Time for a product review. I’ve used a Product Import module from Magento Connect for a couple of Meanbee projects now and have been so impressed that I thought I’d share it with you.
Out of the box, Magento does not support the importing of:
- Multiple/Gallery Images
- Configurable Products
- Bundle Products
- Related Products
- Custom Options
This is severely limiting. This would put many people off Magento if they thought they would have to go through manually populating their catalogue through the administration interface.
Luckily, this is where the community comes in to save the day. I do love open-source.
This module from Scott Bolasevich, while not blessed with a short name… Custom Bulk Product Import + Export with Tier Pricing / Product Custom Options / Configurable Products / Bundle Products / Grouped Products / Downloadable, it is exactly what I’ve wanted. It covers all of the shortfalls that I mentioned above.
Installing the module wasn’t too testing as it comes with sufficient documentation, including samples. There’s some local Mage code to put in the right directory. Then you create a couple of Advanced Profiles in Magento Admin, one for importing and the other for exporting. This is simply a case of copy and pasting some XML in to place.
When using it, I found the best way to import products, as always, was to do one product fully in Magento Admin, then export all products through the new advanced profile. This will give you a standard to work against when adding the rest of your catalogue to the spreadsheet.
How does it deal with the extra input?
For multiple images, it adds an extra column “Gallery”, where you can put up to three images separated by commas. The limitation here is that you are required to import all images in one go. If you need to add one further image, you’ll have to reimport all images again from the media/import directory. Slight annoyance, but not something that’s too much hassle. From discussion with Scott, it seems this is more of a Magento limitation at the moment rather than the module.
When it comes to custom options, I again recommending setting these up for at least one product manually first as the formatting is slightly more complex. I’ll give you an example for setting up colours as custom options on your products:
The header row has:
This represents the title, input type, boolean value of whether it is required and another for sort order with other custom options.
One of my products then has:
Each option is divided by a vertical line. The configuration for each option is then partitioned with a colon. These match up with the configuration for an option if you were doing it manually. So here we have the name, price type, price, sku and sort order.
Specifying bundle products works in a similar manner to custom options.
For related and cross-sell products, there’s an extra column where you list the SKU of the related products.
Wonderful, 7 Days a Week Support
What’s also really nice about this module is the great support. I emailed Scott pre and post sales and his response time was excellent and was very helpful.
The module is priced at $99.99 which I believe is good value for money. It quickly pays for itself with the time you save populating the catalogue. Of course, the more products you have, the more you’ll realise a product such as this is going to be essential!