Braving the Ecommerce Jungle: How to Prepare for a Product Import

No e-commerce store would be complete without products! With some stores containing thousands of individual products, it’s no wonder that setting them up can be a stressful process. One way to ease that stress is to use a spreadsheet containing all their information, and doing one mass import. It can be a complicated process, but if done right, can save many hours of entering and creating each product by hand. All of the major e-commerce platforms offer product imports via a CSV (Comma-Separated Values), which is a file type that is easy to work with in excel. It’s essentially a table of vales and each value is separated by a comma character. In this post, we are going to cover how to prepare for a product import.

how to prepare for a product import
ABOVE: Here’s an example of how your spreadsheet might look when preparing it for import.

Try and get it Right the First Time

Product imports can take some time to do, so it’s best to not have to redo your past work. Make sure you double check all of the data you are entering into the CSV file. Of course, if you do get a few things wrong, it’ll be possible to fix them later by manually going into the product and changing the value, or by doing another import, but getting it right the first time can save a lot of time and energy.

First Do a Test Import

Volusion Update
Above: A screenshot of Volusion’s product import page.

Something to keep in mind is that you do not have to fill in every field for the first import. If you do fill out every field, it could make the file very large (and thus take a long time to re-upload if you need to make changes). Finding and debugging errors in such a large excel file will be much harder than finding errors in a smaller file. That’s why it’s important to first do a test import of just one file. Having a large file might cause timeout errors on some of the platforms, which can be frustrating. For example, Volusion has a maximum file upload size of 2MB. Be mindful of the maximum upload size for your platform, and avoid future headaches.

What Information to Have

For your first product import it’s good to have the basic product information: Title, Price, Category, Features, Size, and SKU. This is the basic information you need to create a product. You can always add the other information in another import.

Our team here at Border7 has been doing product imports for years, if you would like assistance with importing your products, or would like any other web design services, we would be happy to give you a free estimate.