Does Squarespace’s eCommerce tools actually work well?
We get this questions more frequently than you think.
You may have the impression that if you want to build an online store (or you already have one), Squarespace is not right for you because “they are only good for photographers” sort of idea…. think again.
Yes – Squarespace is well-known to offer some of the most beautifully designed templates in the website builder space.
But you should also know that Squarespace has a fully loaded e-Commerce / online shop solution for you.
On the surface, Squarespace allows users to create beautiful, visually rich websites that are suitable for photographers, designers or anyone that wants to have a minimalistic, designer-looking website (click here to see our detailed Squarespace review).
But Squarespace is more than just a pretty face.
If you are interested in selling products online, Squarespace has a features-rich, fully integrated e-commerce / business solution for you, along with professional, ecommerce-oriented design templates.
Based on our Squarespace e-commerce review (we have tested and analyzed some of the top online store website builders), the e-Commerce functions of Squarespace is quite comprehensive and makes it easy for you to set up an online shop.
If you are using Squarespace already, or if you are thinking about using Squarespace and want to create an online shop, you no longer have to look for a better e-commerce solution. You don’t have to worry about “plugging in” an external shopping cart that might not blend well with your existing website design.
Squarespace’s shopping cart is designed to blend in with your Squarespace website, so everything looks “natural”, and works like a well-oiled machine for you.
[Click here to get the Official Squarespace Offer Code to get you started] – When and if you are ready to upgrade, just click on the “Enter an offer code” link in the upgrade page, and insert the coupon code. You can find this link on the lower left side of the upgrade screen.
To give you a sense of how Squarespace is great for building online shops and businesses, I’m going to highlight 15 reasons why you should further explore and consider using Squarespace for their e-Commerce functions:
There’s no messing around with 3rd party external shopping cart plugins – this will save you time and stress (especially if you don’t want to deal with technology).
Just insert a Product Block into your Squarespace website and the entire purchasing process can be fully managed within Squarespace.
It’s also nice that your customers will be able to stay on your website throughout the entire checkout process, so they feel the transaction process is legitimate and so you can also control their checkout experiences.
With 3rd party shopping cart plugins, you don’t always get this option so your customers may need to leave your website when they are brought through the checkout process. A lot of customers may not like this experience and abandon your shopping cart as a result.
[UPDATE – on July 31, 2013, Squarespace introduced a way for you to integrate a form builder with any product types. What does this mean? As a merchant, you can now collect important, detailed information from your customers for custom products or events registrations. You can require your customers to fill in whatever data you need to create your product / service, from meal preferences, to what text to engrave into a product, etc. If this information is part of your product, you can collect them here. This may not be helpful for those selling gadgets and widgets, but it’s a much-needed integration especially if you are in the services industry! ]
If you look at other mainstream online shopping sites (such as Amazon), whenever you choose a product (such as a t-shirt), you can pick different variants such as size, color, etc.
Squarespace provides this ability to you so your customers can pick and choose different variations of your products.
Furthermore, Squarespace gives you the freedom and flexibility to create, choose and configure the type of variants you want to provide to your customers.
So this allows you to sell almost any products you want and gives your customers a positive experience when they get more choices to purchase from.
If you have 5 products to sell, or if you have over 200 products, Squarespace has the ability to cater to your needs.
They do not place limits on how many products you want to upload into your website.
You can even individually configure all of them if you want to (see “Full Control Over Product Variants” section above).
Squarespace has a centralized “Content Manager” interface where you can easily manage your inventory across your entire store by stock level, price, or title.
Just click into any of your products and you can edit the details such as product images, prices, inventory levels or even updating product descriptions.
In addition to selling physical products, Squarespace also allows you to sell digital products.
This is especially helpful if you sell software downloads, ebooks, photos, music, or any sort of non-physical products.
Some other website builders that we’ve seen do not offer you the option of selling digital products, so it’s a very nice touch from Squarespace.
Digital products are delivered to your customers after they pay, in a form of download links that automatically expire in 24 hours after email delivery. This serves to protect your product just in case the person shares your links with other people. If the download link expires, you can re-send them another link.
With Squarespace, you can also sell service-based products. So if you are a consultant, coach, service provider of any sort where there are no physical or digital product deliveries, this will be very helpful for you.
You can customize the “Add to Cart” button so that it has the correct language / description for your products or services.
Squarespace allows you to create coupons to manage promotions for your online store.
You can share promotion codes with your customers, which they can apply when they are checking out.
You have the flexibility to create coupons for free shipping, flat rate shipping, or for orders within certain size ranges. You can also set expiration dates for the coupons.
This is really a unique feature as most other website builders do not have this capability for you.
You can create different shipping options for your customers to choose from.
The shopping costs are all controlled by you, and will be automatically applied to the products in the shopping cart when your customers are checking out.
Squarespace gives you 3 options when charging shipping costs:
Charging by product weight and getting live, real-time shipping cost estimates are features that a lot of other website builders do not have.
If your business has a physical presence in a State in the US or in Canada, you can create tax rules for charging sales taxes to customers from the same State or Province.
Note that Squarespace’s tax rules are only applicable to States in the US, or Provinces in Canada at the moment.
So if you are living outside of the US or Canada, this option may not be applicable for you. If your country also charges sales tax, this function will not work for you, which is unfortunate.
This is a very important function especially if you have an e-Commerce online store.
Once a customer purchases from you, you want to have your online store automatically send some sort of “Thank You” or confirmation email to them, just so your customers know the order went through.
It is also important to let your customers know about next steps and what to expect in order to manage their expectations (or else you might get a lot of questions in your inbox!).
Squarespace does this automatically for you, so you don’t have to manually email each of your customers which is very time-consuming.
Squarespace’s automatic email notification system not only allows you to keep in touch with your customers with regards to their purchases, it will also reduce the number of customer emails asking you unnecessary questions such as “did you receive my orders?” or “when will my products arrive?”
Squarespace has partnered with Stripe, which is a payment services provider, to allow you to accept payments for your online store.
Once you make a sale, payments will go directly into your bank account so it’s very convenient for you to manage your sales proceeds.
Squarespace has fully integrated Stripe into their platform so you don’t need to hire a developer to implement the shopping cart for you, which is painless especially if you don’t have a technical background.
Stripe is also integrated with Apple Pay, so you can accept payments through Apple Pay.
This is tremendously advantageous to merchants such as yourself as Apple Pay is growing quite rapidly amongst consumers since they can securely purchase products online with their “finger print”. Shoppers no longer having to fumble with typing in credit card details.
One downside of using Stripe is that it only accepts certain currencies, so it is not accepted in all countries around the world yet.
With Squarespace, you can accept the following currencies:
So if you want to accept currencies outside of this list, Stripe will not work for you at the moment.
Here are more details on which countries are currently supported by Squarespace Commerce.
Squarespace is also integrated with PayPal, which caters to a lot more countries compared to Stripe.
It is seamlessly integrated with Squarespace’s templates and so your shoppers will remain on your website at all times when they complete the checkout process, so it’s great for your branding (some shoppers dislike being taken away to a separate PayPal payment page, which impacts the shopping experience).
This integration also includes PayPal One Touch, so if your shopper is logged into PayPal already either on their desktop or mobile device, they just have to click “Purchase” in the check out cart to complete the purchase – no need to type in their passwords and creates a faster and more seamless checkout process.
So the idea is similar to Apple Pay – it removes the hassle of typing in passwords (especially on smaller mobile devices).
PayPal’s Purchase and Seller Protection feature still applies to protect both merchants and customers.
One of the most effective ways for you to stay in touch with your customers for product updates or future promotions is to have them sign up to your newsletter.
Squarespace makes this easy for you as they have integrated with MailChimp (a newsletter / email marketing services provider) in that they automatically sign your customers up to your newsletter.
All you have to do is set up an account with MailChimp (free service up to 2,000 subscribers) and you can start sending email notifications to your customers.
With MailChimp, you can set up a pre-set series of newsletter emails that are scheduled to be automatically sent out to your customers in a scheduled sequence, which is a very powerful way of marketing.
For example, after a customer purchases from you (on Day 0), on Day 1, the customer will receive information about tips on how to use some of your products, and on Day 2, the customer will receive information on other similar products and on Day 3, a promotion email with a discount code will be emailed.
All this can take place automatically as you have already set up the emails and scheduled them to be automatically sent based on a schedule set up by you. You don’t need to send those emails yourself as it is all automated by MailChimp. Pretty powerful stuff.
The downside is that it would be better if Squarespace integrated with other email marketing services provider such as Aweber, which allows you to have more flexibility to choose the best services provider for your needs.
Squarespace allows you to export your order data into CSV file format.
The benefit of this feature is that it allows you to import the data into other software programs such as your accounting system. Very handy indeed.
Squarespace allows you to stay connected with your prospects and customers through social media integration with the online store.
This allows you to easily share store news and product updates – you don’t need to go to each social media website to manually do this anymore!
As you can see in the image above, Squarespace allows you to share your website or products across a pretty broad range of social media networks.
If you can track where your sales are coming from, how can you improve your business, right?
Squarespace gives you access to their comprehensive commerce analytics tool, so you can monitor your online store.
You can view total sales across your entire store, or you can filter data by specific products to see how each product is performing. This gives you invaluable data on which products are doing better, and so you can adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.
You can get a high-level overview of your revenue, units sold, orders, visitors, conversion rates from their beautiful chart like the image above.
You can filter the results by mobile, tablet or desktop traffic! This way, you’ll get a much better understanding of where your customers are coming from, so you can focus those sources of traffic.
You can also dig into these details on a product level. For instance, you just launched a new product, and you can track the sales and traffic details for this specific product over time. This way, you’ll understand how this product is truly performing.
These data are also available in the Metrics App (free) for your iPhone, so you can keep track of your online store at any time on your iPhone.
They have 4 pricing plans that allow you to sell products. The higher the plan, the more ecommerce features are made available, with fewer limitations.
With the Basic and Advanced Store plans, you unlock even more advanced ecommerce tools (discussed in the next section). Specifically, you should pay close attention to the Abandoned Cart Recovery tool that comes along with the Advanced plan.
Note that if you sign up to Squarespace’s annual plan, they also give you a free custom domain name for your first year.
Do also note that the Squarespace transaction fees (for the Personal and Business plans) are incremental to the payment processor fees that the payment processor charges (Stripe or PayPal).
There is a fee that Stripe will charge you every time they help you process a sale transaction (which is standard as credit cards such as Mastercard or Visa do charge merchants processing fees for their services).
The fee for using Stripe (which is integrated with Squarespace) is $0.30 + 2.9% for every successful transaction (or 20p + 2.4% for UK merchants), which is a standard fee for using payment processors.
PayPal also charges you a payment processing fee – $0.30 + 2.9% for each successful transaction in the US, and 3.9% + a fixed fee per successful transaction outside the US (see this PayPal guide for more details).
Note that Squarespace does not earn anything from these payment processing fees. These fees are charged by the payment processors to help you securely collect payments from your shoppers and to transfer them to your bank account. They also help you manage disputes.
So these fees are very standard and are paid by all merchants so they can collect payments.
In summary in regards to fees, if you use Squarespace’s Personal or Business plans to sell products, you will incur Squarespace transaction fees (2% or 3%, depending on which plan you use), and also payment processing fees.
So if you have a lot of products to sell, do consider the Basic or Advanced Store plans to remove all Squarespace transaction fees.
1) ShipStation Integration (available to Basic & Advanced Store Plans only)
If you are using (or considering using) ShipStation to manage your product processing, fulfillment or shipping, Squarespace can be integrated with ShipStation. So once you receive an order in Squarespace, your website will “talk” to ShipStation to automatically print labels, get the order fulfilled and shipped automatically.
Once your products are shipped, ShipStation will “talk” to your Squarespace website to mark the orders as “Completed”. Automation is so important in helping you save time, so you can focus on other more important things in your business instead of administrative tasks such as printing labels and manually shipping goods.
Bookkeeping for your business can be a pain. In fact, it IS a pain! If you are using (or considering using) Xero Accounting, which is a cloud-based accounting platform, Squarespace can synchronize all your sales activities into the accounting software. This way, you don’t have to worry too much about bookkeeping while you concentrate on marketing and growing your business. A real time and headache saver!
3) Abandoned Checkout Recovery (available to Advanced Store Plan only)
This is one of the most powerful tools you can deploy for your online store. Did you know that statistically, 67.9% of your shoppers who add products to the shopping cart on your website, don’t actually finish checking out? That’s 2 out of 3 people who could have purchased something from you, ended up walking away (more information about the studies here).
This is where Squarespace’s Abandoned Checkout Recovery feature comes to your rescue. If a shopper adds a product(s) to the shopping cart and does not complete the purchase, Squarespace will automatically follow up with an email to remind the shopper to complete the purchase. Studies have shown that this can help you “recover” about 15% of your sales. So that’s an additional 15% more revenues to you without you having to lift a finger after you have the process set up.
This form of reminder is very popular amongst advanced ecommerce websites (such as Amazon), and now this tools is made available to you if you sign up to the Advanced plan.
Based on our Squarespace e-Commerce review, if you are considering building an online store, Squarespace offers you a very comprehensive set of tools that’s fully integrated into their powerful website builder. [We have an official Squarespace Offer Code for you below]
Not only will your website look great as Squarespace’s templates are very stylish, you can also run a fully-equipped online store that’s integrated with their templates.
They include core e-commerce tools such as integration with payment processors (Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay), selling physical, digital or services products, configuration of coupons, shipping, taxes, and the ability to manage variations of products you want to sell so your customers can purchase different versions of the same product (e.g. large red t-shirt or a medium blue t-shirt)
They also integrate tools such as automatic email notifications and social media integration for you to stay in touch with your customers and to promote to them with other products.
It’s rare that you get a fairly comprehensive set of e-commerce tools from website builders, and Squarespace has them all for you at a fair monthly fee. Furthermore, they don’t charge a transaction fee from you every time you sell a product.
The only downside that we observed is that Squarespace only integrates with Stripe, PayPal and Apple Pay. So if you want to explore using other payment processors, this can be a bit limiting.
Having said that, for majority of the merchants, Stripe, PayPal and Apple Pay will be sufficient to power their ecommerce stores.
Overall, we’re very impressed with Squarespace’s e-commerce features. Hopefully, you found this Squarespace e-Commerce review helpful!
If you’re interested in seeing a full review on Squarespace, click here to see our comprehensive Squarespace review in which we cover all their non-e-Commerce features.
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