Ecommerce Growth

The Complete Guide to Comparing Square vs Shopify Features and Pricing

Ecommerce Growth

The Complete Guide to Comparing Square vs Shopify Features and Pricing

Square vs Shopify: Unraveling the Best for Your Business

When comparing Square vs Shopify, understand their primary differences and uses. Square is a payment processor first with no monthly fees unless you opt for add-ons. Shopify, on the other hand, charges a monthly fee but provides an all-in-one e-commerce solution, making it ideal for businesses focused on online sales. Whether you're searching for seamless payment processing or a robust online selling platform, understanding these distinctions is key.

Quick Comparison:

  • Square:
  • No monthly fee (except for add-ons)
  • Best for businesses needing simple payment processing
  • Shopify:
  • Monthly fee applies
  • Best for businesses focusing on online sales and needing comprehensive e-commerce tools

At First Pier, we specialize in helping e-commerce businesses navigate platforms like Shopify to grow and maximize their online potential.

I'm Steve Pogson, an e-commerce growth specialist with over 20 years of experience. I have a wealth of strategies to help you optimize your online store and retain customers. Let's delve into the details to find the perfect fit for your needs.

Square vs Shopify Features and Pricing Comparison - Square vs Shopify infographic venn_diagram

Square vs Shopify: Key Differences

When comparing Square vs Shopify, understand the key differences in pricing, contract requirements, features, scalability, and ease of onboarding. Let's break down each aspect to help you make an informed decision.

Pricing Comparison


  • Free Plan: Square offers a free plan with no monthly fees. You only pay transaction fees when you make a sale.
  • Transaction Fees: In-person transactions cost 2.6% + 10¢, while online transactions are 2.9% + 30¢.
  • Add-On Costs: Optional add-ons like Payroll or Loyalty programs range from $45 to $105 per month.


  • Monthly Fees: Shopify's plans start at $29/month for Basic Shopify, $79/month for the Shopify plan, and $299/month for Advanced Shopify.
  • Transaction Fees: In-person transactions cost 2.7% + 5¢, and online transactions are 2.9% + 30¢.
  • Cheaper Processing Rates: Higher-tier plans offer lower transaction fees, which can save money for high-volume businesses.

Contract Requirements


  • No Long-Term Contracts: Square operates on a month-to-month basis with no long-term commitments.
  • Hidden Fees: There are no hidden fees, making it transparent and straightforward.


  • Flexible Contract Options: Shopify offers month-to-month plans but also provides discounts for one-, two-, or three-year agreements.
  • Transparency: While Shopify's pricing is clear, higher-tier plans reduce transaction fees, which can be beneficial for growing businesses.

Features Overview


  • POS Systems: Square's POS is robust and flexible, supporting in-person and online sales without a monthly fee.
  • E-commerce Capabilities: Limited but functional, requiring a paid plan for advanced features.
  • Inventory Management: Basic inventory management is free, but advanced features are available in higher-tier plans.
  • Customer Support: Offers phone, email, live chat, and social media support.


  • POS Systems: Shopify POS is included in all plans, offering seamless integration with online stores.
  • E-commerce Capabilities: Comprehensive, with features for online, in-store, and social media sales.
  • Inventory Management: Extensive tools available across all plans, making it easy to track and manage stock.
  • Customer Support: 24/7 phone support, community forum, and resource library.



  • Flexibility: Ideal for small businesses or startups that want to scale without long-term commitments.
  • Add-Ons: Easily add features as your business grows, like Payroll or Loyalty programs.


  • Scalable Plans: Multiple tiers allow businesses to scale without losing essential features.
  • Advanced Features: Higher-tier plans offer more advanced tools and lower transaction fees, suitable for growing businesses.

Ease of Onboarding


  • User-Friendly: Quick and easy to set up, making it ideal for businesses new to POS systems.
  • No Contracts: Start accepting payments immediately without lengthy sign-up processes.


  • Beginner-Friendly: Drag-and-drop website builder simplifies the setup process.
  • Comprehensive Resources: Extensive tutorials and 24/7 support help new users get started quickly.

When deciding between Square vs Shopify, consider your business's specific needs and growth plans. Square offers flexibility and affordability, while Shopify provides comprehensive e-commerce tools and scalability.

POS system - Square vs Shopify

Next, let's dive into a detailed comparison of Square vs Shopify features, focusing on POS systems, e-commerce tools, payment processing, and hardware options.

Detailed Comparison of Square vs Shopify Features

POS Systems

Square POS and Shopify POS are both robust systems, but they cater to different needs.

Square POS is known for its simplicity and flexibility. It’s free to use and offers extensive features without locking you into a contract. You can accept all major credit cards and digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay. The interface is intuitive, making it easy for you and your staff to learn quickly. Customization options are rich, allowing you to manage your team, create loyalty programs, and send invoices seamlessly.

Shopify POS, on the other hand, integrates seamlessly with its e-commerce platform. This makes it ideal for businesses that sell both online and offline. Shopify POS offers scalable plans that grow with your business. Its interface is also user-friendly, but you may need to pay for higher-tier plans to unlock advanced features.

E-commerce Tools

When it comes to e-commerce tools, Shopify shines brightly. Shopify includes an online store in all its plans, offering a drag-and-drop builder that makes setting up a professional website easy. You get access to SEO tools to help your store rank higher in search results and multi-channel selling options to sell on social media and marketplaces.

Square also supports online sales through Square Online, but the features are more limited unless you opt for a paid plan. However, it’s a great option for businesses that primarily operate offline but want to add online sales capabilities.

Payment Processing

Square Payments and Shopify Payments both offer reliable payment processing, but their fee structures differ.

Square charges a flat rate of 2.6% + 10¢ per in-person transaction and 2.9% + 30¢ for online transactions. There are no monthly fees, which makes it a cost-effective solution for small businesses.

Shopify Payments' fees start at 2.7% + 5¢ for in-person transactions and 2.9% + 30¢ for online transactions. However, the rates get lower if you opt for higher-tier plans. Shopify also supports over 100 third-party payment gateways, giving you more flexibility.

Hardware Options

Both Square and Shopify offer a range of hardware options to suit different business needs.

Square provides a variety of hardware, from the free magstripe reader to more advanced options like the Square Terminal and Square Register. These devices are sleek and user-friendly, making them ideal for businesses of all sizes.

Shopify offers the Tap & Chip Card Reader and more advanced setups like the Shopify Retail Kit, which includes a barcode scanner and receipt printer. This hardware integrates seamlessly with Shopify POS, providing a smooth checkout experience.

Customer Support and User Reviews

Customer Support

When choosing between Square vs Shopify, customer support is a crucial factor. Both platforms offer various ways to get help, but they differ in availability and resources.

Square provides phone support from Monday to Friday. They also offer 24/7 automated chat support. This can be a lifesaver for quick, straightforward issues. Additionally, Square has a seller community and a resource library where users can find answers and connect with other sellers.

Shopify, on the other hand, excels in support availability. They offer 24/7 phone support, which means you can get live help anytime you need it. Shopify also has a community forum and a comprehensive resource library. These resources include video tutorials, webinars, and detailed guides on managing your store.

User Reviews

User reviews can provide valuable insights into the real-world performance of these platforms. Both Square and Shopify receive high ratings on platforms like G2, Capterra, and SoftwareAdvice.

Square consistently scores around 4.6 out of 5. Users appreciate its affordability and ease of use. Many reviews highlight the reliability of Square's POS system and the simplicity of its pricing structure.

Shopify also maintains strong ratings, typically ranging from 4.4 to 4.6 out of 5. Users often praise Shopify's extensive ecommerce tools and 24/7 support. The platform's scalability and advanced features make it a favorite among growing businesses.

Both platforms have their strengths. Square is often praised for its straightforward approach and reliable POS features, while Shopify is lauded for its robust ecommerce capabilities and round-the-clock support.

Frequently Asked Questions about Square vs Shopify

What is the difference between Square and Shopify?

Square and Shopify cater to different business needs and use cases.

Square is primarily a payment processor with a free Point of Sale (POS) system. It’s great for brick-and-mortar businesses that need a simple way to accept payments without monthly fees. You only pay transaction fees: 2.6% + 10¢ for in-person transactions and 2.9% + 30¢ for online transactions. Square also offers add-ons like Payroll and Loyalty, but these come at an extra cost.

Shopify, on the other hand, is an e-commerce platform first. It’s designed for businesses that want to sell online, in-store, or through social media. Shopify charges a monthly fee, starting from $29 for the Basic plan to $299 for the Advanced plan. Each plan includes an online store, unlimited products, and various e-commerce tools. For in-person sales, Shopify offers Shopify POS, which integrates seamlessly with its online store.

Can I switch from Square to Shopify?

Yes, you can switch from Square to Shopify. The process involves migrating your data, which can be done efficiently.

To start, you’ll need to:

  1. Export your data from Square.
  2. Import the data into Shopify.
  3. Verify the imported data to ensure everything is accurate.

Is Square good for dropshipping?

Square is not typically the go-to platform for dropshipping. It lacks built-in dropshipping integrations that are essential for managing a dropshipping business. However, you can use third-party apps to connect Square with dropshipping suppliers.

Shopify is generally better suited for dropshipping. It offers direct integrations with various dropshipping apps, making it easier to find and manage products. Shopify's extensive e-commerce tools also help you optimize your online store for dropshipping.


In summary, Square vs Shopify is a decision that hinges on your specific business needs. If you run a brick-and-mortar store and need a simple, cost-effective way to accept payments, Square is an excellent choice. Its free POS system and transparent pricing make it attractive for small businesses that don't want to commit to long-term contracts.

On the other hand, if your business is more focused on e-commerce or requires advanced features like comprehensive inventory management, Shopify is the way to go. Shopify's robust e-commerce tools, extensive app marketplace, and superior shipping and tax features give you the flexibility to grow your online presence effectively.

Final Recommendations:

  • Choose Square if you need a straightforward, no-contract solution for in-person sales and occasional online transactions.
  • Opt for Shopify if your primary focus is on building a scalable online store with integrated POS capabilities.

At First Pier, we specialize in Shopify development and optimization. Our team of experts can help you build a high-performance online store tailored to your business needs. Whether you're just starting or looking to scale, we have the expertise to guide you every step of the way.

Ready to take your online store to the next level? Contact us to learn more about our POS and inventory system implementation services. We’re here to help you succeed in your e-commerce journey.

Feel free to explore our other guides and resources to make the most informed decision for your business.

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