How to Use Shopify: File Management, Bulk Import, and Other Challenges in Your Store

What is Shopify and how to use it to your advantage? You might’ve watched a YouTube video about starting an online store on Shopify. Or maybe your friend keeps talking about Shopify and you’re too embarrassed to ask. Or you’re just a newcomer to the Shopify store starting your journey across this platform and trying to grasp how it works. Well, fortunately for you, we’re going to share what Shopify is, how to set up your Shopify store, how to best manage/organize photos at Shopify, and much more. So let’s dive in.

What is Shopify?

In short Shopify, it is an all-inclusive online selling platform with a monthly subscription. Easy enough. But how does Shopify work? Once you choose your pricing plan starting from $29 per month, you can create and develop an online store to promote, sell, and ship your products to customers.

Shopify is popular due to its low startup cost and easy-to-use interface. Shopify is an excellent solution for many merchants, although it’s not perfect. Keep reading for more information about how to use Shopify, how to manage your photos at Shopify and how to meet other challenges during the work on this platform.

How does Shopify work?

For a monthly subscription of $29/mo, you can build a fully functional online store that you can use to sell digital or physical goods. Shopify also offers a limited free trial.

Shopify logo

If you want to create an online store using Shopify, you have to follow these 7 simple steps:

  1. Sign-up - Visit Shopify.com. Use the signup form to create an account. Enter the required details and click the Start free trial button. After that, you can start your 14-day trial to explore the platform. You don’t need to add your products to the platform at this stage if you’re not ready for that.
  2. Set up your Shopify store - After sign-up you’re directed to admin settings, where you can customize your store, upload products, and set up payments and shipping.
  3. Choose a theme for the store - There are free and paid themes for the Shopify store. You can choose any option preferable for you, but you have to keep in mind that Shopify themes are not intuitively customizable and you’ll require some development experience to make them fit your requirements. One of the options is to choose any of the free themes available here.
  4. Edit Shopify settings - Here you get some options to customize your Shopify store: uploading logos; uploading slides to a homepage carousel; adding related item functionality to product pages; choosing how many items appear on each line of the collection pages; color schemes; font choices.
  5. Add products to Shopify store - Navigating the bar on the left select ‘Products’ you will then see a green ‘Add a product’ button in the middle of the page. Use the following screen to add as much detail as needed about your products. Especially look at those that will help with SEO such as name, description, and URL. Include as many details as possible to help inform the customers about your items.
  6. Set up collections (groups of products) - A collection is any group of products that have some features in common that customers might look for when visiting your store. Products can appear in any number of collections. Usually, you would display your collections on your homepage and in the navigation bar. This helps customers find what they’re looking for without having to click through your whole catalog.
  7. Pick up your payments gateway and go live - A payment gateway (Settings -> Payments) allows you to take payment from your customers via your website. The price and commission rate is important, but it’s also important to see what features they offer. Not all payment gateways are created equal. You have to check for their transaction fees, card types accepted, and off site checkout. Setting payments gateway you can go live.

Here we present the basic information required to set up your Shopify store if you require any detailed explanations with a video tutorial you can consult Shopify website.

How to perform file management in Shopify?

Whether you’re a newcomer to the Shopify world or have already started earning on the platform, you might experience some of the challenges with file management in Shopify. Some of these challenges will not prevent you from effectively working on the platform as Shopify add-ons can solve them, while others are not quite straightforward to address with standard Shopify instruments.

The simplest file manager

Files organization in Shopify

It may sound ridiculous, but there isn't a way to manage your image files from your Shopify Admin by sorting or organizing. Once you’ve transferred to Shopify from another e-commerce platform like Magento or have just uploaded thousands of product images to your store, there’s no functionality in Shopify to manage them. You cannot filter your products, add metadata to them or add any extra data to the products.

Image editing in Shopify

The related problem is editing images in bulk. When you bring up the Image Library there is no way to differentiate between several versions of the same photo. There are no file names visible and the photos are cropped in a way that doesn’t allow differentiation between any of them. This inefficiency becomes a nightmare when you need to use images in several places, for example, both in a banner and in a gallery. You also cannot change a banner image (rec. size 1600X1000) to gallery image (rec. size 1024X768) and vice versa. The only possible solution that Shopify offers is to process the images one by one and determine which image you need for a gallery and which for a banner.

Image hosting in Shopify

The other related problem is image hosting in Shopify - this functionality is frequently required by companies who are in dropshipping business and want to sell their products through online retailers and marketplaces. In this case they would not like to list products manually through Shopify Admin, but rather use .csv files to perform bulk export of the direct links to the Shopify store. Unfortunately, according to Shopify rules the images in .csv files must have a public URL, but there is no possibility to directly link the images that are stored in your cloud storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.)  or on a hard drive with Shopify.

Let's imagine you have 1000 products in the first product line that will be available on the e-commerce store and you plan 20 product lines with over 1000 products each. All information on these products is stored in a CSV file (Sku, title, SEO meta info, etc.) and the only information that is missing is the image url for the product image. You have all images in a folder on the hard drive, which are optimized and named the same as the corresponding product SKU. In Shopify, you can create one product at a time and add the image, but this is very time consuming. It means it would take a year to create 20 000 products. You can also bulk upload images to 'Your Files' on Shopify, and then a unique URL is created, which you have to copy and paste one at a time to .CSV file for import. Again, it might take a year.

Unfortunately, there is also no image hosting service that allows to bulk upload images to them and then allow Shopify to access them with a public URL.

All these problems make the Shopify experience frustrating for many users, making them search for any third-party apps to address them.

image from Unsplash

How to make Shopify library work?

There are a number of applications being created to solve the Shopify store inefficiencies and simplify the file management within the store.

  • PixPix Image Editor - the application is specifically designed to edit images in Shopify store. With this app it’s possible to cut off part of an image to achieve a new size or shape; to change the image shape, color or lightning and to upload images in bulk. Although this app is suitable for image resize and cropping it’s not able to change image filenames for SEO purposes and cannot connect to cloud storages such as Google Drive for images upload. The other problem is that bulk resize is not available in the free version and the pro version costs $14.99 per month.
  • Smart Image Cloud - the application is a bulk image upload tool integrated with Google Drive. The app solves the problem of uploading multiple images simultaneously and matching the products to the image, which can really boost your productivity. But, with the free plan you can upload only 25 images per month, whereas the unlimited upload will cost you $49 per month. In addition, the app solves only one part of the image management problem in Shopify and it means you’ll require another app for the resize of images.
  • Matrixity - the application allows you to bulk Import/export data with Excel, CSV or Google Sheets template. It enables you to update your existing store data (including SEO fields), migrate data from your existing store to Shopify or to schedule daily inventory sync for your products. Unfortunately, image hosting is available only with the Enterprise plan costing $200 per month.

As you can see each of the apps solves one of the file management problems in Shopify, either bulk upload, image editing or update of the store data, whereas there is no one app to address them all. Of course, you can use free versions for basic apps functionality, but as you’ve probably noticed it might not be enough for your purposes. In case you choose the paid version of all apps your monthly check might reach $300 in addition to your Shopify subscription and that's a substantial budget especially if you're an online ecommerce store or dropshipping business.

Fortunately, there is a solution to address all Shopify file management drawbacks at a time. Pics.io Digital asset management integration with Shopify can:

  • Upload images automatically from DAM connected to your cloud storage (Google Drive, Amazon S3) to Shopify
  • Deliver Shopify product images in bulk from DAM using public URL
  • Integrate Digital asset management Product Gallery into Shopify.
  • Edit images (change size, color, etc.) directly in DAM and then update them in Shopify store
  • Assign any required metadata fields to your images and make them easily searchable
  • Collaborate on Shopify products with your team
The simplest file manager

If you’re interested in more details on how to make your Shopify library manageable please give Pics.io a try.

Pics.io Team
Welcome to Pics.io blog, where you'll get useful tips, resources & best practices on how digital asset management can help your business to manage & distribute digital content on top of cloud storage.
USA