Akim Perminov

Certified Squarespace expert

Etsy vs Squarespace: Choosing the Best Platform for Your Online Store in 2024

Choosing the right platform to sell online significantly impacts the overall success of one’s business. Etsy and Squarespace represent two fundamentally different approaches to facilitating online commerce.

On the one hand, Etsy is a global marketplace that specializes in handmade, vintage, and unique goods, providing sellers with access to a large, established audience. It's especially beneficial for small-scale artisans and vintage resellers who can leverage the platform's niche community.

On the other hand, Squarespace offers a suite of tools to build and manage a standalone website and is known for its sleek design templates and a high degree of customization.

Both platforms come with associated costs and fees that vary depending on the volume of sales and the specific services used by the seller.

Etsy charges per listing and takes a percentage of sales, while Squarespace offers tiered pricing plans. This possibly makes it a more cost-effective option for those with higher sales volumes.

Squarespace gives users full control over the design and customer experience, while Etsy's strength lies in its specialized market and ease of use for new sellers.

Each platform offers unique features for e-commerce, marketing, SEO, and support that cater to the diverse needs of online businesses.

Key Takeaways

  • Etsy caters to individual creators and vintage sellers with a niche marketplace, while Squarespace provides tools for a customizable standalone online presence.

  • Costs on both platforms vary, with Etsy charging per listing and sales percentage, and Squarespace offering tiered monthly plans.

  • Choice between the two platforms depends on the seller’s desire for market reach versus control over branding and customer experience.

Etsy vs. Squarespace Overview

In comparing Etsy and Squarespace, it's important to note their distinct purposes. Etsy excels as a niche marketplace for unique items, whereas Squarespace offers a more comprehensive website building experience.

Platform Purpose and Core Differences

Etsy serves as a specialized online marketplace for handmade, vintage, and craft supply items. It provides a specific platform for sellers in these niches to connect with a global customer base.

Etsy charges a listing fee and takes a percentage of each sale.

Squarespace, on the other hand, is a website builder that caters to a broad range of website needs. It offers templates and tools for creating a highly customized online presence with an integrated e-commerce platform.

Squarespace's pricing is based on monthly subscription plans with varying levels of e-commerce integration.

Target Audience

Etsy's target audience primarily consists of artists, crafters, and vintage item sellers. These individuals or small businesses are looking to gain exposure through a dedicated marketplace that attracts millions of buyers looking specifically for unique and handcrafted goods.

Squarespace is designed for individuals or businesses that desire a standalone website with full design control. This includes but is not limited to bloggers, photographers, entrepreneurs, and small to medium-sized businesses interested in a professional online presence with the capability to sell products or services.

Market Presence

In terms of market presence, Etsy boasts a sizable community with millions of active buyers which can potentially translate into immediate traffic for new sellers. The platform's popularity is amplified by its niche-focused audience seeking specific types of products.

Squarespace's market presence is reflected in its reputation for clean, contemporary website design and its widespread use across various industries. The platform benefits from comprehensive marketing campaigns and its appeal to users looking for more autonomy over their website's design and functionality.

Types of Products and Services Offered

Etsy and Squarespace cater to distinct markets with their offerings. Etsy's platform specializes in providing a marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, while Squarespace offers comprehensive website building services tailored for creating and managing an online store.

Etsy's Marketplace for Handmade and Vintage Items

Etsy is a global marketplace known for its focus on unique, handmade, and vintage items. Sellers on Etsy offer a vast array of products that can include everything from custom jewelry and apparel to art and collectibles.

  • Handmade Products: Sellers on Etsy often create their inventory themselves, providing personalized and unique items that are not typically found in traditional retail.

  • Vintage Goods: Items that are at least 20 years old are categorized as vintage on Etsy, encompassing a wide selection of antiques and retro products that appeal to collectors and enthusiasts.

Squarespace's Website Building Services

Squarespace is positioned as a website builder that enables users to design, establish, and operate their own online stores and websites. Their services are designed to be user-friendly, allowing even those without technical expertise to build a professional online presence.

  • Website Builder: Squarespace provides a drag-and-drop interface with customizable templates for creating websites suited to a wide range of needs from business to personal use.

  • Online Store: Squarespace's e-commerce capabilities facilitate the sale of products and services, with features like inventory management, payment processing, and integration with external tools to enhance the functionality of an online store.

Design and Customization

In the landscape of e-commerce, a store's design and customization capabilities are pivotal for brand identity and user experience. Etsy provides a standardized layout with opportunities for personal touches, while Squarespace offers extensive design flexibility with its wide array of templates and advanced customization options.

Etsy's Shop Customization Options

Etsy allows sellers to make various modifications to their shops to reflect their brand's style.

Sellers can personalize their shop by:

  • Selecting a banner and shop icon

  • Crafting a unique shop title and description

  • Organizing items with custom shop sections

However, Etsy does have its limitations since the basic framework of each shop is consistent across the platform. Customization in Etsy does not extend to altering the shop's layout or structure, as Etsy shops must adhere to the platform's uniform presentation.

Squarespace's Design Flexibility

Squarespace shines with its advanced customization capabilities.

Users can choose from a multitude of templates tailored to various business needs and industries. Within these templates, the design options and customization are profound. Features include:

  • Comprehensive style editor with control over fonts, colors, and page configurations

  • The ability to inject custom CSS for deeper visual customizations

  • Integration of content blocks for text, images, videos, and more

  • Advanced template switching that allows shops to change their look without affecting their content

Squarespace's design options provide users with the freedom to create a unique and professional online presence down to the finest detail.

Pricing and Fees

When comparing Squarespace and Etsy, it is crucial for potential users to comprehend how pricing and fees can affect their business's bottom line. Each platform employs a different fee structure that aligns with their services.

Listing and Transaction Fees on Etsy

Etsy charges sellers a $0.20 listing fee for each item, which renews every four months or upon a sale. In addition to this, Etsy assesses a transaction fee of 6.5%.

Sellers may also opt for Etsy Plus, a subscription package aimed at expanding a store's capabilities, which comes at an additional cost.

  • Listing Fee: $0.20 per item

  • Transaction Fee: 6.5% per sale

  • Etsy Plus: Additional subscription cost

Squarespace Pricing Plans and Transaction Fees

Squarespace offers several pricing plans, with e-commerce integration beginning from $30 to $89 a month. These plans are designed to cater to a range of business needs.

The Business plan imposes a 3% transaction fee, but higher-tier plans, which come with a greater monthly cost, do not charge any transaction fees.

  • Basic Commerce Plan: $30 / month (No transaction fees)

  • Advanced Commerce Plan: $89 / month (No transaction fees)

  • Business Plan: $30 / month + 3% transaction fee

E-commerce and Sales Features

In the realm of online sales, both Etsy and Squarespace provide robust e-commerce platforms, but they cater to different types of sellers with unique sets of tools and features.

Etsy's Sales Tools and Community

Etsy represents a specialized marketplace that thrives on its community-focused environment. It targets creators of handmade, vintage, and creative goods by offering them a space to connect with buyers looking for unique items.

Its e-commerce features are tailored to these individual sellers and include:

  • Marketplace Integration: Sellers join an established marketplace with a large customer base actively seeking craft and artisan products.

  • Sales Tools: Tools such as inventory management and sales analysis help sellers manage their shops efficiently.

However, sellers should note that Etsy charges a transaction fee of 5% and a payment processing charge of around 4% on items sold.

Squarespace Commerce and Online Business Features

Squarespace, in contrast, is geared toward a wide range of online businesses seeking to build their own branded website.

Squarespace Commerce offers a more extensive set of business tools ideal for individuals who wish to maintain greater control over their branding and customer experience. Key features include:

  • Unlimited Products: Businesses can list an unlimited number of products on their Squarespace site.

  • Comprehensive E-commerce Solution: Offers inventory management, payment processing, and shipping integrations, enabling businesses to manage their online store from one centralized platform.

Notably, Squarespace has partnered with Square for Point of Sale (POS) services, accommodating merchants who also sell offline.

Marketing and SEO

When choosing between Etsy and Squarespace, marketers must consider the platform's native user base and integrated SEO and marketing tools. These aspects are crucial for increasing visibility and driving sales.

Etsy's Marketplace as a Marketing Platform

Etsy's platform inherently serves as a marketing tool by providing sellers with access to a large, built-in audience looking specifically for handmade, vintage, and unique items.

This niche marketplace reduces the need for aggressive marketing efforts for visibility among target customers. However, sellers do not have access to email marketing tools directly through Etsy and must use external services to conduct email campaigns.

Key Features:

  • Access to a focused audience of buyers interested in niche, artisanal products.

  • Potential for higher organic traffic due to Etsy's brand recognition.

  • Limited direct marketing tools necessitating the use of third-party services for email marketing.

Squarespace's Marketing and SEO Tools

Squarespace provides a comprehensive set of marketing and SEO tools that enable businesses to optimize their content and increase their organic reach. The platform offers advanced SEO tools for customization and tracking performance.

Key Features:

  • SEO Tools:

    • Advanced options for optimizing content, titles, and descriptions for search engines.

    • Keyword analytics to inform content strategy.

  • Marketing Integrations:

    • Multichannel integration for social media platforms.

    • Built-in email campaign tools for direct marketing, fostering engagement and customer retention.

Integrated Marketing Features:

  • Email Marketing: Fully integrated system for creating and sending email campaigns directly within Squarespace.

  • Analytics: Detailed insights into website traffic and user behavior.

Integrations and Add-ons

Both Etsy and Squarespace offer various integrations and add-ons to enhance the functionalities of their platforms, catering to the needs of different users and businesses.

Pattern by Etsy and Other Integrations

Pattern by Etsy allows sellers to create a customized website that syncs with their Etsy shop. This integration facilitates the management of inventory and orders through a single interface. Sellers can maintain their brand presence with a personalized domain, while still leveraging Etsy's marketplace.

Other Etsy integrations are designed to assist sellers with tasks such as accounting, printing shipping labels, and email marketing. Integration with social media platforms is also available, enabling sellers to promote their products effectively.

Squarespace Extensions and Third-Party Apps

Squarespace provides a curated selection of extensions designed to extend the functionality of its websites. E-commerce specific extensions assist with inventory management, bookkeeping, shipping, and other aspects of online selling. A list of categories includes:

  • Inventory and Products

  • Finances

  • Shipping and Fulfillment

Third-party apps and services can be connected to Squarespace sites as well, adding functionality in areas like email marketing, customer relationship management (CRM), and more. Squarespace's open API also allows for custom integrations, offering users a high level of flexibility to tailor their site according to their business needs.

User Experience and Support

The usability and quality of support offered by a platform can significantly affect the satisfaction of its users. Etsy and Squarespace cater to these areas with distinctive approaches, depending on the users' needs and skill levels.

Ease of Use and Support on Etsy

User Interface: Etsy presents a user-friendly interface that supports even beginners in navigating its marketplace. The platform is tailored primarily for artisans and vintage item sellers who benefit from the marketplace’s structure and community insights.

Support: Etsy's customer support includes a help center, direct email contact, and community forums. Sellers find that Etsy's support is attuned to the marketplace's nuances, which provides specific and relevant assistance for their needs.

Managing a Squarespace Site

Management Dashboard: For those who opt for Squarespace, the platform's management dashboard offers a robust and integrated experience. It demands a steeper learning curve but leads to more customizable and extensive site management capabilities.

Support: Squarespace provides 24/7 customer support, which is essential for those managing their own website. This constant availability can be an advantage for users who may require support during off-peak hours or while working on critical issues that need immediate attention.

Ease of Use: Although it offers various online business templates and comprehensive SEO tools, Squarespace generally requires more time and effort to master, making it better suited for individuals with some level of web design experience or those willing to invest in learning the platform.

Payment Processing and Additional Services

In the realm of online commerce, payment processing and additional services such as POS integrations and advanced shipping play a crucial role in determining the efficiency and ease with which a business operates. Both Etsy and Squarespace offer distinct advantages in these aspects tailored to their respective user bases.

Etsy's Checkout Process

Etsy provides a streamlined checkout process that utilizes its own payment system called Etsy Payments. This system can integrate a variety of payment methods including credit and debit cards, as well as PayPal. Etsy charges a payment processing fee which is typically around 4% of the sale price plus a fixed fee. This fee structure means sellers on Etsy forfeit roughly 10% of their profits—with payment processing being a significant portion of that percentage.

An important benefit of Etsy's checkout system is its focus on serving the unique needs of its marketplace where sellers primarily offer handmade, vintage, and craft items.

Squarespace's Payment Options and Advanced Features

Squarespace, on the other hand, partners with payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal, which facilitates the immediate deposit of funds into a seller's account after a transaction completes. It supports various payment methods at checkout including credit cards, debit cards, and Apple Pay. This diversity in payment options can be especially beneficial for merchants who wish to offer greater flexibility to their customers at checkout.

Apart from its payment options, Squarespace also offers advanced features that are particularly advantageous for businesses looking to scale. These features include advanced shipping capabilities and POS integrations that allow for a seamless connection between online and physical storefronts.

Pros and Cons of Etsy and Squarespace

Etsy Pros:

  • Active Buyers: Access to a large market of buyers actively searching for handmade, vintage, and craft goods.

  • Community: Supportive artist and seller community.

  • Ease of Use: Simple setup for small retailers to list products without a need for website-building skills.

  • Value for Small Businesses: Ideal for small scale operations without the need to invest heavily upfront.

Etsy Cons:

  • Competition: Highly saturated market can make it difficult to stand out.

  • Fees: Listing fees ($0.20 per item), 6.5% commission on sales, and potential additional fees for product variations.

  • Limited Customization: Less control over storefront appearance compared to a personalized website.

Squarespace Pros:

  • Professional-Looking Stores: Offers a range of website templates that provide a more professional appearance.

  • E-commerce Capabilities: Robust tools for online selling including abandoned cart recovery, unlimited bandwidth and storage, and subscription services.

  • Analytics and Control: Advanced analytics and greater control over the domain, descriptions, and entire shopping experience.

  • Shipping and Discounts: Features for customized shipping options and discounts to entice buyers.

Squarespace Cons:

  • Cost: More expensive with monthly plans starting at $16, going up to $89 without the additional transaction fees except for the business plan, which charges a 3% fee.

  • Learning Curve: Requires more time and skill to set up and manage compared to Etsy.

  • Less Initial Traffic: Without an existing customer base, attracting traffic relies heavily on seller's own marketing efforts.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, readers will find targeted information addressing common inquiries about the distinctive characteristics and financial implications of choosing either Etsy or Squarespace for starting an online store.

What are the key differences between selling on Etsy and using Squarespace for an online store?

Etsy offers a marketplace platform with a built-in audience, ideal for handmade or vintage items, whereas Squarespace provides a more customizable website builder that caters to a variety of online businesses. Squarespace users don't pay listing fees but may encounter transaction fees depending on their plan.

Which platform is more cost-effective for starting a small business, Etsy or Squarespace?

Cost-effectiveness can vary depending on the business's scale and needs. Etsy has no monthly fees, with costs tied to listing and transaction fees. Squarespace requires a monthly subscription, potentially making it more cost-effective for larger operations due to its lack of listing fees.

How does Squarespace pricing compare with the costs of running an Etsy shop?

Squarespace offers monthly plans ranging from $30 to $89 for e-commerce, with business plans incurring a 3% transaction fee and no fees at higher tiers. Etsy charges a $0.20 listing fee per item and a 6.5% transaction fee, making costs variable based on sales volume.

Is Squarespace a viable alternative to Etsy for selling handmade or unique items?

Squarespace is a viable alternative for those who want to build their brand and have greater control over the design and functionality of their online store, although it may lack the built-in customer base that Etsy provides specifically for handmade or unique items.

What are the pros and cons of using Etsy versus creating a personal shop with Squarespace?

Etsy provides exposure to a large, niche audience and requires less initial setup, though it can be more costly for high-volume sellers with its per-listing and transaction fees. Squarespace requires more upfront work to set up and market the store but offers more customization and potentially lower fees at higher sales volumes.

Considering SEO and market reach, should I start my online store on Etsy or Squarespace?

Etsy benefits from strong market reach due to its established community and audience looking for unique, niche items.

Squarespace offers robust SEO tools that can help a standalone shop become more visible online, but reaching Etsy's audience levels may require significant marketing efforts.

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All rights reserved © 2024 Oneforme