Squarespace Work Around for e-commerce Shipping
Squarespace makes your website look like it was built on a huge budget. The templates are top notch, and I just love the look of them. But, it's E-commerce shipping problem forced me to look into alternatives.
I actually checked out Weebly, Wix and Shopify, just because of ecommerce shipping troubles.
If you have a standard product line, such as t-shirts and jewelry, Squarespace shipping works just fine. But, if you have an odd shaped product that fits into an over sized container, and you have negotiated special shipping charges with a carrier, you have a problem with using a Squarespace template. Larger boxes and heavier boxes cost a lot more to ship. If you already have a shipping carrier merchant account with special shipping rules, you will have a problem using Squarespace for your e-commerce shipping because they don't allow special shipping rules in their built into e-commerce platform. This is because the shipping carrier has a server side script that Squarespace cannot accept at this time. These are the options I explored hoping to fix the shipping problem:
I looked at Ship Station as an alternative because I saw they had built in shipping features and I thought I could sneak in my unique shipping account rules through an account with them and then embed their code into the products page. I especially thought it would work given that Ship Station and Squarespace are partners. But, I was wrong. Ship Station's purpose is as a label creation service for shipping your packages. And, although they can handle the unique shipping transactions within their account, their shipping rules don't work in Squarespace. They only work in Ship Station. Your buyers aren't going to leave your website, go to another website to purchase your products, and then come back. They will be confused, and may question the credibility of the website.
Shopify is a great e-commerce solution, and everything can be done there including handling special shipping accounts, SEO, and Social Media promotions. Shopify has a few free website templates so you can have both a good website with built in e-commerce too. They are a an e-commerce solution specializing specifically in e-commerce. I signed up for a free trial and built the same website for my client that I had built on Squarespace. It just wasn't as powerful for me visually as the Squarespace site. I looked into creating a Shopify widget to embed in my squarespace site, much like Ecwid has. That costs extra money through Shopify. So while Shopify can definitely handle all facets of online e-commerce, it just wasn't for me because I prefer the visual look and feel of Squarespace. I like the blogging features, and creating the sales messages within Squarespace to sell the products online. Just like Shopify, Squarespace does offers carrier calculated shipping. But, it's carrier calculated shipping based on weight and package size, not unique values that you may have negotiated with your shipping carrier. At this time, Squarespace just cannot accommodate special shipping charges when you already have a carrier account, such as Federal Express.
Ecwid is a great solution to the Squarespace limitations because it's purpose is to add the functionality of e-commerce sales check out cart to an existing website. So if you love your website and just want to add some e-commerce functions, such as, shipping rules, sales tax rules, and countries and regions where you will ship, Ecwid is the perfect solution. Once your Ecwid store is all set up, they generate the client side java script that can be embedded into any Squarespace page you need. Best of all, if you have 10 products or less to sell, Ecwid is FREE. 100% totally free. With Shopify you will pay to embed their script into your website. Ecwid is a great way to have your cake and eat it too.
A basic online store selling T-shirts or jewelry can use Squarespace just fine. But, If you want additional payment gateways, such as Paypal and Square and Stripe, you can have that in Ecwid and totally bypass the checkout cart of Squarespace. So, if you are a Squarespace user and you are looking to go into e-commerce, have no fear about your special shipping or tax rules. Ecwid can handle your check-out cart. They even offer POS for sales in your store. Check Ecwid out by clicking on Ecwid.
I was so happy to have discovered Ecwid! I didn't want to leave Squarespace after having created websites in Dreamweaver, Wordpress, Wix, Weebly, and Shopify. It's because the Squarespace templates are of such great quality that I had to keep looking to fix my e-commerce problem.