Before you create an
to notify us of the products that you're sending to us to store in our warehouse, we'll need them entered into the Shipvine Logistics catalog. You'll tell us things like the item's name, its
country of origin
, and other information.
If you have a just a handful of different
, then you might find it faster
to manually enter them via our website
. But if you have a lot products to enter, it might be faster to bulk upload them via a CSV file.
What's a CSV file?
CSV is short for "comma-separated values". Sort of a lingua franca for information exchange, it's a way of saving a spreadsheet in a text format that can be read by just about any system (as opposed to in a complicated, proprietary format). You can read more about CSV files on our knowledge base.
First, let's get some terminology out of the way:
Your products are entered into what we call the
. Your catalog will be made of
, each of which can have one or more
item group is a collection of products that are the same product but
vary on some attribute, such as a color or size. An example of an item
group is a "Logo T-Shirt".
Each unique product in
your inventory that you physically ship is an item. It's always part of
an item group, even if there's only one item in that item group. An
example of an item is "Logo T-Shirt / Color White / Size Small"
Sometimes, one of your item groups may contain many items underneath it. For example, your "Logo T-Shirt" item group might have a "White / Small", "White / Medium", "White / Large", "Black / Small", and "Black / Medium" items within it.
Other times, one of your item groups may only contain a single item within it. For example, you sell a bar of soap that only comes in one size and one scent. Even though it's a single item, that item still has to belong to an item group; it's just that there'd be a one-to-one correspondence between item groups and items in this case.
Preparing your CSV files
To import your products into the catalog, we'll end up preparing two CSV files: one for the item groups, and one for the items.
Item Groups CSV
Open up the Item Groups CSV Template in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, and fill out the information for each of your item groups. Remember, every item that you sell belongs to an item group, even if it's the only item in the item group.
Here's what the columns in this file mean:
- MERCHANT IDENTIFIER: This is your SKU. (SKU is retail jargon for "stock-keeping-unit".) It's a model number, style number, or part number that you use to refer to your products. If this item group will only have one item in it, then it might be the same SKU as the actual item: "SOAP-4568", for example. If this item group might have a bunch of items in it, then it may be only part of the SKU that is common across all of them. For example, if you have t-shirts with SKUs "400013-BLACK-M" and "400013-BLACK-L", then the SKU for the item group could be just "400013".
- NAME: This is the name of the product. Customers will see this on printed documentation. For example, "Logo T-shirt" or "Fancy Candles".
- HARMONIZED CODE: Also known as a harmonized tariff code,
this is the same code number used by nearly every country in the world
to determine what duties and taxes must be paid on goods coming into a
country. It's also sometimes used by the exporting country to collect
data on what's being exported. In the United States, there are different
sets of codes for imports and exports; we use the Schedule B version,
the list used for exports. If you're having problems finding the right code, you can use the search tool provided by the Census at https://uscensus.prod.3ceonline.com/. Then copy and paste the 10-digit Schedule B number, deleting any periods.
- COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: The country of origin is
where the product is made or assembled at. This must match what is
printed on the product or its packaging. If you export your products,
customs may examine the products to make sure the information matches.
If it doesn't match, it's likely to be held until proper documentation
is provided, or the product may be returned, seized, or destroyed. This has to be the two-letter ISO code for the country. For example, "US" for "United States" and "TH" for "Thailand". You can look up codes at https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#search.
- FABRIC CONTENT: Most customers can get away with simply deleting this column. Including it can help accelerate customs clearance in international shipments. If you do include it, it should be a semicolon-separated list of fabric compositions. Examples are "100 Cotton" or "98 Cotton; 2 Spandex/Elastane/Lycra" or "51 Polyester; 49 Modal/Rayon/Viscose". Match this syntax exactly; don't include a percent sign. The currently allowed fabric names are listed on the Fabric dropdown on the New Item Group page.
Here's what it might look like in Excel when you're done:
Save the file as a CSV file, calling it something like "item-groups.csv". To do this in Microsoft Excel, for example,
- Click File > Save As.
- Call it something like "item-groups.csv" and choose "CSV UTF-8 (Comma delimited) (*.csv)" from the dropdown.
Now let's move on to the CSV for the individual items.
Open up the Items CSV Template in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, and fill out the information for each of your items. Remember, the item is the thing that we actually pick up and ship to your customers.
Here's what the columns in the file mean:
- ITEM GROUP MERCHANT IDENTIFIER: This identifies which item group this item will belong to. It should match one of the values in the "MERCHANT IDENTIFIER" columns of the Item Groups CSV file that you just created. For example, my "400013-BLACK-L" item will belong to the "400013" item group.
- ITEM MERCHANT IDENTIFIER: This is your SKU for the physical item. It needs to match what you've entered in your e-commerce platform like Shopify or Magento. This is your style number, model number, or part number that uniquely identifies this item.
- WEIGHT (LB): Enter the weight of the item in pounds, rounded to the nearest tenth of a pound. We use this in calculating shipping rate quotes for you. If not provided, we'll guesstimate it as 0.3 lb.
- BARCODE: This is the barcode, such as a UPC, that's on the product. It's what we'll scan during picking and processing to make sure that we're shipping the right thing. Make sure it corresponds to your "ITEM MERCHANT IDENTIFIER" column. If they are mismatched, we will ship the wrong product to your customer.
- VARIATION: COLOR/SIZE/WHATEVER: You can repeat "VARIATION: SOMETHING" columns to set descriptive values on the item. For example, on clothing, a common pattern would to be have two columns named "VARIATION: COLOR" and "VARIATION: SIZE". The text after the colon in the column header becomes the name of the variation. The text supplied in the record/row becomes the value. For example, in the "VARIATION: COLOR" column, the rows might have values such as "White", "Black", "Red", and so on. If you don't need variations, just delete the columns from your import file. These values are printed on packing slips and documentation, so keep variations short and sweet.
- METADATA: MSRP/WHATEVER: You can repeat "METADATA: WHATEVER" columns to set metadata on the item. These values are not typically displayed in reports or to customers, but they may be required for certain custom label formats or integrations. Shipvine will generally tell you when need to be including a metadata column for something. If in doubt, just delete the whole column and leave it out of your import file.
Here's what it might look like in Excel when you're done:
Save this file as a CSV, too, choosing a name like "items.csv".
Importing your CSV Files
- First, log into your account. If you are having trouble logging into your account, please contact our support team at email@example.com.
- Click on Config > Bulk Imports.
- Under the "Merchant" dropdown, select your company name.
- Under the "Kind" dropdown, select "Item Groups".
- Click the "Browse..." button and choose your "item-groups.csv" file.
- Clear the checkbox next to "Test" (for this kind import, the system will automatically roll it back if there's an error).
- Click Import.
If the import is successful, then you'll see a "Success" message. Otherwise, the system will report the line number of the error. Just make the corrections in your CSV file and try again.
When the item groups are imported, just repeat steps 1-7 for the "items.csv", changing the "Kind" dropdown to "Items" instead.