Importing products

Updated on 20-October-2016 at 10:16 AM

Business Catalyst End of life announcement - find out more details.

This article describes how you can setup your CSV file to bulk import your Business Catalyst products.

The first step is to download the Import Template file. To do this, select E-Commerce > Products, and then click Import Products.

Note: It is recommended that you use the import template provided for your site as this will include any custom product options, such as attributes and variations.

Click Download Import Template.

You'll notice this is downloaded as a .xls file, this will be converted to as CSV file when we save the spreadsheet.

Open the template file. There are a number of sheets available that you can use as a template for importing your products (example, simple imports with the minimum requirements to import a product. For the purpose of this article, we will be using Sheet 6 which includes all product options.

Note: Delete all the sample product content (rows 2-39), leaving the column headings (row 1) in place.

Populate the columns with your product information. Ensure that you specify a unique product code for each new product in the first column. Below is a description of each field:

    Unique product identifier. Can also be displayed in the online shop.
  • NAME
    Name of the product.
    Product description. This field accepts both text and HTML input.
    Example format:
    <strong>By Neal Boortz, John Linder</strong><br><br>
    The small image is the image displayed for a product when customers are browsing and viewing a list of products. When customer click on the product to see its details then the large image is shown. Enter the path to the image file.
    Example format:
    The large image is the image displayed when a customer selects a product from the list of products in a catalog to view its details. Enter the path to the image file.
    Example format:

    Catalog(s) the product will be added to. Use semi-colons to divide catalogs.
    Example format:
    The Sell price is what customers are charged. When defining a price you must put the currency first followed by a backslash then price.
    Example format:
    The Recommended Retail Price is for display only. You do not have to provide prices, however if you provide a Recommended Retail price then a Sell Price must also be provided otherwise price is ignored.
    Example format:
    Tax code that will be applied to the product. Currency/Country must be defined.
    Example format:
  • SEO friendly URL
    The SEO friendly product name which is part of the URL associated to the product.
    Example format:
  • Grouping Product Codes
    You can group products together during the import process. You must ensure that your import file is setup correctly so products are grouped together correctly.
    • 1) If 5 products are to be grouped together, you must provide grouping information in these columns for the 5th product only. That is the first 4 products are imported first, then the 5th is imported and then it's possible to group all 5 together. The two grouping columns for the first 4 products in your import file should be empty. For the 5th product which will appear after the first 4 products in your import file you can then provide grouping information. Products can only be grouped together after they have all been imported.

    • 2) Products are grouped by their Product Code. Simply provide two or more product codes that need to be grouped. Separate product codes by a semi-colon, e.g. ABC-123;ABC-124 and place in the Grouping Product Codes column

    • 3) The order in which the Product Codes appear is the order in which they will appear in the drop down. To make a product default, i.e. the selected item in the grouping drop down, simply append an asterix (*) at the end of the Product Code.

    • 4) The column Grouping Product Descriptions is the description of the products within a group. Whenever products are grouped together you must provide a short description for each one within the group. For example when 3 t-shirts are grouped their short description within the group can be their size, e.g. Small, Medium and Large.Ideally there should equal number of descriptions in this column as there are products being grouped. If a description is not provided then the product code is used.

    Example format:
  • Grouping Product Descriptions
    Product group description. Can be displayed on online shop.
  • Supplier CRM ID
    If you need to track sales and commission for products sold then you can provide the supplier's CRM ID and the commission percentage that should be recorded for each product within an order.
    The Supplier CRM ID can be retrieved from the title bar when viewing a supplier's record in the "Customer" section.
    As commission information is recorded with each product within an order, if the commission rate changes, you will continue to have access to past commission for past orders.
    Example format:
  • Supplier Commision Percentage
    See Supplier CRM ID above for details. If you do not wish to provide Supplier CRM ID and Commission Percentage information, your import file must still contain these columns but they can be empty
    Example format:
  • Weight/Order
    Enter a Weight for each product if you wish to use your own custom ordering of products within a catalog. Products with a higher weight are displayed first. When customers browse products these are displayed by weight and then alphabetical order. If you do not provide a weight then products are displayed in alphabetical order. Other ordering options such as by price and newest to oldest are also available.
    Example format:
  • Related Products
    Related products column enables you to relate one or more products to another product. This option is useful if you wish to up sell or cross sell. For example you can relate a car charger and hands-free kit to a mobile phone and have these displayed to a customer when they view the mobile phone. To relate a product to another product simply enter its product code in this column.
    To relate more than one product to a product then separate each product code using a semi-colon (;). Please note that a product must already be imported into the system before it can be related to another product.
    Example format:
  • Product Weight
    Use these columns to assign a weight and size to your products. If you are outside of US, UK or Canada use Grams and Millimeters. Otherwise use Ounces and Inches. Assigned dimensions to products is optional.
    When you assign a weight and size to your products you can take advantage of 2 types of shipping options. The first type is those that you enter in yourself. By providing product dimensions the system is able to display relevant shipping options taking into account the total weight and volume of the products in a customer's shopping cart. The 2nd type of shipping options are called
    Integrated Shipping. This is where the system is able to query a 3rd party shipping company such as USPS, FedEx or Australia Post in real-time to get an approximate shipping charge and add this to the order
    If you do not provide a value for these columns, then the product is assumed to have no weight or volume and is not counted towards the total weight/volume of products in the cart. Equally any shipping option without weight or volume restrictions is always offered to customers as a valid way to ship the products.
  • Product Width
    See Product Weight above.
  • Keywords
    You can provide one or more tags for this product in order to enable customers to find it more easily via the Product Search module.
  • Unit Type
    The Unit Type is only used for display purposes. You have the option to display this value to your customers when the browse through your online shop.
  • Min Units
    You have the option to display this value to your customers when they browse through your online shop. Customers will not be able to purchase fewer than the configured number of units
  • Max Units
    You have the option to display this value to your customers when they browse through your online shop. Customers will not be able to purchase more than the configured number of units.
  • In Stock
    Number of items in stock. This is used with the Inventory control feature. See Manage Product Inventory 
  • On Order
    Number of items on order. This is used with the Inventory control feature. See Manage Product Inventory 
  • Re-Order Threshold
    Users responsible for this product will be notified when stock level reaches this value.
  • Control Inventory
    Enable or disable inventory for the product. Y for Yes or N for No.
  • Can Pre-Order
    Allow pre-ordering for product. Y for Yes or N for No.
  • Custom 1
    Can be used to display additional information about product and displayed on product layout using {tag_custom1}
  • Custom 2
    Can be used to display additional information about product and displayed on product layout using {tag_custom2}
  • Custom 3
    Can be used to display additional information about product and displayed on product layout using {tag_custom3}
  • Custom 4
    Can be used to display additional information about product and displayed on product layout using {tag_custom4}
  • Poplets
    This column allows you to define any number of preview images for each product. Preview images are automatically resized and then shown at full size when the customer clicks on them. To use this featuresimply add the path of each image. Separate each poplet with a semi-colon.
    Example format:
  • Enabled
    When importing products you can choose to have them disabled or enabled. Leaving this column empty will import products as enabled. To disable it enter N for No into this column.
    Disabled products do not appear in your online shop.
  • Capture Details
    Use this option if you want your customers to provide specific details or instructions for a product when purchasing it. This option will display a text box for the customer to enter instructions in when viewing the details of a product in your online shop. Leaving this column empty will set a default value of False to this column. To enable this option enter Y for Yes or to disable enter N for No.
  • Download Limit Count
    If this is an e-product then you can limit how many times a customer can download this product after they have purchased it. Leave empty for no limit or if not applicable.
  • Limit Downloads to Original IP Address
    You can limit whether this product can be downloaded from a location other than where it was originally purchased from. To enable this enter Y for Yes in the Limit Downloads to Original IP Address column
  • On Sale?
    If this product is on sale enter Y for Yes. When a product is on sale, its retail price will be striked out for anyone looking at it via your online shop. E.g. Was: $199 Now Only: $99!
  • Hide If Out of Stock
    #By default when a product is out of stock it will still appear in your online shop. However when any customer adds this product to their cart they will receive an out-of-stock notification and the product will not be added. Selecting this option will hide any product that is currently out of stock. For this option to take effect you must also enable 'Control Inventory' and disable 'Can Pre-Order'
  • Attributes
    Attributes are a powerful way to capture special instructions for a given product. Unlike product grouping where each option in the group is related to a different product, attribute values are just instructional. You can create any number of attribute groups for a product. E.g. if you have a t-shirt then the attribute groups may be Size (small, medium, large), Color (red, green, blue), Type (short sleeve, long sleeve), Gender (womens, mens) and so forth.
    Each attribute group can be displayed as a drop down, radio or check box list or even a textbox in your online shop. Each attribute can optionally have a title, separate values in a group by comma (,) and separate groups by a semi-colon (;)
    Example with titles:
    color:green,yellow,black;size:small,medium,large;type:short sleeve,long sleeve
    Example without titles:
    green,yellow,black;small,medium,large;short sleeve,long sleeve
    More advanced uses of attributes is to give each attribute value a price and/or image:
    Image and price are optional. If providing price for other currencies simply separate with |, e.g. green|/Image1.gif|US/12.99|AU/15.99. Do not use following characters in attribute names and titles: semi-colon (;), colon (:), comma (,) and pipe (|)
  • Is Gift Voucher
    If this product is a gift voucher, then enter Y for Yes. When a gift voucher product is purchased via your online shop the buyer will be promoted to enter in the recipient's details. When the recipient receives the gift voucher they'll be able to shop in your online shop and pay for the goods up to the value of the gift voucher.
  • Enable Drop Shipping
    By enabling drop shipping you effectively rely on 3rd parties to fulfil and ship this product when it is purchased from your online shop. When using this option you must also choose a Supplier for this product by entering a Supplier CRM ID. Enter Y for Yes and N for No
  • Product Height
    See Product Weight above.
  • Product Depth
    See Product Weight above.
  • Exclude From Search Results
    Enter Y for Yes to have this product excluded from the site search feature built into this system as well as from the sitemap.xml file submitted to the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Live.
  • Product Title
    Normally the name of the product is used for the title of the page when your customers view your products. However you can override this and provide a separate product title that contains a richer set of keywords to ensure better search engine optimization
    #Use these columns to assign wholesale prices and tax codes for each product. Wholesale price uses the same price as the retail price. You must provide a consumer sell price if you assign a wholesale price. Set consumer sell price to $0 if not applicable.
    Use this column to enable recurrance on any given product. If this value is set to anything other than once, then when this product is purchased, the system will create subsequent recurring orders with this product in it.
    Default value for this column is 1 and can be omitted. 1 - once, 2 - daily, 3 - weekly, 4 - fortnightly, 5 - monthly, 6 - quarterly, 7 - half yearly and 8 - yearly
    Note: When utilizing recurring orders, you will need to use a gateway that supports recurrance. See Supported payment gateways.
    Set this column if you wish to recurrance to stop after so many cycles. For example if you are selling a product for 3-easy payments of $99, then you would set this value to 3. Alternatively leave blank for recurrance to continue indefinitely or until you stop it manually.
    This value represents the number of items the product should be charged in addition to the initial invoice/charge. To achieve 3-easy payments, enter a value of 2 which will entail the initial invoice and 2 additional invoices created accordingly to the cycle type frequency that you set.
  • Product URL
    This column is ignored. It is only available to ensure that an exported file can afterwards be imported
  • Product Affiliate URL
    This column is ignored. It is only available to ensure that an exported file can afterwards be imported
  • Variations Enabled
    You can enable (and generate) variations for a product by setting Variations Enabled to Y.
    This will automatically generate the corresponding variations for that product, using the attributes defined in the Attributes filed as ?required? (*) and having ?stock enabled? (Y).
    For example, if the Attributes field is: "Size*|5|Y:Small|,Medium|,Large|;Color*|5|Y:Red|,Blue|,Green|"  and variations will be generated for all combinations made of sizes and colors: Small;Red, Small;Blue, Small:Green, Medium;Small, etc.
    You can update properties for an existing variation by using a corresponding variation row in the import file. A variation row is just like a product row, but it is identified by the values set in the Product Code and Variation Options columns. The Product Code is the identifier of the master product for that variation. The Variation Options identify the options composing the variation for that master product.
    If Variation Options are present in a row, then that row will update the product variation matching those options, for the given Product Code. Variation Options is a string of options separated by semicolon in the order they appear in Attributes field: e.g. Small;Red.
    In the provided sample, all rows except the first one are variation rows. For example the second row has Product Code=ABC-123 and Variation Options=Small;Red which means it will update the variation for size Small and color Red for product ABC-123. The properties that can be updated for a variation are: In Stock, On Order, Enabled and Variation Code.
  • Variation Code
    See Variations Enabled above.
  • Variation Options
    See Variations Enabled above.
  • Role Responsible 
    You can provide the role that will be notified when the product is about to expire or the product stock is approaching the Low Stock notification limit (defined in column Y - Re-order Threshold)
  • Product Meta Description
    You can use this field to enter a product description (less than 160 characters is recommended) that will be shown as description meta data when the product page is visited.

Note: For the best experience using Business Catalyst we recommend creating a maximum of 5000 products with 20 product attributes (per product)