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Guide to Importing your Product Catalog

Your Product Catalog consists of your Products, Sub Categories, Categories, Category Types, Manufactures and Vendors. Your Product Catalog can be imported using the Import Records form. The Import Records form is located under the Products tab | Products screen | choose Import from the Products row of icons.

The Short, Sweet Explanation:
For all sections on the Import Records form, just check the checkbox corresponding to what you want to import and enter the column index value (the matching column number on your Import Spreadsheet). Next, use the file upload field(s) to browse to your Import Spreadsheet. Finally, click the Import button… And your done! Read on for more details, especially the Importing Product Options section, because that is the most complex part.

Example of Checkbox and Column Index Value Text Input


Importing Overview

The purpose of the Import Records form is to allow you to perform a bulk import of data related to your Product catalog. This includes adding new items (like Products, Categories, etc) and updating existing items. You may import one or more kinds of data during the import. All fields on your Import Spreadsheet are not imported, only those matching the column index values you have entered on the Import Records form.

Import Spreadsheet ScreenShot

Foreign IDs: All ID’s entered on the Import Records form are Foreign ID’s. Each section of the Import Records form, such as (Category Type Properties, Category Properties, etc) allows you to import a Foreign ID. It is strongly recommended that you always choose to import the Foreign ID. The purpose of the Foreign ID is to allow the import engine to identify new vs. existing items. This identification makes it possible for you to re-import your spreadsheet while appropriately updating existing items and creating new items. Foreign ID’s must be unique and you may use the naming conventions of your choice. Note that the Foreign ID is different from the Internal Database ID. Both items are listed frequently throughout the Control Panel.

Your Import Spreadsheet should consist of one row per product, plus one or more header rows (if desired). Your import spreadsheet may be in either comma separated (.csv) or tab delimited format (.txt). Several spreadsheet applications are able to save in .csv or .txt format, such as Microsoft Excel. So, for example, you could create your import document in Microsoft Excel, then "Save As" .csv and import into SearchFit. If you need to open a tab delimited (.txt) or comma separated (.csv) document using Excel, you may follow these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Excel
  2. Choose File | Open from the Excel Menu Bar. The Microsoft Excel Open window will appear.
  3. From the Files of Type select box, choose All Files (*.*)
  4. Browse to your Import Document and click the Open button
  5. The Text Import Wizard will appear
  6. Click the Next Button. You will be transferred to Step 2 of 3 of the Text Import Wizard
  7. If your Import Spreadsheet is comma separated, check the comma checkbox in the Delimiters section. If your Import Spreadsheet is tab delimited, check the tab checkbox in the Delimiters section.
  8. Click the Finish button. Your Import Spreadsheet will appear as an Excel worksheet. If you do not see the desired layout (one row per Product), then repeat the above steps and check your settings.

You don’t need to import everything. This means that you don’t need to import data for all fields listed on the Import Records form. Just import what you would like to include on your website. For example, if you don’t want to have Product Options, you don’t need to import them.

Many types of data can be imported into a field which affects All Users or a different field which affects only the Selected User. The Selected User is the user that is selected in the User Select Box located on the upper right of the Control Panel. If a value is imported into an All Users field, it will affect all users, unless a given user has a value imported into the corresponding Selected User field. The values imported for a Selected User override the value imported for All Users for the Selected User only. In order for a given value to appear on your website, you must have a value entered the corresponding All Users field. If there is a value entered in the Selected Value field and No Value entered for the All Users field, then the value for Selected User will not be imported.

For example, in the below image, the first row with user Demo3 at the end is the User Specific field, while the second row is the All Users field. The value imported for the user specific field (first row) will determine the description that is added to the Sub Category pages for the selected user only. The value imported for the all users field (second row) will determine the description that is added to the Sub Category Pages for all users except those that have added a user specific value for the Sub Category description.

The column index value corresponds to the column where the value is located on your spreadsheet.

The Import Results Report appears after you perform an import. The purpose of the Import Status Window is to let you know what items were successfully imported and which items did not import due to an error. If an error occurs, the Import status number will deliver an error message including the line number of your Import document that experienced the error. The Import Status Window contains 5 sections (one for each section of the Import Records form). Each section lists each line number of the imported document along with an error or success message. This makes trouble shooting your import document easy as you are able to view the line number(s) that caused the error.

import results example


Category Type Properties

Import Category Type Properties

The Category Type Properties section of the Import Records form should be used to create new, or modify existing Category Types. The above screenshot shows the types of information you are able to import for your Category Types. Your store must include at least one Category Type. Products cannot be contained directly within a Category Type. Products must have a parent Category or Sub Category.


Category Properties

Import Category Properties

The Category Properties section of the Import Records form should be used to create new, or modify existing Categories. The above screenshot shows the types of information you are able to import for your Categories. Your Categories may contain Sub Categories and/or Products.


Sub Category Properties

Import Sub Category Properties

The Sub Category Properties section of the Import Records form should be used to create new, or modify existing Sub Categories. The above screenshot shows the types of information you are able to import for your Sub Categories. Your Sub Categories must have a parent Category. Sub Categories contain Products.


Customized Category For Manufacturer Properties

Import Customized Category per Manufacturer Properties

The Import Customized Category per Manufacturer Properties section of the Import Records form should be used to modify the Categories located with a Category Type with a Generation Type setting of Products by Manufacturers or Products by Manufacturers/Categories. The above screenshot shows the types of information you are able to import for your Categories for Manufacturers. The benefit of importing this information is to tailor your Categories to their Manufacturers. In this case, the intended action is to modify your Category to include more Manufacturer related information in the name, description, etc.


Product Properties

Import Product Properties

The Product Properties section of the Import Records form should be used to create new, or modify existing Products. The above screenshot shows some of the types of information you are able to import for your Products. The Product Properties Section contains many useful subsections which allow you to import values related to Product Options, Related Products, Upsell Products, Navigation Bars, Filters, Manufacturers, Vendors and Electronic Products. Each section is discussed below.


Import Product Options Section

Import Product Options Section

Product Options is a sub section of Product Properties. Use this section in order to erase your current Options and add new (or just add new). Product Options consist of two levels: Option Groups and Option Values. An example of an Option Group is “Color”. Regarding your import spreadsheet, it should contain a column with a list of option values per Product. If your option values affect the price of the Product, then you should have an additional column with a list of Option Prices per Product. Examples of Option Values within the “Color” Option Group are “Red”, “Yellow” and “Orange”.

  • Column (User Price Diff): This field stores the price difference for a product option.

Important – Zero Values: If you have Accumulate Product’s Base Price set to Yes and enter a value of 0 for List Price, Cost Price or Sell Price the value imported WILL NOT BE ZERO. The value will be the base price, as listed in the Price field of the Products screen | General tab. In order to import a zero value for option prices, you must import a value of 0.01. Similarly, if you have Accumulate Product’s Base Weight set to Yes, you must import a value of 0.01 in order to set the weight to 0.

Extra Option Item for All Options: SearchFit will automatically add an extra option with a value of Select to all your Option Groups. You can change the value of the extra option by entering a new value in the field labeled Extra Option Item for all Options. Additionally, you may add a value of </none> if you would not like to add an additional option value. This is useful when you wish to have the default or free option preselected for the customer.

Import Options Action: Use Update or Create or Delete when existing options should be updated, new options should be created and options not listed on the import document should be deleted. Use Update or Create when existing options should be updated and new options should be created. Use Delete and create when all options should be deleted and replaced with the options listed on the import document.

The above screenshot shows some of the types of information you are able to import for your Options and the available settings. See the Import Records screen help for more information.


Import Related Products Section

Import Related Products Section

Related Products is a sub section of Product Properties. Use this
section in order to erase your current Related Products and add new (or just add new). Related Products are a display of one or more Products that appears on your Detailed Product Page. The intended use for the Related Products display is to increase conversion rate by offering products which are similar to, or accessories of the main Product being displayed on the Detailed Product Page. Regarding your import spreadsheet, it should contain a column with a list of the desired Related Products’ Foreign Id’s per Product. The above screenshot shows some of the types of information you are able to import for your Related Products.


Import Upsell Products Section

Import Upsell Products Section

Upsell Products is a sub section of Product Properties. Use this
section in order to erase your current Upsell Products and add new (or just add new). Upsell Products are display of Products that appear on the Upsell Products page. The Upsell Products page is an optional page which your customers will be transferred to when attempting to view the cart. The intended use of the Upsell Products page is to increase the revenue per sale by encouraging customers to add additional items to their cart. Each Product may be assigned Upsell Products. The Upsell Products that appear on the Upsell Products page are the Upsell Products which are assigned to the Products already in the cart. Regarding your import spreadsheet, it should contain a column with a list of the desired Upsell Products’ Foreign Id’s per Product. The above screenshot shows some of the types of information you are able to import for your Upsell Products.


Import Navigation Bar Section

Import Navigation Bar Section

Navigation Bar is a sub section of Product Properties. Use this
section in order to erase your current Navigation Tab Content and add new (or just add new). The intended use of Navigation Bars is to add a tab-based interface to your Detailed Product display. The tab-based interface is one way to show your customers
different information about your Products. A Navigation Bar consists of a set of Navigation tabs. The Import Records form allows you to add content to your Navigation tabs. It does NOT allow you to create a Navigation Bar or Navigation Tabs. This means that before you import your Navigation Tab Content, you must use the Navigation Bars screen (located within the Products tab) to create your desired Navigation Bar and Navigation Tabs. Regarding your import spreadsheet, there are two methods of importing your Navigation Tab content. All tabs per product may be imported by listing them in one column
separated by the chosen column separator. The alternate import method
is to make a separate column per NavTab. In this case the tag
“<col-navbar-tab/>” must be placed in every cell containing a tab.The above screenshot shows some of the types of information you are able to import for your Upsell Products.


Import Product Filters Section

Import Product Filters Section

A sub section of Product Properties. Use this section in order to erase your current Product Filter Value assignments and add new (or just add new). Product Filters appear on your Dynamic, Filterable Menu. They allow your visitors to view products by checking a checkbox next to the desired Filter Values. The Import Records form does not allow you to create Filters or Filter Values. You must used the Filters screen (located within the Products tab) to create the desired Filters and Filter Values before assigning them to your Products. Filter Value Ids: A list of internal database ids that correspond to the already-existing Filter Values which you would like to be assigned to the Product. Regarding your import spreadsheet, it should contain a column with a list of the desired Filter Value Internal Database Id’s per Product. These Internal Database Id’s can be located on the Product Filters screen of the Control Panel (located within the Products tab). The above screenshot shows some of the types of information you are able to import for your Product Filters.


Import Product Manufacturers Section

Import Product Manufacturers Section

Product Manufacturers is a sub section of Product Properties. Use this section to assign your Products to a Manufacturer. If the Manufacturer does not exist, then it will be created using the data you specify. This section also allows you to specify different values (like Name and Description) that should appear per Product for those Products located in the Category Type with a Generation Type of Products By Manufacturers or Products By Manufacturers/Categories ONLY. The above screenshot shows some of the types of information you are able to import for your Manufacturers.


Import Product Vendor Section

Import Product Vendor Section

Import Product Vendor is a sub section of Product Properties. Use this section to assign your Products to a Vendor. The Control Panel includes a system for managing your orders with Products that will be drop shipped. To use the system, each of your Products that will be Drop Shipped should be assigned to a Vendor. Vendors must be created using the Users screen (located within the Settings) tab before Products may be assigned to them. One Vendor can be associated per Product. The above screenshot shows some of the types of information you are able to import for your Vendors.


Import Electronic Products Section

Import eProducts Section

Import eProduct is a sub section of Product Properties. Used to specify that a Product(s) is an Electronic Product and upload the associated file that will be available to the customer after purchase. The above screenshot shows some of the types of information you are able to import for your eProducts.


Import Product Links Section

Import Product Links Section

Import Multiple product links for a series of individual items.


Import Additional Properties Section

Import Additional Properties Section

Import Additional Properties is a sub section of Product Properties. The intended use of Property 01 – 35 is to allow the placement of additional, Product-specific information or code on your Category Pages, Sub Category Pages or Detailed Product Pages. The above screenshot shows some of the types of information you are able to import for your Additional Product Properties.


Additional Configuration

Additional Configuration Section

The Additional Configuration section contains the base settings for the Import Records form

The Product Update Mode setting is located on the Import Records form, Additional Configuration section. The purpose of the Product Update mode setting is to allow you to control the creation of Product Links and the movement of Products between Category Types, Categories and Sub Categories. The Product Update Mode setting has two options: Standard or No Links.

  • Standard Mode : If an Import is performed for an existing Product(s) and the new parent Category (or Sub Category) is different from the current, then a Product Link will be created in the new parent Category.
  • No Links Mode : If an Import is performed for an existing Product(s) and the new parent Category (or Sub Category) is different from the current, then the Product will be moved to the new parent Category.
  • The above screenshot shows some of the additional types of information you are able to import for your Additional Product Properties.

Importing New Products

  • Here are some tips for Importing New Products:
    • Have a solid plan for your Product structure before you start importing.
    • Read the Import Records screen help for more information about importing.
    • It’s strongly recommended that you import Foreign ID’s for all items such as Products, Sub Categories, Categories, Category Types, etc. This will make it possible to update your Products via import in the future.
    • It’s easiest to import all data on the same spreadsheet, such as Category Type Properties, Category Properties, Product Properties, etc.
    • A quick way to get an idea of your site structure after you import Products for the first time is to view the SEO Site Structure chart (available under the SEO tab).

Updating Existing Products

  • Here are some tips for updating existing Products via Import:
    • If you only want to update one type of data, then you only need to import the Foreign ID related to that data plus the new data value. For example, if I want to update Product Prices, I only need to import Product ID and Selling Price.
    • You can import all, or any number of your Products. If you Import Spreadsheet contains many columns, you are not required to import all. The only columns that will be imported are those whose column index value is listed AND the corresponding checkbox is checked AND the corresponding Import File upload field is populated.
    • You need up-to-date Import Spreadsheet in order to update your Product Catalog via Import. If you don’t have one, don’t worry. You may use the Export Products function (available on the Products tab | Products screen) to export your Product Catalog including Category Types, Categories, Sub Categories, Products, etc.
    • In many cases, the import engine will remove some existing data and replace with new. For example, Product Options. You are not able to import just one new Option value and maintain the existing. Upon importing your option values, all existing Option Values will be deleted and replaced the newly imported values.

Common Importing Issues and How to Avoid Them

  • Price and Weight double when option is selected
    • Cause: Importing a value of “0” for option price and option weight with Accumulate Base Price & Weight set to “Yes”.
  • Excel wrecked my data by changing my comma separated list of values into one big number
    • Cause: All comma separated values are numbers and no space was added after the comma.
  • Products are duplicated on every import
    • Cause: Be sure to assign a foreign id to each product.
  • Products are not getting imported and the status report says “Category X does not exist”
    • Cause: The category id listed per product does not correspond to an existing category in the control panel.