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Importing and Exporting Products

Exporting and importing your products is the most efficient way to update your product catalog. Whether you're adding new products or making changes to existing ones, importing is the best way to make those changes in bulk. You can update options, images, inventory and even create categories.

Exporting your products is also a great way to backup your catalog. All export templates include details like the product name, but you can get more granular by building an export template from scratch or customizing a copy of one to suit your needs.

 
 

Getting Started

You'll need access to a spreadsheet program that supports either CSV or XML files such as Excel, Numbers or Google Sheets. We recommend exporting your files as a CSV if you plan on importing the exported data back into BigCommerce. Any other file type will not import.

Specific fields will be required when importing data into BigCommerce. For example, when creating new products, the CSV will need Product Name and Price fields. When importing product images, their file names are restricted to certain characters and are case-sensitive. Additionally, image files must be JPEG/JPG, GIF or PNG. They cannot be TIFF, BMP, or PDF file formats. When importing SKUs, the CSV file must have the Product SKU and Stock Level fields.

These are just a few examples of the requirements you'll need to be aware of before importing and exporting. If you have any issues, see Troubleshooting | Data Import/Export for help with common scenarios that can occur. If you have trouble with options, see Importing Product Options.

 
 

Choosing an Export Template

An export template determines what product information you are exporting. All export templates will include details like the product name, but you can include additional details like price, dimensions, Google Shopping details, and so forth.

BigCommerce comes with a few product export templates built in:

  • Bulk Edit (recommended) — the bulk edit template was made for updating your product information. It includes the majority of exportable fields and has specifically named columns that let you skip steps in the importing process.
  • Default — the default template includes only basic product details such as name, weight, description, and price.

You can also create custom export templates, and select which of the exportable fields you want it to include.

 
 

Exporting Products

1. Go to ProductsExport.

2. Select your export settings.

Export Products showing Export Templates and File Format Options

  • Template — We recommend Bulk Edit if you are not using a custom template.
  • File Format — You can export your file as a CSV or XML. We recommend CSV as any other file type will not import.
  • Save export to the server for later download? — Select this option to save the file to your exports folder in WebDAV (recommended for exporting 1000+ products).

3. Click Continue, then click Export my products to a CSV file in the pop-up window. The export will begin to process.

Export Products popup

4. When the export is complete, select Download my Products file. The file will be saved to your computer, usually in your Downloads folder.

Download Products pop up

Once you've exported the CSV, you can then edit the spreadsheet to fit your needs, such as creating categories, adding options, updating product images or adding additional fields.

 

Make a backup! After exporting your products, it's a good idea to make a copy of the original export as a backup. This way, if something goes wrong during an import, you can quickly restore your products to their previous state.

 
 

Importing Products

 

Be careful when importing products. The options for Delete existing images and Delete existing downloads should not be enabled unless you know what you are doing. These settings can delete your existing product images and digital product files. There is no way to recover these files from BigCommerce. We recommend keeping a local backup of your files or using the Rewind app for automatic backups.

1. Go to ProductImport.

2. Fill out your preferred settings under Import Options. We recommend the following:

Import Options settings

  • File was exported using the 'Bulk Edit' template — Select this if you exported your file using the Bulk Edit template, are using the sample CSV provided above, or are using the same column names listed in the table of importable fields below. This will preselect the rest of the Import Details settings and allow you to bypass the Matching Fields step.
  • Overwrite existing products — If checked, your products will be updated upon import. Since this is generally why you're importing your products, you should select this.
  • Delete existing images and Delete existing downloads (not recommended) — These will delete all of your product images and digital product files. Once they are deleted, there is no way to recover them from BigCommerce.
  • Detect product categories from CSV file — Enable this if you want the import to auto-detect category names. If you neglected to fill in the Category field in your CSV, however, you can opt to have all of your products get added to a category in this list.
  • Ignore blank values during import (recommended) — Unchecking this setting will delete the data associated with any blank field in your import file. For example, if you left a product’s description blank and unchecked Ignore blanks (so that blanks are not ignored), the product’s description would be deleted from your store.
  • Default Option Type — This is used if you’re trying to [create options] and failed to specify the option type correctly. It will allow you to select a single type of option to use, but we recommend specifying the option type in your CSV file.

You can typically leave the following settings alone. They are used if you are uploading a spreadsheet and need to specify the import settings.

  • File contains headers — Does the file contain column headings?
  • Field Separator — what character is used to separate the fields?
  • Field Enclosure — what character is used to tie phrases together (such as "Socks and Shoes")?

3. Under the Import Products via CSV section, upload your CSV file directly from your computer by browsing for it.

Import Products via CSV settings

4. Click Next when done.

5. Make sure all of the data you're importing has been matched to its equivalent setting in BigCommerce. If you selected Bulk Edit Re-import, you can skip this step. For a list of available fields, see Table of Exportable/Importable Fields.

Link import field step

 

Pro Tip! Ignore means that the data hasn't been matched and is used with the 'Ignore blank values during import' setting. Unchecking this setting will delete the data associated with any blank field in your import file. We recommend leaving the setting checked.

6. Click Next when done.

7. Click Start Import to begin importing your products. When the import is complete, you will see an import summary.

Import Summary

Click More Information to see any warnings generated during the import.

Import Summary with More Information links

 
 

Creating New Products Via Import

Whether you're creating new products from scratch or importing a CSV file from a distributor, importing is the fastest way to add new products to your store. To import new products, you will need to list their details in a CSV file. See Import/Export Overview for more information about CSV files.

 

Need an example? You can use our sample template to get started. Feel free to leave out any columns that you don't need. As long as you have the required fields listed below, the file will import successfully.

 

Required Fields

To create a product with a CSV file, you must include the following fields (column headers):

  • Product Name
  • Category
  • Price
  • Weight (physical products only)
  • Track Inventory Value (set to none, by product, or By option, depending on how you intend to track inventory)

The following field must be blank or not included, or else the product will not be created.

  • Product ID

Import File Formatting

If you are creating an import file from scratch, you can use our sample template.

If you're using a third-party distributor's CSV, the distributor's CSV columns will not match up with BigCommerce's product attributes exactly. You will need to do one of the following to ensure your product data imports successfully.

  • Using the sample template as a guide, change your CSV's column headers to match the BigCommerce's column headers or
  • On Match Fields step, match the column header with the corresponding product attribute

Importing Tips

Here are a few tips on making sure your import runs smoothly.

  • To ensure a smooth import, don't import more than a few hundred products, SKUs, or images at a time. The less data there is to process (products, SKUs, rules, images), the quicker the import will run. An import with a lot of data is more likely to stall.
  • If you use the sample template, you can select Bulk Edit Reimport during the import process. This will preselect the recommended import settings and let you skip the Match Fields step.
 
 

Importing Product Options

To create product variants tied to product options, you will need to add sub-product SKUs or Rules with those attributes. The easiest process is to create the base product first, export it, then add the SKUs or Rules. See Importing Product Options for more information.

 
 

Importing Product Images

Including product images in your product import is the fastest way to attach images to your products. This can be accomplished in one of two ways:

  • If the images are already on the internet and you know the URL, you can import them using the image path in the CSV file.
  • If the photos are on your computer, we recommend uploading them through WebDAV instead.
 

Image Requirements

Images must meet the following requirements. Attempting to import or upload an image that does not meet these requirements can cause products not to have images.

  • Image file names are restricted to a-z, 0-9, - and _.
  • Image file names cannot contain any spaces or special characters.
  • Image file types must be JPEG/JPG, GIF or PNG. They cannot be TIFF, BMP, or PDF file formats.
  • The optimal size for your product images is 1280 x 1280 pixels. Other product images (like thumbnails) will be created from the original image you upload.

Using the Image Path

If your product images are already online, you can specify the full image path in your CSV file to import them along with your products.

Locate the column in your CSV for product images. If you are using the Bulk Edit template, this column will be called Product Image File - (#). If you are importing new products, be sure to leave the Product Image ID column blank.

CSV showing Product Image Columns

 

Be careful! When updating existing products, if your CSV contains product image IDs but no product image file information, the images tied to those products will be removed.

Enter the full path (such as http://oldstore.com/images/product-image.png) of the image for each product. Non-http URLs are not supported.

CSV Product Image column containing a full image path

To upload multiple images for a single product, create a new column with a heading of Product Image File - # (increasing the number each time you make a new column). To include any of the other information for that image (such as descriptions), make a new column with the appropriate heading and same number as the corresponding image.

For example, if you wanted to import a product with two images, you would create extra columns and label them:

  • Product Image ID - 2
  • Product Image File - 2
  • Product Image Description - 2

CSV showing multiple product image columns

When you are ready, import your products. If you are using a template other than Bulk Edit, match the Product Image field to the correct column on the Link Import Fields step of the import.

Link Import Field

Uploading through WebDAV

With the upload method, you will upload images from your computer to your store using WebDAV, then specify the image by file name in the CSV.

Begin by connecting to your store through WebDAV. Open the product_images folder followed by the import folder. Then drag and drop the images from your computer into the import folder.

Import folder containing sample images

In your product CSV, locate the column for product images. If you are using the Bulk Edit template, this column is called Product Image File - (#). Enter the file name (such as image.png) of the image file.

CSV file with a sample image name in the Product Image File column

 

Be careful! WebDAV is case-sensitive, so make sure that your file names (including the extension) match those in the import folder. Characters are restricted to a-z, 0-9, - and _.

To upload multiple images for a single product, create a new column with a heading of Product Image File - # (increasing the number each time you make a new column). To include any of the other information for that image (such as descriptions), make a new column with the appropriate heading and same number as the corresponding image.

CSV showing multiple product image columns

When you are ready, import your products. If you are using a template other than Bulk Edit, match the Product Image field to the correct column on the Link Import Fields step of the import.

Link Import Fields step

 
 

Exporting Specific Products

There are three ways to export specific products:

 

Select individual products

1. Go to ProductsView.

2. Click the checkbox to the left of the product or products you want to export.

Product selected in the View Products screen and the Choose an Action dropdown

3. Under Choose an Action, select Export These Products, then Confirm. You will be taken to the Export page.

 

Export products based on a search or view

1. Go to ProductsView.

2. If you already have a custom view, open it under Custom Views. If not, create one or click Search to perform an advanced search.

Custom View and Search buttons

3. Once your view or search results are up, go to Choose an Action and select Export These Products, then Confirm. Selecting individual products from this list will only export those products; otherwise, all products that came up in the view or search will be exported.

Choose an Action dropdown

 

Export products from a particular category

1. Go to ProductsProduct Categories.

2. Locate the category you want to export, and click ActionProducts.

Action menu with Products highlighted

3. Under Choose an Action, select Export These Products, then Confirm. Selecting individual products from this list will only export those products; otherwise, all products in that category will be exported.

Choose an Action dropdown

 
 

Creating a Custom Export Template

Customizing your template is the best way to ensure your product export has exactly what you want. You can build an export template from scratch or customize a copy of one to suit your needs.

We recommend using a copy of the Bulk Edit template and modifying it for your needs. This will let you bypass the settings and field mapping when you go to re-import it later.

To start, go to Advanced SettingsExport Templates. Use the Action menu to Create a Copy of the Bulk Edit template.

View Export Templates

Type a name for your template in the Template Details section and since this template will be for products, ensure Enable Products Exporting? is the only option selected under Export Options. Notice that the tabs listed along the top update with your selections.

Product export option

Customize the rest of the template settings to fit your needs. When you're ready, click the Products tab at the top to view the available export fields.

Products export fields

Go through and check or uncheck each field as needed. Click Save & Exit when you have made your changes. You can now export your data using your new template.

Custom Export Template

 
 

Table of Exportable/Importable Fields

Below is a table of all fields that are exportable and importable via a CSV using the Bulk Edit Template. If a field is not in the list below (such as bulk pricing), it can not be imported, exported, or created manually. Fields in bold are required or recommended.

See Manually Entered Fields for a list of fields that are not included in the Bulk Edit template but can still be added manually and re-imported.

FieldDescriptionFormat / Additional Information
Item TypeDefines the item as a Product, SKU, or RuleType in product for products, SKU for SKUs, and rule for product rules.
Product IDThe system-generated product identifier; cannot be created manuallyThis field is required for updates, but must be blank for creating new products.
Product NameThe name of your product; no two can be the same 
Product Type Defines whether the item is physical or digital (downloadable)Type in P for physical products, and D for downloadable products.
Product Code/SKUStock-keeping unit number you use for inventoryThis field is alphanumeric.
Bin Picking NumberIdentifies where in a warehouse the item is located 
Brand NameThe brand or manufacturer of a product 
Option SetThe option set name 
Option Set AlignDetermine whether the options are to the right or below the product imageType in right to display product options to the right of the product image, or below to display options beneath the product image.
Product DescriptionA description of your productThis field can contain text or HTML.
PriceYour product's base priceUse numbers only, but no units (like 24.99).
Cost PriceThe cost of the product for you (accounting purposes only)Use numbers only; no units.
Retail PriceThe retail price (MSRP); if entered, it will appear next to your base or sale priceUse numbers only; no units.
Sale PriceThe sale price; if entered, it will replace the base priceUse numbers only; no units.
Fixed Shipping CostThe price to ship one unit of your product; if entered, this internationally overrides any other shipping settingsUse numbers only; no units.
Free ShippingYour product will ship for free; if enabled, this intentionally overrides any other shipping settingsType in Y to enable free shipping, or N to disable free shipping on the product level.
Product WarrantyProduct warranty informationThis field can contain text or HTML.
Product WeightProduct weight (physical only)Use numbers only; no units.
Product WidthYour product's width for calculating shippingUse numbers only; no units.
Product HeightYour product's height for calculating shippingUse numbers only; no units.
Product DepthYour product's depth for calculating shippingUse numbers only; no units.
Allow Purchases?Allows the product to be purchased from your storeType in Y to allow the product to be purchased or pre-ordered, or N to indicate that the product cannot be purchased or pre-ordered on the storefront.
Product Visible?Allows the product to be visible in your storeType in Y to allow the product to be visible on the storefront, and N to disable product visibility.
Product AvailabilityA brief description of how long it takes for your product to shipUse text only.
Track InventoryEnable or disable inventory tracking on the product. If enabled, track by option or by productType in none to disable inventory tracking entirely, by product to track inventory on the product level, or by option to track inventory by SKU.
Current Stock LevelNumber of units in stock (only applies if tracking inventory)Use numbers only.
Low Stock LevelInventory level at which you are sent a notification to restock (only applies if tracking inventory)Use numbers only.
CategoryCategories and sub categories applied to productUse the format Category1; Category2/Subcategory1;Category2/Subcategory2. If your category name starts with /, denote it with \/ (like Mittens\/Gloves).
Product File - 1The file name of your downloadable product (downloadable products only)Use the file name and extention (like filename.pdf).
Product File Description - 1A description of your file 
Product File Max Downloads - 1The maximum number of times a single customer can download their purchaseUse numbers only.
Product File Expires After - 1The period after which the download link will not work for your customerUse # Days, # Weeks, # Months, # Years, or Never.
Product Image ID - 1The system-generated product image ID 
Product Image File - 1Image file name (if stored in WebDAV) or full URLUse the file name and extension, or the URL path (like imagename.jpg or http://fullurl.com/imagename.jpg)
Product Image Description - 1The alt tag for the product image 
Product Image Is Thumbnail - 1If there is more than one image for the product, specify one to be the thumbnailType in Y to select this image to be used as the product thumbnail, or N to deselect the image. You can only select one image per product.
Product Image Sort - 1If there is more than one image for the product, specify which order they should appear in (lower numbers appear earlier)Use whole numbers only.
Search KeywordsKeywords for your store's searchKeywords must be separated by commas.
Page TitleYour product's page title; will default to the product name if left blank 
Meta KeywordsMeta keywords; if left blank will default to those entered in the Website SettingsKeywords must be separated by commas.
Meta DescriptionMeta description; if left blank will default to what's entered in the Website Settings 
MYOB Asset AcctSettings if using MYOB 
MYOB Income AcctSettings if using MYOB 
MYOB Expense AcctSettings if using MYOB 
Product ConditionProduct condition for Google ShoppingType in New, Used, or Refurbished.
Show Product Condition?Show the product condition on your product pageType in Y to display the product condition field on the product page, or N to not display that field. 
Sort OrderThe order in which a product appears on a category page relative to other products; default is 0Use whole numbers only. You can use negative numbers.
Product Tax ClassThe tax class applied to a product
Product UPC/EANProduct's Universal Product Code (UPC) or European Article Number (EAN) 
Stop Processing RulesFor Rules, stop processing all rules placed below that ruleType in Y to stop processing rules, or N to continue to process rules.
Product URLThe relative path of your product's URL on your store; if left blank it will default to the product nameUse the format /new-relative-url/.
Redirect Old URL?If you change the product URL, you can select whether or not to create a 301 RedirectType in Y to create a 301 redirect, or N to not create a redirect from the old product URL.
GPS Global Trade Item NumberThe GTIN for the product; required for Google Shopping if not a custom product 
GPS Manufacturer Part NumberThe Manufacturer Part Number; required for Google Shopping if not a custom product 
GPS GenderThe intended gender for the product; required for some Google Shopping categories 
GPS Age GroupThe intended age group for the product; required for some Google Shopping categories 
GPS ColorThe color of the product; required for some Google Shopping categories 
GPS SizeThe size of the product; required for some Google Shopping categories 
GPS MaterialThe material of the product; required for some Google Shopping categories 
GPS PatternThe pattern of the product; required for some Google Shopping categories 
GPS Item Group IDA system-generated value for Google Shopping; leave blank if creating products 
GPS CategoryThe BigCommerce category mapped to the Google Shopping category you want to list toUse the format Category1/Subcategory.
GPS EnabledEnable or disable the product to be exported to Google ShoppingType in Y to enable Google Shopping, and N to disable Google Shopping.
Tax Provider Tax CodeProduct's unique tax ID; use only if you have automatic tax calculation enabled. See Charging Product-Specific Tax Rates 
Product Custom FieldsName of custom field=Name of value;Name of custom field #2=Name of value #2
Use the format name=value (like Color=Blue;Material=Cotton).

Manually Added Fields

The following fields are not included in the Bulk Edit template by default, but can be added manually and re-imported using Bulk Edit Re-Import. They will also be matched automatically in the Match Fields section.

FieldDescriptionFormat
Brand + NameThe brand or manufacturer name and the product name 
Calculated PriceThe calculated price shown on the storefront 
Product Not VisibleEnable to set the product as not visible in your storeUse Y for yes, and N for no.
Product InventoriedEnable to track the product for inventoryUse Y for yes, and N for no.
Date AddedThe date the product was added to the store.Use the format MM/DD/YYYY.
Date ModifiedThe date the product was last modified.Use the format MM/DD/YYYY.
Product File PathThe file location in WebDAV 
Product File Total DownloadsThe number of times the file has been downloaded 
Category DetailsThe category ID, Name and URL path 
Minimum Purchase QuantitySetting this value will enforce a minimum quantity limit, on a per-order basis, when customers are ordering this product from your storeUse numbers only.
Maximum Purchase QuantitySetting this value will enforce a maximum quantity limit, on a per-order basis, when customers are ordering this product from your storeUse numbers only.
Shipping GroupsProduct's unique ShipperHQ shipping group; only available if ShipperHQ is enabled 
Origin LocationsProduct's unique ShipperHQ origin group; only available if ShipperHQ is enabled 
Dimensional RulesProduct's unique ShipperHQ dimensional rule group; only available if ShipperHQ is enabled 
GPS Custom ItemEnable to indicate that the item custom-made (i.e. no UPC, MPN, or GTIN) for Google ShoppingType in 1 for a custom item, or 0 for a non-custom product.
 
 

FAQ

Can categories be created and updated via the API?

Yes. For information on creating and editing category information via the API, see our Developer Documentation.

How do I create a category with a product import?

A category is created when it is listed in the Category column when importing a product. If it is listed by itself, it will be created as a top-level category.

If your product category contains a / character, use \/ instead to avoid creating subcategories. For example, if you want to create a category labeled Sweaters/Hoodies, it should be formatted as Sweaters\/Hoodies.

Example of importing a product category with the CSV on the left and an image of the storefront on the right.

How do I put a product into multiple categories?

If your product belongs to multiple categories, they should be separated with a semi-colon (;) without a space. For example: Graphic Tees;Sale/Graphic Tees.

How do I put a product into a subcategory?

If your product belongs to a subcategory, list both the parent category and the subcategory, separated by a forward slash (/). Listing the subcategory by itself will create an additional top-level category by that name. For example: Accessories/Watches.

Can I export just my product SKUs?

Yes. Exporting SKUs is similar to exporting products. To get started, go to ProductsExport Product SKUs and select the SKU Inventory Management template.

Can I update SKU inventory and dimensions without exporting/importing all of my products?

Yes. Product SKUs can be exported and imported using the SKU Inventory Management template. It can be found under ProductsExport Product SKUs.

Your SKU import file must contain the Product SKU and Stock Level fields. Product Weight can be added manually by customizing the SKU Inventory Management template. Note that the maximum SKUs a product can have is 600 and as always, be sure to make a copy of your original export as a backup.

Why do I keep getting warnings after a successful import?

Some products may have been imported, however not all information may have imported successfully. This often occurs when the Track Inventory Value column has been left blank.

Be sure to set the value to none if you do not plan on tracking inventory for your products. Import warnings can also be caused by a change in the product. For example, a product's image may have been changed since it was last exported.

Can I import product videos?

YouTube videos cannot be imported or exported using a CSV file and can only be added via the control panel or API. Alternatively, product descriptions can include embedded videos and can be imported using a CSV file.

Why does Excel convert my SKUs into scientific notation?

See Troubleshooting | Data Import/Export to learn how to prevent Excel from making alterations to your CSV file.

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