It was more common in the past, but it’s still going on: people don’t know they have another choice, so they manage their Shopify store’s products by hand.
Why is it not beneficial, briefly?
Imagine you had a Shopify online store with thousands of items. How do you want to always be able to check the similarities and differences between the data file you get from the supplier and the data you’ve already imported into your store? And that’s not all. You have to fill out every field on the Shopify platform by yourself and figure out what could be wrong if something goes wrong. Manual product management causes stress and financial losses, and you’ll feel like you’re not getting anywhere. Since you can’t manage things well when you do them by hand, you really can’t reach the level of success you want.
What is manual product management?
If you are new to e-commerce, Shopify, products, and managing everything, it might be best to explain the basics at the beginning and take things step by step. To get everything right in this area of e-commerce, you have to know a lot about it.
First, you need to get the data feed file from the chosen supplier. If you use Shopify, you can pretty much only use. Since this is the only format the platform can handle, you have to use a CSV file to add products to the store. If you get a data file in a different format, there is a way to fix it, but we’ll talk about it in the Solution paragraph below. Or, you can look for companies that will convert their file from another format to.CSV for extra money.
The most important thing about product management is that it has three main areas: import, update, and delete. You have to import the file you get from the supplier into your Shopify store. It’s important that the headers and labels match the ones on Shopify’s platform. So that the system can find the right data, the names have to be the same. There are a lot of fields you need to pay attention to, and you also need to set the margins and other important details to make money. If you want to think about it in a broader sense, you could say that this management process also includes finding the best supplier with a good data feed and filling the orders.
This is what it means to manually import products. You have a Shopify store and a data feed file from your supplier. You have to manually add each product one at a time and fill out all of the required (and not just a few) product data fields. You can also use a.CSV file, but remember that you can’t do it all at once or import thousands of products at once because Shopify’s system freezes up easily. Also, using a.CSV on your own, without any product management software, is not enough because you can’t do the updates, it won’t update on its own, and you can’t automate this process.
So, if you do the updating process by hand, you have to go through “a million” products and check every piece of data and detail in the columns of the spreadsheet you receive. Because people aren’t robots, it can be hard to keep up with because it’s easy to miss rows or letters when reading and checking. So, if you want to update your products by hand, you need to know what products you have.
What are the drawbacks of manual product managing?
- Lost time
- Lost money
- Difficulties, dead ends
- Fewer products, Fewer customers
- Not being up-to-date
Let’s see in details!
Save Time! is one of our slogans. You can do this by making the process of managing products run by itself. How does managing products by hand waste time? You have to add all of the information about each product one by one. Also, you have to update it by hand, which can be very annoying. These things can take forever, or at least make you feel that way. You can do it yourself or hire someone else to do it. But you can agree with us when we say that life and business can be more peaceful without manual import. You could spend that time with your family or friends, or you could work on your business in other ways. When I say that manual import and update can take hours, or even the whole day if you have a lot of products, I’m not exaggerating. And I don’t even mention that it’s different when suppliers usually send you updated versions of the data feed file, maybe once a day. Then what would you do? Hire more people so they can take turns doing this.
Save Money! is our other slogan. I went over details about hiring people in the last section. So, if you manage your Shopify store’s products by hand and you have a lot of them, you’ll need to hire a lot of people—maybe students or interns—to do the work for you. But for your business to pay for that many people is a waste of money. There are other choices you can make.
Having stress is related to what was said in the two paragraphs above. Especially when you are the only one who does the manual product management, import, and update. Also, it’s not good for the people who work there. You could give them something else to do. Also, think about what will happen if the import goes wrong. You don’t know how to ask for help, you don’t know what to do, and you don’t know what the problem is. Even though it’s not that hard, it can ruin your day and cause a lot of stress.
You have to look through the spreadsheet you got and the data fields on Shopify’s platform. Even if it’s a mess for you, why wouldn’t you try to find a way out? It might get worse as there are more and more products and suppliers. You should always know what products are still in stock and what aren’t. Don’t keep items in the shop that customers can’t order to avoid confusion and customer complaints. It doesn’t help the business.
Difficulties, dead ends
If you run into problems or have to check or import data for hundreds or thousands of products, you can’t just give up.
Fewer products, fewer customers
If you use manual import, you can’t have as many products as if you used a way to upload a lot of products at once. A lot of product data can’t be managed by hand. But you can add more products to your Shopify store if you find the right way to do it (read about it hereinafter). With a solution, you can manage items without putting a limit on how many you can have. And if you sell more products or more types of products, you can get more customers and sales because they will have more options and you will show up in more search results.
Not being up-to-date
If you do things by hand, you might be late with updates and have to rush all the time, which can drive you crazy. There is a big chance of making mistakes, which is a shame. But it’s okay. You just need to find a way to have the method for managing products happen automatically. You won’t have to worry about your products not being updated anymore, and you can also schedule updates. If you keep your online store up to date, you won’t lose customers, fans, or sales. It’s better for them if they don’t have to see “out of stock” messages or e-mails from you saying you made a mistake. Don’t let people stop talking to you because you haven’t found a way to manage products yet.
Even if your business keeps growing, you won’t be able to handle these tasks by hand in a few years. I don’t say for sure that it will happen, but it could. You really need to take care of your data. If you don’t, you’ll get a lot of complaints from your (potential) customers, lose money, and have to pay back more.
What is the solution?
The best thing you can do is to stop managing products and stock by hand. By the way, it’s not written in stone that your products have to come from suppliers and their data feed file. You can also sell things you’ve made yourself and be a manufacturer. But if you don’t have many products, you should still import them by hand. But I can say that manual product import is only good if you have less than 50 products or if you are a manufacturer and sell your own products. All done. And in these ways, it’s a good way to do things. It’s also a good way to do things if you’re just starting your business and don’t have much to sell. So there are some good things about the manual method as well. Shopify has a built-in function for importing that makes manual uploading faster. As I said, it’s good if you don’t have any products in your store yet, and it’s good if you do, as long as you fill the CSV table the same way you did before so Shopify can recognize it. Check out our other article if you want to learn more.
But if you have a lot of products, there is a way out:
TRY AN APPLICATION
You should use an app that can handle all of your products and data needs. A good app for getting things done. It’s good to look for the best one. In our related article, you can learn more about how to find the best software and how to find products.
You can spend less time managing your products if you have a good app. You will find it easy to import, update, sync, and keep an eye on your Shopify store’s products and variants. Instead of using Shopify’s built-in import function, it’s better to use an app because that could be like doing it by hand, and the system doesn’t like having to deal with too many products at once.
So, it’s worth the money to use an app from Shopify’s App Store because you can save more. Not only can you save money, but you can also save time and indirectly protect your health. There won’t be any stress. If you choose a good one, you can be sure that the customer service will help you with whatever you need. Applications do everything that needs to be done with products, like import, update, and delete.