Ecommerce: Importing Products

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If you have an existing list of products that you would like to import into the store, you can use the Import Product action. This may be useful if you add or update multiple products at a time, making the process more efficient.

CSV File Details

First ensure that your file containing all items for import is saved in the correct CSV format.

Note: CSV (comma separated value) is a plain text format. We suggest using Excel, Google Docs, or OpenOffice to create this file; just ensure it is saved with “.csv.”

Each line in your CSV should represent specific properties about a certain product, customer, or item (depending on what you are importing) and should be separated by the same delimiter (semicolon, comma, or tabulation). The first line of the file can contain categories (e.g. sku; name; quantity), alternatively, this can be left blank. When importing, you can select “Skip first line” and this line will be skipped.

Regardless of whether you include the categories or leave the first line blank, ensure you list categories according to the enabled categories in the import settings. As well, ensure the category order within your file matches the category order in the import settings.

Formatting Numbers

When importing numbers into your store ensure that the decimal mark is a dot (.) and that the number does not contain a thousand separators.

Note: using a comma as a separator can cause decimals to round to the nearest integer.

Line Separators

To separate the lines in your CSV file you can use one the following:

  • \r\n – Windows
  • \n – Unix, Linux, MacOS X
  • \r – MacOS

Delimiters

The delimiters separate the data columns and the same delimiter should be used for all items in the file. The supported CSV value separators/delimiters are: semicolon, comma, tabulation.

Ensure you select the appropriate delimiter from the dropdown in the import settings.

Character Encoding

The ecommerce system supports over 10 charsets, but we suggest using the default encoding setting (UTF-8) to import your products. If your entire CSV is in English, your settings should be turned to this default and you don’t need to do anything. If your CSV includes non-English characters, you may need to specify the UTF-8 encoding.

Ensure you select the appropriate encoding from the “Character Encoding” dropdown in the import settings.

Note: when exporting a CSV file and using Excel, if characters show incorrectly, you may be using a non-English version of excel. To view properly, set the UTF-8 delimiter.

Importing

Open your store editor, select Catalog, then Products, and click “Import Products.”

Import Settings

Once you select “Import Products” you will be brought to the settings page where you can select specifics.

Delimiter

Use the dropdown to select the delimiter used in your CSV file.

Character Encoding

Use the dropdown to select the encoding used in your CSV file.

Import Columns

On the import settings page, select the relevant categories for your imported file.

  • Name: Product name
    • Required: Yes
  • SKU: Product SKU
    • Required: Yes
  • Description: Product description
    • Required: No/Optional
  • Categories
    • Category 1: First category name (e.g. shirts)
      • Required: No/Optional
    • Category 2: Second category name
      • Required: No/Optional
    • Category 3: Third category name
      • Required: No/Optional
  • Image URL: Product image URL
    • Required: No/Optional
  • Weight: Product weight
    • Required: No/Optional
  • Price: Product price
    • Required: No/Optional
  • “Compare to” price: Compare to price for the product
    • Required: No/Optional
  • Quantity: Product quantity in stock
    • Required: No/Optional
  • Enabled: Product availability (write “enabled” or “disabled”)
    • Required: No/Optional
  • Fixed shipping rate: Product shipping cost
    • Required: No/Optional
  • “Fixed shipping rate only” flag: Select if product has a fixed shipping rate only
    • Required: No/Optional
  • Shipping rate type: Add a specified type of shipping rate
    • Required: No/Optional
  • Shipping markup: Select this to add an additional shipping cost
    • Required: No/Optional
  • Flat rate shipping amount:
    • Required: No/Optional
  • Disabled shipping methods: Select this option to disable shipping methods
    • Required: No/Optional
  • Enabled shipping methods: Select this option to enable shipping methods
    • Required: No/Optional
  • UPC: Product UPC attribute
    • Required: No/Optional
  • Brand: Product brand attribute
    • Required: No/Optional
  • Page title: SEO field
    • Required: No/Optional
  • Meta description: SEO field
    • Required: No/Optional
  • Skip Columns: Select this option to skip up to three columns. You can enable this if you have columns that aren’t formatted properly, but don’t want to modify the field. The store will ignore relevant columns in the CSV file.
    • Required: No/Optional

Importing

Once you have the CSV properly set up, and have selected your settings and columns, you can click “Import.”

 

This process typically takes only a few minutes but may vary depending on the number of other imports occurring and server load.

Common Issues

Most issues related to the import are caused by either:

  • Invalid CSV format, or
  • Incorrect import settings according to the corresponding file.

If you have an issue when importing your file, please confirm the following:

  • Is your file in proper CSV format?
  • Does your file contain columns supported by the store?
  • Do columns that represent a numeric property (e.g. price) contain numbers and not text?
  • Have you enabled the import columns that match your CSV file?
  • Does the order of columns in your CSV file match the column order of the import settings?
  • Does the delimiter you used (e.g. comma) match the delimiter selected in the import settings?
  • Does the CSV encoding (e.g. UTF-8) match the character coding selected in the import settings?

Errors

You may see the following errors during import:

Tips and Troubleshooting

  • If you have an Excel spreadsheet containing your data, this can’t be uploaded, but you can convert this to CSV by clicking “Save as” and choosing the “CSV’ format. You do need to ensure that the contents meet the format specifications of the CSV so read above to ensure the file will properly import.
  • You can also import products using X-Cart and LiteCommerce. Simply click the appropriate tab in the import options.
  • You can’t import product options or categories using a CSV format, as these options are too complex. You can import using the X-Cart format, however.
  • If you are seeing duplicates after importing, you may have listed an identical product with a different SKU than what was previously in your store. When importing, the system scans the SKU and searches for unique instances and adds those to the store as brand-new products/customers/etc. Ensure these SKU numbers perfectly match identical items already in the system to prevent duplication. Excel may cut off leading zeros (e.g. if you have two separate products, one with the SKU 50 and one with the SKU 050, Excel may convert the second to 50) so ensure you check the file before importing.
  • If images fail to import, check that the URL is accessible on the web without a password or login, and that the URL leads directly to an image file, not an HTML page containing the image.

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