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If you’re a Canadian trying to choose which website building and hosting platform is right for you, there are a ton of options to choose from such as WordPress, Wix, Weebly, GoDaddy, Squarespace and more. We’ll focus on Squarespace as our platform of choice.
Not only does Squarespace have beautiful mobile-friendly templates, the websites are easy to manage and come with 24/7 support. Squarespace is a hosted solution, meaning unlike WordPress, you do not have to have separate website hosting to install and use the app.
But if you’re a Canadian e-commerce site, you may be looking beyond a beautiful frontend. You need a platform that can help you manage your orders and scale your sales as you grow.
As a Canadian company, you know you need solutions that will work for you, whether that’s the ability to adjust to local currency, or ship via local services, like Canada Post.
If you’re wondering what Squarespace offers Canadian e-commerce businesses, here’s a simple yet comprehensive guide on everything you need to know.
Here’s a summary of the most popular questions Canadian merchants ask before starting an e-commerce store with Squarespace:
- Can I use a .ca domain name? YES
- Can I display details in metric terms? YES
- Can I ensure compliance with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation with Squarespace emails?YES
- Can I run my store in Canadian currency? YES
- Can I add retail sales tax like HST/GST/QST/PST? YES
- Can I control sales tax by province? YES
- Can I automate emails after purchase if I’m using Canada Post? YES
Connecting Your .ca Domain
You can register a .com or .ca domain name through Squarespace, you can register through a third-party provider, such as NameCheap, or you can use an existing domain you own and connect it to your site using domain mapping.
Once completed, your domain will stay registered with the host, but will connect to your Squarespace site.
Of course, if you prefer, you can choose from 200+ TLD’s (including .com, .biz. mobi and more) right on Squarespace.
Basic vs Advanced Commerce Tiers
As you are setting up your Squarespace site, be aware that you have two choices when it comes to plans for e-commerce: Basic and Advanced.
The Basic plan is perfect for small businesses who may not need more advanced shipping and marketing integrations. Basic offers, among other things:
- Checkout on your domain
- Customer accounts
- Local and regional shipping
- No Squarespace transaction fees
Whereas the Advanced plan is more suited for larger e-commerce stores that fill many orders and may need more robust marketing and shipping integrations. Advanced offers:
- Gift cards
- Automatic discounts
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Subscription products
No matter which tier you choose, you have the opportunity to choose between either annual or monthly billing. The upside to annual, of course, is a lower overall cost and the ability register a free custom domain for a year.
Once you’ve decided on your plan, you’ll be pleased by all the Canadian-specific features Squarespace offers to Canadian e-commerce vendors.
Here’s how Squarespace gives Canadian-focused companies the exact tools they need to do business online in Canada:
Standardization for the Canadian Market
Go Metric with Ease
Changing to the metric system is easy on Squarespace. This allows your customers to see product details like weight or size dimensions in metric terms (kilograms, centimetres, etc.).
This is easily accessed in the Home Menu. Under Settings, click Language and Region, scroll to Measurement Standard and select Metric from the drop-down.
Ensure Compliance with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation
Unlike other regions, Canada has tough anti-spam laws, so if you are based in Canada, and you have a newsletter subscribe option at the point of checkout, you will need to check that you do not automatically enable customers into your email communications.
This ensures you are in compliance with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation. The permissions are easy enough to adjust, by going to Checkout settings and scrolling down to Newsletter. Simply uncheck Enable mailing list opt-in by default.
Adjust Your Store Currency
Squarespace supports Canadian currency, which makes it easy to show your pricing in Canadian dollars for your Canadian clients. Simply connect Commerce to your payment processor which is linked to a Canadian bank account.
If you happen to sell to an international audience, you can easily select a different currency from the drop-down menu.
Taxes and Payment Processing
Add Federal and Provincial Taxes to Orders
Squarespace allows you to ensure you are charging the correct amount of tax according to each province. You can find tax details by clicking from the Home menu to Commerce, and then Taxes.
To change tax for each province, hover over the Country and click on Add Province. You can choose each province from the drop-down menu, then enter and save the tax rate.
You can even opt to show tax-inclusive pricing, meaning the price your customers see will already include the tax, and the customers will pay the listed price at checkout.
Once again, from the Home menu, simply click on Commerce, Taxes, and check the Tax is Included in Product Prices box before hitting save.
That means you can accept payment methods from anywhere in the world, so long as they are supported on either or both of these platforms, making it easier for you to reach an international audience, and process payments related to their purchases.
Note that it isn’t possible to set up recurring payments on PayPal (for example, if you have a subscription model), but you can do this via Stripe on the Squarespace platform.
Both Stripe and PayPal are available to Canadian residents.
Shipping Made Easy
Squarespace has multiple ways to set up shipping rates. You can choose between flat rate, weight-based, or free shipping options.
Ship within Canada and Beyond
Shipping zones allow you to limit where your product ships to, and allows you to set your fees based on the delivery location.
Once you’ve set up shipping zones, your customers will be able to see their shipping options when they enter their shipping address.
For each shipping option you choose, you’ll also need to choose one or more shipping zones.
This sounds complicated, but think of it like this: if you choose flat rate, and want to charge $5 to ship anywhere in Canada, and $10 anywhere else in the world, you’ll want to create two shipping zones:
- One flat-rate option for shipping zones set to Canada
- One flat-rate option set to the rest of the world
Create Regional or Local Shipping Zones and Shipping Options
In a service that’s only available to Canadian and US vendors, you can limit shipping to specific states or provinces.
To limit the provinces (or states) you ship to, go to Edit Flat Rate and, next to Canada select Edit.
Uncheck all the provinces shipping won’t be available to.
When you select a province, the shipping zone will apply to all postal codes within the province automatically, but this can be adjusted to ship to only specific postal codes within the province.
This can only be done, however, if you are on the Squarespace Commerce Advanced Plan.
For Flat Rate or Depending on Shipping, remember to click on Shipping Zones to limit where you ship orders, or create location-based shipping fees.
In the Commerce Panel, shipping rates will display in the order you add them.
However, for your customer, shipping rates will display in ascending order, according to price, giving them the cheapest option first.
You can add new shipping options to your store by simply clicking Home > Commerce > Shipping and then clicking Add Shipping Option.
From here, you have the option to choose Flat Rate or Depending on Weight.
Carrier Calculated is unfortunately not available to Canadians at this time, it is only available for domestic shipments within the United States with USPS, UPS and FedEx.
Fulfill a Pending Order
Once an order has been placed, your business will need to fulfill it. Squarespace allows you to print labels for your orders via their integration with Shipstation.
You can fulfill orders in three different ways, depending on the product:
- Physical Products can be marked as fulfilled, with the option to send a fulfillment notification including a tracking number.
- Service Products can be marked as fulfilled, with the option to send a fulfillment notification.
- Digital Products or Gift Cards are fulfilled automatically
When you’re ready to ship a physical product, select Pending Orders from the Home > Commerce > Orders menu. In the Order Summary, once you’ve shipped, you can send an Order Fulfilled email via the Send Order Fulfilled Notification (if it is checked).
You can also add a tracking number in the Tracking Number box. This allows you to add tracking numbers with your shipping notification email, so that your customers can track their package once it’s been shipped.
You can even add a Canada Post tracking number to the email easily, as it is a recognized carrier, alongside DHL, FedEx, UPS, and USPS.
Because Canada Post is a recognized carrier, your customer will get a clickable link that allows them to track their package with ease.
Easy After Purchase Follow-Up
Customize Order Emails
Once your customer has purchased a product from your store, they’ll receive a customized order email, alerting them to details relating to their order. This is easily customized, allowing for your brand identity to shine through in the email header and footer.
Subject line, title, and message can also all be customized. The tracking number will appear in the Order Fulfilled notification, so your customer will be able to see, for example, the shipping option chosen (whether its DHL, Canada Post, or another recognized shipping company) and click through to track their order (so long as it’s from a recognized carrier).
Automating Emails After Purchase
If your customers opted into email correspondence, you can continue to follow up with them to announce upcoming sales, special offers, or other product news.
Squarespace allows you to automate campaigns known as “triggered sends”. There are two types of email automation possible through Squarespace:
- Subscriber Activity: sent once someone subscribes to your mailing list via a form on your site
- Commerce Automations: sent once someone purchases a product from your site
To create a draft and set up a campaign, go to your Campaigns dashboard and click Automations. You can set up rules to automate the emails you create according to both action and timing.
For example, once a customer purchases any 2 items (action), the system will send them a follow up email one day later (timing).
You can track your progress as well, by clicking on any automation to see how many people have received, opened, unsubscribed, or clicked a link as well.
From beginning to end, Squarespace makes it easier for Canadian e-commerce businesses to reach more clients online. With beautiful templates and drag and drop capabilities, it’s never been simpler to set up a site.
And now, with so many integrations for Canadian owned businesses, it’s even easier to do business online – and to keep in touch with clients – so your valued customers come back to purchase again and again.
To learn more about Squarespace or to get started with your e-commerce store, visit their site.