Squarespace is an excellent all-around website builder. It’s easy for beginners, yet it has plenty of options to satisfy experienced users with technical know-how. Magento, now Adobe Commerce, is a versatile and scalable e-commerce solution where you can create fantastic stores for both B2B and B2C, regardless of the number of brands.
Both platforms serve a variety of industries, with Squarespace being more on the visual end of the spectrum that creates gorgeous-looking stores with a few clicks, Magento serves hardcore coders wanting to explore the potential of the platform with codes. But which one is better? This Squarespace vs Magento comparison will help you find out.
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Squarespace vs Magento: Overview
Squarespace 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.
Magento, similar to WordPress or WooCommerce, is an open-source platform that you can use for free. However, additional costs, such as web hosting, typically around $10 per month, and security and extensions, similar to apps or plugins, are involved. According to BuiltWith, there are over 178,000 live websites out of 700,000 Magento-powered websites. Magento platform code has seen over 2.5 million downloads which speaks of its popularity.
Squarespace vs Magento: Pros and Cons
|Visually stunning templates||Customizations limited to grids only.|
|Beginner-friendly drag-drop builder||Customizations are limited to grids only.|
|Better value for money||Steep learning curve to get the best out of the editor.|
|Excellent e-commerce and marketing tools||Only the top plan offers abandoned cart recovery|
|Good customer support|
|Very large community.||Very expensive paid plans.|
|Extremely flexible with coding.||Not beginner friendly.|
|More than 3600 apps for integration.||Relies on extensions.|
|Best suited for medium and large business.||Installation is complicated.|
|Free open-source version.||Requires extensive coding skills.|
Squarespace vs Magento: 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.
Squarespace’s editor, Squarespace Fluid Engine, has a grid system layout on the page which allows you to add design and content within the grid but limits the free movement of the elements. Contrary to Wix, Squarespace doesn’t provide a version history of your previous edits, so you might want to manually save your progress.
Magento is for those with web development experience and who intend to work on the store themselves. It’s not at all user-friendly for those new to e-commerce or Magento specifically.
If you’re starting, it might be best to skip Magento entirely in that case. It’s more suited for businesses with the budget and resources to create and maintain a Magento power store. A Magento store can cost anywhere between $15,000 – $30,000.
The Magento interface is often considered quite reasonable for developers as they have the know-how. Also, the quick and straightforward self-hosting setup, and a neatly stacked menu that includes features like customers, products, promotions, sales, and reports, help developers quite a lot.
Again, the only easy thing about Magento is its dashboard or admin panel which is relatively straightforward.
Saying the platform is not user-friendly wouldn’t be an overstatement, as getting started with the store requires loading the files to the local server via FTP.
So if you don’t possess the developer skills, we recommend checking out other platforms like Squarespace, Wix, Shopify or Storenvy. However, if you have the budget to bring in a dedicated developer, you’re good to go.
Verdict: This one is difficult to decide as, on the one hand, you have a beginner-friendly platform, Squarespace. While on the other hand, Magento is incredibly suited to experienced developers or medium and large businesses for providing extreme flexibility. But we will give the win to Squarespace for being beginner-friendly and flexible.
Squarespace vs Magento: Design and Flexibility
Squarespace jumps ahead in the design department with stunning and highly customizable templates, Squarespace goes head-to-head with some dedicated e-commerce players like Wix and Big Commerce. With little learning, Squarespace is extremely customizable.
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.
As a company, Magento doesn’t offer or sell any themes or templates. However, if you have the required skills, the custom design tools provided by the platform are excellent, letting you create unique designs.
The Adobe Commerce Marketplace is a great place to start if you’re looking for a pre-built template to customize later. The marketplace features a decent range of nicely designed templates from third-party developers or design firms. Some of the themes on this marketplace are free. However, if you’re looking for something particular, you can expect to spend anywhere between $130-$500. You can also search for templates on Theme Forest.
Remember, just because you found a theme doesn’t mean your store will transform into this perfect place. You will still require some coding knowledge to utilize the theme completely. Only take the theme as a starting point. What’s even better is that often, you get access to several useful extensions when you buy a theme.
Verdict: If sheer customization is one of your objectives, then Magento scores an easy win. You can customize your Magento store however you want using code.
Squarespace vs Magento: 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 (Search Engine Optimization)
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.
You get a bunch of essential features including SEO-friendly redirects, clean URLs, Google Sitemaps, and the ability to customize how each page is previewed on social media (Wix does that too). However, you’ll have to add tags and page descriptions manually.
What’s more impressive about Magento is that it pretty much eliminates the need for additional marketing tools and offers everything from email marketing to on-site ads. SEO settings are even configured automatically, providing a ready-to-use setup. Of course, if you prefer more control, you can dive in and adjust things to suit your specific needs.
Magento’s open-source and premium versions include mobile optimization and standard SEO tools. You can rest assured that your store will be well-optimized, search engines will easily find your site, and everything will be displayed appropriately on smaller devices such as smartphones and tablets.
You can make use of SEO extensions as well if you wish. There are both free and paid extensions for different functionalities. Paid extensions range from $10-$799.
Verdict: Squarespace wins this round for offering better control over SEO with more options and all those options come inbuilt. You can customize URLs and do other SEO work easily. On Magento, you have to use extensions.
Squarespace mobile app offers all the necessary features you’ll ever need. It allows you to conveniently manage your online store, process orders, check analytics, and even edit your website—all from a standalone app.
Earlier, Squarespace had different apps for different functionalities, but they have consolidated everything in one package to make store management on the go simpler.
Magento doesn’t offer an in-house mobile app for developers or e-commerce store owners. But, a relatively large community of third-party developers has created a mobile app for Magento.
Some third-party provide apps for free while others charge a fee. According to Mageplaza, the paid app can cost anywhere between $19-$599. Each app offers different functionalities.
Squarespace offers both an in-built email marketing tool and 3rd party integration. You can select email templates to start editing and then sending. It really is easy and intuitive and doesn’t take long to figure out. If you have previously used MailChimp, you connect your account with Squarespace and continue where you left off.
Most of Magento’s marketing capabilities rely heavily on extensions and its Marketplace. For instance, if you’re planning to run email campaigns, you’ll have to get an extension for email marketing. But your vices won’t end here, as you’ll still need a web developer to integrate the extension on your store properly.
Extensions like Sendinblue, Recapture, or Remarkety are good options and can be affordable.
Verdict: Squarespace wins this one for providing built in SEO and email marketing features.
Squarespace vs Magento: Payment Processors
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 commerce plans and advanced commerce plans.
Magento offers several convenient payment features, including guest checkout, one-click payments, and an option to ship to alternate addresses if necessary. Additionally, you can set up a “bill me later” to help your customers by financing their purchases.
Magento’s integration with payment systems like PayPal and Authorize.net simplifies transactions, and the shopping cart automatically calculates and displays tax and shipping charges.
There are over 840 payment gateways that you can use with Magento. Integrating with the payment service providers may incur some charges.
Processing credit and debit card transactions aren’t free either with any payment provider, regardless of the provider. Different providers charge different transaction fees. When working with Magento, it’s important to analyze various payment providers that can be integrated with your store to determine the lowest rates.
Verdict: Magento leads ahead with more features and payment options.
Squarespace vs Magento: Pricing
Squarespace plans start at $16/month, billed annually. But if your sole focus is selling, you need to subscribe to either Business or Commerce Basic costing $23 and $27/month, respectively, to enjoy more e-commerce features. 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 their functionalities.
Squarespace will charge you a 3% transaction fee if you’re on either a Personal or Business plan. You also get a free custom domain for a year if you subscribe to Business or higher tier plans, something you don’t get with Shopify.
Magento has a couple of different versions. One is Magento Open Source, previously known as Magento Community Edition. This version is an entirely open-source option available at no cost. Anyone interested can visit the Magento website and download a copy of this software for free.
The other option is Magento Commerce. It is a premium version, and its costs vary on businesses’ needs. No two businesses will have an identical monthly plan. If you wish to taste Magento Commerce in its glory, you can contact Adobe with your information, and they’ll provide you with a fully functional demo.
Magento Commerce is mighty powerful and versatile, and no other e-commerce platform comes close to what Magento can do. We have seen costs ranging from $15,000/month to $30,000/month, so it’s fair to say Magento’s paid plans are significantly costly compared to Shopify.
Verdict: There’s no winner here, as these two platforms serve different needs. Now it all depends on your budget and requirements. So, which one you would choose?
Squarespace vs Magento: Customer Support
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.
It doesn’t offer phone support which many other e-commerce service providers do.
Magento’s support has you covered if you’re comfortable with a do-it-yourself approach. The website is packed with various resources to help with business and technical inquiries, primarily offering assistance to those wanting to fix issues by themselves.
Magento boasts a wealth of resources for those looking to educate themselves. Beyond an informative blog, there’s a knowledge base where you can find ample information and a super active forum to interact with other Magento users or developers.
But you’ll be disappointed if you’re looking for dedicated Magento support like live chat or phone support. Some support options are available if you’re on specific Magento Commerce plans; otherwise, you’re on your own.
Verdict: Squarespace wins here for dedicated and overall better customer support. It is also beginner friendly as new users can connect and directly talk to a live technician. While on Magento, users will have to rely on fellow Magento users or reading materials.
The Bottom Line: Squarespace vs Magento—Which Is The Better E-commerce Builder?
Squarespace is a do-it-all solution while Magento is a completely open-source dedicated e-commerce platform. However, in terms of cost-effectiveness and being beginner-friendly, we found Squarespace to be an absolute bang for the buck.
Magento is free and extremely customizable if you know coding, but the costs start to add up when you begin building your store. You have to buy domain, hosting, and security, and remember, most of the extensions you use will cost you a small fortune.
If you’re low on budget, have coding experience, and want to try out an e-commerce platform and sell items, go for Magento. It is open-source and has many free and paid extensions for almost everything. Here you can cut costs by installing free extensions.
However, if you want to open a store and sell items or simply want a complete e-commerce solution. In that case, Squarespace is the way to go.