Until a few years ago, setting up an online store was expensive, as it meant hiring web developers and building a custom ecommerce website. Now you’re almost overwhelmed by the choice of ecommerce plugins and web based solutions for building an online store yourself. This is great news for the increasing number of bloggers and freelancers who are looking to create and sell digital items on their own blogs or websites.
Squarespace is primarily a CMS and a potential alternative to WordPress with built in ecommerce features. They recently released their most updated version, SquareSpace7 which has an improved interface and store designer.
Selz, on the other hand, is a new ecommerce platform which is especially strong for selling digital products. Selz has just released its own store designer as an app, Store Pro, which can be used to customize the look of an online store.
Let’s have a closer look at each of them.
Selz is a web based platform for selling digital products and services. By signing up for a free Selz account, you’ll get your own Selz domain name, yourname.selz.com, and online store. With Selz you can easily embed your products or a simple store within your existing website by copy/pasting the embed code. In case you have a WordPress website, you can use the free WordPress plugin of Selz to import your products. You can also use the Selz Store Pro app to create and customize a fully functional ecommerce website in WordPress.
Setting up a Selz store is extremely simple, fast and does not require any technical expertise, which is one of its main advantages.
Squarespace, on the other hand is a paid subscription based website builder that produces eye-catching websites. It’s a complete CMS that can be used as an alternate to WordPress. By signing up for a Squarespace account, you’ll get your own domain where you can choose from a variety of high quality website templates and immediately start building your website. Its integration with Google Apps is an advantage for business users, while the live editing and accessibility of Getty images makes it an attractive choice for designers.
Setting Up an Online Store
Here’s a quick step by step guide to creating products and setting up an online store on Selz.
Sign up for a free Selz account
After signing up, choose your product type and complete your payment details. Selz handles the processing of credit card or PayPal transactions for you. You then get paid by Selz directly into your bank account or PayPal account.
Add your product description, price, preview image/video and upload the file.
Once you complete the product info, you can then embed a product widget like this on your website just by copy/pasting a line or two of code.
Your buyers can download the digital files or save them to their Dropbox account. Files can be up to 15GB in size. Selz is perfect for selling instructional video tutorials, as it allows MP4 video streaming as well.
You can also create your own ecommerce website by installing the paid Store Pro app.
You can choose a theme, select how products are displayed, change colors, add a logo, and create custom pages.
If you’re familiar with CSS, you can fully customize the look of the store or create your own theme. Selz uses Liquid syntax which is the same as Shopify themes.
Here’s a quick look at how to set up a Squarespace online store.
Go to Squarespace website and choose a template for your store by clicking start browsing templates.
Click on a template and click “start with this design”
At this stage, you’ll be required to sign up for a free trial account to start your website.
Once you sign up, you’ll get access to your web template. To configure your online store, click on the “Commerce” tab in the navigation on the left.
In the commerce tab, you’ll see a comprehensive list of ecommerce features.
To Add a product, click on Getting Started–>Add a Product
Here’s how your products and store will appear.
This is how your individual product pages would appear.
Payment Processing & Pricing
Selz has a secure built-in payment processor. Customers can purchase with Master Card, Visa, Amex and PayPal. There are no monthly fees for using the service. You will only be charged 5% of your product sales price + 25 cents when you make a sale.
Selz also offers a range of free and low priced apps. The Store Pro app is $9.99 per month with a 14 day free trial.
Squarespace uses Stripe for processing payments, which means you’ll need to see whether Stripe works in your region or not. You can’t accept PayPal payments, which is a potential drawback for digital sellers.
There are 3 different pricing packages available on Squarespace – basic ($10), professional ($20) and business/unlimited ($30). The total cost for the business plan, that has unlimited storage and bandwidth (the same as Selz) is $360 per month over a year + Stripe charges 2.9% + 30 cents per sale.
Here’s a quick feature comparison of Selz and Squarespace.
Email Autoresponder Integration
– Squarespace: Allows integration with MailChimp.
– Selz: Hosts all your products and store on its secure AmazonS3 servers.
– Squarespace: Hosts your store on its secure servers.
– Selz: Offers integration with WordPress though its free plugin
– Squarespace: Does not support WordPress integration
Custom Website Integration
– Selz: Can be integrated by copy/pasting the embed code.
– Squarespace: Cannot be integrated.
Digital File Downloads
– Selz: Offers built-in file delivery, product bundles, automatic file update notifications to the buyers, Dropbox and Kindle download, PDF file watermarking and file size of up to 15GB.
– Squarespace: Offers built-in file delivery.
– Selz: If you’re selling video tutorials, your buyers can stream MP4 videos online or download to their computers.
– Squarespace: No separate features for video downloads and streaming. The file downloads as a normal digital file.
Order and Customer Management
– Selz: Manage orders and inventory, customer details and previous purchase history, send messages to customers and add notes to customer profiles
– Squarespace: Manage orders and inventory, but no separate CRM for individual customer management. A plus if selling physical products is Squarespace does also offer real time carrier shipping and label printing.
– Selz: The online store and product widgets are responsive to mobile, smartphones and tablets.
– Squarespace: All the website templates and product pages are built on responsive design.
– Selz: Live chat and email support.
– Squarespace: Live chat and email support.
If you want a website to sell physical products, which looks great and doesn’t require much time to setup, then Squarespace should be on your shortlist. It has a lot of to offer with its range of good looking themes and with integrated ecommerce (if Stripe is supported in your region). It’s very much a visual platform, and appeals to designers and artists.
Selz has the advantage as it can be used to sell digital products from an existing website or from an independent online store. It also has more features for selling digital downloads such as multi file downloads, video streaming, unlimited products, unlimited storage and bandwidth. WordPress compatibility and PayPal integration are also two major advantages. Overall, Selz looks to be the more complete product especially for digital selling.