Website builders have been around for quite a while and as many brick-and-mortar stores begin to offer their services and products online website builders have become a ubiquitous presence in the e-commerce space. They are popular for many reasons not least of which is the cost of setting up coupled with an ease that reminds us all how far we?ve come since the days where you needed to pay an arm and a leg to have a web developer build a simple e-commerce store.
Squarespace and Etsy are some of the website builders that have seen the novice web development niche blossom and offered salvation to ordinary folk who couldn?t tell HTML code from PHP tons of hours (not to mention migraine-induced vertigo). Both Squarespace and Etsy have made a foothold in the online commerce marketing space and with the release of Etsy?s new Pattern, we can only conclude that Etsy wants to take home the lion?s share of the market.
So how do the two compare? Is there any difference between Etsy?s conventional builder and the new Pattern or is it simply a marketing strategy? Here?s what we think:Integration
If you already own a store on Etsy, you can easily integrate it with your Pattern-built website. Etsy keeps your inventory synced by automatically importing it. In addition you will be able to scrutinize your analytics for both your Etsy store as well as your Pattern-built site on a single dashboard. To be fair you?d be able to do the same with an e-commerce store on Squarespace. Etsy has a leg up on Squarespace when it comes to integration though.Payment Processing
This is still a pain on Squarespace where sellers are limited to using Stripe as their default payment processor. Pattern inherits payment processing standards from Etsy meaning that sellers are still allowed to accept payments made on PayPal in addition to receiving payments made via credit/debit cards. To sting even more Squarespace is more expensive, whereas you only get charged 3.5% per transaction on Pattern and an additional $15/month, Squarespace will charge up to $70/mo billed annually or $80/month billed month-to-month in addition to 2.9% + $0.30 charged by Stripe for each transaction. This overage alone is sufficient to justify moving to Pattern.Support
Pattern also outperforms Squarespace when it comes to customer support. Even though Squarespace boasts 24/7 support which is responsive as well as having a bunch of help articles that you can navigate as you wait for their support to get back to you, Etsy and thus Pattern by extension comes with forums where you can pick on the thoughts of Etsy?s expansive community even as you wait to hear back from their support. And as we all know discussions on forums are always helpful.Social Media Integration
With all its drawbacks Squarespace is good for something! Social media. Conspicuously missing on Pattern is the option to integrate your e-commerce store with sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Squarespace automatically syncs your social media accounts with items you?ve updated on your store amplifying your marketing platform for you. A big improvement to Squarespace?s social media integration would be an increase in the featured social platforms such as Pinterest since it?s ?currently only possible to sync with Twitter and Facebook.Customization
Pattern like Etsy doesn?t seem to be developer friendly. It seems that the only thing you can customize are the templates and nothing more. Sure you?ll be able to emphasize your brand/product more than you could have on Etsy (even though you?ll only be working with five themes), but for a chance at greater flexibility, you?re better off dealing with Squarespace using their developer platform while still taking advantage of their robust proprietary brand building tools.Our take:
Squarespace is a great tool given the amount of flexibility it offers though the cost of doing business is a great concern to most not to mention your choice of payments is limited due to their use of Stripe. On the other hand even though Pattern is certainly a much better option if you don?t mind that your brand is diluted by being on Etsy, many have claimed that they don?t see the need to move from Etsy as branding has been hailed as being the major reason Etsy came up with their Pattern web-building service in the first place.