Last updated - June 17, 2020
When online shopping started becoming popular, people tried it because of its convenience, availability, and speed. But for many consumers these days, there’s no need for a reason to hop online and make a purchase; it’s second nature to them. So it’s only logical that you want to start an eCommerce business or take your storefront online as well. And if you’ve already set up a WordPress website and installed the WooCommerce plugin, the hard part is over. Now, all you have to do is import products to WooCommerce and showcase them in front of your customers.
There are two ways you can go about it — either use the built-in product CSV importer in WooCommerce or install a third-party plugin. Both of these options are just as easy and quick to import products to WooCommerce, with the only difference being some added features in the plugin.
But before we get into detail, the first step to importing your products is…
Creating a Product CSV File
A CSV or a comma-separated values file is a delimited text file that uses a comma to separate values. Each line of the file is a data record and each record consists of one or more fields, separated by commas.
While CSV files help newbies set up shop within minutes, existing store owners can use CSV files to update up to hundreds of products with new info or put them on sale. CSV files are also great for syncing up multiple storefronts.
Here’s how you can create a CSV file containing all of your product information:
If you have an existing online store, you can simply export your entire product catalog as a pre-filled CSV file. The process can slightly vary depending on platforms, but it mostly involves clicking the ‘Export’ button somewhere in your settings or product management page.
If you’re starting from scratch and don’t have your products uploaded anywhere, you can begin by creating an XLSX file using Microsoft Excel. Title the columns based on the product information you want to display.
For example, you’ll need the following columns:
- Type – Type of product — simple, variable, grouped, or external.
- SKU – Unique identifying number of the product.
- Name – Name of the product.
- Description – Detailed information about the product.
- Short Description
- Regular Price
- Sale Price
- Category – Which category does the product belong to — clothing appliance, music, etc.
- Images – URLs of images you want to be displayed for the product.
Depending on what you need, there may be many more columns in your CSV file. After you’ve filled out your columns, you can save the file in CSV format. But you can speed up this process by downloading our template of the CSV file here.
Guidelines for filling out CSV
While filling out the CSV file, make sure you follow these guidelines:
- CSV Files should be in UTF-8 format – While saving the file in CSV format, click on ‘Tools’ and go to ‘Web options’. Here, switch to the ‘Encoding’ tab and select ‘Unicode UFT-8’ from the dropdown.
- Dates should be defined in store’s local timezone – You may have to use dates in your CSV file while, for example, specifying the start and end of sales. When entering dates, define them according to the store’s local timezone.
- Use 1 or 0 for Boolean values – For example, in the Stock availability column, you’ll type 1 if the product is in stock and 0 if it’s not.
- Separate multiple values using commas – If a field has multiple values, separate them using commas. In case the comma is part of the value, you can enclose the value in quotes.
- Use URLs for product images – Images cannot be directly uploaded into CSV files. To get around this, you can upload the images to the cloud and paste their links in the fields.
Importing Products to WooCommerce Using Built-in Feature
When your CSV file is ready, follow these steps to import your products to your WooCommerce store:
- Go to your WordPress dashboard and click on the ‘Products’ tab.
- On the next screen, click on ‘Import’ to get started.
- Click on the ‘Choose File’ button and select the CSV file from your system. In the advanced options, you can even enter the path to retrieve products from a CSV file that you have on your server.
- Enable the update existing products option if you want to update existing product details with new info, like putting a sale price or changing a tax class. When a product in your CSV file has a similar SKU or product ID, its information is automatically updated.
- Below that, you can specify a CSV Delimiter you used to separate items in your CSV file.
- The next step is mapping your columns, where WooCommerce automatically attempts to match the column names in your CSV to its existing fields. If you used our template, you should face no issue during this step. You can use the drop-down menus on the right side to adjust fields or tell WooCommerce not to import a field entirely.
- Finally, run the importer and wait for the import to be finished.
Importing Products Using Plugin: Product Import Export for WooCommerce
While the built-in importer works just fine, you can use the Product Import Export for WooCommerce plugin if you want a little more flexibility.
After installing the plugin, it will appear under your WooCommerce tab as Product Import-Export. Click it and switch over to Product Import to start the process.
From here on, the process is quite similar to using the built-in WooCommerce importer.
Select a CSV file from your computer. choose a delimiter. map your columns. and click on import. The Product Import Export plugin also comes with a premium version that boasts features like importing from an FTP server, support for all types of products, and scheduled imports.
Importing Products Using Plugin: WooCommerce Add-on for WP All Import
WP All Import is the ultimate WordPress data import and export solution. This plugin supports various file formats, file sizes, and file structures. Moreover, it is even compatible with custom plugin and theme fields.
And WP All Import’s WooCommerce add-on gives eCommerce store owners like you granular control over your data. Here’s how you use it:
- After installing it, an ‘All Import’ tab is created in your WordPress dashboard.
- On the next page, you’ll see that while the plugin supports the standard file input methods like uploading a file or choosing one via FTP, it offers a third option, downloading from an URL.
- Using this option along with the import scheduling feature, you can update your products by simply making changes to your CSV file.
- Next, click on the drop-down, select WooCommerce products and click Continue. The plugin will automatically detect your products.
- On the following page, you can effectively design the front end of your product pages using drag-and-drop functionality.
- Below that, you’ll find an exact replica of WooCommerce’s built-in product adding page, so you’ll be able to add products in no time.
- As a cherry on top, WP All Import supports custom fields, categories, and many more options. You can access even more advanced features like in-depth image upload and management options in WP All Import’s premium plans.
Importing Products to WooCommerce Using Extension: Product CSV Import Suite
Our last solution to your product import needs comes from WooCommerce itself. The Product CSV Import Suite is a WooCommerce extension designed for advanced shop owners. This paid extension lets you create, upload, or update thousands of products at once, including complex products.
With out-of-the-box compatibility with other WooCommerce plugins like WooCommerce Bookings, Product Vendors, WooCommerce Brands, WooCommerce Subscriptions, WooCommerce photography, WooCommerce Composite Products, and Google Product Feed, you have the tools to sell any product or service you want, the way you want it.
Whether you use the built-in feature or one of the plugins, your products will be imported within a few minutes and ready to be displayed in your online store. Leave a comment if you have any doubts and we’ll be happy to make sure running your online business is a smooth sailing experience.
Check out the video below: