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Intro to catalog import

Import is the fastest way to upload a catalog into your store or make bulk changes to products and categories. Using import, you can save yourself a lot of time and update thousands of items in minutes, and you don't need any advanced technical skills for that.

There are many cases when importing can be helpful:

  • First-time store owners can swiftly add products from a supplier or move catalog from another ecommerce platform like Shopify, WooCommerce, or Etsy.
  • Existing store owners can add new products along with updating hundreds of products with new info like stock levels, bulk discounts, or individual shipping settings.

If you’re an experienced import user or you’ve tried importing a file into your store and got errors, refer right to the Formatting CSV files article and to the List of supported columns. Also, see our set of sample CSV files

If you’re new to catalog import, read on to grab the concept of this powerful tool. You can upload test products to see how it works for yourself.

To perform mass updates to all or selected products (their prices, stocks, dimensions, and many other properties), you can also use Bulk Product Editor and Mass Update. Or you can manage products and categories in bulk via your store’s API. Learn more about import alternatives.

How importing works

In a few words, you need to upload an industry-standard CSV file filled with catalog information into your store. Once the import is complete, products and categories will be created or updated without you having to move a finger.

CSV files are widely used in ecommerce to import and export data in text form. Their basic structure includes an easy-to-manage series of lines with values. You can create and edit your CSV files in any spreadsheet editor like Google Sheets, Excel, or Numbers.

For example, a CSV file may look like this in a spreadsheet editor:

Intro_to_import.png

Then, after you save the file as .csv and import to your store, it converts into a product:

Intro_to_catalog_import__2_.png

Works like magic! As you can see, the product name is “Black Dress”, its SKU is “A0001”, it costs $25, etc. — exactly as specified in the file.

Please note that for a successful import, you must build your files according to the CSV structure used in your store. See our Formatting CSV files article for the detailed explanation.

With import, you can add or update any data you want:

  • A full list of product details (descriptions, prices, images, attributes, etc.)
  • Product options, variations, and input fields
  • Product files (MP3, PDF, or any other downloadable files that you sell)
  • Store categories
  • Redirects for your Instant Site, and many more.

For everyone who is new to importing through CSV, we’ve created a list of case studies with step-by-step instructions. Look into them to learn how to create the file that you need.

Alternatives to catalog import

There are other ways to add or update products and categories in bulk. Along with catalog import, you can consider using the following options in your store:

  • Bulk Product Editor. This tool allows you to edit multiple properties for selected products and manage their categories. To enter Bulk Product Editor, go to the Catalog → Products page, tick the products you want to edit, and click Bulk Edit Selected. On the opened page, you will see information in a tabular form ready for editing.
  • Mass Update. This tool allows you to instantly enable, disable, or delete selected products, change prices, add ribbons and related products, etc. To use it, go to the Catalog → Products page, tick the products you want to edit, and click Mass Update on top of the page. You can then choose the action you want to apply from the dropdown.
  • Your store’s API. If you have programming skills, you can manage your catalog via your store’s API. Contact support to access the documentation.

Further reading

To try import yourself (for newbies):

Import reference:

Step-by-step guides:

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