Product import changes
Welcome to the first Developer Update for Evance. We're happy to announce upcoming improvements to our CSV product import facility.
We've always supported the ability to bulk import product data from your spreadsheets. However, with increasing product functionality, we've been all too aware that the importer had become cumbersome. So, we went back to the drawing board to completely redesign and rebuild the importer. Whilst our upcoming changes are not yet comprehensive to all product functionality, they cover existing capabilities and put the importer in good stead for further updates.
If you're already using CSV files to import product data you should familiarise yourself with the following changes and improvements.
Category assignment changes
Each category chain assigned to a product must now be declared within separate columns and not a comma separated list within a single column.
Example: the old method
|Men > Suits, Men > Jackets|
Example: the new method
|Men > Suits||Men > Jackets|
Price access roles & regions
Evance allows you to define non-public price lists granted to users with a given Access Role. It also permits geo-targeted pricing based on a user's location. In the previous version of our importer stipulating non-targeted pricing was either achieved by excluding the columns for Price Access and/or Price Region, or declaring Price Access for Everyone and a Price Region of Everywhere. This was a little confusing as these are not actual access or regional requirements. Instead, the new method is to leave these fields blank when a role or region is not required for a price.
Evance has bulk discount capability as standard. We've changed the way you define volume pricing in spreadsheets for two reasons. Firstly, in terms of usability, our initial format was confusing and a little too fiddly. Secondly, the format didn't allow for more advanced price imports.
Example: old method
|Price||Volume Price (5)||Volume Price (10)|
In the table above you can see that a Price quantity of 1 starts from £9.99, whilst ordering 5+ has a price of £9.75 and 10+ a price of £9.50 per unit. Whilst this allowed us to reduce columns it didn't allow for more advanced imports.
Example: new method
You will notice that we have added columns for each quantity and price. Whilst this adds columns to our spreadsheet is does allow you to import more advanced pricing information within a single sheet.
Example: new multi-currency import
Previously related products were defined as a comma separated list of Quickfind codes or SKUs. As with category assignments, these must now be defined within separate columns.
Example: old method
|Related by SKU|
|MY-001, MY-002, MY-003|
Example: new method
|Related SKU||Related SKU||Related SKU|
New & improved
In addition to the changes we've also added some crucial improvements.
When importing data into Evance you are required to match the headings within your CSV file to available data object properties. We've improved auto-matching by adding basic machine learning into the importer. Evance will learn the column headings you tend to match and attempt to auto-select those it recognises, making subsequent imports faster to set-up.
You're no longer stuck to the same import screen during the import process. Once you start an import, you may browse away from the import screen and Evance will send you an email once it has finished. During the import you can check on progress and view any errors reported as they happen.
More rows per import
Previous restrictions and timeouts when importing more than 100 rows have been lifted. We've been testing the new importer with spreadsheets containing around 100 columns and 2000 rows without issue. Imports are staggered within a queuing system and the rate of import has been throttled to reduce the affect of importing vast amounts of data on website performance.
Remote file & image imports
Evance can now accept remote URLs for images and downloads. Evance will check whether it already has the file on record within the Media Library and attempt to save the file if not. This makes imports from existing websites or supplier databases easier and faster.
We've improved error reporting on spreadsheet imports. Evance breaks down your CSV rows into the number of objects it believes it needs to save and will report on any it failed to save.
More advanced imports
The new importer is more aware of Evance's data objects which offers greater flexibility and detail when importing data into Evance. We plan to increase the variety of imports available to users over time.