CSV and FTP madness. Why is this still the standard?

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Is it just me or is the whole CSV and FTP system a very outdated, clunky, and frankly a terrible way for small sellers like myself to keep up with new items and inventory levels?

Is there something I'm missing here? I have to manually edit CSV files at least once a day and import them to keep a semi-up to date inventory level?

How has someone not put out software that kicks a packet out to all of these dropshippers clients that updates the inventory levels every hour? It would seem like the logical solution here.

Am I missing some hidden beauty of the CSV system?

My supplier offers 25000 items. If I want to sell even a portion of those we are talking about hours of manipulating CSV files each and every day just to keep up with inventory.

Anyone have a good video/document explaining the whole CSV FTP set up? Obviously I'm missing something here.
#csv #ftp #madness #standard
  • Profile picture of the author kjamesnv
    A lot of this can be automated. Which cart are you using?
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    • Profile picture of the author DropShipDreams
      Originally Posted by kjamesnv View Post

      A lot of this can be automated. Which cart are you using?
      I've got a site fully built out on Squarespace, but they have yet to implement CSV importation. But I can import to Shopify and then import to Squarespace....

      Makes perfect sense right?

      I'm open to ditching squarespace even though I love the look of my site. Can Shopify's cart automate this?
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      • Profile picture of the author DropShipDreams
        I do believe that Squarespace forces me to use Stripe as a shopping cart and processor.

        I'm not 100% on Shopify, but I think they have a lot more cart options.

        The only reason I have a Shopify setup is because of Squarespace's boneheaded CSV importation policy. Basically I can't import directly to my site. Somehow they overlooked that and think that allowing me to import from Shopify, Esty, or BigCartel will work just as well. Even though I'm now paying for two different services to do the exact same thing.
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  • Profile picture of the author kjamesnv
    The process you are using seems way too complicated and cumbersome.

    See if Squarespace has an API that allows importing of the data. If so it will be trivial for a developer to automate this.
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    • Profile picture of the author OnlineStoreHelp
      Squarespace is not designed for e-commerce. At best, you can use it for one off items. You are better off using Shopify over Squarespace.

      Squarespace, wix, weebly, yola... they are all nice little website builders but if you have anything more then 3 to 5 products, I can't imagine why anyone would use it for commerce. You won't have nearly the functionality that a dedicated cart will have, things like, CSV imports, or connections to shopping comparison engines, zone based shipping down to the zip code level or even number of options.

      CSV's work because they are generic enough they can be imported into just about anything. There are automation tools out there that help with this but since every single supplier has a different format for their inventory file, you can't expect the carts to recognize every little thing...
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      • Profile picture of the author DropShipDreams
        Originally Posted by OnlineStoreHelp View Post

        Squarespace is not designed for e-commerce. At best, you can use it for one off items. You are better off using Shopify over Squarespace.

        Squarespace, wix, weebly, yola... they are all nice little website builders but if you have anything more then 3 to 5 products, I can't imagine why anyone would use it for commerce. You won't have nearly the functionality that a dedicated cart will have, things like, CSV imports, or connections to shopping comparison engines, zone based shipping down to the zip code level or even number of options.

        CSV's work because they are generic enough they can be imported into just about anything. There are automation tools out there that help with this but since every single supplier has a different format for their inventory file, you can't expect the carts to recognize every little thing...
        In your opinion what is the best cart option for Squarespace?
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        • Profile picture of the author OnlineStoreHelp
          Originally Posted by DropShipDreams View Post

          In your opinion what is the best cart option for Squarespace?
          That is the thing. I would not use Squarespace at all. The shopping cart applications, like Shopify allow you to run a fully functional shopping website right from their application. Like Kjamesnv stated, you are making it way to complicated.

          If you are really trying to list 25,000 items, I would use something like magento to really build a robust website designed to run that many products.

          Do you mind telling us, are you using something like Doba or other dropshipping aggregator?
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          • Profile picture of the author DropShipDreams
            Originally Posted by OnlineStoreHelp View Post

            That is the thing. I would not use Squarespace at all. The shopping cart applications, like Shopify allow you to run a fully functional shopping website right from their application. Like Kjamesnv stated, you are making it way to complicated.

            If you are really trying to list 25,000 items, I would use something like magento to really build a robust website designed to run that many products.

            Do you mind telling us, are you using something like Doba or other dropshipping aggregator?
            Sorry, I meant Shopify. I'm ditching Squarespace and building a new page. It seems I'm forced to by Squarespace's lack of foresight.
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            • Profile picture of the author DropShipDreams
              I won't carry all 25k items. I should clarify and say that my supplier has 25k skus, some of which are not in stock, etc.

              My plan is to carry only the top shelf products unless I see an overwhelming demand for the cheaper end of the spectrum. I plan to offer reviews and testing videos on the products to draw traffic and create discussion by customers and hobbyists.

              I don't use Doba or another Dropshipping Aggregator.

              Can you provide more information on aggregators? Maybe a link to an overview?

              I find that my skills lay more towards the marketing side and I'm lacking quite a bit of information on the technical and tool side of this process. I built a nice site quite quickly, but was stuck manually ordering through my dropshipper as I had no idea where to find something to automate that process.

              Shopping cart, Aggregator, and any other advice would be very welcome.
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              • Profile picture of the author OnlineStoreHelp
                Can you give us a little more insight into your structure?

                Do you want self hosted or SAAS? (given what you said, i would suggest another hosted cart like Shopify and it might even be shopify)
                How technical are you?
                How many products?
                How many SKU's?
                How many options or option sets?
                How many categories and/or subcategories of products do you have?
                Do you need the ability to do subscription type business.
                Do you need to sell wholesale and retail? How much wholesale functionality do you need?
                Particular payment provider you need?
                US based or worldwide shipping?
                Need full time shipping quotes?
                Need MAP functionality?
                What about coupons and discount codes?
                Are you dropshipping? Need multi-warehouse functionality?
                How much of a third party eco-system do you want?
                Are you using a Mac or PC (yes, sometimes it makes a difference).
                Do you need high res photos or will standard res photos work just fine?
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                • Profile picture of the author DropShipDreams
                  Can you give us a little more insight into your structure?

                  The staff consists of just myself. I'll be dropshipping products to hobbyists. I currently have 2 main suppliers that will dropship for me. Between the two they sell everything that I'd like to start out with. Eventually I plan on doing some self created products to celebrate the hobby, things like T-shirts, bracelets, etc. I plan to write extensive reviews of products and invite discussion from enthusiasts. I have a paypal, and payment processor through a previous online venture, Stripe is active as well because of Squarespace. I've manually input orders and had them dropship and arrive on time and in good condition.

                  My final hurdle seems to be inventory integration, order automation from my site to my suppliers, and setting up shipping rules.

                  I have answered your questions below in red. Thank you so much for taking the time to help.

                  Do you want self hosted or SAAS? (given what you said, i would suggest another hosted cart like Shopify and it might even be shopify)

                  I do not plan to self host

                  How technical are you?

                  I use computers every day to run my main businesses. However, I do not write HTML code or have any programing knowledge. I am pretty good about fiddling with new software and figuring it out. The reason for creating this thread was a failure of my technical skills. Luckily I know when to ask for help.

                  How many products? at least several hundred

                  How many SKU's? I expect over 1000 considering color and fitment variants

                  How many options or option sets? Different model choices with multiple colors

                  How many categories and/or subcategories of products do you have? 12-15 right out of the gate. I may expand as I find suppliers that offer different gear that relates to the same consumers.

                  Do you need the ability to do subscription type business. No

                  Do you need to sell wholesale and retail? How much wholesale functionality do you need? I don't forsee much wholesale functionality. The ability to set a price at 19.95 for 1 item and 15.95 for 10 or more would be handy in some situations.

                  Particular payment provider you need? Eprocessing Network

                  US based or worldwide shipping? US only

                  Need full time shipping quotes? Yes

                  Need MAP functionality? Yes

                  What about coupons and discount codes? Yes

                  Are you dropshipping? Need multi-warehouse functionality? Yes

                  How much of a third party eco-system do you want? I want to make it as hands off as possible. If that means diving into some 3rd party programs, so be it. Obviously I'd like to keep initial costs down and the usage to be as localized to Shopify as possible.

                  Are you using a Mac or PC (yes, sometimes it makes a difference). PC

                  Do you need high res photos or will standard res photos work just fine? Products side, standard would work. However I do plan on doing intensive reviews that will feature pictures and video, I'd prefer those detail shots of products be high res.
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                  • Profile picture of the author OnlineStoreHelp
                    Originally Posted by DropShipDreams View Post

                    Can you give us a little more insight into your structure?

                    The staff consists of just myself. I'll be dropshipping products to hobbyists. I currently have 2 main suppliers that will dropship for me. Between the two they sell everything that I'd like to start out with. Eventually I plan on doing some self created products to celebrate the hobby, things like T-shirts, bracelets, etc. I plan to write extensive reviews of products and invite discussion from enthusiasts. I have a paypal, and payment processor through a previous online venture, Stripe is active as well because of Squarespace. I've manually input orders and had them dropship and arrive on time and in good condition.

                    My final hurdle seems to be inventory integration, order automation from my site to my suppliers, and setting up shipping rules.

                    I have answered your questions below in red. Thank you so much for taking the time to help.

                    Do you want self hosted or SAAS? (given what you said, i would suggest another hosted cart like Shopify and it might even be shopify)

                    I do not plan to self host

                    How technical are you?

                    I use computers every day to run my main businesses. However, I do not write HTML code or have any programing knowledge. I am pretty good about fiddling with new software and figuring it out. The reason for creating this thread was a failure of my technical skills. Luckily I know when to ask for help.

                    How many products? at least several hundred

                    How many SKU's? I expect over 1000 considering color and fitment variants

                    How many options or option sets? Different model choices with multiple colors

                    How many categories and/or subcategories of products do you have? 12-15 right out of the gate. I may expand as I find suppliers that offer different gear that relates to the same consumers.

                    Do you need the ability to do subscription type business. No

                    Do you need to sell wholesale and retail? How much wholesale functionality do you need? I don't forsee much wholesale functionality. The ability to set a price at 19.95 for 1 item and 15.95 for 10 or more would be handy in some situations.

                    Particular payment provider you need? Eprocessing Network

                    US based or worldwide shipping? US only

                    Need full time shipping quotes? Yes

                    Need MAP functionality? Yes

                    What about coupons and discount codes? Yes

                    Are you dropshipping? Need multi-warehouse functionality? Yes

                    How much of a third party eco-system do you want? I want to make it as hands off as possible. If that means diving into some 3rd party programs, so be it. Obviously I'd like to keep initial costs down and the usage to be as localized to Shopify as possible.

                    Are you using a Mac or PC (yes, sometimes it makes a difference). PC

                    Do you need high res photos or will standard res photos work just fine? Products side, standard would work. However I do plan on doing intensive reviews that will feature pictures and video, I'd prefer those detail shots of products be high res.
                    Ok, based on what you have told me, I personally don't think Shopify is the best platform at the moment. Since you don't want to self host that leaves out Magento, Opencart and Prestashop. That leaves 4 carts that fit most or all of your needs layer out above. This would mean ditching Shopify and using one of these platforms only.

                    Another assumption is your merchant provider e-processing network is compatible with authorize.net or other standard payment gateway.

                    Those four are 3dCart, Americommerce, Corecommerce and BigCommerce.

                    BigCommerce - Easiest to Use, has most of the functionality and has a strong third party ecosystem. It also is integrated with Stripe.Where it falls down is no multi-warehouse.

                    Americommerce - The most powerful of the four but also has the longest learning curve. Not sure if it integrates with Stripe yet but it does everything you need and then some.

                    3dCart - Integrates with Stripe, ability to set up multiple warehouses for shipment and should hit everything else you are looking for.

                    All three have recently added mobile responsive themes to their framework and have good to decent customer service.

                    Corecommerce - another good one and it is on par with BigCommerce. Not sure if it has multi warehouse though.

                    Bonus - Magento Go - Probably has most of the functionality but I didn't find it as easy as the other ones to create and maintain so I have kinda avoided it.

                    In my sig I have done video walk throughs of many of these carts so go take a look and if you feel my advice was worthwhile, click on the buttons to go to the site so I get credit for referring you.
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                    • Profile picture of the author DropShipDreams
                      After watching your videos and messing around on 3dCart for a few hours I am going to give Americomerce a go. Although it is a steeper learning curve it offers the same functionality as 3dCart but allows for a lot more customization on the front end. The look and feel of my website will be very important and having control over those features vs rigid templates feeds my inner creativity a bit. Not only is the site a way to generate income, it's also meant to be a creative outlet as well.

                      After thinking it over I see the extra learning curve time as an investment. I'll be able to build any sort of store for myself or possibly other people once I learn the software inside and out. I also factored in that I work with software from small firms that are sometimes a bit difficult to use and difficult to master. Hopefully this experience will serve me well.

                      Thank you so much OnlineStoreHelp. Your site is great and your advice is exactly what I was looking for. You cut right to the chase and in the process demystified the situation for a rookie.
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                      • Profile picture of the author OnlineStoreHelp
                        Originally Posted by DropShipDreams View Post

                        After watching your videos and messing around on 3dCart for a few hours I am going to give Americomerce a go. Although it is a steeper learning curve it offers the same functionality as 3dCart but allows for a lot more customization on the front end. The look and feel of my website will be very important and having control over those features vs rigid templates feeds my inner creativity a bit. Not only is the site a way to generate income, it's also meant to be a creative outlet as well.

                        After thinking it over I see the extra learning curve time as an investment. I'll be able to build any sort of store for myself or possibly other people once I learn the software inside and out. I also factored in that I work with software from small firms that are sometimes a bit difficult to use and difficult to master. Hopefully this experience will serve me well.

                        Thank you so much OnlineStoreHelp. Your site is great and your advice is exactly what I was looking for. You cut right to the chase and in the process demystified the situation for a rookie.
                        Ya its one thing nice about Americommerce, you can plug in little widgets and modules to customize the look and feel. I don't think it will be as pretty as a shopify and/or bigcommerce store but once you get past the learning curve it really is a nice platform, plus they now have responsive templates.
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