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I switched to Shopify. Feedback from a business that sells/delivers locally.

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I run a business that sells and delivers locally, I switched to Shopify and this is my honest feedback on why I switched.

Please note this is NOT a diss to Squarespace (SS). Please note I am a cake maker and sell and deliver locally. This feedback will prob be useful to other business owners that sell locally too.

I joined Squarespace in June 2021 and paid for the top plan. I will try be direct and constructive as I can without adding fluff.


First Impressions On Who To Pick
Squarespace
Easy to use navigation, easy to read FAQ, alot of design options. This is why I went with SS to start my local business ventures.
Shopify
Quite intimidating with all the options, editing a homepage was confusing at first, editing CSS was annoying, I was overwhelmed with all the options and the user interface wasn't as nice as SS.
Comment
As a person starting their first online store, SS was the best choice for me as I wanted to test my online store and see how it would turn out.

Page Speeds
SquareSpace
People have warned me SS servers are slow and clunky, even though I tried SS best practice on how to minimise a page's size, it was still slow to my liking
Shopify
Appears way faster and has apps to even further push your pages faster by pre-loading pages when a customer hovers over a link

COD (Cash on delivery)
Squarespace
Does not offer COD, I assume they don't offer this because there are no fees and SS can't financially support this feature.
Shopify
Does which can be helpful as I got a few orders which I would not with SS.

Apps
Squarespace
Lacks apps but SS does try build the apps in their platform so users don't need apps. But still lacking.
Shopify
The amount of Apps Shopify has is abundant and you can pretty much find anything you want for your site and for your budget. I have multiple free apps. The downfall of this, if the company or the creators of the app shut down, you are forced to find an alternative. Too many apps can slow down your site and if the apps server is down, your site can not load. For example: I had a postcode checker app and their server crashed, my website didn't load for a good 30 seconds or more...... I decided to get rid of that app and find an alternative. Apps can get costly over time if you do need paid multiple apps. But if you do your research, you can try get free apps suited to your needs

Customisation (CSS, JAVA, HTML)
Squarespace
Has one section of CSS which is useful and you can see your change in real time when you enter your CSS.
Shopify
Can be quite difficult to navigate and locate as different themes have different names for their CSS, themes, HTML and JSS. You also have to write your code, save then in another window, wait a few seconds then refresh to see if it actually works. This is quite annoying. Also you have to duplicate your theme and make sure you don't break your site (which is fine, but fiddly)

New Pages
Squarespace
Squarespace is very easy to add new pages and edit. Very easy and pleasing experience.
Shopify
Has the worst process in making new pages (such as a FAQ page or a contact us page), I had to install an app to make new pages and I am afraid if that app shutsdown, I will have to start from scratch from another app.

Discounts
Squarespace
Customers can stack product and delivery discounts! Which is amazing....
Shopify
Can NOT have customers stack discounts. It's only 1 discount at a time. Additionally, only 1 automatic discount can be running which is annoying. I cannot have a free delivery automatic discount, paired with buy 2 get one at 50% off discount...... you will need to install an app and from research, all stackable discount apps you have to pay......

Design
Squarespace
One of the best design platforms I have used, its easy and has alot of features to really make a dynamic, creative website
Shopify
Technically bound to the theme you have chosen. There are free themes, but they are really basic in terms of design. You have to pay alot of money for a unique theme and even then, it limits you. You either have to install an app or get a designer to help you which cost even more money.

Local Delivery
Squarespace
Does not have a local delivery options to certain zip/postcodes and can not offer different rates based on distance.
Shopify
Has inbuilt local delivery where you can set rates to different areas, furthermore there are plenty of apps that enhances this feature even more!

Price
Squarespace
I paid $624AUD for the top, advance commerce yearly plan with no additional adds such as the e-marketing addon
Shopify
I paid $470AUD for the basic yearly plan + $318AUD for adds I need, totally to $788AUD per year. Different $164AUD more than SS.

Community
Squarespace
Quite small which is expected and its a shame the admins or staff do NOT monitor the forums which addresses alot of SS issues. Some forum posts can't be answered because there's only a small number of people that know the answer.
Shopify
The community is large and when I post of the forums, I get an answer within hours with a fix, though I had more difficult questions some people can't answer but I look elsewhere such as reddit or google.

Overall Thoughts
Squarespace
I think SS is a good platform for people to show off their portfolios, digital products, services and products very minimal variants such as maybe electronics, non-custom jewellery, soaps, lotions etc......

As I bake cakes, I need customers to have full control of customisation and SS really lacks a user friendly interface for this. I had alot of workarounds and agreements a customer should tick. With Shopify, they dont need to tick an agreement because the interface was straight forward.

SS to me is like a gated community where SS tries to control the user (you, the business owner) in their way of thinking, doing and seeing. You can confined by SS rules and design and there's no room to think outside the box.

Shopify
Vastly caters to e-commerce business owners, alot of apps, customisation and help when needed. It's quite open source where a user can see help and implement their ideas.

Businesses that sell locally and businesses that has products that can be fully customisable as there are apps to further expand on your products should use Shopify not SS as it offers COD and local delivery options.

If you guys like to see the difference between my SS and Shopify stores, here it is, I linked a cake product and you can go through the buying process on both and you can be the judge on which has the better buying process for a customer:


Enter Postcode 2000 which is part of the buying process
Squarespace:
https://onyxhive.squarespace.com/cakes/p/cosmos
Shopify:
https://www.onyxhive.com.au/products/cosmos

Edited by hasher22
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  • 1 month later...

This is a fantastic post, thanks for sharing. And with Shopify offering easy ways to sell products on TikTok, Twitter, and now YouTube!!! Such a game-changer. I really cannot justify the cost of SquareSpace much anymore unless it's for a blog-centric or membership website.

I think I just use the Squarespace website builder as a scratch-pad now, to work out my ideas and move on somewhere else.

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  • 1 month later...

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