Square and Shopify offer user-friendly point-of-sale (POS) software, online store and ecommerce functionality, and integrated payment processing with industry-leading omnichannel and contactless payment tools. If you’re comparing Shopify vs Square, it’s likely you’re looking to sell online or need a multichannel sales tool for online and in-person sales.
Shopify: Best if ecommerce is the backbone of your business or you’re serious about online sales.
Square: Best if your primary sales channel is brick-and-mortar and you need fundamental online store functionality.
Shopify vs Square At-a-Glance
Ecommerce-focused businesses, large retailers, complex inventories
New or small businesses, brick and mortar shops, businesses on a budget
Ecommerce software monthly fee
$9–$299, monthly billing
$0–$72, annual billing
Available sales channels
Shopify site, add “buy” buttons to an existing site, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, eBay, Walmart, mobile POS, in-store
Square Online store, payment links, add checkout to an existing site, Facebook, Instagram, mobile POS, in-store, local delivery
App/ extension marketplace
POS software monthly fee
$0–$89, monthly billing
$0–$60, monthly billing, custom plans available
Retail, restaurants, appointment, and general-purpose
Payment processing options
Shopify Payments or connect a third-party processor for an additional fee
Must use Square Payments
Ease of use
24/7 phone support, community forum, help center, and resource library
Monday–Friday phone support, 24/7 automated chat support, seller community, and resource library
Why We Recommend Shopify for Online Sales
If ecommerce is the backbone of your business, choose Shopify. Its web builder, sales tools, and inventory management functions are more robust. While Square Online can accommodate curbside pickup orders and occasional online sales, it has limited inventory management tools and overall basic functionality that a scaling ecommerce business could quickly outgrow.
Why Square Is Best for Brick and Mortar Businesses
However, Square does offer a free solution, top-rated POS apps, and solutions for industries outside of retail, including restaurants and appointment-based businesses. Affordable, user-friendly software with tons of add-ons makes Square our top-recommended POS system for small businesses, and the best choice for most storefronts that don’t need robust ecommerce functionality.
Most Affordable: Square
Both Shopify and Square offer affordable solutions. However, only Square offers an entirely free online store and point-of-sale (POS) system. Anyone can sign up for a free Square account and start selling through an online store or smartphone in minutes.
Shopify vs Square Pricing
Monthly POS subscription
Monthly ecommerce subscription
Card reader pricing
Terminal and register pricing
$229 (iPad not included)
Card-present transaction fees
2.4% - 2.7%
2.5% + 10 cents - 2.6% + 10 cents
Ecommerce transaction fees
2.4% + 30 cents - 2.7% + 30 cents
2.9% + 30 cents
Both Shopify and Square offer:
- Month-to-month billing
- Discounted processing fees for high-volume sellers
- Several pricing plans and add-ons so you can customize your solution as your business grows
Shopify offers tiered software plans for ecommerce stores and two options for POS. Square offers multiple free POS and online store options with optional upgrades. However, Square also offers solutions (like payroll, loyalty programs, and team management) that you can add and remove as needed. Learn more in our full breakdown of Square’s pricing and fees.
For more information on Square’s ecommerce features, read our full Square Online Store review.
Best for Ecommerce: Shopify
Best for most ecommerce businesses, online retailers, and growing multichannel retailers
Best for storefronts needing a simple online presence
Domain, hosting, SSL certificate included in all plans
Domain, hosting, SSL certificate included in all plans. Custom domain only for paid plans
70+ professional templates, free and paid options. Full access to HTML and CSS to customize
Several templates, mobile-friendly design, limited customization options
ShopPay, over 100 gateway integrations, accept Apple Pay, Google Pay, and all major credit cards
Square Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and all major credit cards.
Up to 88% off DHL Express, UPS, and USPS
Up to 55% off US shipping rates
Built-in SEO, blogging tool, automated abandoned cart recovery, product reviews, email templates
Customer reviews, abandoned cart emails, email marketing, Facebook ads, customer messaging, and loyalty programs.
Both Shopify and Square offer templated web builders with a selection of themes, user-friendly order tracking and management, shipping discounts, marketing tools, and seamless integration with POS software. While Shopify is our pick for the best ecommerce platform and earned a 4.68 out of 5 in our evaluation, Square Online also made our list as the best free option, earning a score of 3.65 out of 5.
Why Shopify Is a Better Ecommerce Solution Than Square
When comparing Shopify vs Square just on ecommerce, Shopify offers by far the best ecommerce solution. It offers more templates, better customization options, sophisticated order management, detailed product pages and inventory tracking, more significant shipping discounts, and a streamlined checkout process.
If you are looking to start or scale an online retail business, Shopify is the best choice. If you’re ready to get started, follow our guide on how to set up a Shopify store.
When to Use Square Online
Square offers a user-friendly and economical solution for storefronts that want to add online ordering for shipping or pickup. Its product management features are relatively limited, especially if you have a large inventory or many variants. And Square Online is not as customizable as Shopify and does not offer as many built-in marketing features—and its ecommerce app marketplace is not as extensive.
However, Square does have seamless tools for customer communications, including messaging and automated order updates, seamless buy-online pickup in-store features, and options for local delivery. So, Square Online is a user-friendly, low-maintenance option for storefronts wanting a simple online presence.
Square Online also has a solution specific to restaurants and is one of our recommended restaurant online ordering systems.
If you want to get a website for your store up and running in a few minutes, follow our guide on how to set up a Square Online store.
Best for Multichannel Sales: Shopify
Growing retailers needing a feature-rich multichannel solution
New and small businesses wanting a free solution
Unlimited products, variants, and collections; multi-location inventory with transfer options; demand forecasting and detailed reports
Unlimited products and categories; multi-location inventory with transfer options; demand forecasting
Show in-store availability on product pages; email carts for browse-in-store, buy online; in-store QR codes that bring shoppers to product pages
Cross-location returns and exchanges
Buy online, pickup in-store, buy online return in-store; buy in-store ship to customer, traditional ecommerce
Buy online, pick up in-store; buy online with local delivery
Both Shopify and Square offer some of the best multi-channel sales tools on the market for small businesses with seamlessly integrated ecommerce and POS solutions. Shopify tops our recommended multi-channel POS systems list with a score of 4.8 out of 5. However, Square offers a great value with free and low-cost solutions. It earned a 4.1 out of 5 in our evaluation of multi-channel POS systems.
Shopify Offers More Sophisticated Multi-Channel Features
Shopify enables retailers to offer a truly seamless shopping experience, eliminating the barriers between online and in-store functions—like order fulfillment and delivery, inventory, and marketing.
When Square Would Be Right For Your Business
While Shopify offers the best solution for most multichannel retailers, Square could be a good choice for new and small businesses on a budget, especially if your focus is brick and mortar instead of online sales.
Square also has one key advantage over Shopify: its industry-specific products. While Shopify is designed just for retailers, Square also has solutions for food and beverage businesses, appointment-based businesses, an all-purpose POS, and a retail solution.
So, Square would be a better multi-channel solution for food and beverage businesses like cafes or food trucks or appointment-based businesses like spas, salons, or other health and beauty providers.
Best for Brick-and-Mortar Businesses: Square
Square Is Best for Most Storefronts, Offering Many Different POS Products
In general, Square offers the best POS systems for small businesses. The Shopify vs Square comparison is no exception. In our evaluation of the best POS systems, Square earned a 4.48 out of 5, narrowly beating Shopify which earned a 4.47 out of 5.
Square’s POS offers the best value because anyone can create a free account to start selling in just a few minutes. Square also has a few standout features, including a more reliable offline mode and a user-friendly digital receipt process that automatically collects customer feedback.
Learn more in our full review of Square POS.
Square’s industry-specific Square for Retail product tops our list of the best retail POS systems—ahead of Shopify with a score of 4.58 out of 5, where Shopify earned a 4.48. Square for Retail’s low price point ($0–$60) and user-friendly back-office features make it the best choice.
See more in our full Square for Retail review.
Shopify POS and POS Pro Is Best for Businesses Using Shopify Ecommerce
If you have an ecommerce business through Shopify, using the connected Shopify POS is by far your best option. All of your data and transactions will seamlessly sync between online and in-person. Plus, you can use Shopify POS for free on your smartphone or tablet. Shopify’s free POS is ideal for Shopify ecommerce businesses that need a POS for pop-up sales or events.
Learn more about Shopify’s POS features in our complete Shopify POS review.
Best for Mobile Payments: Square
Best for online businesses expanding into mobile sales
Best for most individuals and new businesses needing a mobile sales solution
POS app pricing
Free POS app available only with ecommerce subscription
Several free mobile POS apps are available.
One mobile card reader option
Multiple card reader options
iOS and Android devices
iOS, Android, and Square devices
Card-present transaction fee
2.6% + 10 cents
Shopify and Square both offer payment processing services that allow small businesses to accept card payments online and in-person without applying for a traditional merchant account. They both provide predictable fees with no contracts, monthly minimums, or cancellation charges.
Square and Shopify offer discounts for high-volume sellers, options for customers to store payment methods, and mobile card readers. While Shopify Payments is tied to its ecommerce and POS products (and requires a subscription), Square offers a standalone payment solution for mobile, in-store, and online. Square’s payment processing is our favorite payment processor for small businesses, earning a score of 4.61 out of 5, compared to Shopify which scored 4.36.
Square offers a more flexible solution with industry-specific features, a more stable offline mode, and more hardware options for mobile payments. See more in our guide to the best mobile POS apps.
Square Mobile Card Readers
Square Reader for Magstripe
Square Reader for Contactless and Chip
First free, additional $10
$299 or $27 per month for 12 months
Available with lightning or audio jack input. Accepts payments via magstripe (swiped).
Connects via Bluetooth. Accepts payments via EMV (chip), or NFC (Apple Pay, Google Pay).
All-in-one credit card machine with POS, card reader, and receipt printer.
Learn more in our full Square Payments review.
Shopify Mobile Card Readers
Square and Shopify both offer user-friendly POS, ecommerce, and payment processing solutions. Shopify has more sophisticated ecommerce tools, making it a better fit for online and multichannel businesses. Meanwhile, Square offers a free POS and mobile app that are great for businesses that primarily sell in-person.