Squarespace vs Etsy: Choosing the Best Platform for Your Online Business

When considering an online platform for selling your products, you're likely to encounter Squarespace and Etsy as two popular choices. Squarespace is a comprehensive website builder offering a suite of tools to design a professional-looking website with integrated e-commerce capabilities. It's an all-in-one platform that gives you full control over your online presence, from branding and layout to the storefront and checkout experience. This makes it a go-to choice for businesses and individuals looking to establish a stand-alone online shop with a unique domain.

online marketplace

On the other hand, Etsy caters to a different kind of online seller. Known for its focus on unique, vintage, and handmade items, Etsy serves as a niche marketplace that connects sellers directly with an existing customer base interested in these types of products. It's a community-driven platform where setting up a shop is straightforward, and there’s no need to worry about driving traffic to your site, as Etsy has a vast audience actively searching for creative and original items.

Choosing between Squarespace and Etsy depends largely on your business goals, the level of customization you desire, and where your target market resides. While Squarespace puts you in the driver's seat for creating a custom branded experience, Etsy offers a quick entry into a marketplace where customers are already browsing for their next purchase. Both platforms have their unique strengths, and understanding which aligns best with your needs is crucial for your online success.

What Is Squarespace?

Squarespace is your go-to platform if you're aiming to build a personalized website with a flair for design. It's a website builder that allows you to create, manage, and host a website with a variety of templates and customization tools at your disposal. Squarespace is particularly known for its sleek templates and drag-and-drop functionality, making it accessible even if you're not tech-savvy. You'll get full control over your site's appearance and the functionality to set up an online store.

What Is Etsy?

On the other hand, Etsy functions as a marketplace where you can list and sell products, but the focus here is on handmade, vintage, and craft supplies. Rather than building a whole site, you use Etsy's platform to reach a built-in audience interested in these unique types of items. Etsy is about community and connection, offering a specialized venue for buyers and sellers in the niche it caters to.

Key Features and Services

Squarespace and Etsy offer distinctive sets of features that cater to different types of sellers.

Squarespace Key Features

  • Templates and Design: You have access to a variety of professional templates that are highly customizable. Squarespace's design capabilities allow you to create a unique brand identity.
  • Marketing Tools: Squarespace equips you with a comprehensive suite of marketing tools, including email campaigns and SEO features.
  • Analytics: Track your site's performance with detailed analytics to understand visitor behavior and sales trends.
  • Squarespace Commerce: An integrated solution for managing your inventory, processing payments, and handling shipping.
  • Support: 24/7 customer support, including a knowledge base, community forums, and live chat.

Etsy Key Features

  • Marketplace: Etsy provides a marketplace that specifically targets customers looking for handmade, vintage, and craft items.
  • Etsy Plus: A subscription service that offers advanced tools for shop customization, and promotional credits for ads and listings.
  • Support: Access to seller forums and a comprehensive help center.
  • Domain: While you can't host a full website, you can have a custom domain for your Etsy shop.
  • Integrations: Etsy integrates with various shipping and marketing tools to enhance your shop's capabilities.

Comparison of Features

  • Customization: Squarespace allows greater customization of your site's design compared to Etsy's standardized shop layouts.
  • Services: Both platforms offer services tailored to online businesses, but Squarespace is more focused on full website ownership and brand building, while Etsy acts as a host within their marketplace.
  • Domain: Squarespace lets you register a custom domain directly, enhancing your brand's professionalism.
  • POS: Squarespace integrates with certain point-of-sale systems, suitable for businesses that also sell in person.
  • Integration: Etsy's integrations are primarily for marketplace enhancements; Squarespace, on the other hand, has wider integrations for website functions.

Design and Customization

When you're building your online presence, the way your store looks and feels to visitors is important. You'll choose between the artistic control offered by one platform and the community-driven aesthetics of another.

Design Flexibility

Squarespace shines with its design flexibility. You're offered a broad selection of templates that serve as a starting point for your site's design. These templates are professional and cater to a variety of industries. With drag-and-drop functionality, you have the freedom to move elements around your pages to fit your vision without needing to code.

Fonts and colors are fully customizable, and you can tweak them to match your brand's identity, giving you full control over the look and feel of your website.

Customization Options

Etsy's customization is more restrained due to its marketplace nature. It ensures a consistent shopper experience across different stores, but it limits how much you can make your individual shop stand out. You can personalize your shop banner and logo, but the overall structure remains the same to maintain a coherent browsing experience for customers.

In contrast, Squarespace offers extensive customization options. You can inject custom code if needed, and extensive styling options are at your disposal. This level of customization ensures that your online store can be as unique as the products you sell.

Building and Hosting Your Online Presence

When deciding between Squarespace and Etsy for your online store, it's vital to assess their user-friendliness, website building capabilities, hosting services, and options for domain names and integrations.

Ease of Use

Squarespace provides a straightforward drag-and-drop interface, making it accessible even if you're not tech-savvy. Its editor allows for quick changes and real-time previews.

Etsy simplifies the process with a user-friendly platform primarily focused on sellers of handmade, vintage, and unique goods. It doesn't require technical skills to set up a shop, and product listings can be added with ease.

Website Building and Hosting

Squarespace excels as a website builder with its sleek templates and advanced customization options. It's an all-in-one solution for building and hosting your professional website, online store, or portfolio.

Etsy operates differently; it's not a traditional website builder but a marketplace. With Etsy, you don't build a full website; instead, you're given a storefront within their marketplace. For hosting your own site, Etsy offers Pattern, a website editor, but it's not as robust as standalone website builders.

Domain and Integration

  • Squarespace: You have the option to register a domain directly through Squarespace or connect an existing one. It offers numerous integrations with third-party apps, enhancing your site's functionality.
  • Etsy: If you’re using Etsy, you're primarily operating under the Etsy.com domain. However, with Pattern, you can get a custom domain to redirect to your Etsy shop. Etsy's integrations are generally limited to its marketplace features.

E-commerce and Products

When you're looking to sell online, the platform you choose has a direct impact on your ability to manage products. Here, we'll examine how Squarespace and Etsy cater to different types of sellers and products.

Selling on Squarespace

Squarespace is your go-to if you’re inclined toward creating a bespoke online store. Offering a drag-and-drop interface, it lets you design your storefront with considerable freedom. You can list unlimited products, including digital products. Squarespace doesn't charge a listing fee, but there are transaction fees based on your plan.

As a Squarespace user, you're in charge of bringing in your customers, unlike a marketplace such as Etsy, Amazon, or Shopify, where traffic is provided by the platform. Squarespace stands out for sellers looking for a branded website and those who aim to avoid the crowdedness of bigger marketplaces.

Selling on Etsy

Etsy is the go-to marketplace for selling handmade, vintage, and craft supplies. It’s a specialized community with a ready audience. You will need to pay a listing fee for each item, and there's a transaction fee when you make a sale.

Etsy's platform is simpler to set up when compared to creating your own online store but it gives less customization ability. Your products sit alongside a vast array of other sellers, which can be both an advantage in terms of traffic and a disadvantage due to competition. Etsy is great if you’re aiming to tap into an existing customer base that's actively searching for unique and artisanal items.

Sales, Payments, and Fees

When setting up your online store, understanding how sales are processed and what fees you’re going to encounter is essential. Let’s break down how Squarespace and Etsy handle these elements.

Handling Transactions and Payment Processing

Squarespace supports various payment methods, including major credit cards, PayPal, and Apple Pay for processing transactions. They ensure secure checkout experiences and encrypt customer information. For payment processing, Squarespace uses Stripe and PayPal primarily, which allows the immediate deposit of funds into your account following the completion of a transaction.

Etsy, on the other hand, has its payment system, Etsy Payments, which supports multiple payment methods including credit cards, debit cards, Etsy Gift Cards, Etsy Credits, PayPal, some bank transfer services, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. It allows you to manage all shop payments through Etsy’s interface.

PlatformSupported Payment MethodsPayment Processing Partners
SquarespaceCredit Cards, PayPal, Apple PayStripe, PayPal
EtsyCredit/Debit Cards, PayPal, Apple PayEtsy Payments

Understanding Fee Structures

For Squarespace, besides the monthly or annual subscription fee for using their platform, you'll face transaction fees if you're on the Business plan. On higher-tier plans, such as Commerce plans, there are no Squarespace transaction fees.

With Etsy, you’re dealing with a different fee structure. There’s a listing fee for each item you want to sell, a transaction fee when an item sells, and a payment processing fee that varies by country. Etsy also charges a fee for offsite ads if they lead to a sale.

Squarespace Fee Structure:

  • Subscription fee (monthly/annual)
  • Transaction fees on Business plan (none on Commerce plans)
  • No listing fees

Etsy Fee Structure:

  • Listing fee per item
  • Transaction fee on the sale price
  • Payment processing fee
  • Offsite ads fee (if applicable)

Here are the specific fees for processing payments:

  • Squarespace: Generally involves a processing fee from Stripe or PayPal, which is typically around 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
  • Etsy: Processing fees vary, but for the U.S., it's around 3% + $0.25 for Etsy Payments.

When using PayPal with Etsy, remember that you'll also incur PayPal's processing fees if Etsy Payments isn't available in your country. Always check the latest rates on both platforms, as fees can be subject to change.

Squarespace and Etsy for Different Business Needs

Choosing between Squarespace and Etsy comes down to your specific online business goals. Whether you're a solo entrepreneur, a small business, or targeting niche markets, the platform you pick should align with your growth strategy and customer base.

For Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Squarespace is often the go-to choice for entrepreneurs and small businesses that want a professional web presence. It provides a robust website builder with an array of e-commerce features, enabling you to create a complete and customized online store with no coding required. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Flexibility: Squarespace offers a wide range of templates that are ready to be tailored to your brand’s look and feel.
  • Control: With Squarespace, you gain full control over your site’s design, user experience, and data.
  • Tools: Access to marketing tools and SEO capabilities to help your business grow online.

For Niche Markets and Community

If you specialize in niche, vintage, or handmade products, Etsy might be the platform for you. It's a marketplace known for its community-oriented approach, where each seller has their own storefront within the larger Etsy ecosystem. Here’s what Etsy offers:

  • Audience: Etsy has a built-in audience looking specifically for unique, handmade, and vintage items.
  • Community: The platform fosters a sense of community, connecting you with customers who appreciate the value of your niche offerings.
  • Ease of Use: Etsy simplifies the process of setting up an online shop, making it accessible even if you're not tech-savvy.

By understanding the distinct advantages of Squarespace and Etsy, you can select a platform that best suits the unique needs of your online business.

Additional Considerations

When choosing between Squarespace and Etsy, it's essential to weigh the costs against what you're getting. Pricing structures and the services on offer can greatly influence your decision.

Pricing and Value for Money

Etsy operates with a listing fee for each item you want to sell, a transaction fee when an item sells, and a payment processing fee. In contrast, Squarespace provides a no-fuss flat monthly fee, with several tiers depending on the features you need. While Etsy's individual fees can seem low, they can add up quickly, especially if you're making a lot of sales.

  • Etsy: $0.20 listing fee, 5% transaction fee, plus payment processing fee
  • Squarespace: Monthly fee based on selected plan

For value for money, consider the scale of your operation. If you're selling a high volume of products, Squarespace's predictable monthly fee might save you money in the long run. However, if you're just starting out or sell occasionally, Etsy's pay-per-sale model could be more cost-effective.

Additional Services and Plans

Etsy's strength lies in its built-in audience and marketplace, which is ideal for handmade, vintage, and craft items. However, Squarespace offers a broader regiment of services, supporting various types of businesses with an emphasis on customization and brand identity.

Squarespace offers:

  • Free trial: Test out the service before committing to a plan.
  • Business plan: Advanced features such as analytics, inventory management, and unlimited products.
  • Subscription services: Recurring payments and customer subscriptions for consistent revenue.

Etsy provides:

  • Pattern: A website builder to create your own site while leveraging the Etsy platform.
  • Etsy Plus: A subscription service offering expanded tools for marketing and customization.

Final Thoughts on Squarespace Vs Etsy

When deciding between Squarespace and Etsy, you're really choosing between two distinct approaches to online selling. Squarespace offers you a personalized website and online store, granting you complete control over your brand and customer experience. You'll enjoy design freedom with a range of aesthetic templates and the tools to build a cohesive online presence.

  • Design Control: Squarespace hands you the reins to create a site that reflects your brand's unique style.
  • Website Ownership: You own your site, with no direct competition visible on your store pages.

Conversely, Etsy is a specialized marketplace that connects you to a vast audience of potential buyers who are specifically looking for unique, handmade, or vintage items.

  • Marketplace Reach: Etsy gives immediate access to a large, engaged community.
  • Ease of Setup: Setting up shop on Etsy is generally faster and requires less upfront work.

Your decision should hinge on how much time and resources you're willing to invest, your desire for creative control, and your comfort with promoting your store. If you're just starting out or have a niche product, Etsy's community might be the ideal launchpad. If you dream of a branded website and want the flexibility to expand, Squarespace might be your go-to solution.

So, the choice isn't necessarily one or the other. Many successful online entrepreneurs use both platforms to maximize their reach and growth potential. You can use Etsy to tap into their audience and Squarespace to cultivate your standalone brand. Consider your long-term business goals and where you see your brand, then let those insights guide your decision.

Rich Kainu

Article by

Rich Kainu

Rich Kainu is the founder and a main contributor to Deal In Digital. He has over 12 years of experience in digital product creation, sales, and marketing as well as content creation strategies..

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