How To Create Your Online Store With SpreadSimple


I’ve tried many e-commerce platforms like Shopify, Wix, WooCommerce, and Ecwid. But in the end, I decided to go with SpreadSimple – and I couldn’t be happier with my choice. Since you’re here, I suppose you also made the same decision? This post is about helping you create an online store with SpreadSimple. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can get your free SpreadSimple account or test drive the pro plan for 7-days (no credit card required) here.

Planning for a website.
Planning a website on a piece of paper.

What Is SpreadSimple?

In a few words, SpreadSimple is a website builder that lets you create websites using Google Sheets. It’s a service that lets you manage your inventory, prices, and other data straight from your spreadsheet! With this, you can create your own online store in as fast as 20 minutes with no coding knowledge required.

Is SpreadSimple Free?

You can create as many free websites as you wish with SpreadSimple. But you can also upgrade them to a pro plan for $13 per month for added features when you pay annually. Here’s the comparison between the free and pro account:

FreePro ($13 per month annually)
Responsive designAll free options
Light/dark themeRemove branding
SearchConnect custom domain
SortingVisible for search engines
FiltersSEO Settings: meta tags, favicon, preview image
PaginationAdd custom scripts and CSS
Content blocksAdd analytics and chat
Customizable cardsShopping cart
Instant update with Google SheetsPayPal checkout
Customizable SpreadSimple subdomainStripe checkout
Header & NavigationEmbed as widget to external website
Content pages (limited)Item details page
Markdown SupportCookie Popup
Content pages
Automation (webhooks and Zapier)
Pro add-ons (integrations)

As you may have now realized, creating our online store will require a pro plan. It’s an investment we have to make for our business. You can start your free trial here.

Creating Your SpreadSimple Online Store

To make this guide tangible, I will use my Chromebook Store as a case study for this post. Feel free to visit my site to get an idea of the finished product. If by any chance you have comments, suggestions, or questions about my online store, please do not hesitate to contact me here.

1. Sign up to SpreadSimple.

The first thing you should do, of course, is to go to SpreadSimple and click GET STARTED. Since our site is going to be powered by Google Sheets, you will need a Gmail account to sign in.

SpreadSimple requires a Google account to sign in.
SpreadSimple requires a Google account to sign in.

2. Choose a template or add an existing Google Sheet.

Once you’re in, create a new website by clicking the “+” button. You will be asked whether you want to start with a template or an existing Google spreadsheet. I personally went with the template since you can change the source sheet later – and I’m too lazy to do my own design.

Create a new website with a template.
Create a new website with a template.

3. Design

If you like designing your own website, SpreadSimple may underwhelm you. You will only have limited options to make your online store standout. Your site’s uniqueness will rely more on your photos and color combination. But if you love simplicity like I do, I’m sure this won’t bother you at all. Allow me to guide you through it.

Theme

This option allows you to pick between a light or dark theme. You can also use it to customize your website’s background color. For best results, always choose white.

SpreadSimple theme control panel.
SpreadSimple theme control panel.

Header

An image showing where is the header area of the website.
An image showing the header of the website.

The header is the long narrow stripe at the very top of your site. You can use this to:

  • Upload your brand logo.
  • Write a tagline.
  • Enable/disable compact menu.
  • Customize the colors of the menu button.
  • Choose to make the header background solid or transparent.

You can also disable your header if you want to.

SpreadSimple header control panel.
SpreadSimple header control panel.

Footer

Footer of Chromebook Store PH.
Chromebook Store PH’s footer.

The footer is the bottom most part of your website. This is the area where you usually want to place additional information about your company, such as:

  • Business and contact information.
  • Privacy policy.
  • Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Links to other pages and social media accounts.
SpreadSimple footer control panel.
SpreadSimple footer control panel.

SpreadSimple only provides a text box for this option. It’s up to you to customize it according to your needs. But if you like how mine looks, you can copy my text below and paste it into yours.

Copy my footer here:

#### Chat with us:
[Facebook Messenger](http://m.me/chromebookstoreph)

CHROMEBOOK STORE PH
Est 2019

Like us on [Facebook](http://fb.com/chromebookstoreph)

[About](https://chromebookstoreph.com/about-us) | [Contact](https://chromebookstoreph.com/contact-us) | [Testimonials](https://www.facebook.com/ChromebookStorePH/reviews/) | [Warranty](https://chromebookstoreph.com/warranty/) | [Privacy Policy](https://chromebookstoreph.com/privacy-policy) | [FAQ](https://chromebookstoreph.com/frequently-asked-questions)

Similar to the header, you can also toggle the footer off if it doesn’t apply to you.

Home page intro

An image showing the homepage intro area in SpreadSimple.
An image showing the home page intro area in SpreadSimple.

The home page intro is one of the most important parts of your website. It’s the face of your store. This is the area your customers will see first as they land on your site. Take time to craft a striking home page intro to give a good first impression. This option allows you to:

  • Write your store name.
  • Compose a one-liner spiel of what your store is all about.
  • Upload your logo and cover image.
  • Customize the cover layout and font colors.
The homepage intro control panel in SpreadSimple.
The homepage intro control panel in SpreadSimple.

Home page content

Home page content before main content (cards).
Home page content before product area (cards).
Home page content after main content (cards).
Home page content after product area (cards).

You can use the home page content to season your website with additional information – before and after the product area. It can serve as an introduction to your goods or give customers an extra call to action like filling up a reservation form. Similar to the footer, you will only see a text box for this option. Feel free to be creative and use it to better serve your customers. Leave them blank if you do not intend to use this option.

SpreadSimple Home page content control panel.
SpreadSimple Home Page Content control panel.

Here are my home page content texts if you wish to copy them:

Before cards:

## What is a Chromebook?

Chromebooks are super-fast and easy-to-use computers designed to help you be more productive. 
They run Chrome OS, a system that specializes in cloud tech, security, and anything Google. 

After cards:

### Did not find the Chromebook you are looking for? 
[Request for a Quotation](https://forms.gle/VexZfpHmKBiLPMJo6).

4. Content

The content tab is where you manage your item list and product details. This is the part where I spent most of my time when I was setting up my online store. It can be a little tricky for beginners. Though SpreadSimple provided a comprehensive guide for it, there’s still a learning curve to apply them properly. Don’t worry, this is why I wrote this article. I wish to help you create your SpreadSimple online store in a lesser time.

Source sheet

The overall idea is that your store’s product information is based and controlled via the Google spreadsheet. SpreadSimple’s content control panel simply extracts those data for better online presentation. Before we proceed, it is ideal to fill your source sheet with your product information first. There are two ways to do this.

Edit Google Sheet or Change source sheet.

The usual way:

  1. You can click on the “Edit Google Sheet”.
  2. Follow the guide I mentioned above.

Shortcut:

  1. Follow this link to access the spreadsheet I am already using.
  2. Go to file, make a copy, and name your spreadsheet.
  3. Copy your new sheet’s URL.
  4. Go to SpreadSimple content control panel and click on “Change Source Sheet”.
  5. Paste your sheet’s URL.
  6. Go back to the content tab again and click “Edit Google Sheet” to customize the content of your spreadsheet accordingly.

**If you encountered any issues with the link or the spreadsheet, you may contact me here.**

Notes about image and videos:

You will need third-party services to host your photos and videos. I use imgbb and YouTube. After you upload your media, copy and paste the source address into their corresponding cell on the spreadsheet. You can learn more about configuring your images in SpreadSimple here.

How I organized my media links in the spreadsheet.

You will save a lot of time and learning effort with this route. Yet, I still strongly recommend you find the opportunity to study how SpreadSimple works. This will help you be more in control of your website.

Items page

The items page tab helps you customize the looks of the products on the homepage of your website. This includes:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Specifications
  • Hero image
  • Badges
  • SKU
  • Buy now buttons
  • Variation
  • Stocks
  • Search filters
  • And many more.

See the attached images if you want to see my configuration:

SpreadSimple Item list config 1
SpreadSimple Item list config 2
SpreadSimple Item list config 3
SpreadSimple Item list config 4
SpreadSimple Item list config 5
SpreadSimple Item list config 6
SpreadSimple Item list config 7

Details page

You can enable the details page to present more product information. This option grants your items individual pages and gives your customers the avenue to learn about them in a deeper detail. Again, see the attached images to see my configuration:

SpreadSimple Details Page Config 1
SpreadSimple Details Page Config 2
SpreadSimple Details Page Config 3

5. Check out

Once you’re done with your products, it’s now time to configure the check-out process. On this tab you will be able to tweak the cart settings, forms, mode of shipping, fees, payment gateways, promo codes, receipts, notifications and automation. To give you an inspiration, here’s how my check-out page looks:

Chromebook Store PH check out page.
Chromebook Store PH’s check-out page.

Cart Settings

The cart settings take care of the overall look of your check-out page. Follow this link to learn how to configure your cart. But for time’s sake, you can also simply copy my configuration below:

SpreadSimple Cart Settings Config 1.
SpreadSimple Cart Settings Config 2
SpreadSimple Cart Settings Config 3.

Cart details text:

<b>Offer: [Extend warranty from 30 days to 1 year.</b>](http://https://chromebookstoreph.com/item/1-year-extended-warranty)
<br>
**Terms and Conditions:**
- The delivery fee is not included in the price. 
- We may open the box to comply with quality inspection protocols.
- Receipts are issued under KingdomRock Marketing (NON-VAT).
- Continuing means you agree with our [warranty policy.](https://chromebookstoreph.com/warranty)
<br>
Need help? [Chat with us](http://m.me/chromebookstoreph).
<br>

Success message text:

We received your order.<br>

Please follow the verification process: 

Step 1: Copy this code: OVCB<br>
Step 2: Paste and send it to our [Messenger](https://go.chromebookstoreph.com/chat).
Thank you!

The success message text is the prompt your customers will receive after they make the payment. It’s up to you what call to action you want for them. As for me, I wish my customers to send us a message via Facebook Messenger to better coordinate the shipment. Facebook does not allow Business Pages to contact people privately, so we instead ask them to contact us by sending a unique code.

Form Fields

Collect your customer’s information by modifying the order form. I’m confident that you won’t have trouble tweaking this on your own as this feature is pretty straight forward. But in case you want to do some advance modification, check this SpreadSimple order form field customization guide.

Shipping, Fees, and Payments

Configure your shipping method and fees here. You can also add taxes and set up your payment gateways. As much as I would like to help you all the way, this is the part where I let you go on your own. I didn’t enable these features except for the payment gateway because they don’t apply to us. We don’t have a fixed shipping rate, and taxes are already included in our prices. But here are the guides in case you wish to enable them:

Thus far, we have only activated PayPal. We use our website primarily to accept payments via credit and debit cards. If customers wish to pay through bank and mobile transfers, we’ll instruct them to transact with us via Facebook Messenger – that’s why we always have a chat button floating on the side.

One tip when setting up your payment gate: be sure to put it in “sandbox” mode first. This will allow you to test your payment option without using real money. Once you are happy with it, that’s the time you change it to “live” mode.

Promo Codes

This is a fairly new feature in SpreadSimple. It allows you to give special discounts to your customers. I personally haven’t used it yet. This option is a good welcome gift, or an incentive for loyal customers. Here’s the guide for setting up promo codes for your products.

Email Notifications

Get notified via email whenever a customer buys from your store. I strongly recommend you turn this feature on to help you track your orders efficiently. Here’s my configuration:

SpreadSimple Email Notification Config.
Email notification config.

I can’t remember if SpreadSimple already provides the email notification template. To be sure, here’s the text I use:

## You have a new order

Order #:  **{{orderId}}**
___
**Order information**
{{clientDetailsText}}
___
**Items ordered**
{{cartItemsText}}
___
**Taxes & fees:**  {{taxItemsText}}
**Shipping method:**  {{shippingMethodText}}
**Payment method:**  {{paymentMethod}}

## Total: {{totalAmountFormatted}}

Email Receipts

This feature is your customer’s version of email notification. They will receive an email about the summary of their order after they complete the payment process. Here’s how mine looks:

SpreadSimple Email Receipt Config.
Email receipt config.

Here’s the email receipt template I use:

## Thanks for your order!

Order #: {{orderId}}

#### Items Ordered

{{cartItemsText}}

Total: {{totalAmountFormatted}}

Name: {{client.name}}
Phone: {{client.phone}}
Email: {{client.email}}

Order notes: {{client.message}}

Check this guide if you wish to understand the email receipt feature better.

Webhooks

I’m already happy to automatically receive an email notification and, at the same time, send a receipt after a customer buys from our store. That’s the reason I didn’t use this feature. Webhooks allows you to do some advanced automation using Zapier, Make (formerly Integromat), and Albato. Through them, you have the option to get notified via other services like Trello instead of email. Not only that, you can also connect your email marketing account and have them add your new customer to a list. There are many more automations you can do with Webhooks. See the full guide on automation here.

Webhooks. Image courtesy of SpreadSimple.

6. Settings

I’ll go through this quickly. This tab is rather self-explanatory. Here you can change your website’s default language, build a widget, inject custom code, do search engine optimization, and apply a site wide password.

General

Where you select your website’s language.

Widget Settings

Here’s another cool feature in SpreadSimple. By enabling this setting, you can embed your online store on another website you already have. This is handy if you only intend to add an e-commerce service to an existing site, instead of having a full-blown stand-alone store. See the full guide on embedding a widget here.

Inject Custom Code

This setting allows you to add valid HTML tags, styles, and scripts to the <head> section, <body> start, and </body> end of your website. It gives your online store added functionality, like tracking your visitors, having a chat button, pop-ups, and more.

SEO

If you are knowledgeable about SEO, you can use this setting to make your online store more visible to search engines. Here you can add your favicon, hero image, meta title, and meta description. You can turn this off if you do not want your website to be found on search engines.

Site-wide Passwords

SpreadSimple also gives you the option to password protect your website. This feature is useful for private use, or when you offer a premium version of your service. See the full guide for site-wide password protection here.

7. Pages And Links

Your site is almost done! Now let’s add some supporting pages and links to your website. You can use Pages to provide more information about your business. Some examples are:

  • About us.
  • Privacy policy.
  • Contact information.
  • FAQs

As for Links, you can use them to tie your other accounts to your website, like:

  • Social media accounts.
  • Testimonials.
  • Booking forms.
  • Other stores.
SpreadSimple pages and links control panel.
SpreadSimple pages and links control panel.

8. Add-ons

Finally, SpreadSimple also has tons of add-ons to give your online store more power and flexibility. Here’s the complete list of add-ons (as of this writing). Check what applies to you:

Analytics

  • URL Replacement Tags – pass custom values via utm_ and var_ URL parameters and store them in user’s browser. Stored URL replacement tags can be useful for: personalized website experience, tracking the visit sources, pass a pre-defined value as a URL parameter to use it as the additional checkout data.
  • Google Analytics – lets you measure your advertising ROI as well as track your video, and social networking sites and applications.
  • Google Tag Manager – manage all your website tags without editing code.
  • Hotjar – a behavior analytics tool that analyses website use, providing feedback through tools such as heatmaps, session recordings, and surveys.
  • Facebook Pixel – collects data that helps you track conversions from Facebook ads, optimize ads, build targeted audiences for future ads, and remarket to people who have already taken some kind of action on your website.

Automation

  • Zapier – this integration allows you to catch the SpreadSimple orders in the Zapier platform and connect with more than 2000 apps.
  • Make (Formerly Integromat) – an automation online platform that allows you to automate your workflow.
  • Albato – lets you connect CRM, analytics, communications and other systems in 5 minutes.

CRM

  • Active Campaigncoming soon
  • Hubspot coming soon

Calendar

  • Calendlycoming soon

Chat

  • Intercom – a fundamentally new way for internet businesses to communicate with customers, personally.
  • Crisp – the all-in-one multichannel messaging platform that connects companies & customers.
  • Drift – use it for live chat for support, but it’s more focused on live chat for capturing and qualifying leads.
  • ActiveChat – improve and expand the self-service segment with smart virtual assistants that speak human language and constantly improve.

Checkout

  • External Checkout Action – this add-on allows you to send order form data to an external resource.

Content Management

  • WordPresscoming soon.
  • Notion Import – a note-taking software platform designed to help manage knowledge for greater efficiency and productivity.
  • Quickblog – gives bloggers and agencies an embedded, superfast, SEO-ready blog for their and clients’ websites.

E-commerce

  • Google Shoppingcoming soon.
  • ads.txt Builder – gives you more control over who is allowed to sell ads on your site and helps prevent counterfeit inventory from being presented to advertisers.

Email Marketing

  • Universal Email Subscription – add an email subscription form to the intro section and also as a popup.
  • MailChimp – a very popular email marketing platform.
  • Moosend – easily manage multiple email campaigns and mailing lists, as well as design and send responsive newsletters created using the built-in campaign editor.
  • SendFox – an email marketing solution that allows you to send mass emails out to your subscribers.
  • MailerLitecoming soon.

Feeds

  • RSS Feed – allows users and applications to access updates to websites in a standardized, computer-readable format.

Forms

  • Google Formscoming soon.
  • Airtable Forms coming soon.
  • Jotformcoming soon.
  • Typeformcoming soon.
  • Cognito Forms coming soon.
  • Paperformcoming soon.

Maps

  • Google Maps – Create real-world, real-time experiences with the latest Maps, Routes, and Places features from Google Maps Platform.
  • OSM Maps – OpenStreetMap is built by a community of mappers that contribute and maintain data about roads, trails, cafés, railway stations, and much more, all over the world.

Membership

  • Memberstack – lets you build members-only websites by setting membership plans, pricing and permissions for your existing website.

Messengers

  • WhatsApp (orders to chat) – increase your store conversions by allowing your customers to place orders on WhatsApp.

Payment Gateway

  • PayPal – a very popular payment gateway.
  • Stripe – a complete payment platform engineered for growth.
  • Razorpay – the leading payment solution in India that allows businesses to accept, process and disburse payments with its product suite.
  • Billplz – a Malaysian online payment platform that provides merchants with flexibility and affordability in their transactions.
  • Payplug – your French omnichannel payment solution.
  • Cash On Delivery – allows you to submit orders without payment.

Photo

  • Unsplash –  get royalty-free images.

Privacy

  • Cookies Banner – is a block which pops up on top of your website and warns your site visitors of the cookies’ usage.

Social Media

  • Twittercoming soon.

Video

  • YouTube – allows you to embed YouTube videos by placing the URLs in a column in your Google Sheet.
  • Vimeo – allows you to embed Vimeo videos.

What’s good is that the SpreadSimple team is continuously working on giving us more add-ons and features. Check out their Public Roadmap. You can also use it to suggest a feature you need.

9. Publish

Play around your online store before you proceed to this last step. Check if everything is working, especially the payment gateway. Once you are happy with your website, go ahead and hit publish.

Change domain name

The last step is to change your online store’s domain name. If not, your store domain will be named something like 12345.spread.name. To change your domain, you must first buy a domain name. I got mine from NameCheap. I recommend you get one with privacy protection. No need for SSL. SpreadSimple will already provide it for you.

Now that you have your own domain name, follow this guide on changing your domain name, and you’re done. Congratulations!

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Jed Chan

Jed is trained by The World Needs A Father movement, and has been a full-time, work-at-home husband and dad since 2017. He is an internet entrepreneur, a blogger, an investor, a small group leader, an avid reader, and a former financial consultant. He currently lives somewhere in the mountains of Cavite, Philippines, enjoying his time as a father.

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