Squarespace vs Etsy: The Simple Guide for 2024

How to Choose between Squarespace vs Etsy for your Online Business

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The debate of Squarespace vs Etsy for online sellers can be a complex one. These are two very different tools for online sales, but they can both help you to grow rapidly online. Here’s your guide.

It might seem like an odd matchup for an ecommerce selling showdown, but both of these tools represent excellent options for creative professionals. With both Etsy and Squarespace, you can build a “storefront” capable of generating sales for your new creative endeavours.

The question is, which option is best?

What is Squarespace?

Squarespace is best-known as a powerful website building tool for artists and creative hoping to generate a powerful online portfolio. You can use stunning templates to bring your online presence to life, and leverage tools for SEO and marketing too.

What is Etsy?

Etsy, on the other hand, is a creative marketplace where you can conveniently list and sell your products alongside a host of other vendors. Etsy offers instant access to a huge range of potential buyers, already familiar with the platform, so you can reduce the amount of time it takes to start making a profit. However, you don’t get to brand your online presence as much as you would with Squarespace.

So, how exactly do you choose between the two?

Squarespace vs Etsy: An Introduction to Squarespace

These days, virtually everyone has heard of Squarespace, thanks in large part to the company’s commitment to extensive marketing and influencer campaigns. Squarespace is the go-to website builder for people in search of stunning templates, beautiful designs, and simplicity.

You don’t need any coding knowledge to start building a website with Squarespace, and the solution comes pre-packaged with plenty of helpful tools to get you started. There are SEO and social media tools for marketing, an in-built video maker, and email marketing.

You’ll also have access to a comprehensive blog page, portfolio templates, and a “members area” if you want to create your own membership site.

If you’re looking to make money online, Squarespace has a lot of monetization capabilities too. You can sell products and services, build restaurant and hospitality stores, and even schedule appointments, all in the same place.

Pros 👍

  • Easy to use builder for blogs and ecommerce sites
  • Award-winning themes with stylish designs
  • Fantastic for selling all kinds of products and services
  • Marketing tools and SEO functionality built-in
  • No coding required to build your own online presence
  • Fantastic website analytics and connected services

Etsy vs Squarespace: An Introduction to Etsy

A world away from Squarespace, Etsy isn’t a website builder first-and-foremost, although there are some site creation features available, depending on the plan you purchase. Etsy is the world’s most popular marketplace for creative products and hand-made items.

It’s best-known as a place to seek out vintage items, craft supplies, and other unique items made by people around the world. You don’t need to build your own website from scratch to start selling. Instead, you can create a simple storefront within the Etsy environment, and begin listing your products to a wide community of buyers immediately.

Etsy does integrate with various other store building tools if you want to expand your sales options, like Shopify and WooCommerce. Alternatively, you can use the “Patterns” solution which allows you to build your own store and sell products using the Etsy software engine.

Pros 👍

  • Inexpensive setup for beginners in the creative world
  • Wide market of existing buyers to help you find customers
  • Easy to use environment with minimal knowledge required
  • Flexibility via Patterns and store integrations
  • Fantastic for selling creative products

Squarespace vs Etsy: The Basic Features

Already, it should be clear that Etsy and Squarespace are two very different tools, although they can allow you to accomplish a lot of the same things. This also means you can expect some very different feature sets, depending on which option you go for.

Squarespace Features

Squarespace has a range of different features to explore depending on the plan you choose. If you’re going to be launching an ecommerce store, so you can sell products like you would on Etsy, you’ll need at least the “Business” plan. Features of Squarespace include:

  • Free domain: Custom domain name for up to 1 year
  • Premium integrations: Integrate various new tools and services into your site
  • Appointments and bookings: Create appointments for services and take restaurant bookings
  • Unlimited bandwidth and storage: Scale your business with confidence in any industry
  • Professional email: You get your own professional email address for customer contact
  • SEO for visibility: There’s a built-in blog section and SEO tools
  • Marketing capabilities: Integrate email marketing or connect with social media
  • Analytics: Useful website metrics to track your most popular products
  • CSS and JavaScript: Dive into your code to take your site customization to the next level
  • Ecommerce: Access everything from shipping tools to inventory management

The more advanced your plan choice, the more unique features you’ll get, like access to abandoned cart recovery, advanced shipping and commerce APIs, and customer accounts or donations.

Etsy features

Etsy keeps things simple with its feature selection, unless you decide to jump into the “Patterns” website builder – but that’s an entirely different service. Patterns comes with a lot of the same features of Squarespace, such as advanced website analytics, domain purchasing and connections, SEO and blogging, and Facebook advertising. There’s also an email marketing integration with Mailchimp.

Pattern also allows you to sell some of the services and solutions you can’t sell on Etsy, so you can expand your portfolio a little further. If you’re using Etsy’s general service, it includes:

  • Shop listings: You can create a custom storefront where you can list various products
  • Custom web address discounts: You’ll be able to get discount web addresses
  • Restock requests: You can get alerts when customers want more of your products
  • General discounts: Users can set up discounts for their products
  • Dropshipping support: You can link Etsy to various POD and dropshipping suppliers
  • Marketplace: You’ll have full access to the Etsy marketplace

Squarespace vs Etsy: Ease of Use

Now we’ve looked at the basic features and functionality of both Squarespace and Etsy, it’s time to dive a little deeper into what you can do with each product. Ease of use is one of the first things many business leaders look for when creating a new site.

The good news is both Squarespace and Etsy are very easy to use.

Squarespace is a little more complex than Etsy, because you have more options for what you can customize and create. There’s no need for any coding knowledge, but it can take a while to get used to all of the templates and tools.

The management dashboard for viewing your listings and managing your products is excellent, and there are plenty of ways to adapt your site however you see fit. If you have more developer knowledge, you can even dive into code and APIs.

Etsy, of course, is one of the simplest products out there. It’s hard to find a platform easier to use than this if you’re absolute beginner in the world of online selling. There aren’t a lot of complex features, and your storefront options are extremely limited, so you don’t need to do much to get up and running.

Creating listings and generating reports takes a matter of seconds, and everything feels as effortless as possible. You can even set up integrations in a couple of clicks.

Squarespace vs Etsy: Design Options

Here’s where the gap between Etsy and Squarespace really begins to stand out. Squarespace is clearly the more valuable tool for those in search of extensive design options, because it’s an actual store builder, rather than just a storefront on a marketplace.

Squarespace, whether used to build a creative portfolio or a complete store is one of the most impressive tools on the market from a design perspective. The award-winning templates are clean and beautiful, and there are plenty of ways to customize how your site looks.

You can use the in-built builder to make simply changes to your store, or you can dive a little deeper into the code if you do have some extra developer knowledge. However, while the templates are stunning and mobile optimized, there aren’t as many options as you’d get on other store builders.

Additionally, you might find Squarespace has a few limitations to how flexible you can really get with the code, unless you have specialist support.

Design flexibility definitely isn’t one of Etsy’s strongest points. On the basic marketplace, your store is going to look pretty similar to that of every other vendor on the platform. You can really only change the colors fonts, and photo styles in your store. You can also upload a unique logo and banner, and set a description for your homepage, but that’s it.

If you have a premium plan with Etsy, there are a few more customization options, like the ability to highlight your top-performing products on your homepage. Additionally, you can always consider branching out into Etsy Pattern, but this will take your products out of the Etsy Marketplace and into a new location, so you don’t get the same value as you would from the Etsy environment in general.

Squarespace vs Etsy: Pricing

For any small business, choosing the right ecommerce platform will often revolve heavily around budget. While it’s easy to be impressed by the apps and functionality Squarespace offers, or the simplicity of Etsy as a sales platform, you still need to think about the fees you’ll encounter.

Selling your physical and digital products with Squarespace is a relatively affordable process. Your options include:

  • Personal: $12 per month annually or $16 month-to-month: Free custom domain, video storage, unlimited bandwidth and SEO functionality.
  • Business: $18 per month annually or $26 month-to-month: All the features of Personal plus premium integrations and blocks, professional email from Google, and ecommerce.
  • Basic Commerce: $26 per month annually or $30 month-to-month: All the features of Business plus a checkout on your domain, no commerce transaction fees, and the option to set up customer accounts.
  • Advanced Commerce: $40 per month annually or $46 month-to-month: All the features of Basic Commerce plus abandoned cart recovery, subscription selling and gift cards.

You’ll need at least the Business plan to access to build an ecommerce website, and there’s unfortunately no free plan with Squarespace. Squarespace commerce plans are better for online selling, because you won’t have to worry about transaction fees. All plans come with search engine optimization and various online business templates.

Unlike Squarespace, Etsy does have a free forever plan, while it’s Premium option costs $10 per month. The “Pattern by Etsy” commerce plan where you can build your own store on a dedicated domain starts at $15 per month. The Premium plan comes with 15 listing credits and $5 of Etsy Ad credits to help you find customers.

However, with Etsy, similar to other marketplaces like Amazon, business owners have other charges to consider, such as listing fees. You’ll need to pay $0.20 for every fisting, and Etsy takes a 5% transaction cost on top of that. There’s also a 4% payment processing charge for Etsy sellers, which means you lose around 10% of the profits from your Etsy store.

Squarespace vs Etsy: Customer Service

So far, it’s fair to say Squarespace beats Etsy in terms of point of sale (POS) integrations, website building tools, and drag and drop site customization. But how do the two compares when it comes to customer service?

Squarespace generally offers relatively good support for anyone who has a Squarespace website. While you shouldn’t need too much help with web design, there are 24/7 specialists on-hand to help via email and Twitter. Live chat is also available between 4am and 8pm through the week. There’s are also tutorials and forums where you can find answers to common questions about things like SSL certificates or setting up a payment processor.

If you have an issue with your Etsy product listings, there are services to help you too. The company has one of the biggest seller communities on the web, as well as a range of training materials. There are also live chat and phone service options.

Squarespace vs Etsy: Our Verdict

Both Squarespace and Etsy have a lot to offer. With each tool you can sell virtually unlimited products online, though Squarespace is better-suited to selling services, subscriptions, and digital items. Both tools allow you to take payments through a range of processors, like Stripe and PayPal, and both allow for extensive ecommerce features.

However, the overall experience is very different for each product. Squarespace is by far the best solution for companies looking to build a branded store from scratch for selling all kinds of items online. You can leverage a range of Squarespace template options, dive into coding functionality, and explore different types of monetization methods.

While Squarespace does have a slight learning curve in places and some limitations when it comes to integrations, it’s still extremely powerful. Etsy, on the other hand, is one of the best tools for creators looking to dive into an existing marketplace. Your Etsy shop can give you instant access to a range of potential customers, and there are even tools to help you advertise your wares.

However, Etsy doesn’t give you a lot of branding controls, and various transaction and processing fees can quickly eat into your profits.

The question of whether Squarespace or Etsy is right for you really comes down to what kind of store you want to build. Do you want a full drag-and-drop ecommerce solution like Squarespace? Or do you want to skip the store-building process entirely and just start listing products straight away?

Rebekah Carter

Rebekah Carter is an experienced content creator, news reporter, and blogger specializing in marketing, business development, and technology. Her expertise covers everything from artificial intelligence to email marketing software and extended reality devices. When she’s not writing, Rebekah spends most of her time reading, exploring the great outdoors, and gaming.

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