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Shopify vs Square - Which is Right for Your Business in 2024

By Sonaksh Singh Rawat on 2/9/2024 · 10 minute read

Shopify vs Square: Which is Best for Your E-commerce Business in 2024

In the digital marketplace, choosing the perfect platform is key. Speaking of which, Shopify and Square are two of the biggest names in the e-commerce industry. Both boast robust capabilities and intuitive designs, but the question is, which one syncs flawlessly with your business vision? A comparative adventure of both will help us understand the unique qualities and potential of both Shopify and Square By the end of this article, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to select the optimal e-commerce solution for your business aspirations with the utmost confidence. Let’s dive into the details and discover which platform holds the crown for your enterprise.

What is Shopify?

Shopify is a robust e-commerce platform, designed to empower businesses to launch and maintain online stores. It’s stacked with an extensive suite of tools and features aimed to assist entrepreneurs and enterprises alike in crafting their digital stores without hassle. With Shopify, users gain the flexibility to tailor their sites, populate their digital shelves, streamline inventory, execute transactions, and navigate the multifaceted world of online commerce with ease. Additionally, it comes packed with marketing features/templates, insightful analytics, and numerous integrations, all meant to amplify the online retail business. Its simplicity, scalability, and versatility have made it a go-to choice for a broad spectrum of businesses, ranging from budding ventures to well-established giants.

What is Square?

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Square Online Store presents a user-friendly and budget-friendly e-commerce solution tailored for small enterprises. It boasts an array of functionalities such as a versatile online store constructor, inventory management capabilities, payment facilitation, seamless shipping coordination, and promotional resources.

The Square Online Store presents an attractive solution for businesses dipping their toes into the e-commerce pool for the first time, thanks to its user-friendly setup and operation. It’s equally appealing to budget-conscious businesses, offering a cost-effective entry with a complimentary plan and reasonably priced paid options.

Generally speaking, Square Online Store stands out as a solid option for small enterprises and start-ups who are in search of a user-friendly yet cost-effective e-commerce solution.

Shopify vs Square: Comparison chart

Shopify vs Square: Features

Amongst the many names out there, two powerhouses stand out with features designed to empower online entrepreneurs: Shopify and Square. Each platform comes packed with a suite of functionalities and features tailor-made for the modern online merchant, making the journey from concept to customer smoother than ever. In the age where virtual stores are the new storefronts, Shopify and Square offer the tools and tricks to not just participate in the online marketplace, but to truly thrive in it.

Shopify Features

Customizations: Shopify presents an extensive palette of customization options for e-commerce platforms, encompassing an array of themes and templates, alongside the capability to tweak the CSS and HTML code. This flexibility empowers businesses to sculpt an online storefront that flawlessly aligns with their brand identity and caters to their unique requirements and audience.

Integration with third-party applications: Shopify seamlessly connects with an extensive selection of third-party applications, including payment gateways, logistics services, and promotional apps. This ability enables brands to enhance their digital store with additional capabilities and innovative features, all without the need for custom coding or extensive technical knowledge.

Global Reach: Shopify paves the way for worldwide commerce with a plethora of tools designed for international marketing and sales. From accommodating a range of currencies and languages to seamless integration with specialized global shipping providers, Shopify simplifies the process of connecting businesses with customers across the globe.

Square Features

User-Friendly: Square Online Store prides itself on its simplicity and ease of use, catered especially for businesses venturing into the e-commerce space for the first time. The platform boasts a clean and intuitive user interface, easy to navigate, complete with an array of tools and resources aimed at smoothing out the onboarding process for new users.

Budget-Friendly: If cost is a main concern as you venture into the world of e-commerce, then Square Online Store emerges as a more economically sensible choice compared to Shopify, particularly for fledgling businesses taking their first steps online. In an effort to welcome new users, Square Online Store rolls out a complimentary plan. Though it comes with a basic suite of tools, it serves as an excellent trial run for enterprises to get a feel of the platform without having to invest right away.

Limited personalization features and external app connections: Square Online Store falls short in providing the extensive customization capabilities and third-party app integrations that Shopify is known for. Nonetheless, Square Online Store brings to the table a selection of fundamental functionalities crucial for the majority of online commerce ventures, including managing products, processing payments, and incorporating shipping solutions.

Support for global commerce: When it comes to embracing the international market, Square Online Store doesn’t quite match up to Shopify’s offerings. It doesn’t yet accommodate various currencies or languages directly. But, there is a silver lining! Square Online Store does team up with external shipping partners who are pros at navigating the complexities of international deliveries.

Selecting the perfect platform depends on your business’s unique requirements and financial plan. For those in search of a robust e-commerce framework that offers extensive customization possibilities along with integrations with third-party applications, Shopify stands out as a prime selection. Conversely, small businesses just dipping their toes into the e-commerce realm or those keeping a tight rein on their budget will find the Square Online Store to be an ideal match.

Shopify Vs Square: Pricing

Let’s dive into the pricing details of Shopify and Square:

Shopify unfurls a range of pricing plans designed to cater to various business sizes and needs. Starting with the basics, Shopify offers an introductory plan that’s perfect for those just stepping into the online retail landscape. As you climb the ladder and take a look at Shopify’s advanced plans, each enriched with more features, tailored to support growing businesses. Whether you’re a burgeoning startup or an established enterprise, Shopify has a plan that’s just the right fit for your budget and requirements.

On the flip side, Square welcomes you with its own palette of pricing options. Square’s approach is all about flexibility, offering a suite of services that blend seamlessly with businesses of all types and sizes. From its cost-effective basic tier to more sophisticated offerings, Square aims to accommodate the unique demands of your venture. Moreover, Square’s transparent pricing ensures that you’re always in the know, avoiding any unpleasant surprises down the road.

In essence, both Shopify and Square Online Store lay out a broad spectrum of pricing arrangements. Whether you’re just embarking on your digital journey or looking to escalate your online presence, these platforms offer tailored solutions to match every ambition and budget.

Shopify Pricing

Basic: Perfect for small enterprises venturing into the e-commerce world, this package builds on the Lite plan’s foundations by empowering you to fashion a personalized online store, showcase an unlimited range of products, and delight customers with shipping discounts.

Shopify: Ideal for expanding enterprises craving enhanced features and functionalities, this plan encompasses everything the Basic option offers, and goes a step further. It throws into the mix the capacity to integrate numerous staff accounts, the convenience of gift cards, and the sophistication of advanced reporting tools.

Premium: Tailored for expansive enterprises seeking a robust e-commerce solution, this package encompasses everything the Shopify plan has to offer, alongside the addition of real-time shipping rate calculations, enhanced discount capabilities, and seamless integration with external ERP systems.

Plus: Tailored for sprawling enterprises with distinct demands, the Shopify Plus plan builds upon the Advanced option by incorporating extra features and enhanced support tailored for large businesses. It’s the custom enterprise solution designed to fit the unique needs of bigger operations, ensuring they have everything they need and more.

Square Pricing

Complimentary: The Complimentary package is an excellent choice for enterprises stepping into the e-commerce sphere or those experiencing modest sales figures. It provides all the pivotal tools required to set up and oversee/manage an online storefront, including the capacity to offer an unlimited range of products, process payments, and monitor sales and inventory levels.

Deluxe: Stepping up to the Deluxe plan could be the perfect move for growing businesses in search of enhanced capabilities and additional perks. It builds upon the foundation set by the Free plan, bringing to the table enticing additions such as a tailored checkout journey, gift card offerings, solutions for recovering abandoned carts, and the added benefit of live chat support. This plan is designed to cater to the dynamic needs of expanding enterprises, providing them with the tools they require to flourish.

Elite: The Elite plan stands as an excellent choice for enterprises with significant sales figures or those in pursuit of sophisticated capabilities and tools. It encompasses all the perks offered in the Plus plan, augmented with premium features such as enhanced shipping reductions, instant shipping estimations, refined product filtration, and organization, alongside product evaluations.

Shopify Vs Square: Pros and Cons

Diving into the world of e-commerce platforms, Shopify and Square emerge as standout options, each with its unique set of advantages and drawbacks.

Starting with Shopify, this platform is a beacon for those looking to customize their online storefront to the nth degree. Thanks to its myriad of design options and apps, tailoring your site to fit your brand’s vibe is a breeze. However, this customization heaven comes with a slightly heavier price tag, making Shopify a rather heavier load on your wallet. Additionally, for those not well-versed in the tech terminologies, Shopify’s advanced features might feel like deciphering an ancient script.

On the other hand, Square opens the door for newcomers to the e-commerce industry. With its user-friendly interface, setting up shop is as easy as eating a pie, even for those who consider themselves less tech-savvy. Plus, with its no-cost entry-level plan, Square opens its arms wide to small business owners on a tight budget. Yet, this ease comes with a trade-off, as Square offers less in the way of customization, which might leave those with a specific vision for their site wanting more.

Each platform, in essence, serves as a bridge to the online marketplace, with Shopify being the golden gate for customization enthusiasts and Square acting as the sturdy, welcoming bridge for newcomers and budget-conscious entrepreneurs.

Shopify

Pros

Exploring the world of Shopify is similar to opening a treasure chest of benefits eagerly waiting to boost online stores. Each benefit that Shopify offers acts as a stepping stone, leading brands towards a path riddled with opportunities, and ensuring a rewarding journey. Without further ado, let’s take a look at a few perks that Shopify has to offer.

Wide-ranging capabilities: Shopify doesn’t skimp on its offerings, providing an extensive suite of tools that encompasses everything from a flexible online store creator, and inventory management solutions, to seamless payment systems, and shipping integrations. It also boasts an impressive selection of marketing resources and connections with numerous external third-party applications. This versatile platform serves businesses across the spectrum, making it an excellent option for everything from startups to sprawling corporations.

Scalability: Shopify seamlessly expands with your venture, effortlessly adapting to your business’s ever-evolving needs. As your business grows, you can effortlessly transition to a superior subscription plan, unlocking a wealth of additional features and tools to cater to your expanding enterprise.

Customer Assistance: Shopify provides round-the-clock customer care. For enterprises seeking guidance with their digital storefront or for inquiries regarding Shopify’s features and tools, customer support proves to be an invaluable asset.

Cons:

Cost Considerations: It’s fair to say that Shopify comes with a higher price tag compared to Square Online Store. Yet, it’s worth mentioning that this investment grants you access to a broader spectrum of features and capabilities.

Shopify’s setup and navigation may present a challenge, particularly for businesses stepping into the e-commerce arena for the first time. Nonetheless,

Square

Positives:

User-Friendly Design: Square Online Store boasts a design that’s incredibly user-friendly, making it a breeze for businesses, regardless of their e-commerce background, to get on board. With its uncomplicated user interface, the platform is equipped with an array of tools and resources aimed at smoothing the pathway for businesses to make their digital debut.

Cost-Effective: For those dipping their toes into the e-commerce waters, the Square Online Store emerges as a more wallet-friendly alternative to Shopify, particularly for burgeoning small enterprises. What sweetens the deal is Square’s offering of a complimentary plan, decked with a basic array of features perfect for businesses looking to get a feel of the platform without the pressure of immediate investment.

Excellent Assistance: Square Online Store provides around-the-clock customer care. This exceptional service is a boon for businesses in need of assistance with their digital storefront or those with inquiries about their services.

Features: Square Online Store comes packed with an array of features and functionalities designed to take your digital storefront to the next level. From its intuitive design interface that lets even beginners create beautiful, professional-looking online shops, to its seamless integration with Square’s suite of payment processing and business management tools, it’s an all-encompassing platform that caters to the needs of modern e-commerce.

Simplicity: Not only does it simplify the process of setting up and managing your store, but it also offers a range of tools tailored for growth. With advanced inventory management, you can keep track of your products effortlessly. The platform’s marketing tools help you connect with your customers through social media, email campaigns, and more, ensuring that your store remains at the forefront of their minds. Additionally, the built-in analytics give you a clear view of your sales, trends, and customer behavior, empowering you to make informed decisions to boost your business.

While it’s true that every coin has its flip side, let’s look at some of the cons that come along with Square Online Store:

Stripped-back simplicity: Square Online Store keeps it streamlined in comparison with Shopify’s robust feature set. For instance, unlike Shopify, with its extensive customization capabilities and third-party app partnerships, Square Online Store takes a more minimalist approach. This means you may find fewer bells and whistles here than you would with Shopify.

Reduced Global Selling Capabilities: When it comes to catering to international customers, Square Online Store lags behind Shopify. Unlike its competitor, Square doesn’t accommodate a ton of multiple languages or currencies, which can be a bit of a roadblock for those looking to expand their market overseas.

Transaction costs: When it comes to sales, Square Online Store does apply transaction fees. But, worry not, as these fees fall right in line with what you’d generally expect from other e-commerce platforms.

Square vs Shopify: Integrations

Shopify and Square Online Store stand out as two prominent players in the e-commerce arena, each boasting a rich suite of features and integrations designed to empower businesses in their online selling journey. Yet, when you take a closer look, you’ll notice distinct variations in the integration capabilities of each platform.

Shopify seamlessly connects with an expansive array of third-party applications and services, outpacing Square Online Store. This encompasses connections with a number of apps and services such as:

  • Handling money transfers and transactions online, there’s a plethora of options waiting at your fingertips. From the widely recognized PayPal to the swiftly efficient Stripe, the convenient Amazon Pay, and beyond, the digital age has blessed us with a bounty of payment processors. Each of them is tailored to smooth out your transactions, making the online shopping experience a breeze for both buyers and sellers alike and can be integrated with Shopify.

  • When it comes to transporting your precious packages, a handful of stalwarts stand at the ready. The United States Postal Service (USPS), FedEx, and UPS, among others, form the backbone of shipping carriers, ensuring your items sail smoothly from point A to point B without a hitch. Each one brings its own unique advantages to the table, promising to cater to your every shipping need with efficiency and reliability.

  • Marketing magic at your fingertips; integrations like Mailchimp, Klaviyo, Google Ads, and more can help you come up with creative marketing campaigns to bring more eyes to your online store.

  • When navigating the landscape of accounting software, names like Xero and QuickBooks Online undoubtedly stand out among the pack. These platforms, along with others, offer comprehensive solutions that make managing finances a breeze for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re juggling invoices, monitoring expenses, or generating reports, these tools have got you covered, streamlining processes that were once cumbersome and time-consuming.

  • CRM software, like Salesforce, HubSpot, and beyond, is driving forward the way businesses connect with their customers. These powerful tools are not just about managing relationships; they’re about fostering them, enabling companies to understand their customers on a deeper level and deliver more personalized experiences. With a range of options available, from Salesforce’s dynamic, feature-rich platform to HubSpot’s user-friendly interface, there’s a CRM solution tailored to meet the unique needs of every business. Whether you’re looking to streamline your sales process, enhance customer service, or gain insightful analytics, diving into the world of CRM software opens up a realm of possibilities to elevate your business strategy, its got it all.

Square Online Store offers integrations with a rather more select circle of third-party applications and services, but it certainly doesn’t skimp on quality, ensuring you have access to integrations with beloved apps like:

  • When it comes to handling online transactions, a trio of champions stand out: PayPal, Stripe, and Square Payments. Each of these payment processors offers its own unique blend of features, securing their spots as top picks in the digital payment space. Whether you’re running an e-commerce empire or dabbling in the freelance world, one of these platforms is bound to be your financial ally, making the exchange of money as smooth as silk.

  • When it comes to order fulfillment and deliveries, you have a handful of reliable couriers at your disposal. Among the notable ones are the United States Postal Service (USPS), FedEx, and UPS. Each of these shipping giants carries its own set of strengths, ensuring your precious cargo arrives safely and on time.

  • When it comes to marketing tools, there’s a couple of standout options that truly shine - Mailchimp and Google Ads. Each of these platforms offers unique features to elevate your marketing game, making them indispensable tools in your arsenal. Whether you’re crafting captivating email campaigns with Mailchimp or harnessing the power of Google Ads to boost your online visibility, these tools provide you with the cutting-edge capabilities to reach and engage your audience like never before.

  • When it comes to managing your finances, Xero stands out as the go-to accounting software. This innovative tool simplifies the complex world of financial management, transforming it into an enjoyable task. With its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features, Xero ensures that keeping track of your numbers is not only easy but also surprisingly pleasant.

  • When it comes to CRM software, HubSpot stands out from the crowd. This powerhouse of a platform effortlessly manages your customer relationships, streamlining your business processes and enhancing your overall efficiency. With its easy-to-navigate interface and impressive features, HubSpot makes customer management a walk in the park. Whether you’re a small startup or a large enterprise, HubSpot tailors its functionalities to meet your specific needs, proving itself to be an indispensable tool in the world of CRM software.

Furthermore, Square Online Store also features its very own app marketplace, providing businesses with the opportunity to discover and implement applications that bring fresh functionalities and features to their digital storefront.

Take a moment to understand how the diverse integrations of Shopify and Square Online Store could be seamlessly adopted by various business models:

In the end, selecting the perfect e-commerce platform comes down to understanding your business’s unique requirements and financial caps. Should your online shop demand extensive integration with a myriad of third-party applications and services, Shopify just might be the best option. However, if your requirements are a bit more modest, only needing integration with a handful of well-known applications and services, then Square Online Store presents itself as a viable choice.

Square vs Shopify for Dropshipping

Diving into the world of dropshipping, it’s crucial to weigh up the offerings and functionalities of Square versus Shopify:

Square for Dropshipping

  • Unified Platform: Square presents a seamlessly integrated suite of solutions for in-store transactions, digital sales, and enterprise administration.
  • Simplicity at Its Best: Renowned for its straightforward design friendly design, and rapid deployment.
  • Payment Processing: The seamless integration with Square payments stands out as a significant perk for users who rely on Square for their in-person transactions.

Challenges:

  • Restrained Personalization: Narrower scope for customizations and adjustments in both aesthetics and operational capabilities when measured against specialized e-commerce platforms.
  • Limited Dropshipping Connections: The platform offers fewer instant connections to dropshipping vendors and applications.

Shopify for Dropshipping

  • Comprehensive App Marketplace: Dive into a wide selection of dropshipping applications, including popular choices like Oberlo and Spocket.
  • Enhanced Personalization: Provides an array of design templates and customization choices, enabling the creation of a distinctive store.
  • Tailored for Online Retail: Crafted with e-commerce at its heart, this platform comes packed with powerful capabilities designed to simplify product, order, and customer management for virtual storefronts.

Downsides:

  • Price Point: The investment can add up when incorporating numerous apps and sophisticated functionalities.
  • Learning Curve: Though it prides itself on being user-friendly, one can’t help but notice the somewhat steep learning curve, a small price to pay for its vast array of functionalities.

Shopify vs Square: Alternatives

Shopify and Square Online Store stand tall among the giants of e-commerce platforms, yet they share the stage with a flurry of other contenders vying for attention. Among the top alternatives catching the eyes of many are:

WooCommerce: a robust, free, open-source e-commerce solution that proudly plants its roots in WordPress. Favored by businesses big and small, WooCommerce delights with its extensive assortment of features and integrations.

BigCommerce : Stepping into the digital marketplace, BigCommerce emerges as a premium e-commerce solution tailored for enterprises big and small. It’s packed with an extensive array of functionalities and integrations, boasting its prowess in scalability and dependability.

Magento: Embracing the vast expanse of the e-commerce universe, Magento stands tall as a robust, open-source platform, tailor-made for the grand ambitions of large enterprises. It’s a treasure trove of features and customization possibilities, offering the rich flexibility big businesses crave. However, navigating its intricate setup and harnessing its full potential requires a certain level of expertise and patience.

Volusion: Volusion stands as a premium e-commerce solution tailored to fit the needs of enterprises big and small. It comes packed with a robust selection of functionalities and integrations, all while being celebrated for its user-friendly design.

Weebly: Stepping into the world of online business is made easy with Weebly, a website-building platform that integrates unique e-commerce functionalities. It’s a perfect match for small enterprises as well as start-ups embarking on their e-commerce journey.

Final thoughts

Shopify and Square Online Store stand out as big boys in the e-commerce industry, each boasting a wide range of functionalities and integrations. Yet, when diving deeper, there are distinct variations in what they offer to businesses in terms of cost efficiency, and user-friendliness.

To reiterate, Shopify is often lauded as the more robust and feature-packed option. It boasts a plethora of third-party app integrations and provides greater flexibility for customization. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that Shopify comes with a higher price tag compared to Square Online Store.

Square Online Store serves as a solid choice for enterprises stepping into the e-commerce arena or operating on a modest budget. Its user-friendly interface comes packed with fundamental features, including product management, payment processing, and seamless integration with shipping options, making it a convenient pick for many.

Selecting the perfect platform hinges on what your business requires and how much you’re willing to spend on it. If you find yourself on the fence about your choice, consider giving both Shopify and Square Online Store a test run with their free trials before settling on a decision.

FAQs

Diving into the world of Square and Shopify, we’ve curated a list of the most commonly posed inquiries surrounding these two giants.

Can Shopify and Square be integrated together?

Regrettably, Square and Shopify don’t play together straight out of the box. Nonetheless, there’s a silver lining in the form of various third-party applications that bridge the gap between Square and Shopify. These handy tools are designed to synchronize your Square product catalog and inventory figures with your Shopify setup. What this means is you get to oversee your inventory and product listings in a unified manner, and even better, you can start accepting Square payments via your Shopify store.

Benefits of Square and Shopify?

Square shines in facilitating face-to-face transactions, making it a go-to for physical store sales. On the flip side, Shopify excels in the digital sphere, providing a robust platform tailored for e-commerce and online shopping experiences.

What is the main difference between Square and Shopify?

The main difference is the pricing plan and accompanying features. For starters, Square does not require a monthly payment but Shopify does.

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