advanced Commerce costs £37 + VAT if you pay monthly or £360 + VAT upfront for a year (equivalent of £30 + VAT a month).

Squarespace planMonthly subscription*Annual subscription*
Business£21/mo£180 upfront
(~£15/mo)
Basic Commerce£24/mo£240 upfront
(~£20/mo)
Advanced Commerce£37/mo£360 upfront
(~£30/mo)

* VAT not included.

Squarespace plans
Monthly*Annual*
Business
£21 /mo£180
(£15 /mo)
Basic Commerce
£24 /mo£240
(£20 /mo)
Advanced Commerce
£37 /mo£360
(£30 /mo)

* VAT not included.

Although subscriptions can be cancelled any time (they auto-renew until you cancel through the account), all payments are non-refundable. Therefore, it’s worth being sure if you can pay a lump sum upfront for a year or whether it’s best to see how it goes and pay monthly.

Payments through the online shop are processed by Stripe or PayPal, depending on which one(s) you activate. Squarespace charges a 3% transaction fee for any payments accepted through your online store on the Business plan. Add to that the Stripe or PayPal fees, and it can get expensive. On the Basic and Advanced Commerce plans, Squarespace does not take any transaction fees – instead, you only pay the fees applicable to Stripe and PayPal.

PlanSquarespace
fee
Stripe
fee
Business3%1.4% + 20p for European cards
2.9% + 20p for non-European cards
Basic Commerce0%1.4% + 20p for European cards
2.9% + 20p for non-European cards
Advanced Commerce0%1.4% + 20p for European cards
2.9% + 20p for non-European cards
PlanPlan
fee
Stripe
fee
Business3%1.4% + 20p (European cards)
2.9% + 20p (non-European cards)
Basic
Commerce
0%1.4% + 20p (European cards)
2.9% + 20p (non-European cards)
Advanced
Commerce
0%1.4% + 20p (European cards)
2.9% + 20p (non-European cards)

Stripe’s fees are pretty good for European cards: 1.4% + 20p per transaction. For non-European credit and debit cards, Stripe charges 2.9% + 20p per transaction. These fees are charged through Stripe, not Squarespace, and it’s a requirement you are set up with Stripe in order to connect payments with the online store.

As to PayPal, you need to connect your PayPal Business account with the online shop, and transaction fees are charged through PayPal. These will vary depending on monthly card turnover, card type and more, typically within the region of 1.9%-4.7% + 20p or more if currency conversion is added.

Features

Squarespace has carefully selected features that modern professionals and bloggers would benefit most from. The platform didn’t use to prioritise ecommerce features, but have in recent years improved so the platform is more competitive with, say, Wix’s ecommerce features.

The following table shows how the subscriptions differ on the commerce-specific features.

Commerce featureBusinessBasic CommerceAdvanced Commerce
Accept donations
Unlimited products
Customer accounts
Checkout on your domain
Advanced analytics
Related products
Products on Instagram
Abandoned cart recovery
Gift cards
Sell subscriptions
Advanced shipping
Advanced discounts
Limited availability labels
APIs for orders & inventory
BusinessBasic
Commerce
Advanced
Commerce
Accept donations
Unlimited products
Customer accounts
Checkout on your domain
Advanced analytics
Related products
Products on Instagram
Abandoned cart recovery
Gift cards
Sell subscriptions
Advanced shipping
Advanced discounts
Limited availability labels
APIs for orders and inventory

Let us go through some main functions included on all or some plans.

Product catalogue: Business and Commerce plans include unlimited products. Add variants, images, SEO details and more to each product.

Discounts: Set basic discounts on the Business plan, and limited or automatic discounts on the Commerce plans.

Image: Mobile Transaction

Squarespace commerce product

Edit product window in Squarespace.

Checkout on your domain: On the Business plan when customers need to pay, they are redirected to Stripe or PayPal to complete the transaction. On higher plans, checkout takes place on a secure page on your site, which increases the sense of security and gives a consistent shopping experience.

Gift cards: On Advanced Commerce, you can sell digital gift cards to redeem in your online store. Unfortunately, the other plans do not have this option.

Order management: Manage orders online or in the Squarespace Commerce app. The latter has limited functionality, but enables you to stay on top of customer orders and editing basic product details (including uploading images) from the app. You cannot add new products from the app.

Customer accounts: If you tend to have returning customers, allow them to save their details as an account for next time they purchase on your site. This generally increases sales conversion, but note it is only available on the Commerce plans.

Reports and analytics: Since the platform does not integrate with external reporting software, you’re reliant on the sales reporting within Squarespace which is basically: export sales to an Excel document. Overall, the records are sufficient for a small business, but you have to be on the Basic or Advanced Commerce plans with lots of sales, as otherwise, you can struggle with the limitations.

Image: Mobile Transaction

Squarespace Commerce app

Squarespace Commerce app.

Setting up the website

To set up a site with Squarespace, you click one of the “get started” buttons on the website. If you haven’t got an account already, you will be asked a few questions about the kind of website you want. You can also go straight to the templates section to pick a theme, as this will be the first step in creating a site from scratch.

When your account is created and a template is chosen, your first 14-day free trial starts. In contrast to other platforms, this trial is specific to the website you’re building, not the Squarespace account. That means you can create multiple free websites that will be offline during the trial (it can’t go live until you subscribe to a plan), enabling you to play around with designs and setting up products, pages and most other things included on a paid plan.

If you don’t upgrade to a paid plan before the trial is up, you will lose access to the website until you do. That’s actually handy if you’ve used Squarespace before and want to experiment with a new website on the platform first to see if it would look nice before actually committing to a plan.

Website templates

Squarespace’s templates are one of the main attractions of the website builder; they’re simple, stylistically honed and extremely focused on visuals. In fact, many of the themes are dependent on quality photos in the first place, as poor images can look really bad when blown up across a page. That being said, you can opt for a minimalistic website with only product photos in the online store.

Image: Mobile Transaction

Squarespace ecommerce templates

Squarespace ecommerce templates are stylish, but perhaps too simple for some.

Squarespace overall has slightly over 60 templates to pick from. However, when you filter the themes to show only “Online Stores”, there are just eight templates to choose from (pictured above and below). Alternatively, you could pick a non-“Online Store” and add pages and sections manually to turn it into a store anyway, but themes not designed with ecommerce in mind may not be the most effective for this purpose.

Image: Mobile Transaction

Squarespace online shop templates

Four out of the eight online shop templates offered by Squarespace.

Whatever your choice of template, it’s possible to switch themes later, add or remove sections on pages, and choose specific layouts and designs for each new element you want to add to a page. This is actually a recent improvement, as Squarespace didn’t used to offer many options for customisation once the theme was implemented.

Image: Mobile Transaction

Squarespace add product section

Within each template, Squarespace still gives you many options for what to add to a page.

All templates are automatically responsive, i.e. fit perfectly on smartphone or tablet screens.

Adding and editing parts of a page is more or less intuitive. There are edit buttons on pages, you can adjust size by dragging a banner, or hover over sections to see buttons for actions, but it’s not fully drag-and-drop like Wix is. Much of the editing is done in the side menu or pop-up window within the editor, although you can see changes immediately applied to the website on the right. There’s no coding involved in the website builder, but it’s possible to add custom CSS and JavaScript.

Domain and hosting

As an all-in-one website platform, hosting is included on all subscriptions. The only extra thing you need to pay for is your own domain, but annual plans give you a free domain for the first year only. Alternatively, use the always-free URL format your-business-name.squarespace.com, but we don’t recommend that for a professional-looking store.

All subscriptions include SSL security (the little padlock icon next to the URL field in your browser) which gives website visitors an added sense of security that they can trust your site. Squarespace also has unlimited bandwidth and storage usage.

Third party integrations

Contrary to most other website builders, there is no app store for adding functionality and third party tools to Squarespace. You are stuck with the few, but very important, integrations available in the account, including Google tools, social media integration (Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter), Stripe and PayPal.

The Basic and Advanced Commerce plans (not Business) allow integration with ShipStation, which can bulk-print labels for all major shipping carriers.

A limitation of Squarespace is the fact you cannot sync online sales with Xero, which is possible in the US but not the UK. No other accounting software can currently be integrated with Squarespace, meaning you’re reliant on its platform-specific analytics and reports.

Furthermore, there is no connected POS system available for Squarespace, so any in-person sales are not linked in any way to online sales. Other ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Square Online Store are built to work in unison with a POS system, but Squarespace focuses on online businesses only.

Image: Mobile Transaction

Side menu within the Commerce menu – these are the main ecommerce options in Squarespace.

Customer service and user reviews

All Squarespace plans include 24/7 customer support, but only via email and Twitter (@SquarespaceHelp). You can ask yourself: does that mean the 24/7 claim just applies to when you can message the team, and not that you can get a response outside work hours? Probably, judging from user complaints about slow responses.

A live chat is available between 4am-8pm Eastern Time (9am-1am GMT) on weekdays only – that is where you are most likely to get a reply fast. There is no over-the-phone helpline to call.

The online Help section covers a lot of questions and topics, but it is a little confusing when you have to gauge what information applies to the UK as well as the US. There is no UK-specific section – the English Help pages are written for the US primarily. That said, most things are the same in both countries, so you can mostly trust the guides.

According to many customer reviews, Squarespace’s support is not great. Some complain their issues are not resolved at all, and the lack of phone line makes it hard to get timely help. Others say the website builder is not that intuitive, and even tend to be buggy.

Our verdict

Squarespace is primarily for personal websites, professionals and small online businesses making money through products (digital and physical), services and donations. Brick-and-mortar shops with a big inventory will probably benefit more from retail-focused ecommerce platforms like Shopify or BigCommmerce.

You don’t pick Squarespace for the broadest choice of features. You pick it to create the best-looking website, with little prior knowledge about web design. The templates, fonts, colours – everything – are carefully curated to make it super-quick creating a gorgeous website without hiring a designer.

You don’t pick Squarespace for the broadest choice of features. You pick it to create the best-looking website, with little prior knowledge about web design.

You may need a photographer or good stock image website, though, because most of the templates depend on amazing imagery.

The platform is user-friendly, but with some limitations around what can be added within themes. This is an upside for those who don’t want an overly complicated website builder, but a frustration for those who want maximum customisation capabilities with room to grow through additional apps.

Name of Reviewed Item: Squarespace Ecommerce UK Rating Value: 3.5 Image: https://www.mobiletransaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/squarespace-review-ecommerce.jpg Review Author:Review Date: