Just shy of a decade after it first started letting users sell things(Opens in a new window) on their sites, Squarespace is finally hitting full send on ecommerce. Its new brand vision of “Everything to Sell Anything” launched alongside new scheduling and passive income tools in 2021 (a direct response(Opens in a new window) to a rise in side-hustling amid the COVID-19 pandemic), while a late 2022 update(Opens in a new window) ushered in audience monetization features, product reviews, pay-as-you-go checkout options, shipping label purchasing and printing, an order status page, and on-demand merch(Opens in a new window) for the content creator era.
These additions have positioned the drag-and-drop website builder as a unique alternative to dedicated ecommerce platforms like Shopify or Etsy: Users can quickly customize an impressive site for a new or small-to-midsize store with zero coding knowledge and a built-in library of beautiful, professional-looking templates. Additionally, Squarespace’s well-established(Opens in a new window) suite of blogging and portfolio tools makes it easy to add non-commerce content alongside that shop without separate apps or third-party plugins. It’s a cohesive (and relatively cheap) all-in-oner.
Frankly, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face in getting a Squarespace store live(Opens in a new window) is choosing one of those aforementioned templates: There are over 230 available between Squarespace versions 7.0 and 7.1 (the two iterations of the platform that are currently in use), and all of them support ecommerce functionality.
Not sure where to begin? Here’s a comprehensive guide to the best Squarespace templates for online stores and shops.
A template is a pre-made demo website that can be customized with different color palettes, font packs, and layouts. Squarespace describes(Opens in a new window) them as “a starting point to help inspire your site’s design,” noting that customization is a matter of user preference. (You can give a template a total overhaul or simply add your branding to the original design and hit “publish.”) Each template is a Squarespace exclusive, meaning you won’t find anything similar on other website builders, and all of them are mobile-optimized from the get-go — an important detail in this use case given mobile shopping’s exponential growth(Opens in a new window) in the past few years.
Templates work differently depending on which version of Squarespace you decide to use:
Squarespace version 7.0 templates(Opens in a new window) are built using its classic editor and categorized into different “families(Opens in a new window)” based on shared structures and style options. Each family has its distinct set of rules and features, some of which haven’t migrated over to version 7.1 yet (see: parallax scrolling(Opens in a new window)), but it’s trickier to switch templates without risking content loss.
Squarespace version 7.1 templates(Opens in a new window) are built using its new Fluid Engine(Opens in a new window) (which introduced an easier-to-use grid system) and belong to one template family, meaning they all share the same underlying structure and functionality. They have some cooler, trendier details than their counterparts from version 7.0 (like squiggly accents and funky photo crops), though their overall layouts look a bit more cookie-cutter. That being said, this makes them much easier to swap between.
Squarespace automatically defaults to version 7.1 nowadays, and unless you’re a web design guru who’s after certain features from version 7.0, we’d recommend sticking with it — it’s just more streamlined and flexible. (If you are on the fence, keep in mind that moving from version 7.0 to 7.1 often requires a complete rebuild(Opens in a new window) and throws off your site’s search ranking for a while.)
A credit card processing fee(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) applies to every purchase made through a Squarespace site. This is charged by the payment processor, not Squarespace, and ranges from 2.9% of the order total + $0.30 per successful card charge (with Stripe(Opens in a new window), the most common processor) to 6% of the order total + $0.30 (with the buy now, pay later service Afterpay). Whether you have to pay an additional transaction fee per sale to Squarespace itself depends on your subscription plan(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab):
Squarespace charges a 3% transaction fee if you’re on its Business plan ($33 monthly or $23/month annually). Geared toward “those looking to grow their audience and begin taking payments,” this tier unlocks the ability to sell unlimited products on your site, a professional email from Google, advanced website analytics that tell you which areas of your site drive visitors, and promotional pop-ups and banners.
Squarespace does not charge a transaction fee on its Basic Commerce plan ($36 monthly or $27/month annually). This one’s designed “to help grow your business,” tacking on product reviews, customer accounts, limited availability labels, the ability to accept in-person payments , product linking(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) on Facebook and Instagram, and additional ecommerce metrics about bestselling products, sales trends, and conversions.
Squarespace does not charge a transaction fee on its Advanced Commerce plan ($65 monthly or $49/month annually), which offers “[all] the tools necessary for the more advanced seller.” That includes advanced shipping and discount features like carrier calculators, abandoned cart recovery, improved promo control, and access to developer tools (application programming interface, or API(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab)), plus the ability to sell subscriptions.
Squarespace’s free 14-day trial applies to all of its plans, in case you’re not sure which one is right for you. (Note that the entry-level Personal tier does not include ecommerce features.)
For comparison’s sake, here’s how other popular ecommerce platforms bill sellers:
Etsy charges $0.20 per listing (whether or not an item sells) and a 6.5% transaction fee, with a 3% + $0.25 processing fee per order
Shopify charges $29-299 monthly (or $26-266/month annually) for its plans(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab), plus a 2.9-2.4% + $0.30 processing fee per order
Weebly charges $0-29 monthly (or $0-26/month annually) for its plans(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab), plus a 2.9% + $0.30 processing fee per order
Wix charges $27-59 monthly for its Business plans(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab), plus a 2.9% + $0.30 processing fee per order
WordPress charges $18-70 monthly (or $8-45/month annually) for its ecommerce plans,(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) plus a 2.9% + $0.30 processing fee per order
Without getting too in the weeds on the differences between each platform: Shopify is ideal for large or expanding businesses, Weebly is geared toward total beginners, Wix is a close Squarespace rival with slightly less flexibility, WordPress is for zealous customizers who are comfortable coding, and Etsy is kind of in its flop era. Overall, we’d say Squarespace offers the best value for most ecommerce users with its discounted annual plan. Check out Mashable’s guides to the best website builders for small businesses and the best web hosting providers for ecommerce to learn more.
While all Squarespace templates support ecommerce functionality, some handle it better than others.
Squarespace has already been so kind as to curate its own collection of templates for selling(Opens in a new window) (found by visiting its library and sorting the Type by “Online Store”), but we’ve narrowed down its pool even further. Below, you’ll find our absolute favorite picks for a modern, intuitive online store.
Note: Most of our recommendations are from Squarespace version 7.1, but we’ve sprinkled in a few options from version 7.0 that continue to stand out. Templates have been labeled accordingly.
Maca(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) is a colorful, contemporary ecommerce template with a comprehensive homepage that acts like a highlight reel for your products: You’ve got a full-bleed featured image at the very top, followed by featured sale items, a grid of bestselling product thumbnails, some brief blurbs, a banner image for a collection, and a preview of a featured blog post. (Links to that entire blog, your full store, an about page, and a contact page sit in the top navigation menu; the lower one is where customers can find stockists, FAQs, shipping/return details, and your socials.) Most users could probably stand to delete portions of it, TBH, but Maca’s tasteful use of negative space, color blocking, and tons of calls to action keep things from feeling like a content overload even if you keep it mostly as-is.
Honorable mentions: Crosby(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.1), Hester(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.1), and Loam(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.1).
A perennial favorite among veteran Squarespace users, Brine(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) is an older Squarespace ecommerce template that still feels ultra-modern and relatively flexible — you’d never think it came out way back in 2015. It offers a higher degree of customization than most of its version 7.0 peers, especially when it comes to navigation menus, and supports almost every page type(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) available — that includes event pages, album pages, and stackable index pages in addition to store pages. (Bonus: The product images on those have a neat hover-over effect.) But most importantly, depending on the web designer you talk to, Brine is the rare template with parallax scrolling(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab), a depth-illusion design effect that hasn’t carried over to version 7.1 — even Hester(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab), its 7.1 equivalent.
Honorable mentions: Hyde(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.0) and Pedro(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.0).
Not to be confused with Sonny(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab), an events template from Squarespace version 7.0, Soony(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) is a simple, slightly funky one-pager that’s ideal for a small online shop. Its layout is slick and very scrollable, from the full-bleed banner image that leads into a grid of your products down to the brief bio with a headshot and a newsletter sign-up block; a fade-in animation effect on the images and headers adds a little spice. (Note that the ’70s-esque typeface used in the demo version’s headers is probably little too trendy for most brands, but you can change it in just a few clicks.) Subtle social icons can be found in the upper and lower navigation, while links to a contact page and shipping/returns info live just in the latter.
Honorable mention: Mariana(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.1).
Lexington(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) is a newer ecommerce template that stands out for several reasons: One, its demo site comes pre-formatted with videos, including a dedicated video page with an animated header. (All Squarespace templates support video, but they’re rarely set up for you in the demo content.) Two, it features fun accents like a moving wave-shaped text banner, circular photo crops and buttons, and a hover-over effect on its store’s product images. And three, it can easily be turned into a modern one-page site; a gradient homepage background and all of those accents keep things visually interesting the whole way down. It gets docked a few points for some wonky alignments on mobile, but all in all, it’s a fantastic pick if you want to showcase video tutorials and how-tos alongside your products instead of redirecting customers to another platform like YouTube or Vimeo.
Honorable mention: Otroquest(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.1).
Similar to Maca in its strong use of color blocking, negative space, featured posts, and thumbnail galleries to break up a content-heavy page, Idrah(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) is a glossy blogging template with a shop attached. This one’s a tad heavier on socials than many of its peers (in a good way), with icons in the top and bottom navigation menus and a built-in feed of Instagram posts. It’s also plopped a section for reviews and testimonials at the bottom of the shop, which can really hammer home the “I am a person making stuff, not a faceless, mass-producing corporation” thing. Give it a look if you’re a seller who wants space to elaborate on their process, or a creator who wants to earn passive income. (This feels like a good place to re-up Squarespace’s new on-demand Custom Merch(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) feature, which is a low-risk, low-commitment way to get into ecommerce.)
Honorable mentions: Stanton(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.1).
If you have the means to do your own custom printing, here’s a free pro tip: Scrap the Society6 or RedBubble page in favor of a personalized, self-managed Squarespace website where your work won’t get buried under thousands of other postings (and you pocket more than 10 to 20 percent of each sale). Spotted(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) is a show-stopping pick for the purpose that immediately grabs visitors’ attention with a full-bleed, full-page image that’s overlaid with your artist statement. Potential patrons can scroll down to check out previews of different series and popular prints, click on individual product pages for close-ups, visit the about page for a résumé-style bio, and submit inquiries on the contact page. The demo version also includes info about framing and mounting options, but that’s an easy delete if you don’t offer those services.
Honorable mentions: Montclaire(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.1), Jones(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.0), and Jotterpress(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.1).
Trying to stand out among the “started making polymer clay earrings during quarantine” crowd? Whip up a sophisticated online shop using Anise, a newer Squarespace template that’s pre-built for a jewelry store with a blog. (Getting your store live sooner > starting a site from near-scratch.) The way it balances visuals and negative space is *chef’s kiss*, especially in mobile view. The demo version features an elegant mix of serif and sans serif typefaces and a chic neutral color palette, but you can tweak those styles to fit your own branding. We’d recommend playing around with different fonts at the very least, as the body text looks a little too small as-is in desktop mode.
Honorable mentions: Maru(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.1), Ventura(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.1), and Wesley(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.1).
Alameda(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) takes Galapagos(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab), a popular ecommerce template from version 7.0, and cleans up its look with a minimalist, more symmetrical layout that translates even better to mobile. Your product listings make up its grid-style homepage, which gives users the option of sorting everything into different categories; the demo version goes by Tops, Bottoms, and Sale items. It honestly looks a lot like a Depop or Poshmark profile, bringing a familiarity factor for shoppers, only you get the added freedom to adjust specific design elements and add different pages. Links to a contact page, an about page, and a lookbook/gallery page can already be found in the demo version’s top menu alongside social icons, which also get a slot in the lower navigation.
Honorable mentions: Galapagos(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.0), Indigo(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.0), Marta(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.0), and Seen(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.1).
For those who offer made-to-order products, Hales(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) is an ecommerce template with a pre-built photo gallery to showcase samples and a contact page with a custom form — peep the little drop-down list of services. The layout of its homepage is much like Maca’s where you’ve got a full-bleed banner at the top, different sections divided by color-blocking and negative space, and a bunch of calls to action, though the aesthetic choices like color and typeface are more Anise-y. (You’ll want to up the size of the body text with this one, too, FYI.) Bonus points for the fact that its top navigation stays in place as you scroll, which makes it easy for customers to explore different parts of the site. Overall, this one feels elegant and versatile.
Squarespace’s premium Member Areas(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) feature makes it possible to put content behind a paywall (think workshops, video tutorials, recipes, and newsletters), though not all templates come with it already set up. Growwell(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) is one of the rare few that have it pre-formatted in the demo version, so if you need a website capable of selling digital content and/or subscriptions, you don’t have to jump through extra hurdles. Its homepage goes hard on full-bleed visuals and calls to action, which are peppered among an about section, an overview of your service(s), a list of membership tiers, and customer reviews; several different animation effects on its headers, buttons, and imagery keep visitors engaged as they scroll. Patreon and Substack whomst?
Honorable mentions: Comet(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.1) and Passero(Opens in a new window)(opens in a new tab) (7.1).
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Haley is a Mashable shopping reporter based in Chicago. Before joining the team, she covered politics for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, wrote about exotic pet ownership for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, and blogged for several Jersey Shore stars. In her free time, she enjoys playing video games and hanging out with her parrot (Melon) and dog (Pierogi). You can follow her on Twitter at @haleyhenschel(Opens in a new window) or reach her via email at [email protected].