How to Set up a Squarespace eCommerce Website in 8 Steps
Looking for an easy-to-use, highly customizable, and feature-packed eCommerce platform for your online business? Squarespace has you covered.
Squarespace e-commerce stores support physical products, digital goods, subscriptions, and even online and offline services like most other online store platforms. Plus, you get powerful, yet easy-to-use customization features that most other platforms can't match.
Unlike most all-in-one eCommerce platforms, Squarespace gives you near-total control over the design and flow of your store. Best of all, you don't need to know a bit of coding—or even how to set up a website—to quickly launch an eye-catching and fully functional Squarespace eCommerce store.
Using Squarespace's intuitive learn-as-you-go dashboard, we'll walk you through the entire process in eight easy steps.
Open Your Squarespace Account and Pick a Template
If you don't already have a Squarespace website, start by creating a Squarespace account. Since Squarespace offers a 14-day free trial, test-driving the system is entirely risk-free. In fact, you don't even need to provide your credit card information until you're ready to launch your online store.
Squarespace kicks off the process by asking you what you plan to do with your website:
Based on your answer, Squarespace displays a selection of premade website designs, called templates, to help you get started. Suppose you state that you're going to sell products, services, or even subscriptions online. In that case, Squarespace automatically displays a list of ready-to-go online store templates.
Squarespace has 10 e-commerce-specific website templates and over 50 website templates designed for all types of online businesses. Squarespace Commerce features are built into all Squarespace websites, so you can add online selling features to any Squarespace template—even those not "designated" as eCommerce. However, if you prefer another template over the online store options, you certainly can make it work.
Online store templates are the easiest way for new users to build a Squarespace eCommerce website from scratch. The beauty of starting with a store template is that you can quickly build your site by swapping out the demo products, homepage imagery, and other website elements. This easy, learn-as-you-go method is what we outline in this guide.
We selected the Brine template for our Squarespace eCommerce website because it delivers a simple solid-color header, centered logo, and top navigation links. Like all Squarespace templates, Brine is mobile-friendly, and you can click on the screen views to see how it displays on different screens.
Spend a little time exploring template demos to find a layout that appeals to you. As you'll see below, every element is easy to change, move, and swap with your own imagery. Best of all, if you're not satisfied or just ready for a site update, later on, Squarespace makes it easy to switch your entire store to another template.
- Enter Products Into Your Squarespace Store
Clicking the "Start With This Design" button opens the new Squarespace website design dashboard, shown below. This is where you control every aspect of your Squarespace eCommerce website, from site design, navigation, and content entry to order processing and customer management.
The first step is entering a few products into your Squarespace Shop page. As you'll see below, having a few product pages ready to go makes it easier to customize your homepage and other website elements later on. To start entering products, click Pages and then Shop, and you'll see a screen like the one below.
Squarespace allows you to remove this page and build your own from scratch or copy the demo content into your website. Copying the demo page is the simplest learn-as-you-go way to start building your Squarespace online store. You can simply swap out the demo content for your own and delete or add products as needed.
After clicking "Copy Page", hover your mouse over any product image and click "Edit." The Edit Product window will pop up. Here is where you replace demo product data with your own.
In this window, delete the demo image, title, and product description content and insert your own, as shown below.
Here, Squarespace lets you add multiple product images, change pricing, add product variants like size and color, create a custom page URL, fine-tune your SEO settings, add social share buttons, and much more.
To see everything you can do, simply click each tab at the top of the window. You can also add new or select existing categories and tags to help shoppers quickly find and sort your products in your shop.
One important thing to note is when swapping demo content for your own.
You'll need to upload your product's thumbnail image separately under the "Options" tab.
You won't need to do this if you enter a new product since Squarespace automatically uses your product image as the thumbnail.
Unfortunately, replacing the demo image doesn't override the thumbnail image. When changes are complete, click "Save," and you'll see your own product replace the demo item on the shop page.
Squarespace gives you many options for product entry, and there are a few different ways to get this process done. For example, you can click "Duplicate" in the product window to use your own product as a starting point. You'll click "Save & Publish" to make a duplicated product live.
You can also add new products to your Squarespace online store. To do this, click the "+" sign beside "Shop," then select the type of product you want to add—physical, digital, service, or subscription. From there, simply complete the appropriate data fields.
For more on each of these product elements and tips for customizing your product pages, visit the Squarespace Knowledge Base for in-depth tutorials.
- Set up Your Homepage Elements
Once you have a few products of your own entered into your Squarespace eCommerce shop, you can move on to your homepage elements. You'll soon see why setting up a few products first is helpful for tackling your homepage design.
First, return to your main Squarespace website dashboard. Here you'll see your template with demo imagery, which is made up of elements called sections and content blocks. These let you enter engaging content anywhere on your Squarespace website, from product collections and banner images to image galleries, blog highlights, product callouts, quotes, and more.
To begin editing your homepage, click "Pages" in the main dashboard to open your site editing screen. Here, you can scroll through the existing demo elements to get a feel for your content block options. Hover over any element on the homepage screen, and a pop-up bar tells you what type of section it is, like the banner section below, and lets you make changes.
For example, here's how to change a banner image in Squarespace. Click "banner" in the edit bar, and a media window will appear, as shown below. Here you can remove the demo image and upload your own image. You can even embed a video in this space.
Don't have great images yet? No worries! After you click "Remove Image" (in red above), you'll see options to upload an image or search for images in this window. If you click "Search for Images," you can select from thousands of free or paid royalty-free stock photos in the pop-up window shown below.
Simply click an image to insert it into your banner section. Squarespace also has built-in photo editing tools in the media window if you want to crop or edit the exposure or colors.
After selecting or uploading your new banner image (or video), you can also edit the existing demo text on the overlay. Click "Edit" in the section edit bar, and you'll see the text block window below. Here, you can replace demo text with your own headline and link wording, delete the entire block by clicking the trash can, or add more text blocks by clicking the "+" sign.
After changing these elements, you have your own branded banner image to top your Squarespace e-commerce website homepage, as shown below.
Remember, you have complete control over the appearance and flow of your homepage and every other page you create in Squarespace.
Page sections are listed on the left side of the screen, and you can rearrange them by simply clicking and dragging them up and down the list. You can also delete any demo sections or add your own sections and blocks at any time. Again, the Squarespace Knowledge Base is a great tool to explore if you have further questions as you start adding sections and blocks to your online store.
- Add a Shop Gallery to Your Homepage
Since most eCommerce websites are focused on selling products, it's helpful to feature a section of shoppable products on your homepage. Unfortunately, this isn't automatically included on every Squarespace template. So, we'll walk you through adding this sales-driving homepage section to any Squarespace eCommerce website.
In the Pages screen, click "Home" and "+ Section" on the left of the screen and select "Blank Page" in the pop-up window. You'll see a blank area appear on your homepage. Hover over it and click "Edit" in the pop-up menu bar, and you'll see the screen below.
Here, hover over the white space, and two dots will appear, like this:
Click on the top dot, and a content block window will pop up. Under the summary section, select "Grid."
This inserts a grid block into this section, and a new summary window will pop up, as shown below. In this window, under the content tab, select "Shop" to populate the grid with your shop items. Suppose you set up categories and tags when entering your products earlier. In that case, you can also select these to display pre-sorted items.
You can also toggle through the content, layout, and display tabs in the summary block window to customize how these items are displayed in the section.
When done, click "Apply" (in the window) and "Save" (in the block), and your new shop section will appear on your homepage. You can click "Edit" to add a text header to the section. If you want to move it up or down the page, simply click and drag the section up or down in the list to the left of the screen.
Once you've added a sales-driving shop section to your homepage, explore other section/block options, too. Squarespace gives you a ton of control over the contents of your website pages, and it doesn't take long to get the hang of it. Learn all about customizing these design elements in Squarespace's design tutorials.
- Add Key Pages and Set up Navigation Menus
After working with products, building simple information pages should take you no time at all. Most online stores should include, at the very least, the following information:
- About Us
- Contact Information
- Customer Service
- Shipping and Returns
Brief information, like contact numbers, can be included in your sitewide footer. However, you'll likely need a few pages for customer service and shipping/return policies. Some information can be combined into one page, like an overall Terms of Service page. It's up to you—but you need to make sure you clearly communicate key service information to potential customers.
The Brine template comes pre-loaded with FAQs, Privacy, Terms of Service, and Contact pages in the footer navigation. You can simply edit these areas and pages to suit your needs by clicking on any link and swapping the demo information for your own.
If you want to link new pages to your primary or footer navigation, simply click the "+" sign next to the appropriate area. Then select the style of the page in the "Create New Page" window, and build your page.
Once complete, you can control where these page links appear in your primary or footer navigation by simply dragging and dropping the page names on the left side of this dashboard.
- Edit Header and Footer Sections
You can work on header and footer sections at any time. However, it's best to set them up after knowing what pages you want and where they'll appear in your navigation before fine-tuning these areas.
To change your header image:
- Start on your main Squarespace dashboard.
- Select "Design" to open your site's design tools.
- Click "Logo & Title" to change your website header.
You can simply insert your store name on this screen to create a text logo. Or, if you have a logo, you can upload it here. You can also quick-design a logo using Squarespace's logo creator. As shown below, we inserted a logo, and Squarespace dropped it into the center spot.
You can easily change the appearance and size of your header logo in the "Design > Site Styles" dashboard. Here, you can also control the fonts, colors and the overall look, feel, and styling of virtually every other element of your website.
Within Site Styles, you can also adjust your footer elements' arrangement, fonts, and styling.
Squarespace automatically inserts social links, and you can link these to your social media pages in the settings, which we cover next. The icons won't appear in your published Squarespace eCommerce website if you don't link these to social media accounts.
And yes—you can delete or change the "Powered by Squarespace" text at the bottom. Most sellers just edit this to display their own copyright blurb.
- Set up Payments, Shipping, and Taxes
The "Commerce" dashboard is where you enable payments and shipping, set up your sales taxes, and, once you start selling, manage orders, customers, and enable discounts. This section is extremely intuitive, and if you have questions, you can tap Squarespace's Knowledge Base or live chat pros for fast answers.
You need to complete a few things before you can open for business: Set up payments, figure out shipping, and enter your tax rates.
To accept payments, you can use Stripe, PayPal, or both. Those are the only payment solutions Squarespace offers. You also need to be on a Squarespace plan that supports online payments. These include Business, Basic Commerce, and Advanced Commerce, with prices shown here:
You can open an eCommerce store with a lower-cost Business plan; however, Squarespace tacks on an extra 3% fee per transaction. Plus, you don't get as many sales perks compared to the Commerce plans. For most eCommerce sellers, a Commerce plan is the best choice, and yes, you can start with the Basic plan and upgrade to Advanced later on.
You can set up both Square and PayPal directly from your Squarespace account or connect your existing accounts for payments. You can also change your currency to your home country's currency in this window.
Shipping is a little trickier in Squarespace than other eCommerce platforms like Shopify. Unfortunately, Squarespace doesn't offer built-in shipping label printing. If you ship just a few orders each week, that's generally not a problem. However, suppose you're shipping 10 or more orders per day. In that case, you can streamline the label printing process by using the built-in integration with ShipStation.
Regardless of how you print labels, you have a few options for adding shipping charges for orders, and you'll find these under navigating to "Commerce" and then "Shipping."
You can charge a flat rate per item or per order, charge weight-based shipping fees, or Advanced plan users can charge real-time shipping rates by connecting specific carriers, like UPS, FedEx, and USPS.
Your sales taxes need to be set up as well, and, again, Squarespace makes this simple via a pop-up window under the taxes portion of the Commerce dashboard.
The Commerce dashboard also lets you track inventory for products, edit the layout of your checkout page, and manage other elements of your online business.
- Finalize Your Settings, Pick a Plan, and Go Live
After your commerce settings are complete, head to the "Settings" tab on your main dashboard and complete your language and region, business information, and social media links information.
Next, click on "Domains" to set up your branded domain name, also called a URL, to replace the default Squarespace store URL. You can connect your own domain by linking it with GoDaddy, BlueHost, NameSilo, or another domain registration service.
Or, you can purchase one through Squarespace - it's free for the first year and generally $20 to $50 per year after that.
These are the settings you must address before launching your Squarespace eCommerce store. Still, other settings are important in the long run, too. Be sure to review the Squarespace Settings tutorial to learn more.
Launching Your Squarespace Ecommerce Website
With your startup products, key information pages, commerce, and website settings in place, you're ready to launch your new Squarespace online store.
Your last step is clicking "Site Visibility" from the Settings dashboard. You can upgrade your free trial to the plan you prefer—Business, Basic Commerce, or Advanced Commerce in this window.
Once that's complete, congratulations! Your new eCommerce website is open for business. Of course, now the real work begins.
Next, you'll want to explore Squarespace's many marketing features—specifically, look at Mailchimp for email marketing and explore Squarespace's Instagram integrations. Plus, it would be best to consider blogging or inserting video content to market your brand.
Don't forget that you can also sell all types of products on Squarespace, including physical and digital goods, services, and even subscriptions. No matter what you start out selling, explore other profitable sales opportunities as well. Squarespace makes it easy.
Creating a Squarespace Ecommerce Website: The Bottom Line
It's hard (impossible, really) to summarize all that Squarespace offers into a single article. It's amazingly feature-packed and robust, and, happily, it's also incredibly intuitive. Once you've mastered pages, products sections, and blocks, you'll find it's pretty easy to craft website content that engages visitors and drives sales.
If you follow the steps above, you'll end up with more than a ready-to-launch Squarespace eCommerce website.
You'll have a sound understanding of all that Squarespace can do and know how to quickly craft a Squarespace website for any online business you can dream up.
Author: Drasko Georgijev
I'm a financial technology professional with 15+ years of experience in payment cards, eCommerce, transaction processing, and switching.
From time to time, I'm sharing some helpful tips, tactics, and news about Digital Commerce and Fintech.
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