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Squarespace Online Shop: 11 Steps to start your eCommerce store!

eCommerce Website Clothing Store displayed on Laptop MacBook

Do you want to start an online store but don’t know where to begin? Then you’re in the right place! During my senior year at the Maryland Institute College of Art, I opened my first eCommerce store through Squarespace! I didn’t know where to start, but Squarespace made building my digital storefront easy and fun! Creating an eCommerce store opened my doors to an enormous pool of potential customers. In 2020, over two billion people made online purchases and e-retail soared over 4.2 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide! That’s a lot of action you could be missing out on if you don’t have an eCommerce platform. Follow my guide to set up your own online shop through Squarespace!

Squarespace Online Shop website platform
Squarespace eCommerce Landing Page

Step 1: Choose your Squarespace eCommerce Template

Squarespace Online shop eCommerce themes
Squarespace Templates Landing Page

Start creating your eCommerce Store by picking an attractive template!I Chose a basic eCommerce theme that was easy to customize. Discover template that are designed specifically for online businesses!

Step 2: Cover the Legal Bases of your Squarespace Online Shop

Person working at desk
Green Chameleon / Unsplash

Before you hit the grindstone, ensure your eCommerce website is legally protected with pages such as Terms and Conditions or a Privacy Policy! Does your website collect any user data such as email addresses? If you answered yes to this question, then your website requires a Privacy Policy to disclose how this customer data is used by your website. Legal pages to build credibility and protect your business. If you accept returns for any products, include a return policy. If you offer digital products that cannot be returned, you should include a short description of this policy as well. It may also be helpful to consult an attorney to ensure you’re legally secure so you will avoid any future trouble.

Here are a few must have pages for your website:

  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Refund Policy
  • Copyright Notice

Depending on your needs, your eCommerce site may require certain legal pages specific to your business. Follow our blog to learn more.

Step 3: Add Products to your Squarespace Online Shop

Squarespace Online shop Ventura template displaying ceramic products and prices
Squarespace Ventura Website Template

Now it’s time to add the best part- your products! Whether you have physical or digital goods, Squarespace has features that will suit your needs. You can offer services, subscriptions, and gift cards as well. Upload photographs to each product and include an SEO friendly description. If you have services, you can use stock photos or get creative and create images that represent what you offer to your customers. Get your website noticed by writing an in depth description of each product. Add alt text to your images to make them searchable. Creating categories will keep your products organized and easy for users to navigate.

Step 4: Set your eCommerce Site up for Success with SEO!

Decorative letters spell SEO
Merakist / Unsplash

Help customers easily find your products by optimizing your website! Search engine optimization is critical for getting your products and brand noticed. To make sure your website, products, and images are at the top of Google’s search results, utilize these SEO strategies before you publish your products. 

First, ensure that your keywords are present in your titles and headlines. Research your keywords to strengthen the ranking potential of your products! For example if your product is a white poplin mini dress for summer, you might focus on “white dress” or “summer dress” depending on what’s trending. You can research this through Google and Pinterest trends. Although it’s enticing to fill a page with beautiful images, each web page and product description requires an adequate amount of text and headlines to make your website searchable. Include at least 300 words per page!

Secondly, Add alt text to the images in your online store. Alt text is key for website ranking and helps visually impaired readers by describing images. Include a short description that features your keywords in the alt text. 

Step 5: Connect Payment Processor

Debit Mastercard held above Macbook keyboard
Paul Felberbauer / Unsplash

Next, you will need to connect a payment processor to your website. Squarespace supports popular payment processors including PayPal, Apple Pay, and Stripe. I use Square for my online and in-person sales. Stripe also allows you to process Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover payments. Unfortunately, if you only add PayPal, customers will only be able to pay through their PayPal or Venmo Accounts. To best service your customers, offer both Stripe and PayPal to your online store to offer an array of payment options. Customers must use a pre-approved device to use Apple Pay.

Step 6: Find a Shipping Option for Your Squarespace Online Shop

Business owner prepares product for shipment
Bench Accounting / Unsplash

Many online merchants ship physical products to their customers. If you’re in this boat, your next step is to set up a shipping option in your digital store. You can offer free shipping, flat rate, rates by weight, and more. The best shipping option for you will depend on your products and the distance you are shipping them. When I ship home decor, such as lamps and frames, I prefer to ship by weight because these items vary in scale and mass. My favorite products to sell are digital because they require less time on my part and serve as passive income. Plus, it’s good for the environment because I’m not using packing materials or carbon emissions to send digital products to customers!

Step 7: Set up Tax integration in Squarespace

calculator, pencil, and red book
Recha Oktaviani / Unsplash

One convenient aspect of Squarespace is that it offers tools to help you manage taxes. Depending on your state or country, you’ll need to set your online shop up with taxes that are in accordance with your local laws. Many physical products, such as clothing, require a sales tax. Another option is to include the tax in the sales price of your product.

Step 8: Promote your Online Store through Social Media

Social media icons featured in Squarespace Online Shop including facebook, pinterest, and twitter.
NorWood Themes / Unsplash

Now that your online shop is set up, it’s time to market your products! You should set up social media accounts to promote your shop. You can post links to products, host giveaways to encourage interest, and find even more ways to grow your following. Instagram features product tags in posts so followers can purchase products directly in the app. Instagram is difficult and slow to build a following on, so I use Pinterest because users create boards to plan their shopping. Pinterest is a visual library that will help you get more website hits and drive sales. Offering discounts can also encourage new customers,so  try offering 10% or more off of their first purchase! Within Squarespace, you can decide when discounts expire. 

Another convenient aspect is Squarespace’s Email Campaign feature. Regular customers may want to sign up for updates and special offers from your store. Within Squarespace, you can add a Newsletter Block to your online shop so customers can subscribe to your email list. Once you’ve created a subscription call to action on your website, you can plan out branded email campaigns. Create eye-catching emails that target your customers through the Email Campaign Feature. Since this feature is at an additional cost, I use mailchimp to build my mailing list because it’s easy and free to use. You can connect Mailchimp to Squarespace by integrating your accounts.

Hot tip: Don’t send too many emails to your customers because they will experience burn out and unsubscribe! One email per week is adequate to keep customers interested.

Step 9: POS Commerce App

Square card reader point of sale. Customer checks out in cafe. Use POS for your Squarespace Online Shop.
Clay Banks / Unsplash

If you sell products in person in addition to your eCommercesite, then the Squarespace Commerce App is perfect for you! This app integrates in person and eCommerce Point of Sale so your inventory and sales analytics are automatically updated no matter where you sell products. So how does it work? This app integrates with Square to process cash and card payments so this data is automatically updated with your online shop. Once you attach a Square Card reader, your in person sales will update in your Squarespace inventory.  When a payment is processed by Square, your funds are transferred to the bank account you linked to your Square account. Currently, this app is only compatible with the iPhone, but we anticipate future updates for other smartphones! Even if you don’t sell in person frequently, this app will help you monitor your sales when you’re away from the office. 

Step 10: Use Squarespace Online Shop Analytics to Track Sales

Laptop screen displaying website analytics. Track analytics for your Squarespace Online Shop
Luka Blazek / Unsplash

A key aspect of marketing and sales is to track your performance. Watching customer traffic will teach you how to grow your business. For example, you may discover that Pinterest is a main source of web traffic for your eCommerce Site. This will encourage you to strengthen your Pinterest marketing to increase sales. Squarespace Analytics offers a variety of data to review which will help improve your marketing strategy. Traffic Analytics and Sales By Product Analytics allow you to compare sales and traffic in accordance with your promotions. If traffic and sales are high, your promotion is working! You can discover more info under the sales panel to see sales data over time, the average amount customers order, and your unique visitor average. 

Step 11: Run and Maintain your eCommerce Business!

two women discuss strategies in front of whiteboard
Leon / Unsplash

Now that you’re set up, treat your online store like a real business! You can start by simply keeping a schedule that will encourage you to stay on task. Subscribe to our mailing list to be the first to receive our printable schedules, which will be available in our online store soon! Respond to customer inquiries quickly to develop trust and reliability. The internet is full of scams, but if your customers trust you, they will keep coming back! Always respond kindly, even if you feel a customer is giving you a hard time. Develop and implement seasonal marketing campaigns and promotions. 

Squarespace Online Shop Conclusion

Laptop screen displaying text that reads "Work hard Anywhere"
Kevin Bhagat / Unsplash

I love how easy Squarespace is to use and customize! I appreciate the user-friendly interface and the ability to integrate other business tools all in one place. Squarespace made it easy for me to start my first online shop. Squarespace is a simple way to get started as an online merchant!

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Squarespace is a visually oriented platform which can result in poor for web ranking. The problem with website themes that are largely image based is that they are not practical for SEO. You can resolve this issue by adding text based content blocks to your pages. Headers help rank your website and make your text easier to read, so be sure to include them.
  1. Theme customization is limited. If there’s a specific look you desire for your brand, or code you would like to insert, you may be better off with a WordPress website that allows more freedom. Another aspect to consider is that a beautifully designed theme may not necessarily have the best user interface. You can test your website interface by having your team follow prompts to navigate through your check out process. Learn from user feed back by having them speak their thoughts out loud.
  1. Squarespace Themes may Result in poor and confusing SEO. Your headers, alt text, and meta descriptions are important for SEO because search engines use them to rank your site. Some Squarespace pages lack headers, or even confuse meta descriptions. Some users have even noticed that inserting alt text in Squarespace is not straight forward. This results in poor SEO and website ranking. I have noticed that my Squarespace images and headers don’t rank well in Google which why I’ve decided to migrate to WordPress.

Share your Thoughts!

All in all, Squarespace is great if you’re looking for a low-maintenance, quick way to start your eCommerce website. Since I’ve grown more confident in my web design and development skills, I’ve graduated from Squarespace to WordPress. I feel Squarespace is easier to use and has better UI design but I know that I will eventually master WordPress as well! If you have any questions about learning how to use Squarespace, feel free to reach out in the comments below or even contact the Squarespace Customer Care Team.

Did you create your online shop using Squarespace? What were your thoughts? We would love to hear from you in the comments below! Despite going to a design school, I learned how to start and run an eCommerce business on my own. Subscribe to learn what arts school won’t teach you!

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