What We'll Cover
Importing your products is the fastest way to create or update products in bulk. A product import involves having all of your product information in a CSV file, which can be edited as a spreadsheet. Upon import, your column headers will be matched with their corresponding product attributes in BigCommerce, and the product information will be updated accordingly.
Uses for Importing Products
Importing products has a variety of uses. Click any of the steps below for a walkthrough:
- Updating your products
- Creating new products
- Creating options and option sets for your products
- Transferring products from one BigCommerce store to another
- Backing up your products
Trying to delete products? Products cannot be deleted with an import. They must be deleted through the control panel.
Creating an Import Template
If you are updating, backing up, or transferring your products, we recommend exporting your products using the Bulk Edit template. This will provide you with the same column headers used by BigCommerce, which will streamline the update process. You can get this template by exporting your existing products, or feel free to use the sample template provided below. You can also create a custom export/import template by making a copy of the Bulk Edit template.
Sample Product Import CSV: bulk-edit-product-import.csv
Your product import file must have the following fields when creating or updating your product.
- Product ID — If updating a product already in BigCommerce, this must be included. If creating a new product, it must be blank.
- Product Name — No two products can have the same name.
- Product Type — Set to D when creating or updating a digital product, P when creating or updating a physical product.
- Category — If assigning multiple categories, use this format: Category1/Subcategory;Category2;. See Importing Product Categories for additional information.
- Allow Purchase (recommended) — Set to Y to ensure the product can be purchased.
Track Inventory Value (recommended) — If your template has the Track Inventory Value column and it is blank, enter none to avoid an error on import.
Importing Your Products
The steps below will guide you through importing your products into BigCommerce.
Before beginning, make sure that you have a backup (an unedited Bulk Edit export) of your products. Since the import will change all of your product information, you want to have a backup copy without the changes so that you can put things back to how they were should things go awry.
1. Go to Product › Import.
2. Fill out your preferred settings under Import Details. We recommend the following:
- Bulk Edit Re-import — 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.
- 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.
- Category — We recommend Detect category names from the CSV file. 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.
- Override existing records — 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.
- Ignore blanks? (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.
3. Under the File Details section next to Import File, upload your CSV file directly from your computer by browsing for it.
Import failing? Attempting to upload too large a file can cause the import to fail. If your file is larger than 512 MB, try breaking it up into smaller files.
4. You can typically leave the additional File Details settings alone. They are used if you are uploading a non-spreadsheet CSV and need to specify the import settings.
- Use a file already on the server — If you have a larger file or a slow internet connection, you can connect to WebDAV and save your file to the import_files folder, then select this option. Files can be up to 512 MB.
- Contains Headers? — Does the file contain column headings?
- Field Separator — In non-spreadsheet CSVs, what punctuation is used to separate the fields?
- Field Enclosure — In non-spreadsheet CSVs, what punctuation is used to tie phrases together (e.g. "Socks and Shoes")?
5. Click Next when done.
Matching Import Fields
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.
Ignore means that the data hasn't been matched.
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.
Click More Information to see any warnings generated during the import.
Q: Why do my imports keep getting stuck?
A stuck import can be caused by the following:
- The CSV being used is larger that 512 MB and/or you have a slow internet connection. In this situation, it's best to break up the CSV into smaller files and save those files to the import_files folder through WebDAV. Then, use the Use a file already on the server option during import.
- The CSV being used has an unusually high number of blank image columns. In this situation, edit the CSV file and delete the duplicate columns.
- The CSV contains base64 encoded images in the Product Description column. In this situation, it's best to use html markup to reference your images in the product description.
Q: 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.
Table of Importable Fields
Below is a table of all fields that are importable via the CSV using the Bulk Edit Template. If a field is not in the list below (e.g. 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.
|Item Type||Defines the item as a Product, SKU, or Rule||Product = product; SKU = SKU, Rule = rule|
|Product ID||The system-generated product identifier; cannot be created manually||Required for updates; must be blank for creating new products|
|Product Name||The name of your product; no two can be the same|
|Product Type||Defines whether the item is physical or digital (downloadable)||P = physical; D = downloadable|
|Product Code/SKU||Stock-keeping unit number you use for inventory||Alphanumeric|
|Bin Picking Number||Identifies where in a warehouse the item is located|
|Brand Name||The brand or manufacturer of a product|
|Option Set||The option set if you are using product options|
|Option Set Align||Determine whether the options are to the right or below the product image||Right = to the right; Below = below|
|Product Description||A description of your product||Can contain text or HTML|
|Price||Your product's base price||Numbers only; no units (e.g. 24.99)|
|Cost Price||The cost of the product for you (accounting purposes only)||Numbers only; no units|
|Retail Price||The retail price; if entered, it will appear next to your base or sale price||Numbers only; no units|
|Sale Price||The sale price; if entered, it will replace the base price||Numbers only; no units|
|Fixed Shipping Cost||The price to ship one unit of your product; if entered, this applies internationally overrides any other shipping settings||Numbers only; no units|
|Free Shipping||If applied, your product will ship internationally for free; if selected, overrides any other shipping settings||Y = free shipping enabled; N = not enabled|
|Product Warranty||Product warranty information||Text or HTML|
|Product Weight||Product weight (physical only)||Numbers only; no units|
|Product Width||Your product's width for calculating shipping||Numbers only; no units|
|Product Height||Your product's height for calculating shipping||Numbers only; no units|
|Product Depth||Your product's depth for calculating shipping||Numbers only; no units|
|Allow Purchases?||Can the product be purchased from your store?||Y = the product can be purchased or pre-ordered; N = the product cannot be purchased or pre-ordered|
|Product Visible?||Should the product be visible in your store?||Y = yes; N = no|
|Product Availability||A brief description of how long it takes your product to ship||Text only|
|Track Inventory||Should inventory be tracked? If so, by option or by product?||None = do not track; by product = track by product; by option = track by SKU|
|Current Stock Level||Number of units in stock (only applies if tracking inventory)||Numbers only|
|Low Stock Level||Inventory level at which you are sent a notification to restock (only applies if tracking inventory)||Numbers only|
|Category||Categories and subcategories applied to product||Category1; Category2/Subcategory1;Category2/Subcategory2|
If your category name has a /, denote it with \/ (e.g. Mittens\/Gloves)
|Product File - 1||The file name of your downloadable product (downloadable products only)||filename.pdf|
|Product File Description - 1||A description of your file|
|Product File Max Downloads - 1||The maximum number of times a single customer can download their purchase||Numbers only|
|Product File Expires After - 1||The time period after which the download link will not work for your customer||# Days, # Weeks, # Months, # Years or Never|
|Product Image ID - 1||The system-generated product image ID|
|Product Image File - 1||Image file name (if stored in WebDAV) or full URL||imagename.jpg or http://fullurl.com/imagename.jpg|
|Product Image Description - 1||A description of the image|
|Product Image Is Thumbnail - 1||If there is more than one image for the product, specify one to be the thumbnail||Y = is thumbnail (one only); N = not thumbnail|
|Product Image Sort - 1||If there is more than one image for the product, specify which order they should appear in (lower numbers appear earlier)||Whole numbers only; can use negatives|
|Search Keywords||Keywords for your store's search||Keywords separated by commas|
|Page Title||Your product's page title; will default to the product name if left blank|
|Meta Keywords||Meta keywords; if left blank will default to those entered in the Website Settings||Keywords separated by commas|
|Meta Description||Meta description; if left blank will default to what's entered in the Website Settings|
|MYOB Asset Acct||Settings if using MYOB|
|MYOB Income Acct||Settings if using MYOB|
|MYOB Expense Acct||Settings if using MYOB|
|Product Condition||Product condition for Google Shopping||New; Used; Refurbished|
|Show Product Condition?||Show the product condition on your product page?||Y = show on product page; N = don't show on product page|
|Event Date Required?||Is a date required for purchase?||N = no event date; Start Date = limit start date; End Date = limit end date; Date Range = limit start and end dates|
|Event Date Name||Name of event date|
|Event Date Is Limited?||Limit the event date? (Limits are inclusive)||Y = yes; N = no|
|Event Date Start Date||Earliest date available (inclusive)||MON DD, YYYY|
|Event Date End Date||Latest date available (inclusive)||MON DD, YYYY|
|Sort Order||The order in which a product appears on a category page relative to other products; default is 0||Whole numbers only; can use negatives|
|Product Tax Class||The tax class applied to a product|
|Product UPC/EAN||Product's UPC or GTIN (Global Trade Item Number)|
|Stop Processing Rules||For Rules, stop processing all rules placed below that rule||Y = stop processing rules; N = don't stop processing rules|
|Product URL||The relative path of your product's URL on your store; if left blank it will default to the product name||/new-relative-url/|
|Redirect Old URL?||If you change the product URL, you can select whether or not to create a 301 Redirect||Y = create a 301; N = don't create a 301|
|GPS Global Trade Item Number||The UPC/EAN for the product; required for Google Shopping if not a custom product|
|GPS Manufacturer Part Number||The Manufacturer Part Number; required for Google Shopping if not a custom product|
|GPS Gender||The intended gender for the product; required for some Google Shopping categories|
|GPS Age Group||The intended age group for the product; required for some Google Shopping categories|
|GPS Color||The color of the product; required for some Google Shopping categories|
|GPS Size||The size of the product; required for some Google Shopping categories|
|GPS Material||The material of the product; required for some Google Shopping categories|
|GPS Pattern||The pattern of the product; required for some Google Shopping categories|
|GPS Item Group ID||A system-generated value for Google Shopping; leave blank if creating products|
|GPS Category||The BigCommerce category (which is mapped to the Google Shopping category you want to list to)||Category1/Subcategory|
|GPS Enabled||Should the product be exported to Google Shopping?||Y = enabled; N = not enabled|
|Avalara Product Tax Code||Product's unique Avalara tax ID; use only if you've linked your paid Avalara account||Numeric only|
|Product's Custom Fields||Name of custom field=Name of value;Name of custom field #2=Name of value #2||
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.
|GPS Custom Item||Is the item custom-made (i.e. no UPC, MPN, or GTIN)?||1 = custom item; 0 = non-custom|
|Minimum Purchase Quantity||Setting this value will enforce a minimum quantity limit, on a per-order basis, when customers are ordering this product from your store.||Numeric only|
|Maximum Purchase Quantity||Setting this value will enforce a maximum quantity limit, on a per-order basis, when customers are ordering this product from your store.||Numeric only|
|Shipping Groups||Product's unique ShipperHQ shipping group; only available if ShipperHQ is enabled.|
|Origin Locations||Product's unique ShipperHQ origin group; only available if ShipperHQ is enabled.|
|Dimensional Rules||Product's unique ShipperHQ dimensional rule group; only available if ShipperHQ is enabled.|