How I Built A Fully Functioning Online Store in 1 Hour (Complete Instructions)

By Tim •  Updated: 02/10/21 •  6 min read
build an online store in 1 hour

I recently found an amazingly easy tool that can be used to build websites using Google Sheets to manage the content.

This was revolutionary in my mind. I’ve dabbled with other tools, and plugins and found them to be overwhelming, to say the least. So without further adieu, let’s create an online store that sells custom made posters. The content you sell could literally be anything, this just happens to be the actual store that I built.

Take a look here to see the Custom Made Poster Store .

Step 1 – Google Account

Make sure you have a Free Google Account set up. Click here if you don’t.

Step 2 – Sign Up for SpreadSimple

You will need a Pro account. You can either sign up for a monthly account, or pay for the year. I would suggest you buy a lifetime account so that you only pay once and can use it forever. Be sure to use your Google account email that you had, or made in the previous step. This will make things easier for the next step.

Click here, and do a search for SpreadSimple in the App Sumo marketplace, and you can get the lifetime plan for $59.00 US. This is the only cost you’ll have in this tutorial.

Step 3 – Create Your Base Store

So the first 2 steps were easy and now we are ready to actually create our store.

Log into your SpreadSimple Dashboard, and choose

You will now have an option to choose a template or create your site from scratch. I chose the Furniture Store template and then modified it to suit my needs.

spreadsimple 2

Step 4 – Customize Your Google Sheet

The Google sheet is made automatically for you and placed into your account. You’ll go there and modify the sheet to suit your needs. Below is the original sheet, and the ways that I modified it to suit our needs.

This is the sheet that was created for me in my account.

google sheets1
Google sheet before modification.

If you compare the sheet above with the sheet below, you can see that I kept the id column (even though we really don’t need it, I thought it may come in handy someday), I changed Category to Location, and added Style, I left the extra image columns although we don’t use them, and changed Description to Information. You can modify any way you want to suit your needs for your store.

google sheets2
This is the modified sheet.

Step 5 – Set the Store Settings in SpreadSimple

Our store is almost complete.

Take a look below at the settings I made for this store. The basic settings were almost perfect, I just played around and found the settings I liked best and suited our needs.

Ensure you’re on the Content tab, as shown below, and start with the items list, You can see your changes on the right as you make them.

spreadsimple settings1

As we set the Price, Images, and Specifications, we see them instantly applied.

spreadsimple settings 2

Set your Details button, you can call it whatever you want. I also made sure that the button links to the Details page, and that opens up for the customer who is shopping in the store.

spreadsimpe setting3

To make the shopping experience easier, I made sure to enable search, filters, and sorting.

spreadsimple settings 4

Make sure to save your work as your going.

spreadsimple settings5

Now I modified the Details page that the customer can see when they press the Details button. Make sure that it’s enabled.

spreadsimple settings6

Modify and customize your Buy Now button, and make sure it’s linked to the built-in order form, that’s automatically created in the shopping cart.

spreadsimple settings7

That’s about it for this part – you can play around and change or add other options to suit your needs.

Step 6 – Stand Alone or Embed?

If you want to create your store as a stand-alone store, that’s very easy to do. In this case, the store was being embedded into an existing WordPress site. I just copied the code, from the Settings tab, and pasted it into the WordPress Page, and our store was instantly active (we just needed to hook up a payment processor – see below for instructions).

spreadsimple embed code

Step 7 – Put Your Images On A Fast Server

I kept the dimensions for our images at 600×600 pixels. That’s what the originals from the Template store were. In fact, I actually used the original pic as my base, and just added the map images to it. It worked for our needs and was the easiest solution.

This may be the trickiest part if you are unable to work with images.

Images are created in Photoshop, exported as jpegs, and optimized with Kraken, then uploaded to Imgur.

The first images were just shared from Google drive, but this proved to be way too slow and was not even loading on some phones. So I made a Free account at Imgur and uploaded and linked them from there. Way faster loading. No issues now.

Imgur

Step 8 – Connect Your Payment Processor

The store owner in this case used Stripe to process payments. That is actually the easiest and most cost-effective way to do it. You can get an account for Free, and all you pay is the credit card processing fees when you make a sale.

SpreadSimple also has a Paypal option, which many people really like (I like it as a shopper), but we chose not to use Paypal in this case. Stripe works perfectly and is easy.

stripe 1

Go to the Add-ons tab and click on the Stripe box.

stripe 2

Ensure that the Enabled button is clicked.

stripe 3

If you have any issues, they have excellent instructions. Just click on the Connection guide.

You will need your Publishable and Secret key from Stripe.

Step 9 – Market Your Products and Make Some Sales

Once your process is set up – test it out.

My recommendation is to add a product for $1.00 and go through the process of buying it for yourself.

Once you have it nailed down, you can start letting people know you have an online store.

Make sales and have fun!!

The owner of the Online Poster store in this example did a contest on Instagram for a couple days and made about 15 sales. Off to a good start!!

If you want me to set up a store for you feel free to contact me.

Tim