Etsy and Squarespace are two different purpose-serving platforms with different types of sellers. Etsy is a marketplace for creative and artistic sellers while Squarespace is an all-around website builder with an E-commerce option. That is why we created this Etsy vs Squarespace article to see which one is best for the creative person in you.
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Etsy is a marketplace for crafters selling vintage or handmade products. Over 7.5 million sellers cater to more than 96 million buyers. It is quite big compared to Storenvy in selling crafted products. Even though Etsy is a big marketplace, it is suited to only small sellers/businesses.
Squarespace, on the other hand, is a prime example of one-size-suits-all. It is a multifaceted website builder serving various niches. From artists to e-commerce to restaurants to personal websites, Squarespace has a place for you, no matter who you are or what you do. That could be why almost 3 million websites are hosted on Squarespace. It is easy to use, affordable, has plenty of customization, and has many marketing features.
Premium Plan Starting: $10.00/month
Free Plan: Yes
Premium Plan Starting: $16/month
Free Plan: No
Etsy vs Squarespace: Which is Best For You?
Etsy is an online marketplace for craft items. It started in 2005 and has since garnered millions of sellers and buyers alike. Setting up on Etsy is relatively straightforward and doesn’t incur any cost initially.
If you are an independent seller or small business and if you meet Etsy’s requirements, you can easily get started. You can subscribe to Etsy Plus for more customization options, which costs $10.00/month.
You won’t get a standalone store like on Big Cartel or Storenvy, but you get access to millions of buyers. However, you can upgrade to Etsy Pattern if you still fancy a separate store; Etsy Pattern uses the Etsy engine.
Furthermore, suppose you’re planning to expand anytime soon. Etsy won’t meet your needs in that case, and platforms like Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, or WooCommerce will be better suited.
Squarespace is a good solution for small to medium businesses. It focuses more on the visual aspects, so you can rest assured your store will look stylish. Getting started and setting up a store is relatively easy and has plenty of e-commerce features, including unlimited inventory.
Building a website easily isn’t the only thing Squarespace is good at. It also has a bag full of impressive offerings. For example, you get unlimited bandwidth, a free domain on a yearly plan, a Squarespace Analytics tool, and a whole suite of stunning-looking templates.
Another likable thing about Squarespace; it is self-hosted. It means you don’t have to fiddle around wasting time buying hosting and setting up a domain. All the task on the backend is handled automatically.
That said, Squarespace isn’t perfect. It has some flaws. Its Fluid Engine editor initially looks easy to work with but has some learning curve. However, once you get used to it, creating an online store becomes an effortless process. You can read our Squarespace Fluid Engine review here.
Also Read: Big Cartel vs Etsy: Which Platform Is Best For Creative Sellers?
Etsy vs Squarespace: Pros and Cons
|Very big audience base||Inventory option is limited|
|Affordable plans||High transaction fees|
|Easy to get started||Limited e-commerce features|
|Etsy Marketplace access||Extreme competition|
|Good seller support||No design flexibility|
|Easy to use editor and store management.||Customizations limited to grids only.|
|List unlimited products.||No automatic saving feature.|
|Professional marketing tools, including SEO, social media and email marketing.||Steep learning curve to get the best out of the editor.|
|Stunning themes/templates for desktop and mobile devices.||Only the top plan offers abandoned cart recovery|
|Excellent customer support.|
Etsy vs Squarespace: Ease of use
Squarespace is a little complicated to begin with, and that puts off many builders. For example, when you first sign up with Squarespace to create a store, you have to go through a setup checklist process. You can skip this process as it all leads to the same destination, the template page. If you want to learn how to edit or change Squarespace template, we have a created guide that you can check.
As you get the hang of Squarespace’s editor, you will learn to love creating designs with it. To make things better, Squarespace has help prompts at each step when you first start. And there’s always easy access to help materials in the help center or Squarespace forum.
Etsy isn’t complicated. The process of starting a store is quick and straightforward. You sign up to create an account, give your store a name, add products, and set up payment. That’s it.
The icing on the cake is Etsy will guide you throughout the process, ensuring you’re doing it right. A progress bar with checkpoints lets you fill in different information.
If you have trouble finding a good name, but your suggested name is already taken, Etsy shows alternate names you can choose from. Once you’re done with all checkpoints, you’re all set to sell.
Another reason why it is helpful for beginners is that you don’t have to create a complete website to start a store.
Etsy vs Squarespace: Website Design and Flexibility
Etsy doesn’t offer design customization as standard, which is both a pro and con. It doesn’t sound concerning at first because you don’t have to meddle in the tiresome designing process of the website. On the other hand, it is frustrating not to stand out from the rest.
The only customization options that come as default are the logo, store name, products, and descriptions. Etsy offers a clean and engaging design with an excellent user experience.
However, if you can’t go on without customization, you can subscribe to Etsy Pattern, which costs $15/month. It lets you use a custom domain, edit the Homepage and about page, and create gallery and contact pages.
When you compare Squarespace with Big Cartel in terms of designs, Squarespace is the clear winner here. With stunning and highly customizable templates, Squarespace goes head-to-head with some dedicated e-commerce players like Shopify and Big Commerce. With little learning, Squarespace is extremely easy.
There are over 40 beautiful online store templates with great functionalities and appealing layouts. You can also browse other templates Squarespace has categorized for different industries and niches.
The best part about all Squarespace templates is they use one core template with different block item placements. It means you can create just about any template or layout on your own, no matter what template you choose. There’s no wrong way here. Any item or block you add to the section gets locked to the grid, making for precise placements.
Changing color palettes, section backgrounds, main bar logo, fonts or navigation menu is easy. New pages get added to the menu automatically. As Squarespace is a visual-first website platform, you require high-definition images in the background. If you don’t have graphics, Squarespace’s media library has a fairly decent collection of high-res images.
Etsy vs Squarespace: E-commerce Features
Etsy isn’t a full-fledged e-commerce platform, so your selling options are limited. For example, you can only sell vintage, handmade products, crafted items, and other similar stuff. There’s no integrated inventory management; you’ll have to do it yourself.
If your store plans to sell other products or services, you’re better off with Shopify or Big Commerce-like platforms. But within Etsy, if you want to level up your store, you can subscribe to Etsy Plus to access more sales tools. For example, you can use your domain name, add a custom banner, offer discounts, send email notifications, and more.
Overall Etsy’s e-commerce features are simple and effective in getting the job done for small stores.
On Etsy, you’ll find good e-commerce features that help manage the store efficiently. There’s also a Sell on Etsy app to manage the store on the go. You can use your Etsy account to buy postage discounts to save on shipping charges.
For marketing and promotions, Etsy has inbuilt tools that can aid you in promoting your business on search engines and social media. You can easily integrate with social media to share products, offer discounted coupons, and even use Google Shopping for broader reach.
Squarespace, on the other hand, allows for unlimited listing of products right from their basic commerce plan. You can also add variants of products. This feature is particularly interesting for apparel businesses as you can add different variants of the same products, like different colors or sizes, and show them via small thumbnails on the same screen.
Squarespace lets you manage the inventory from one place. This feature is handy for larger businesses selling hundreds or thousands of products. Etsy, too, lets users add product variations, however not as appealing as Squarespace, Etsy’s offering of basic features like product zoom adds an element for buyers.
Some might argue Squarespace’s basic commerce plan is pricier than Etsy’s so the benefits are obvious. Sure, but you get far more than what you pay, for example, a free custom domain on the yearly plan.
Not all businesses want to sell physical or digital products; some also want to offer services. Squarespace lets you sell services from the start. In fact, Squarespace has dedicated templates for selling professional services.
Etsy on the other hand, only lets you sell physical products.
Abandoned Cart Recovery
Abandon cart recovery is significantly more important as it can help with better sales. Shoppers often leave products in their carts and forget to checkout. By sending a notification for their abandoned shopping cart, you increase the chances of shoppers completing their purchase. It is a powerful remarketing or re-engaging technique for improved conversion.
You can find the abandoned cart recovery feature on Squarespace’s top-tier plan. On Etsy though, you can use this feature right from the start.
Social Media Integrations
You can integrate Squarespace and Big Cartel with social media platforms and use them as sales channels.
Analytics gives you crucial performance data like customer acquisition, engagement, tracking revenue, and more. You can use the acquired data to improve your marketing approach.
Squarespace shines here by providing a built-in analytical tool to monitor performance. You can also integrate your Squarespace store with Google Analytics.
Etsy also offers access to store stats. It lets you see how your store is performing, geo region of your traffic and what are the ways shoppers engage with your stores and products.
You can also connect your Etsy store with Google Analytics for performance analysis. It is free of cost and only requires you to have a Google account.
Etsy vs Squarespace: Marketing Tools
E-commerce features are good to have, but without proper marketing, even the most beautiful stores get unnoticed. To grow your store and be visible to the audience, you may need certain marketing features:
SEO is a process of optimizing your store to rank in Google search results. It includes metadata like title, description, alt text, tags, and more.
Squarespace handles SEO flawlessly, as it has inbuilt optimization capabilities. By default, Squarespace applies all the optimizations automatically with the option for manual intervention. It has an SEO checklist to assist users in ensuring the best optimization possible. If you’re new to SEO, you’d appreciate this assistance because you wouldn’t have to search on Google for help.
In terms of email marketing, Squarespace offers both an in-built email marketing tool and 3rd party integration. You can select email templates to start editing and then sending.
In some way, Etsy gives an advantage right from the start. When you publish your products with good titles and descriptions, Etsy puts your store in front of almost 100 million buyers. That’s exposure from day one. You don’t have to SEO your products for customers to find them. Shoppers can search in the Etsy marketplace to find the products and buy them.
That’s where the problem begins. Since the search results on the Etsy marketplace won’t just show your products, but from other sellers, too, there is no guarantee they’ll buy from you. It’s not all gloom and doom, though. Etsy offers two advertisement options: Etsy Ads and Offsite ads.
Etsy ads let you run ads for your products on the marketplace, boosting their visibility in the Etsy search. In Offsite ads, Etsy will advertise your products or listings on Social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google. You’ll pay an advertiser fee when those ads result in a product sale.
Etsy vs Squarespace: Payment Options
Knowing the payment options and charges is important before signing up for a platform. It can save you from unknown charges that might hold you back more than anticipated. Etsy doesn’t have any hidden monthly charges. It costs $0.20 for every product you list and publish. This cost remains active until 4 months or until you sell your products.
The listing charge isn’t the only charge. When you make a sale, you pay a 6.5% transaction fee along with 3% and a $0.25 processing fee. The providers, like your credit card company or bank, charge the payment processing fee. You’ll find payment processing with almost every e-commerce platform. However, Etsy’s rates are slightly higher, which is a drawback.
Squarespace offers 3 payment processors, including Stripe, PayPal, and Square. Square lets you accept offline payments but is limited to the US only. With Stripe, you unlock several payment options like Apple Pay, After Pay, and more, while with PayPal, you can also use Venmo.
You pay a 3% transaction fee on Squarespace unless you’re subscribed to their Basic and Advanced commerce plans.
Etsy vs Squarespace: Pricings
Squarespace plans start at $16/month, billed annually. But to start selling, you need to subscribe to either Business or Commerce basic costing $23 and $27/month, respectively. Given the price and features, Squarespace is a bang for your buck if you plan on creating a beautiful store to sell tons of items and manage and market the store.
You get advanced features like premium themes and templates, great marketing and e-commerce tools, analytics, and reporting. You can sell as many products as you want without any restrictions. There’s a 14-day free trial period that you can sign up for to test the platforms and its functionalities.
Etsy doesn’t charge a dime to get started. One can say it is free, and it is to some extent. You first start seeing charges when you list and publish a product and make a sale.
There’s a listing fee for every product you publish. For every sale, there’s a transaction and a payment processing fee. The transaction cost isn’t significant if you’re running a small store selling low volumes. However, the costs add up when you sell in high volume.
Etsy vs Squarespace: Customer Support
Etsy offers some good options for a customer looking for support. It has a help center where you can look for answers. You can go to the Etsy forum and join a community to participate in a discussion, ask questions for help, and learn more.
If your problems aren’t solved, you email Etsy stating your problems or even request a callback.
Squarespace offers a suite of customer support, including a Help Center, Live Chat, and Email support. They have covered almost every topic of website building and store setup in their help center.
However, if your problems are still unresolved, you can contact them via email, live chat, or Twitter. There’s also a dedicated Squarespace forum where users discuss topics related to website building on Squarespace.
Etsy vs Squarespace: Conclusion
Etsy gives you exposure from day one, while Squarespace offers more control over design elements. Starting a store on Etsy platform comes at a relatively lower cost than Squarespace, which is still cheaper than a lot other e-commerce platforms.
Etsy has great built-in tools for marketing your products, with options to run ads on Google and Social media. Squarespace more control over marketing aspects like email marketing, SEO and more. There are also inbuilt options for analytics and email.
In our comparison, Squarespace is the clear winner for being beginner-friendly, offering a bag full of useful features like SEO, Email marketing, blog, analytics and excellent customer support. You can list unlimited products without listing charges and all that while maintaining a stunning-looking website.
Is it better to sell on Etsy or your website?
If you want to build a brand and branding is one of your priorities, you might want to invest money and time in creating a custom online store. However, if you want to try e-commerce and don’t want to get into the hustle of website building, Etsy will be ideal. However, maintaining both will take time and some effort.
Which is more expensive Shopify or Squarespace?
The most basic Shopify plan costs $29/month compared to Squarespace’s $23/month entry-level e-commerce plan. Although Squarespace charges 3% for every transaction, this cost adds up. Buying a $27/month Squarespace plan eliminates the transaction cost and still makes a cheaper deal than Shopify. But not to forget, Shopify is a dedicated e-commerce platform with additional benefits that Squarespace won’t offer.