Often small web design companies typically do not offer data entry services for ecommerce website clients. This could be due to bandwidth issues, lack of knowledge or they simply don’t want to increase project costs for their primary service of building the website.
Adding products individually in WooCommerce can be very time consuming. Depending on the product information and can take up to 20 minutes to add a single product. If thousands of products are required to be entered, it could potentially take months.
As a result clients are left to their own devices to either manually add products themselves or require hiring a third-party for data entry. This can result in an investment in time or money.
As someone who manages several WooCommerce websites that contain several thousands of products, finding an effective solution to improve workflow was both necessary for myself and my ecommerce website clients.
This article will cover 3 methods for managing and populating large product databases in WooCommerce which can be helpful for web design companies, affiliate marketers and site owners.
1. Hire a freelancer through outsourcing websites like UpWork.com
Websites like Upwork allow anyone to post jobs online and hire freelancers from around the world for various tasks, including graphic design, customer support, web design and various administrative tasks.
Hiring freelancers online can still be an arduous task and present its own issues but overall it can effectively save time and money.
When hiring freelancers its a good practice to provide a detailed document outlining specifics for adding products and if required a screen share.
If required, you can always hire multiple freelancers and delegate work separately to expedite the process.
Human error often occurs such as missing or wrong images, wrong prices or SKU’s or skipped products. This is why it’s vital to check in on the freelancers progress and review their work when completed.
For proper measures, I would never all someone to work on a live website and if I do I make sure they have limited permissions to only add products.
Hiring the right freelancers can be challenging and doesn’t always work out. Often times they can take longer than anticipated as they aren’t dedicated to the task or in some cases go MIA.
The cost of hiring freelancers can vary and can ultimately save thousands of dollars in contrast to hiring local talent.
Tips when hiring freelancers for data entry:
- Create user document with detailed instructions
- Provide training and a test if required
- Use screen share software’s if required such as Team Viewer
- Specify availability and expected timelines
- Review work thoroughly before paying and ask for changes if needed
- Can save money
- Ideal for startups and small businesses
- Lower financial risk of online investment
- Unpredictable quality of work
- Sometimes require training
- May take take longer than expected
2. Import & Manage Products using the CSV Import Suite plugin
If you can attain a CSV that contains all product data then CSV Import Suite can be a huge time saver. It can effectively import thousands of products in just minutes.
Individually updating products in WooCommerce can be quite cumbersome. This plugin allows you to work directly with a spreadsheet which is more likely to ensure data integrity.
If products were previously manually entered, this plugin includes also includes a CSV export feature which can allow exporting a spreadsheet of all product data. I typically use this feature to ensure data integrity. If I’ve previously hired a freelancer, I’ll review a product export file to make sure that all the data entered is correct or nothing is missing.
Currently this plugin is sold at WooCommerce.com for $299. If you’re managing an ecommerce website that contains thousands of products, CSV Import Suite is a must have and worth every cent.
- Can import and export products
- Import thousands of products from one file in minutes
- Export feature provides improved data management and workflow
- Increases data integrity
- Allows merging products which is useful for adding new data to existing products
- Can import all product meta including custom fields, taxonomies and brands
- Importing product variations can be extremely difficult
- Incorrect spreadsheet formats can mess up a database (Tip: Backup your database before importing a CSV)
3. Scraper Plugin to Crawl/Copy from other Websites
This solution provides the ability to crawl and copy content such as product data from other websites. This is another great way to quickly populate a website with products.
Whether you’re looking to import a single product or crawl an entire database, all this can be achieved with a single click.
For example, a business may be given permission to copy products directly from their wholesale partners website which can be later modified as needed.
Once products have been successfully imported into WooCommerce, product details such as SKU and price can be updated. Note: The CSV Import Suite mentioned previously is also effective for streamlining this process more effectively.
This plugin is ideal for affiliate marketers looking to copy products from their advertisers websites.
- Can copy products from one a website into WooCommerce within minutes
- Products also be copied individually
- Can handle custom fields
- Strips unwanted links, HTML and CSS
- Requires updating fields such as prices, SKU’s and content
- Does not work with all sites, specifically built with JS/Ajax
These methods are certainly helpful to providing web design companies and site owners the ability to populate their WooCommerce websites with thousands of products more effectively.
It should be noted that Google penalizes websites that have duplicate content which can affect search rankings. Site owners should make a conscious effort to update their product content over time to be unique.