The Best eCommerce Integrations That Work With Square Payments
Square has built an entire brand around making credit card payment processing accessible to anyone. And lately, they’ve been focusing on growing that brand to encompass a full suite of merchant services.
As part of this growth, in 2018 Square acquired the website builder Weebly, and it has used Weebly’s software to build their own branded Square Online Store. Square merchants can now use Square’s own software to build an online store free of charge. Admittedly, this platform is fairly basic. It has everything you need for selling (the ability to generate coupons, shipping and tax calculators, inventory tracking), but not much else. This has left many merchants asking themselves whether they want to go with Square Online Store, or if they want to choose a different route.
Square for eCommerce at a glance
- Free plan available
- Easy to use
- Ideal for low-volume merchants
- Limited customization
- Limited features
- Limited payment options
Fortunately, Square Online Store is not your only option if you want to process your online payments through Square. In this article, we’ll be presenting five alternative software solutions that you should consider. These include:
- Square Online Payment APIs and SDKs
Each of these options lets you use Square as your payment gateway and payment processor. However, they all work a bit differently, and they come at different costs. Let’s take a look at five alternatives to Square Online Store and see how they stack up against one another.
Read more below to learn why we chose these options.
Best for sellers that want to build a site from scratch and need a scalable solution.
BigCommerce is a hugely popular online shopping cart that is known for both its ease of use and its full feature set. If you are looking for a way to build a site from the ground up, BigCommerce is a great option. BigCommerce is made for businesses of all sizes, and as you grow your online store, BigCommerce grows and adapts with you.
BigCommerce’s pricing model works a bit differently than that of most SaaS options. Rather than paying a set price based on the plan’s features or product count, you pay a monthly rate based on your annual sales volume. If you exceed your plan’s annual sales limits, you are automatically upgraded to the next plan. That could (and has) upset some merchants who weren’t expecting to pay the higher monthly cost. Here are those monthly rates:
|Standard||$29.95/mo||For merchants with $50K or less in annual sales|
|Plus||$79.95/mo||For merchants with up to $150K in annual sales|
|Pro||$299.95/mo||For merchants with up to $400K in annual sales. Price increases $150/month for every additional $200K in sales.|
|Enterprise||Varies||Custom-tailored solution for high-volume needs. Pricing is negotiable.|
In terms of ease of use, BigCommerce works excellently. The dashboard is well organized, which makes it easy to locate and utilize BigCommerce’s many features. BigCommerce also gives users multiple ways to customize the look and feel of their sites. You can use BigCommerce’s easy-to-use visual editor to make many changes to your site, or you can take full control over your site by editing the code.
Key features include the ability to list unlimited products and sell on multiple sales channels. You can list your products on popular marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, and use BigCommerce’s social media integrations to sell on Pinterest and Facebook. Other features include:
- Support for coupons, discounts and gift certificates
- Product variants
- Multiple shipping options
- Filtered search
On top of a strong feature set, BigCommerce also offers 24/7 customer support to all users. This support is available via email, chat, and phone.
It may not surprise you to learn that BigCommerce integrates with a vast number of third-party software apps. Currently, there are roughly 600 integrations available (both free and for purchase). These integrations include software solutions for accounting, analytics, CRM, marketing, shipping, and more. Most importantly, BigCommerce integrates with Square seamlessly. You can use Square to process your online payments, and you have the option to use the free Square Register POS app to sell in person. Your inventory will sync between BigCommerce and Square POS.
There are very few drawbacks to using BigCommerce. That said, I have seen a few complaints from users of the platform that address the cost of using BigCommerce. They say that the platform is more expensive than some alternatives. I have also seen complaints that lament how you can not change every aspect of your website using BigCommerce’s visual editor. In order to make large-scale changes, you have to get into the code.
When To Use BigCommerce
All that said, BigCommerce is a great option for many merchants. The software is full-featured, boasting all the tools you need to run a growing online store. While BigCommerce might be more expensive for some users, we find the price to be reasonable for the number of features you get access to.
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Best for small online stores that want to sell primarily online.
Ecwid is unlike most eCommerce software platforms in that it did not originally include website building software. Rather, Ecwid was designed to be an extension that adds a shopping cart to a pre-built website. Since then, Ecwid has expanded its features to offer a website building tool and site hosting. You may find, however, that Ecwid fits your needs best in its original form, as a shopping cart widget for your already-existing site.
Ecwid gives users multiple pricing options based on the number of products they want to list. Each step up in pricing includes access to more products and more advanced features. One of these advanced features includes an integration with Square POS. You should note, however, that if you want to accept in-person payments with Square and Ecwid, you have to be on the Unlimited plan. Here’s a brief look at Ecwid’s pricing model:
|Free||$0/mo||For 10 products.|
|Venture||$15/mo||For 100 products.|
|Business||$35/mo||For 2,500 products.|
Fortunately, Ecwid is very easy to use. It’s simple to add products, process orders, and adjust store settings. Connecting Ecwid with a pre-established site is also simple. Take a look below to see our Ecwid account within a WordPress dashboard. If you choose to use Ecwid’s Instant Site option, it is also easy to customize the look of your store. You can make small changes using a visual editor. Larger changes require you to edit the site’s code.
Ecwid is a simpler option, with a smaller feature set than many other platforms. That said, Ecwid includes enough tools to operate a small store. Let’s take a look at a few available features:
- Free Facebook store
- Marketplace tools (available on Business and Unlimited plans)
- Create discounts and coupons
- Responsive store design
- Product variants (available on Business and Unlimited plans)
- Real-time shipping rates
The level of customer support you receive from Ecwid depends on your pricing plan. If you are on the Free plan, you only have access to self-help resources like the help center and the blog. Users on the Venture plan or higher get access to support via live chat, and phone support is available with the Business and Unlimited plans. Users on the Unlimited plan also gain access to priority support, meaning their support concerns will be answered more quickly.
Ecwid integrates with dozens of third-party tools, including apps for marketing, shipping, accounting, analytics, and more. These integrations, of course, include an integration with Square. It’s pretty easy to link Square with Ecwid. You can do it from within the Square Dashboard or from within your Ecwid account. When you pair Square and Ecwid, you can process online payments and use Square Register to sell in person. You’ll get automatic inventory syncing between the two software.
However, as I mentioned before, in order to sync Ecwid and Square Register POS, you need to have the Unlimited plan. That’s $100 a month just so you can use the inventory sync when you sell online and in person. That’s a big step up from the $35/month for 2,500 products, and to be honest, I’m not sure the price is worth it. When I compare Ecwid to other software’s similarly priced plans (such as BigCommerce’s Plus plan), Ecwid is a bit lackluster.
When To Use Ecwid
Ecwid is a great solution for small online store owners who are looking for a low-cost way to sell online. Ecwid never takes a percentage of merchants’ sales, making it more affordable than an eCommerce platform like Shopify or marketplaces like Etsy and eBay. That said, Ecwid is a more basic software, and it doesn’t include enough features to support significant site growth.
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Best for small sellers who want an easy-to-use and versatile website builder.
Weebly is a website building tool used by merchants in a wide range of industries, from auto repair shops to hair salons and fashion retailers. In 2018, Weebly was acquired by Square, and since then, Weebly has adjusted its pricing model and features to better fit the needs of online stores (you can now host an online store on any Weebly site). Square also built their own Square Online Store using Weebly’s software as a foundation. That means that Weebly and Square Online Store share many similarities, and the biggest difference between them is the price.
Keep reading to discover the features and pricing that you get when using Weebly’s own software for your online store.
Weebly offers its software at four different price points. These prices are based on the features included, with more advanced features available at higher prices. Users on all plans receive access to online store features, full customer support, and the ability to list multiple payment options. Here are the four available plans:
Weebly was specifically designed to be an easy-to-use website builder. It’s simple to choose a design template and customize it to your liking. That said, when you use Weebly’s easy-to-use design tools, you do not gain absolute control over the look and feel of your site. You can add content blocks and fill then with your own text and images, but if you truly want to get into the nitty-gritty aspects of design, you have to edit the site code.
Weebly was originally designed as a website builder. eCommerce features are more of a recent addition. That said, Weebly has done a great job catching up in the eCommerce platform market. Here are some of the features you can find built into Weebly:
- Responsive web design
- Shipping calculation (available on Professional and Performance plans)
- Tax calculation
- Inventory management
- Coupon support
I was impressed to see that all Weebly users (even those on the free plan) gain access to personal customer support through live chat, email, phone, and the community forum. For users on the Performance plan, priority support is also available.
Weebly offers a broad selection of integrations, with approximately 375 apps available. This includes apps for eCommerce, communication, marketing, and social media. As we’ve stated above, Weebly is now a Square product, so Square integrations are already built-in. You can use Weebly and Square to accept payments online and in-person and to accept Square gift cards.
One of the potential downsides to this software are the limitations you face in the visual design editor. While Weebly’s editor allows you to add content blocks to your site, input text and images, and change colors, you don’t get quite the same level of customization as you do with some other tools. That said, you are always able to make more advanced customizations in the HTML/CSS!
When To Use Weebly
Weebly is a great solution for merchants who want an easy-to-use and versatile website builder. Weebly’s editing tools let you make large changes to your site, without having to touch the code. Weebly is also a good option for users who are interested in Square Online Store, but who want to access more payment options. While Weebly certainly encourages you to use Square (it is automatically enabled in all new sites), they do not force you to process payments with Square. What’s more, depending on the features you need, Weebly may be a more affordable option than Square Online Store.
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Best for businesses that want a free, open-source solution and don’t mind a technical challenge.
WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce solution that works as a WordPress plugin. With WooCommerce, you can add a shopping cart to any WordPress.org site. WooCommerce requires a bit more technical experience than some of the other options on this list, which makes WooCommerce best for businesses that are not intimidated by a technical challenge.
Installing WooCommerce is completely free. However, the core WooCommerce offering is very basic. If you want more complex features, you have to purchase add-ons. Some are free, but quite a few aren’t. You’ll pay either a one-time fee or a yearly subscription. In addition, you’ll need to pay for your WordPress hosting and security. Beware: Add-ons and hosting expenses can add up quickly.
After you install the WooCommerce plugin in your WordPress account, you are able to use all of WooCommerce’s core features. Adding products to your site feels a lot like creating a blog post in WordPress. For users who are accustomed to WordPress, this might be a good thing, but to me, it felt like a strange way to create a product page. Customizing your site’s design requires users to make changes to the CSS and HTML. In order to really get the best use of WooCommerce, you’ll need to learn how to edit code.
WooCommerce follows a Core+Extensions model. That means that you get all of the basic features you need already built into the software, totally free. You can add on any advanced functionality at extra cost via WooCommerce’s many extensions. Here are a few of the core features you can expect to find with WooCommerce:
- Sell digital and physical products
- Product categories, variations, and affiliate products
- Inventory management
- Shipping calculator
- Create coupons and discounts
- Customizable design
As is the case with many open-source software apps, customer support is rather limited with WooCommerce. Most support comes in the form of do-it-yourself resources. You can find answers to your questions in WooCommerce’s documentation, FAQs, blog, and forum. If you have more specific questions, you can also submit a web ticket or talk to a representative via live chat.
It probably isn’t too surprising that WooCommerce has a wide selection of applications and extensions available. You can find roughly 300 options in the app marketplace. You can also build your own custom connections with WooCommerce’s REST API. WooCommerce’s extension for Square is available for free, and it lets you accept payments online and in person. An inventory sync between the two platforms ensures that when you add new products to WooCommerce, they are updated in Square.
We love WooCommerce for many merchants, however, we recognize that it isn’t the perfect option for everyone. In order to use WooCommerce, you have to be prepared to tackle all the technical elements of running a website. WooCommerce certainly does not market itself as a simple eCommerce solution, which may be a barrier to some users.
When To Use WooCommerce
That said, WooCommerce is a great solution for many websites. In fact, they host 14% of all online stores according to stats from BuiltWith. WooCommerce is great in particular for businesses that want incredible control over the design of their site, as well as the functionality of their software. WooCommerce is also a great fit for anyone looking for software that doesn’t charge monthly subscription fees! Keep in mind, however, that because WooCommerce follows a Core+Extensions model, you’ll likely have to spend to add advanced features to your platform.
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5. Square Online Payment APIs & SDKs
Square Online Payment APIs and SDKs
Best for developers who want to connect an external eCommerce platform with Square.
The last option on the list here is Square’s own API (application programming interface). Square Online Payment APIs and SDKs allow you to build a custom connection between Square and any eCommerce platform you may use. If you use a popular eCommerce platform, you’ll likely find that this connection is already available in the app marketplace. However, if you use your own eCommerce solution, or one that is less popular, you may need to build your own connection. By connecting your eCommerce platform and Square, you can use Square to serve as both your gateway and your payments processor.
You’re going to need programming and coding skills to make this work for you. Or, more likely, you’ll have to find a developer to do the work for you.
Square Online Payment APIs & SDKs Pricing
Square Online Payment APIs and SDKs are free for developers to use.
Square Online Payment APIs & SDKs Features
Square’s APIs and SDKs are not easy to use. You need to have developer skills in order to add Square to another site.
Square Online Payment APIs and SDKs give you access to a few different features. Here are the most important ones:
- Accept Recurring Transactions
- Accept Multiparty Transactions
- Digital Wallet Support
- PCI Compliance
Customer support is available in the form of documentation and a developer-specific email address. You can also chat with other developers on Slack, ask for help on Stack Overflow, or find answers in the developer blog.
The primary drawback to this resource is the amount of work it takes to implement. This is not something that the average seller can set up in an afternoon. What’s more, most merchants find that they don’t need to use the APIs and SDKs to build a connection with Square. At this point, nearly every major software platform in the eCommerce industry already offers an integration with Square, making these APIs and SDKs fairly redundant for most sellers.
When To Use Square Online Payment APIs & SDKs
Square’s API is a great option if you need a way to connect Square with your eCommerce platform, and if you already have a solid grounding in web technology and programming. However, if you don’t know your way around an API already, I suggest sticking to a pre-built solution. There are plenty available, after all!
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Which eCommerce Integration Is Right For You?
Different merchants have different needs. So, what’s right for one online store will not necessarily be right for the next.
Now that we’ve explored each of the best eCommerce integrations that work with Square, it’s time to make a judgment call: Which is the right option for you?
BigCommerce works well for merchants who want an all-inclusive option so they can better focus on their businesses. Ecwid is a great option for merchants who want ease of use at a low cost, and Weebly is great for merchants who like Square Online Store, but want to also accept payments through other processors. We recommend WooCommerce to merchants who feel comfortable with code, but don’t want to build a site completely from scratch. And Square’s API will give you the most freedom, but you’ll have to have the technical knowledge or the budget to hire a developer in order to use it.
As always, you know your business best, and so you know what solution will fit. Compare the options, be aware of shortcomings, and know that there are always multiple options out there.
Do you have experience using Square with any of these eCommerce options? Leave a comment! We’d love to hear from you!
A Last Look At Our Top Picks
Summary - Best for sellers that want to build a site from scratch and need a scalable solution.
Summary - Best for small stores that want to sell primarily online.
Summary - Best for small sellers who want an easy-to-use and versatile website builder.
Summary - Best for businesses that want a free, open-source solution and don't mind a technical challenge.
- Square Online Payment APIs and SDKs
Summary - Best for developers who want to connect an external eCommerce platform with Square.