If you’re looking to start an online store or grow your existing e-commerce business, you may have come across two popular online store builders: Shopify and Square. These platforms allow you to create and manage your own online store, sell products and services, and handle payments all in one place.
Shopify is a leading e-commerce platform that has been around since 2004. It has everything you need to set up an online store, like customizable themes, payment processing, inventory management, shipping, and customer management. Shopify also offers a range of third-party apps and add-ons to help you expand the functionality of your store.
Square, on the other hand, is primarily known as a payment processing company. However, it also offers a suite of tools to help you build an online store, including a free online store builder with customizable templates, as well as tools for payment processing, inventory management, and customer management.
While both Shopify and Square offer tools for building an online store, they have different features and pricing plans, making them suited to different types of businesses. In this blog post, we’ll compare Shopify and Square in detail, looking at features, pricing, and more, to help you choose the best platform for your business.
Shopify and Square comparison
1. E-commerce features
|Online store builder||✅||✅ (with customizable templates)|
|Abandoned cart recovery||✅ (on some plans)||✅ (on some plans)|
|Integrations||✅ Large number of third-party apps and add-ons available||✅ Fewer integrations available compared to Shopify, but includes popular apps like WooCommerce|
|Social media selling||✅||✅|
|Sales channels||✅ Online store, social media, point of sale, Amazon, eBay, and more||✅ Online store, social media, and in-person sales through Square POS|
|Mobile app||✅ (Shopify mobile app for managing your store on-the-go)||✅ (Square Point of Sale app for processing payments and managing inventory)|
|Customer support||✅ 24/7 support via phone, email, and live chat on higher-tier plans||✅ Support available through email and phone|
Both Shopify and Square offer a range of e-commerce features, including online store building, payment processing, inventory management, shipping management, order management, and customer management.
Shopify offers more integrations and sales channels, while Square focuses more on payment processing and in-person sales through its point of sale system. Additionally, Shopify offers a mobile app for managing your store on-the-go, while Square offers a point-of-sale app for processing payments and managing inventory. Shopify has different plans with different prices and features, while Square’s online store builder is free and only charges transaction fees for payments made through Square.
2. Payment processing options
|Payment processing option||Shopify||Square|
|Native payment processing||✅ (through Shopify Payments)||✅ (through Square Payments)|
|Payment gateway options||✅ Large number of third-party options available, including PayPal, Stripe, and more||✅ Fewer options available compared to Shopify, but includes popular options like PayPal and Stripe|
|Payment types accepted||✅ Credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and more||✅ Credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and more|
|International payments||✅ (with some limitations depending on payment gateway and plan)||✅ (with some limitations depending on payment gateway and plan)|
|Chargeback protection||✅ (through Shopify Payments)||✅ (through Square Chargeback Protection)|
|Refunds and cancellations||✅||✅|
Shopify and Square both have payment processing options for accepting credit and debit cards, as well as popular digital payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Shopify has a wider range of payment gateway options, while Square focuses on making payment processing easier and more streamlined. Both platforms also offer refund and cancellation capabilities, as well as chargeback protection. When it comes to international payments, both platforms offer this capability, though there may be some limitations depending on your payment gateway and plan. Ultimately, the best payment processing option for your business will depend on your needs, preferences, and budget.
3. Pricing and fees
|Pricing and fees||Shopify||Square|
|Monthly subscription||Starting at $19 per month (Basic plan)||No monthly subscription fee, but transaction fees apply|
|Transaction fees||Varies by plan and payment method; 2.9% + 30¢ for Basic Shopify plan||2.9% + 30¢ per transaction (for online sales)|
|Hardware costs||Varies depending on hardware needs||Hardware available for purchase, including POS systems, card readers, and more|
|Chargeback fees||❌||✅ $10 per chargeback (without Square Chargeback Protection), $0 per chargeback (with Square Chargeback Protection)|
|Payment gateway fees||✅ Varies depending on third-party payment gateway used||❌|
|Gift card fees||✅ Varies depending on plan; $0.01 to $0.50 per gift card sold||❌|
|Additional fees and costs||Additional fees may apply for features like third-party app integrations and advanced analytics||Additional fees may apply for features like payroll processing and marketing services|
While Shopify and Square both offer various pricing and fee structures, they have different approaches to charging their users.
Shopify has a clear pricing structure that starts at $19 per month for its basic plan, with additional fees for credit card processing and other add-ons. However, this pricing structure allows for greater customization and scalability. Shopify also lets users try the platform for free for three days before committing to a plan.
Square, on the other hand, has a more straightforward pricing model with no monthly fees, making it a more affordable option for small businesses. However, Square charges higher transaction fees for credit card processing, which can become expensive over time. Square also offers a free version of its POS system, but it has more limited functionality than its paid plans.
Overall, businesses should consider their size, sales volume, and the features they require when deciding which platform offers the most cost-effective solution. While Square may be a better choice for smaller businesses with lower sales volumes, Shopify’s advanced features and customization options make it a good choice for larger businesses or those with more complex e-commerce needs.
4. Integrations and add-ons
|Integrations and add-ons||Shopify||Square|
|App marketplace||Large app store with over 6,000 apps and integrations||App marketplace with over 100 apps and integrations|
|Social media integrations||Integrates with major social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest||Integrates with major social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram|
|Email marketing||Integrations with popular email marketing platforms like Mailchimp, Klaviyo, and Omnisend||Integrations with popular email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and Constant Contact|
|Accounting software||Integrations with popular accounting software like Quickbooks, Xero, and Freshbooks||Integrations with popular accounting software like Quickbooks and Zoho Books|
|POS integrations||Besides strong Shopify POS system, Shopify also integrates with a variety of POS systems, including Square, Vend, and Lightspeed||Offers its own POS system (Square Point of Sale), as well as integrations with some third-party POS systems like Clover|
|Third-party payment gateways||Offers integrations with a wide variety of third-party payment gateways, including PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net||Square Payments is the primary payment gateway for Square, but it does offer some integrations with other payment gateways|
In summary, while Shopify has a larger selection of integrations and add-ons available, Square still offers a good range of third-party services to extend the functionality of the platform. Shopify also has a more robust developer platform, which may be important for people who need to build custom integrations. Both platforms offer popular integrations such as Mailchimp and QuickBooks.
5. Customer support and user experience
|Customer Support and User Experience||Shopify||Square|
|Customer support channels||24/7 phone and email support, live chat, help center, and community forums||Phone, email, live chat, and social media support, help center, and community forums|
|Onboarding and setup process||User-friendly setup process, with guided tutorials and an intuitive dashboard||User-friendly setup process, with guided tutorials and an intuitive dashboard|
|Website design and customization||Offers a wide variety of customizable templates and themes, with a user-friendly drag-and-drop website builder and access to HTML/CSS||Offers customizable templates and themes, with a user-friendly website builder and access to HTML/CSS|
|Mobile app functionality||Offers a mobile app for both iOS and Android that allows you to manage your store on-the-go||Offers a mobile app for both iOS and Android that allows you to manage your business, process payments, and track sales on-the-go|
|Payment disputes and chargebacks||Offers chargeback support and a team dedicated to helping resolve payment disputes||Offers chargeback protection and support, as well as a team dedicated to helping resolve payment disputes|
Overall, both Shopify and Square offer excellent customer support and user experience. Shopify may have a slightly more user-friendly interface, but both platforms are easy to set up and use, making them good options for businesses of all sizes and levels of technical skill. Ultimately, the choice between the two platforms will depend on the specific needs and goals of the business, as well as its budget and technical expertise.
6. SEO and marketing
|SEO and Marketing||Shopify||Square|
|SEO||Customizable meta tags||✅||❌|
|SEO app integrations||Large selection of apps available||Limited app integrations|
|Tags and categories||✅||❌|
|Blog app integrations||Large selection of apps available||Limited app integrations|
|Email marketing||Built-in email marketing tool||✅||✅|
|Integration with third-party services||✅||✅|
|Built-in CRM tool||✅||✅|
As you can see, Shopify offers more robust SEO apps and marketing tools than Square, including built-in blogging, email marketing, social media integration, and advertising and promotion tools. Square, on the other hand, offers more basic versions of these tools, with the ability to add apps and plugins to enhance functionality. Both platforms have analytics and reporting tools built in, but Shopify’s reporting tools are more advanced.
In conclusion, Shopify and Square are both popular e-commerce platforms with different strengths and weaknesses. Shopify is a more complete e-commerce platform with advanced features and tools. This makes it a good choice for businesses with complex needs or a focus on online sales. Square, on the other hand, is designed to be a simple and user-friendly POS system, making it a better choice for businesses with a strong focus on in-person sales and basic e-commerce needs.
So, which platform should you choose for your business?
|Who should use Shopify?||Who should use Square?|
|Small to large businesses looking for a fully customizable, scalable e-commerce platform with advanced SEO and marketing tools and features||Small to medium-sized businesses looking for a simple, user-friendly POS system with basic e-commerce functionality and payment processing|
|Businesses with high-volume sales and a need for advanced reporting and analytics tools||Businesses with low to medium-volume sales and a need for basic sales and transaction reporting|
|Businesses with a focus on branding and design, and a need for a wide range of customization options||Businesses with a focus on in-person sales and a need for a simple, reliable payment processing system|
|Businesses with a need for extensive third-party integrations and add-ons||Businesses with a need for basic inventory and order management tools, and the ability to create and manage customer profiles|
When comparing the two platforms, there are several key factors to consider, including e-commerce features, payment processing options, pricing and fees, integrations and add-ons, customer support, user experience, SEO and marketing, and customization options. Depending on your specific business needs and goals, one platform may be a better fit than the other.
It’s important to note that both platforms offer strong options for payment processing, customer support, and social media sales. However, Shopify offers more extensive customization options and advanced features for SEO and marketing, while Square is generally considered to be easier to use and more affordable for small businesses.
Before choosing between Shopify and Square, it is important to carefully think about your business’s needs and goals. By thinking about the main points in this comparison, you’ll be able to choose the platform that best fits your needs.