Squarespace Review: Is It a Good Service for Website, Ecommerce, and Online Payments? A bottom-up analysis

Richard Feehan

09/27/2016 22:56 PM
Total Views: 45973

Squarespace has helped pioneer the world of do-it-yourself (DIY) website development by focusing on providing an editing tool that allows the user to design a web page without having to worry about knowing HTML code. Yes, the service has a large choice of customizable templates, but it still takes many hours to create a decent website -- and you'll likely need to hire a developer to do anything more in-depth -- a costly alternative. The company offers a 14-day free trial to customers.

Squarespace provides a toolkit for building websites and an workable interface where web developers can integrate deeper functionality.

Similarly, Ocoos is a next-generation website-building platform focused on solving common sales and marketing problems faced by most small businesses. Ocoos fully integrates the website's homepage creation, core offerings, and business interactions and operations -- all it's sales and marketing needs -- in an easy-to-use platform. A simple website can be created in as little as 20 minutes, and be optimized for use across different browsers and devices. Plus, Ocoos offers a concierge service that will build the website for the customer.

If we compare the two solutions, you'll see that Squarespace provides an attractive solution for building your company website's homepage, or storefront. But beyond offering an ecommerce store for products, Squarespace's functionality is sparse. Ocoos, on the other hand, is perfect for the busy small business owner who needs more complex business features on her website, like appointment schedulers.

If you're looking for a simple, 1-page website, Squarespace could work fine, but for more complexity, Ocoos offers a much fuller, out-of-the-box solution.  

Let's take a closer look at Squarespace's offerings:

To evaluate website building products, particularly for ecommerce operations, you have to understand how a website is supposed to “work.”  A website should:

  1. Communicate basic business information -- like a company's services, location and contact information, and business hours, as well as relevant background information -- and be visible to search engines, such as Google.

  2. Implement customer engagement: ecommerce tools for selling products and services, appointment schedulers, forms to capture customer information, analytics tools, and visible partner connections to build trust.

  3. Front-end of business operations: The site should offer a central place for client contact information and sales information as well as a front-end database to drive future marketing.

  4. Services, support and cost: the site should integrate additional business services, as well as necessary support at a fair price.

With these four things in mind, let's take a look at how Squarespace stacks up.

Homepage Development

Squarespace: Squarespace has put most of its resources into this area, and offers a variety of decent homepage templates. Because Squarespace offers a great degree of flexibility, it's possible to highly personalize your business website. The down side of this is that unless you're a pro, you might create a bad user experience, or one that doesn't work on mobile devices, and your site may not be optimized for search engines, like Google.

Ocoos: With Ocoos, business owners will be able to customize a core website design that is easy for customers to navigate. Tools that drive website traffic, like maps and newsletters, are supported by Ocoos, and the company's B2B recommendation engine allows small businesses to work with similar enterprises, building a circle of trust and crowdsourcing marketing efforts.

For example, a hairdresser might recommend a nail salon or tanning salon on its website. If that website drives traffic, the other businesses will benefit, and vice versa.

Customer Engagement

Squarespace: When it comes to customer engagement, Squarespace external integration is required for ecommerce options, like PayPal. The only type of complex transactions that are allowed are donations, though there is a built-in discount manager - a bonus when planning a sale or other type of deal. Third-party solutions are necessary for messaging and online scheduling, while a document feature is not available.

Ocoos: Ecommerce support is included with Ocoos, which has built-in merchant account capability and access to PayPal and Square. A variety of complex transactions are supported, including a "deposit" model that allows customers to pay a deposit, and a "Quote/Payment" functionality that allows customers to request a quote and pay when the work is finished.

Ocoos's discount manager allows businesses to create discount codes, and the platform also supports scheduling needs -- whether you're looking to book classes or appointments. The scheduling tool can sync with personal calendars, be published to a homepage calendar, or be capacity restrained.

Customer interactions can be tracked outside of email and integrated with a CRM (customer relationship management) system, and Ocoos also has a PDF documents capability, which can be attached as a receipt or used to publish complex information.

Business Operations

Squarespace: Hosting is offered by Squarespace, however client management capabilities must be handled by a third party. Squarespace has only inventory sales tracking, and flexible security is allowed, but only for private pages.

Ocoos: Hosting is offered by Ocoos, which also has CRM abilities that allow for sorting and analyzation, and can be connected to a POS portal within Ocoos and Square. Ocoos offers a sales tracking database with data that can be sorted and analyzed and exported to tools like Quickbooks, or imported from POS tools like Square. 

As for flexible security, Ocoos's functionality allows you to give marketing or analysis abilities to team members without providing them with sensitive company data.

Support and Cost

Squarespace: Telephone and online support are offered. Squarespace's basic cost is $20 per month. A web developer could use the platform's developer tools to build a more complex website, but the cost for set-up and maintenance will be high. To create a site in Squarespace with the same amount of capabilities as the Ocoos platform would cost thousands of dollars. 

But the costs don't end there. If the business owner needs to make changes to the website, they will likely need to rehire a developer to make those changes. Even once a developer is hired, these changes might take days to go live on the website.

Ocoos: Telephone and online support are offered. Ocoos offers a concierge service that will build the customer's website with different levels of customization on the Ocoos platform. Ocoos's service is offered at $35 per month. The cost of the concierge build is based on customization level.

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