Choosing the right e-commerce platform is a crucial decision for any business owner looking to sell products online. Two of the most popular options are BigCommerce and Squarespace – established players with powerful features to build an effective online store. But how do you know which one is the better fit for your business?
In this comprehensive BigCommerce vs Squarespace comparison guide, we analyze the key differences between BigCommerce and Squarespace across several criteria that matter most: market position, ease of use, design capabilities, built-in features, performance, support, pricing, and reputation.
Our goal is to provide an unbiased look at the strengths and weaknesses of each platform to help you make an informed decision based on your business needs and budget.
1. Understanding the Basics
BigCommerce was founded in 2009 by Eddie Machaalani and Mitch Harper. It powers over 60,000 online stores globally. BigCommerce is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms with over $44 billion in sales processed. The company has raised over $250 million in funding.
Squarespace was launched in 2004 by Anthony Casalena. It has helped over 4 million people build websites. While most Squarespace sites are blogs, portfolios, and events, around 1 million are online stores. Squarespace has also raised over $300 million in funding.
In terms of popularity, BigCommerce has an Alexa ranking of around 200 globally. Squarespace is over 1000. BigCommerce also has a 95% customer retention rate versus 91% for Squarespace.
Popular Facebook communities to join include:
- BigCommerce Community with over 25,000 members
- Squarespace Ecommerce with over 6,000 members
Overall, BigCommerce is the leader for e-commerce stores while Squarespace powers more blogs and creative sites. However, both are top choices loved by millions of customers.
2. Ease of Use
BigCommerce offers an intuitive dashboard with drag-and-drop functionality. This makes it easy for beginners to add products, customize pages, and manage orders. The interface uses clean, modern design patterns. Key store management features are accessible in the main menu.
The platform is fairly easy to navigate overall. New users can get started quickly by following BigCommerce’s setup wizard. It provides helpful prompts to create store pages, configure settings, add products, and launch the site. Detailed help articles and video tutorials are also available.
The learning curve is reasonable for most owners to master core functions. More advanced capabilities like discounts or omnichannel sales may require a deeper investment of time. But in general, BigCommerce makes running an online store accessible for first-timers.
Squarespace uses an elegant visual interface that’s pleasing to navigate. The dashboard lets you access key functions like adding pages, blog posts, and products through large buttons and menus. Layouts and design options are visualized via thumbnail previews.
The drag-and-drop Page Builder tool makes it simple for beginners to customize pages. No coding expertise is required. Squarespace also provides helpful prompts during initial setup to get your site configured quickly. Video guides and articles offer additional guidance.
While Squarespace is easy to use for basic website needs, its e-commerce capabilities require more significant learning. Taxes, shipping, and inventory management involve non-intuitive configuration across separate settings and pages. The complexity grows for owners with advanced needs.
For ease of use specifically around ecommerce, BigCommerce is the winner. Its dashboard neatly organizes store management features together in intuitive workflows. Setup wizards clearly guide new users. Core store functions from catalog to orders are simple for beginners to pick up quickly compared to Squarespace’s more fragmented approach.
3. Design and Customization
BigCommerce offers over 100 free and paid themes to choose from. Themes are professionally designed with modern styles for fashion, outdoors, jewelry, electronics, and more. Users can preview themes to visualize them.
While BigCommerce themes are appealing out of the box, they can also be extensively customized. Users can modify colors, fonts, pages, and assets. Advanced users can edit code or HTML/CSS. BigCommerce integrates with WordPress for further design control.
For mobile commerce, BigCommerce automatically creates responsive designs optimized for any device. Mobile themes feature large product images, tidy navigation menus, and easy checkout. Store managers can also create separate mobile views if desired.
Squarespace provides beautiful award-winning templates across a variety of industries. Over 100 free and paid options are available spanning minimalist, bold, artistic, and video-centric designs. Users can filter by business type.
The adjustable Page Builder canvas makes it simple to customize layouts and content blocks without coding. Images, text, videos, and shapes in the Squarespace templates can be dragged anywhere. However, editing base code isn’t available for advanced customization.
Squarespace automatically optimizes websites for mobile responsiveness across its templates. Business owners can also select separate mobile views independent from the desktop. Mobile layouts adapt well to small screens with tidy menus and product displays.
Both Squarespace and BigCommerce offer professional themes tailored to different industries along with powerful customization options accessible to beginners. For design quality and modification capabilities, this category is a tie between the two platforms.
4. Features and Functionality
BigCommerce offers built-in blogging tools on all plans. Users can easily create blog posts and optimize them for SEO. Posts support text, images, videos, tags, and comments.
Blog categories can be added to organize content. Posts can be scheduled in advance for automated publishing. The blog also integrates with RSS and major social networks for sharing.
For design, users can pick from several blog page layouts and themes. Customization options include colors, fonts, and backgrounds. Posts use clean, contemporary designs optimized for engagement.
The downside is that BigCommerce blogs lack some advanced features like custom sidebars or blog contributor accounts. However, the platform covers essential blogging needs for e-commerce sites.
Squarespace provides extensive, full-featured blogging capabilities. The built-in Blog tool allows for creating and scheduling blog posts with flexible formatting options.
Posts support rich media like photos, videos, audio, maps, and polls. Categories and tags organize content. Moderated comments foster community.
Design-wise, Squarespace offers many blog page layouts and themes to customize the look and feel. Users have fine-grained control over sidebars, headers, footers, colors, and fonts.
The platform also enables multi-writer contributor accounts, newsletter integration, social sharing, and RSS. So Squarespace covers a wide range of robust blogging functionalities.
For blogging features specifically, Squarespace is the winner. It provides a fully equipped blog builder with expansive options for rich formatting, custom designs, contributor accounts, newsletter integration, and more. Squarespace has a slight edge over BigCommerce for advanced blogging needs.
BigCommerce provides robust ecommerce features for building an online store. Key features include secure checkout, a customizable catalog, order management, and shipping tools.
The platform makes it easy to create product listings with images, pricing, variants, and descriptions. Inventory can be synced across channels. Promotions like coupons and sales can drive business.
BigCommerce integrates with top payment gateways to handle transactions securely. Orders are organized into a dashboard with filtering and exporting. Shipping integrates with carriers for label printing and tracking.
The platform also provides advanced capabilities like dropshipping, subscriptions, and B2B functionalities. BigCommerce covers a wide range of essential e-commerce needs for selling online.
Squarespace Commerce enables owners to sell physical and digital products through their sites. Key features include cart and checkout flows, inventory tracking, and order management.
Products can be listed with custom options and variants. Built-in promotions tools allow percentage-off sales or free shipping incentives. Orders are processed securely via Stripe or other integrated payment gateways.
However, more advanced selling features like subscriptions, purchase orders, or shipping label integration require third-party apps. Squarespace Commerce covers e-commerce basics but lacks the depth of specialty selling capabilities compared to BigCommerce.
The Squarespace BigCommerce comparison has shown that both platforms have a lot to offer. However, for the breadth and depth of its e-commerce feature set, BigCommerce emerges as the winner. It provides an expansive set of selling tools out-of-the-box – from BigCommerce payment gateways to promotions, subscriptions, and shipping. This gives BigCommerce a strong advantage over Squarespace Commerce for scaling ecommerce websites.
BigCommerce comes equipped with several built-in SEO tools to improve site visibility. It allows configuring titles, meta descriptions, alt text, and URLs for better indexing.
An SEO preview panel shows how pages will appear in search to optimize content. Open graph tags can be added to each page for social sharing. XML sitemaps further boost crawler visibility.
BigCommerce also integrates with Google Analytics for monitoring traffic. The platform automatically optimizes sites for fast page loading to improve rankings. Overall, BigCommerce covers the essential SEO needs for an e-commerce site.
Squarespace provides basic SEO features and comes with on-page customization including page titles, meta descriptions, alt text, and canonical tags. An SEO toolbar analyzes content issues to address.
The platform generates XML sitemaps to aid search engine crawlers. Site-wide keywords can be set to guide indexing. Squarespace also optimizes pages for fast loading times on mobile.
However, Squarespace lacks more advanced capabilities like XML feeds of products. It provides decent but not comprehensive SEO tools compared to other e-commerce platforms. Relying on apps can be necessary for fuller optimization.
Both BigCommerce and Squarespace have built-in SEO tools, but BigCommerce emerges as the winner when it comes to making online sales. It equips online stores with XML sitemaps, open graph support, SEO previews, and Google Analytics integration. This provides more powerful optimization capabilities out-of-the-box compared to Squarespace’s good but limited offerings.
BigCommerce integrates with hundreds of applications for expanded sales and marketing features. Key categories include accounting, email marketing, customer support, and fulfillment.
Top integrations include Mailchimp, Google Analytics, PayPal, Stripe, Wishlist, Zendesk, and ShipStation. BigCommerce also offers one-click installs for many apps right from the control panel.
Developers can leverage BigCommerce APIs to build custom integrations. Common APIs cover cart, checkout, widgets, and webhooks for orders/products. An app marketplace features diverse integrations curated for BigCommerce sites.
With its vast library of apps and open APIs, BigCommerce enables connecting best-of-breed tools for each business need.
Squarespace supports some popular third-party integrations like MailChimp, Google Analytics, Acuity Scheduling, and Stripe. However, its app ecosystem is smaller compared to specialized e-commerce platforms.
Many useful integrations for things like accounting, fulfillment, or customer support require custom development work. Squarespace does not provide open APIs or extensive documentation to build custom apps.
While Squarespace sites can utilize common tools through plugins, the platform lacks the robust extensibility more advanced merchants may require beyond a handful of popular apps.
With its vast app marketplace, open APIs, and broader ecosystem support, BigCommerce is the winner for integrations. It empowers online stores to connect hundreds of tools for key business functions through pre-built apps, customizable code integrations, and detailed dev docs.
Analytics and Reporting
BigCommerce provides built-in analytics and reporting to gain insights. Key reports cover sales, traffic, abandonment, products, promotions, and revenue across time periods.
Users can segment product reports by category, inventory, and bestsellers. The dashboard visually charts KPIs like conversion rates. Data can be filtered to analyze trends.
Advanced users can also create custom reports to match specific business needs. Reports are exportable for further analysis. BigCommerce also integrates Google Analytics for enhanced reporting.
With its robust datasets and customizable reporting, BigCommerce supplies in-depth analytics for understanding all facets of an e-commerce business.
Squarespace offers a Commerce Analytics tool to view key web traffic, product, and sales metrics. It provides reports on revenue, orders, top products, traffic channels, and conversions.
However, customizing and filtering data is limited compared to other platforms. Squarespace lacks important e-commerce reports around campaigns, customer lifetime value, margins by product, and other advanced insights.
Getting expanded analytics requires integrating third-party business intelligence tools, which adds cost and complexity. Overall, Squarespace provides adequate high-level e-commerce analytics but lacks deeper reporting functionality.
BigCommerce is the winner for its powerful built-in analytics and customizable reporting engine. It provides comprehensive data insights covering all aspects of an online business without requiring external tools.
5. Website Performance
Website Speed and Load Times
BigCommerce optimizes sites for fast performance using CDNs and caching. It offers built-in image optimization to compress files. Sites score 90+ on Google PageSpeed tests indicating excellent speed.
Load times average under 2 seconds according to third-party tests. BigCommerce sites rely on Google Cloud infrastructure that’s robust and quick. The platform automatically scales to handle traffic spikes.
Advanced users can further tune performance through full-page caching and local storage of static resources. Overall, BigCommerce provides exceptional load times out-of-the-box backed by enterprise-grade hosting.
Squarespace uses its own hosting infrastructure to power sites. It optimizes pages and assets automatically leading to decent PageSpeed scores around 80. Load times average 2-3 seconds.
While performance is relatively quick, Squarespace lacks some speed optimizations like browser caching of static assets or granular image compression. Sites can slow down during traffic spikes since resources are shared.
Merchants can upgrade to Advanced Commerce plans to get dedicated computing resources for better stability and speed. However, optimization requires more manual work compared to other e-commerce platforms.
With its Google Cloud-powered infrastructure, extensive caching, and image optimization, BigCommerce wins for faster website speeds and load times. It provides superior performance out-of-the-box and easily handles traffic fluctuations.
Website Reliability and Uptime
BigCommerce pledges 99.99% uptime availability, with outages extremely rare. It relies on Google Cloud infrastructure that is enterprise-grade for security and reliability.
If outages occur, BigCommerce provides status updates and prompt resolutions. It offers robust scalability to automatically handle traffic spikes without downtime.
The platform also enables staging environments for testing changes before deploying to production. BigCommerce delivers exceptional reliability backed by a world-class cloud hosting provider.
Squarespace guarantees 99.98% uptime on Business plans or above. The company uses its own data centers and CDNs to power sites.
Overall uptime meets general industry standards but falls short of specialized e-commerce platforms. Smaller outages from server issues or restoration can sporadically occur.
During major traffic events or demand surges, Squarespace sites have experienced more extended outages above average due to constrained shared resources. Reliability lags behind dedicated commerce platforms.
With its 99.99% uptime via Google Cloud, BigCommerce emerges as the winner for better website reliability. It offers virtually uninterrupted availability along with the scalability to handle large traffic volumes without downtime.
6. Customer Support and Community
BigCommerce provides 24/7 customer support via phone, email, and live chat. Support representatives are e-commerce experts who can assist with technical issues or store setups.
Self-help resources include documentation, FAQs, and video tutorials. The BigCommerce Community forum allows asking questions and getting advice from over 25,000 merchants.
BigCommerce also offers branded support plans with dedicated account managers for larger customers. Customers rate BigCommerce’s support as top-notch for responsiveness and problem resolution.
Squarespace offers email support from their Customer Care team. Phone support is limited to higher-priced plans only. Wait times can be slow during peak periods.
Self-help options include an online knowledge base with articles, FAQs, and webinars. The Squarespace Forums enable community discussion, but engagement lags niche platforms.
Formal premium support plans are not offered. Overall, Squarespace’s support channels are decent but not specialized for complex e-commerce needs compared to other platforms.
With its 24/7 chat, extensive help resources, and engaging community forums, BigCommerce wins for superior customer support. Its support channels are tailored specifically for e-commerce merchants for a better experience.
BigCommerce offers an SMB plan at $29/month supporting basic online stores. The Plus plan at $79/month adds more advanced functionality. The Pro plan costs $299/month and is ideal for large enterprises. Custom Enterprise pricing is also available.
The platform charges no transaction fees and low credit card rates. Extra fees apply for services like abandoned cart recovery or shipping discounts. Overall pricing is competitive and flexible.
A free 15-day trial lets merchants evaluate the platform. BigCommerce pricing is straightforward with capabilities scaling across set monthly plans suitable for small to large businesses.
Squarespace starts at $16/month for basic website needs but e-commerce requires a Business plan at $23/month. Advanced Commerce plans cost $49/month with additional fees per transaction.
Unlike other platforms, customers don’t get access to full functionality on lower-priced Squarespace plans. Important features like gift cards or Google Analytics require upgrading.
While competitive for blogs and portfolios, Squarespace pricing can be expensive for online merchants compared to specialized e-commerce platforms with more inclusive plans.
BigCommerce wins for more transparent and competitive pricing tailored specifically for e-commerce stores. Its plans bundle necessary selling features more affordably and without hidden extra fees.
8. Reviews and Reputation
BigCommerce earns strong reviews from users. On G2, it holds a 4.5/5 rating based on over 1,700 merchant reviews. Praised features include ease of use, template design, and support.
Some pain points from users include the lack of native matrix/variable products and limitations around layout flexibility compared to a pure SaaS platform.
On TrustRadius, BigCommerce has an 8.8/10 average rating. Positive feedback cites the all-in-one solution, breadth of native features, and scalability for growth.
Squarespace receives excellent reviews for its beautiful templates, ease of use, and flexibility for blogs/portfolios. It has a 4.7/5 on G2 based on 6,000+ user reviews.
However, merchants specifically praise BigCommerce over Squarespace for better e-commerce functionality, SEO capabilities, and support. Some cite slow load times and lack of customization as weaknesses.
On TrustRadius, Squarespace has a lower 8.4/10 rating for e-commerce use cases. Reviews reiterate it works better for simpler product catalogs versus complex stores needing advanced features.
BigCommerce wins for a better reputation among e-commerce stores needing robust functionality and scalability. Squarespace gets excellent but more mixed reviews stemming from its broader website builder approach.
- What is the maximum product inventory BigCommerce supports? BigCommerce has no product limit, supporting e-commerce stores of all sizes.
- Does BigCommerce offer discounts or coupon codes? Yes, BigCommerce has robust promotional tools including percentage and dollar-off coupons.
- Can I blog on BigCommerce? Yes, BigCommerce provides built-in blogging features to engage customers.
- Is there a transaction fee? No, BigCommerce has no transaction fees on any plan.
- Is Squarespace better for blogs or online stores? Squarespace works well for blogs and portfolios but has limitations for advanced e-commerce stores.
- Does Squarespace charge transaction fees? Yes, Squarespace charges transaction fees on top of monthly plan costs.
- Can I customize the Squarespace code? No, Squarespace does not provide direct code access for modifications.
- Does Squarespace offer phone support? No, phone support requires upgrading to the Advanced Commerce plan starting at $70/month.
Choose BigCommerce if…
With its combination of robust e-commerce functionality, broad app ecosystem, and enterprise-level performance, BigCommerce is a great choice for medium to large online merchants needing advanced capabilities. It provides sophisticated tools for customization, order management, and cross-channel sales that scale with your business growth. The platform is ideal for established brands selling across multiple channels.
You can also take a look at my other BigCommerce comparisons as well:
Choose Squarespace if…
Squarespace shines for bloggers, creatives, restaurants, and simpler online stores needing beautiful templates combined with easy customization. Its drag-and-drop editor and stylish designs make Squarespace ideal for publishing content or building a basic online catalog. Just be aware limitations exist for more complex product catalogs, subscriptions, and other advanced e-commerce features.
If you’d like to learn more about Squarespace, check out my Squarespace review. Alternatively, you can also read through my other Squarespace comparisons:
Selecting the right platform is a big decision that can have significant long-term effects on your business’s success and growth. Please leave any additional questions in the comments, and I’m happy to provide personalized advice for your specific needs!