If you’re familiar with the workings of Magento, you’ll no doubt be aware of the never ending array of customisation options. It’s clearly a powerful CMS but this complexity isn’t always easy to understand. And the default admin interface can be surprisingly limiting.
Thankfully, there are additional tools to bridge the gap such as the Magmi or Magento Mass Import. Use this to your advantage and save yourself some hassle next time you’re planning a complex import of products on Magento.
Why use Magmi?
When an online store gets over a certain size, managing a catalogue of thousands of products can become stressful. In fact, for the web entrepreneur, this can be one of the most consuming parts of running a business. It may be virtual stock but it still needs to be organised and categorised just as you would in the real world.
Even when seeking the help of a developer for these requirements, the task can simply be too large for the standard Magento interface. When you’ve featured countless items all with complex bundled and configurable products, manually adding items by hitting the ‘Add New’ button simply isn’t a solution. Even tools such as Dataflow aren’t enough to avoid wasting unnecessary time. And that’s where Magmi comes in; a user-friendly tool that you won’t be able to live without.
A brief guide to Magmi
As with most add-ons within the Magento universe, Magmi still comes with its complexity. The help of an experience developer is needed is you’re a complete technophobe.
As mentioned, this powerful tool quickly and efficiently imports complex products utilising the help of a spreadsheet. Once you’ve install Magmi and set up a htpasswrd for this directory, you’ll need to create a template. There is some debate surrounding the best use of columns, so here’s a proven layout:
sku, name, price, qty, categories, url_key, type, grouped_skus, cs_skus, us_skus, short_description, description, image, small_image, thumbnail
To avoid confusion, here’s some more detail on the purpose of each of these columns:
sku is the only field that is a necessity on every one of your spreadsheets. The SKU of the product is what enables Magmi to reference your catalogue of products. If the SKU isn’t manually created, Magento will assign a random number.
In the name column include the same name that is shown on the frontend. Price should be included without the currency prefix, so ‘65’ instead of ‘£65’. And qty is the amount of stock that your currently have of the product. This can be left blank if there’s unlimited stock.
The categories column can be slightly more difficult as a product can fall into multiple categories. For example, you may have items which are listed under ‘T-shirts > Long Sleeve T-shirts’ but also under ‘Sale’ > ‘Under £20’. In these cases, you would use the addition of a sub colon in the categories section. So, the example shown would be entered like this; ‘T-shirts > Long Sleeve T-shirts;;Sale > Under £20’. If only one category is applicable, no semi-colons are necessary.
url_key is simply the URL of the item while type is usually either ‘simple’, ‘grouped’, ‘bundle’ or ‘downloadable’. grouped_skus should only be filled out if you chose ‘grouped’ in the previous column. This will include a list of SKUS separated by a comma which defines the group or bundle.
cs_skus and us_skus are self-explanatory requiring the Cross Sell SKUS and Up Sell SKUS as a comma separated list of products. Enter a brief description for the short-description part while HTML code can be added to the next column description which requires a full description as shown on the front end.
Image should include the link to the image relative to httpdocs/media/import directory. small_image utilises the same directory but for the small image which is shown on category pages while thumbnail also applies the same directory but for the thumbnail.
These columns are a great starting point but custom attributes can be added depending on your specific requirements. Although there is plenty more to Magmi, understanding this part of the process is fundamental to realising this tool’s benefits.