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Bulk Upload Products through CSV Import Add-on for eCommerce Online Marketplace

Ecommerce boom is slated to continue in developing countries such as India. In developed economies such as United States of America (USA), Japan etc., ecommerce is envisioned to reach the next best level. The past decade has witnessed a holistic makeover of the ecommerce niche with more vigor than ever before. It also witnessed the infancy of M-commerce or mobile commerce, and more flow of investments in ecommerce niche.

For our venture – Ecommercemix, it has been the best of times and highpoint of customer confidence. Thanks to everything, we have been successful in cementing a place for ourselves in the hearts our loyal audiences. At a time when diverse features are being imperiled in majority of reputed marketplace scripts, we have come up with a feature called CSV Bulk upload. It has been possible because our team is not fuelled just by belief, but also by a profound sense of ‘What’s new?’ ideation.

Before describing and detailing out what Admire’s CSV Bulk upload add-on is all about, here is a quick run-down on the definition of CSV file.

CSV file:

CSV stands for Comma Separated Values. A CSV file is also known to the programming world as a flat file. A CSV file contains values that are stored in columns. Values in each column are separated from one another by commas. More often than not, CSV files are used to fetch data from a table so that it can be conveyed as input to popular relational databases such as Microsoft Excel.

Alternatively, you can store your data as a simple plain text in a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheets. You can save this with .csv extension. This .csv file can be used as input to other relational databases. Here is how a row in CSV file looks like:

Steve, 25, Ecommerce consultant, Admire Lite, Admire digital, Admire M-commerce, Admire modules (etc.).

I will be talking about XML file as well. So, what’s an XML file? XML stands for Extensible Markup Language. XML is used to store and transport data across intranets, World Wide Web and over the internet. Here is what W3School says:-

XML and HTML were designed with different goals:

  • XML was designed to carry data – with focus on what data is
  • HTML was designed to display data – with focus on how data looks
  • XML tags are not predefined like HTML tags are

Uploading your products with Admire’s CSV Bulk upload add-on

Admire CSV bulk upload add on allows you to upload thousands of items. What’s more amazing about our Admire CSV bulk upload add-on is that it is highly intuitive. Data in any form- both organized and un-organized form can be uploaded. Admire CSV uploads are easy and quick as the structure of data and files is not a matter of concern. Moreover, this robust module works well with any XML file.    

admire-bulk-upload-csv

Both CSV and XML files deal with products, attributes, catalogs and categories. So, here is a very brief note on products, attributes and categories.

Products:

  • Simple
  • Configurable
  • Bundled Products
  • Downloadable products
  • Virtual products
  • Grouped products

Simple Products:

As the title suggests, this is the simplest product. There aren’t many variations when it comes to attributes such as size, color, weight etc.

Configurable Products:

These are the products that are configurable. In other words, these are the products to which attribute values are set. For example, users can select a color for that particular product or item. If you are selling a smart phone, the colors can be black, white, brown etc. Similarly, ‘size’ is another attribute which can be configured. For example, if your marketplace sells shoes, the attribute ‘size’ should be configurable and customizable.

Bundled products:

Let us say your marketplace platform sells computers. All the additional accessories can be bundled as sold as a ‘Bundled’ product. Similarly, if your marketplace sells smart phones, accessories such as mobile card reader, mobile cases and covers, wired headset, Bluetooth headset, external battery backup, adapters etc. can be bundled together and sold as a bundle. Exclusive offers and deep discounts can be given to bundled products to increase sales and conversions.

Downloadable products:

As the title conveys, the products which can be downloaded to your local machine are called downloadable products. Typical examples include PDFs, files, documents etc. Worried about how digital download delivery module works? Fear not, please read my insightful article on ‘How digital download delivery module works in a Marketplace module?’ (Please place the link here).By the way, I have covered the security related aspects with due diligence in the write-up.

Virtual products:

Virtual products cannot be downloaded to your local machines. Unlike physical products, they cannot be shipped. For example, the blogs that we post regularly are virtual products. Virtual goods can be both premium and non-premium goods. For example, access to a few resources such as newsletters, whitepapers only to paid users or users who have subscribed for premium content.

Grouped products:

This genre of products resembles the genre of Bundled products. Nevertheless, it is better to comprehend the finer lines of difference between the products of ‘Grouped’ and ‘Bundled’ genre. However, in case of ‘Grouped’ genre, different types of products are grouped. For example, a customer may an order on a smart phone and then successively place an order on a pair of shoes. He may then eventually place an order on groceries and food. So, the products are diverse and in no particular way, they are related to one another. Bulk discounts can be given to grouped products. For example, you may come-up with attractive discount of 10% on the bulk that has a net price of $500US or more than that.

Price

There cannot be any item without a price unless and until it is a free product like Admire lite (Please place the link here). By default, price is set to US Dollars. Thanks to the multi-currency price convertor API, there is no dearth of native currencies and our beloved audiences are conscious of it. Price is thus a mandatory field (at-least in our marketplace scripts).

Let us also understand the various pricing capabilities that Admire marketplace script supports:

  1. Tier price: This is an idea based pricing that most marketplaces are vehemently in favor of. Tier based pricing is all about bringing into practice the concept of differential pricing. So, what is differential pricing? Let me explain this with an example- If a customer buys 5 items of a same genre, he/she is given a discount on each and every item. However, if he/she buys less than 5 items, no discount is applicable. Thus, it is all about creating maximum impact with differential pricing.
  2. Special price: On the eve of several festivals, ecommerce marketplaces run special discounts. For example, Flipkart, India’s reputed ecommerce giant is known to come with Big Billion Day offer. Similarly, Snapdeal and Amazon offer outright discounts. So, special pricing comes into play in such circumstances.  On the occasion of Christmas, Amazon offered deep discounts that are far too attractive to ignore on mobiles, electronic gadgets and apparel.
  3. Special price in Admire digital marketplace script: This is a pricing capability that is exclusive to Admire digital marketplace script. Let me explain this with an example- Let us suppose that Sam, one of the many store owners runs an online certification courses on Digital Marketing. Students who wish to extend their access to various digital marketing courses should pay a bare minimum once the certification courses expire. So, it is all about special pricing from one fixed date to another flexible date.
  4. Group price: If you think that Group Price is the price that is associated with grouped products, there is no better fallacy. Group price is all about setting different pricing for different customer groups. For example, you may encourage retail customers to see the retail price and wholesale price set for a particular product. You can thus ask them to draw an analogy and subsequently assist them in opting for a better pricing scheme. For example, if a customer purchases groceries every month from your store, you may offer a discount and thus the cumulative price is often quoted far below than the MRP price.
  5. Minimum Advertised Price (MAP): This is the price quoted by the manufacturer of a particular product of a specific genre. In other words, it is manufacturer’s suggested retail price. So, can the manufacturer quote a price which is absurdly usurious? Well, that would leave the audiences and other retailers disenchanted and irate. To prevent any extortionate pricing, we have come up with Manufacturers pricing guidelines to which each and every manufacturer should adhere to. Manufacturers can thus come up with Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP).
  6. Actual Price: Before offering any discounts, retailers have to display the actual price of the product(s) in Actual Price field.

Here is a good news to our loyal customers- All the products once uploaded to our marketplace scripts are configured with Google Checkout Payment API. Thanks to our collaborative and resolute approach, checking out with Google Checkout is a lucid illumination of the bliss that Ecommercemix augurs.

Thanks to our wonderfully upbeat technical team, their technical instincts helped us to come up with Tax Class feature. If you set a product as taxable, Admire marketplace scripts will automatically calculate the tax that is applicable. If you select “None”, the product is said to be non-taxable. This is simply not an element in the picture as you can manually set the applicable tax rates depending on the type of product being traded, location and the applicable concomitant tax rules.

All the afore-mentioned in-depth pricing capabilities are available in Admire Community edition at a very reasonable price. (Please place the link here).

Attributes

What exactly are attributes? Let me explain this with respect to Admire marketplace scripts. Attributes are descriptive entities that are essentially quantifiable and assist users in qualitative analysis. Attributes range from the most common ‘color’ and ‘price’ to the most discernable ‘Unique Product IDs (UPIDs). ’ There are two types of attributes in Admire marketplace scripts-

  • Marketplace generated attributes
  • Custom attributes or user generated attributes.

Marketplace generated attributes are those attributes which are mandatory. In Admire marketplace scripts, mandatory attributes are Price, Unique Product ID, and Name. Needless to say, these attributes cannot be deleted. Without these attributes, a product cannot qualify as a quantifiable entity.

Custom generated attributes are user generated attributes. The most common example is ‘color.’ Color of a product can be set to either Red or Blue or Black etc.  Different items have different attributes. For example, DVDs and CDs do not have ‘color’ attribute. On the other hand, shirts and T-shirts should definitely have this attribute. Hence, custom attributes or user generated attributes may be applicable or non-applicable to a few or all the items in the inventory.

It is important to understand the attribute properties.

The following properties are defined in Admire marketplace scripts:

  • Attribute code: This is a six digit code that you set to your product attribute data. This attribute code helps you swiftly import and export within Admire marketplace scripts with a CSV file. Attention– This can be set only once and the value once assigned cannot be changed and re-assigned to another attribute product data. So, choose wisely. By the way, this is a required field or a mandatory field.
  • Scope: This property determines the views and extents to which an attribute values are accessible. Strictly speaking in terms of Admire marketplaces perspective, the following views are supported:
  • Global view: Irrespective of the store ownership and website proprietorship, the value of the attribute property remains unaltered.
  • Store view: This is better known as Local view. For example, Sam-one of the many store owners may quote the price of online digital marketing course as $100 USD. Similarly, Broad-one of the many store owners may quote the price as $110 USD. Thus, the value is different in different stores.
  • Website view: Within a website, there can be many stores. Here is an example to explain ‘website’ level scope- Sam, one of the many store owners under a website XYZ charges $12 for issuing genuine digital marketing course completion certificates. Similarly, Broad, one of the many store owners under the same website XYZ charges $12 for issuing genuine digital marketing course completion certificates. Thus, all the store owners coming under the purview of a particular website will charge the same amount. In other words, the value of the property remains fixed throughout various stores that come well within the ambit of a particular website.

Admire marketplaces support a plethora of properties. I have mentioned only the most important properties.

Now, it is time for us to explore the catalog input types. A catalog input type specifies the data type that is associated with an attribute. For example, the name of an attribute should be plain text while the price associated with the item(s) should be a positive number. Here are the catalog input types that Admire has in its kitty:

  1. Text Field: A text field can accept a sequence of alphabets or numbers. For example, Unique Product ID, the unique integral ID is a text field. Unique Product ID is often a combination of characters and numbers. For example, RAPO15, GAJY22 etc. Just for Your Information- ‘Integral’ means a combination of integer and characters.
  2. Dropdown: Dropdown, as the title suggests, is a simple list of options. Users can pick only one value from the available list of options. Here is an example- Age groups of kids. Kids of ages less than 5 years, 5-10 years and 10+ years are three age groups from which users can choose from.
  3. Text Area: This is more or less similar to text field. However, a text area is necessary for larger amounts of data. More often than not, product descriptions and explanations are furnished in this catalog input type.
  4. Fixed Product Tax: As I have mentioned in the previous sections, a product can be either taxable or non-taxable. Depending on the geographical locations and jurisdictions, you can manually set the catalog input value. We have automated this too to reduce your pains. You just have to choose the geographical location and the marketplace script will automatically fill the correct value.
  5. Boolean values: Boolean values are nothing but Yes/No types. For example, if your smart mobiles are inherently tempered, a simple ‘Yes’ will convey the information to customers. Similarly, ‘Is XYZ’s watch waterproof?’ is a question that takes either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ but not both.
  6. Multiple Select: This is similar to a drop down list of options in which users can select multiple values. A mobile phone can have more than one SIM card. Dual SIM mobiles are examples of multivalued attributes. So, users can thus leverage ‘Multiple Select’ catalog input type.
  7. Price: Price is also a legitimate catalog input type. For an in-depth explanation, please read the Price section.
  8. Date: As I mentioned in one of my previous examples, date is what you set to restrict access or validate access to items. We have embedded a dynamic calendar that allows users to select a date and assign it as a value for product attribute data field. Sellers too can finalize the dates.
  9. Media Images: This catalog input type allows you to add media images. There are a few restrictions imposed on the size of the images. The following categories of images are supported in Admire marketplaces:
  • Small
  • Extra Small
  • Large
  • Extra Large
  • Thumbnail

Each and every category of image is associated with a size. Image extensions supported in Admire marketplace scripts are gif, jpeg, PNG, SVG, TIFF and BMP. Admire marketplaces support all image extensions.

Value

Let understand the various types of values that are associated with catalog input types.

  • Default values: Default value is the preset value that is set to the products. This default values, unless and until modified, will populate to various fields. For example, the default price is always mentioned in US Dollars unless and until a native price is chosen. Default values can be set to various attributes such as location, language etc. Location is set to the location in which the user is currently residing in. Similarly, the language field is also set to the native language of the user. We shall be leveraging geo-based APIs for accomplishing these tasks.
  • Unique value: Each attribute value per product should be unique. Unique Product IDs (UPIDs) are the typical examples. In Relational Databases, all primary keys are unique keys.
  • Mandatory Values: These are ‘must have’ fields. As I have mentioned earlier, Price, Unique Product ID and Name are compulsory fields to be filled. If these are not filled, you have to literally shudder in horror! So, ensure that you have at-least default values associated with mandatory fields.
  • Input validation fields for store owners: This is applicable solely to text field input type. This text field input type can be set to either one of the following types:
  • Email
  • URL
  • Letters
  • Decimal Numbers
  • Integer Numbers
  • Letters or Numbers.

If you set the field to decimal numbers, only decimal numbers are allowed. Negative integers and letters are not allowed. Similarly, if it is set to Email, it cannot be simultaneously set to other values.

Configuring products with various front-end properties

Frontend properties to a large extent depend on the themes and layouts. Admire marketplace scripts are well endowed with innumerable themes, layouts and templates. Here is a brief note on various front-end properties supported by Admire marketplace scripts:

  • Available in Quick Search: This is a Boolean field. You have to set it to either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ from the available drop down list. If it is set to ‘No’, the product is not featured in search results.
  • Available for Product Sorting: A product can be sorted based on attributes such as price, weight etc. It is recommended to set this front –end property to ‘Yes’.      
  • Available in Advanced Search: This is also a Boolean field just like ‘Available in Quick Search’ field. Advanced search is all about searching the items based on Unique Product IDs, description, name etc. Advanced search users filters and fastens the search operation.
  • Available in Layered Navigation: This too like aforementioned front-end properties is a Boolean value. If this is set to ‘Yes’, attribute is filterable on both left and right hand side of your category pages. It thus facilitates seamless layered navigation through filters. I would like to emphasize that only the attributes with the Input Type, Price, Dropdown and Multi-Select are filterable.
  • Position: This is either set to ‘Left’ or ‘Right.’ This position front-end property facilitates layered navigation.
  • Available for Promo Rules: If this is set to ‘Yes’, the particular product can be used for promotion of products especially in email campaigns and social media marketing campaigns. By the way, we have integrated mail chimp services. So, products can be promoted conveniently. Organize a minimum of two email campaigns per month. Every time you organize an email campaign, promote a different set of products. Remember, promotion of products should be according to the established norms, normative standards and mutually agreed promotion rules.
  • Allow HTML tags for front-end: This is usually set to ‘Yes.’
  • Product Comparison: This is also a Boolean value. If it is set to ‘Yes’, the particular product is made available for comparison with other products. If it is set to ‘No’, the particular product is made unavailable for comparison with other products. Read my educative blog on ‘How Product Comparison Module helps Online Marketplaces?’. (Please place the link here).
  • Visibility on Product listing page: If this is set to ‘Yes’, the product is displayed on Products listing page. Along with the product, additional information such as product description etc. is also displayed.
  • Available in Product Listing: This depends on the theme, template and aforementioned front-end property.

Procedure

Here is a simple five step procedure to bulk upload products through Admire CSV Bulk upload add-on:

Step 1:

  • Install the Admire CSV Bulk upload plugin to Database.
  • Download your Products.csv file. Open this CSV file with Microsoft Excel application software.
  • Fill in the required details. Keep in view the aforementioned content and fill without any errors.
  • Remember, it is highly recommended to go with ‘one row per one product’ rule of thumb. Save the changes. Save it as a .CSV file.

Step 2: 

  • Specify the name of the database table.  Establish the connection between Products.csv file and your database table.

Step 3:

Make judicious use of ‘Upload’ button and upload the CSV file.

Step 4:

Specify all the required options. There are few options that let Admire marketplace generate the Unique Product IDs (UPIDs). Just verify the manual that is given to you.

Step 5:

 The final step is to hit the ‘Import to DB’ button. The rest is taken care of by our Admire marketplace.

Let us talk

Do you have any concerns to be addressed? Drop a mail to steve@ecommercemix.com. Alternatively, you may reach Steve on his phone +1-302-525-8125.

We can help

We can help you in bulk uploading of products and product customization. In addition, we can assist you in designing templates, themes and layouts. If you want a dedicated one-one session, please contact Steve. Feel free to reach out to us. You may drop a comment or two in comments section. And yes! Keep reading our blogs for everyday updates. Cheers!    

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