Advanced Shopify Import: How to Import XML Files to Shopify

- Our extensions, Shopify

Today, we’d like to introduce you to the realm of file formats. When it comes to multiple file types that can carry your data updates, Shopify presents a singular demand: the use of CSV files for both import and export processes. But what if your data updates are stored in XML format? You will need to do lots of manual transformations, converting them into CSV – a process notorious for its inefficiency and time consumption. Thankfully, a more streamlined solution has emerged. Meet the Firebear Import & Export Tool for Shopify, a beacon of hope for those entrapped by the CSV-only limitations. This application supports not only CSV imports and exports but also a bunch of other file formats, including XML, liberating users from the shackles of format conversion. In this guide, we shall unravel the intricacies of importing XML files into Shopify. You will face the difficulties of the default Shopify XML import comparing this process to a more advanced and automated procedure. Yet, before we embark on this enlightening journey, let us first delve into the nuanced disparities between CSV and XML. For further information on how to improve your e-commerce routine, follow our Shopify Cookbook which stands ready with a trove of valuable insights. So, how to import XML to Shopify? Let’s see!


A CSV (comma-separated values) file is essentially a text file that utilizes commas as delimiters to separate distinct data blocks.

An XML file, in turn, employs a somewhat more intricate approach to data storage and transmission. It is an extensible markup language file that incorporates tags and textual elements to structurally organize data. These tags follow specific syntax guidelines and encapsulate the textual content within the file that is intended for storage.

The fundamental distinction between CSV and XML file formats lies in the fact that CSV is a straightforward text format in which values are delimited by commas (hence the name, Comma-Separated Values), whereas XML utilizes tags to denote relationships between entities and store data related to complex objects.

CSV offers high convenience and requires fewer technical skills. Additionally, it is considerably more compact than XML, demanding fewer computational resources and processing power.

As for XML, it is a more flexible and extensible format, rendering it suitable for the storage and exchange of intricate, structured data.

Here are five benefits of using XML over CSV:

  1. Structured Data: XML provides a structured way to store and organize data using tags, making it easier to represent complex and hierarchical data relationships, such as nested data or metadata.
  2. Data Validation: XML allows for the definition of data validation rules using Document Type Definitions (DTD) or XML Schema Definition (XSD), ensuring data accuracy and consistency.
  3. Extensibility: XML is highly extensible, allowing for the addition of new elements and attributes without disrupting the existing structure, which is particularly useful when dealing with evolving data requirements.
  4. Interoperability: XML is a widely accepted standard for data interchange, ensuring compatibility across various platforms, programming languages, and applications.
  5. Human-Readable: XML files are human-readable, which makes them easier to understand and modify without the need for specialized software.

These advantages make XML a preferred choice for scenarios where structured, validated, and extensible data representation is crucial.

How to import XML files using the default Shopify tools

To import XML files into Shopify using the default tools, you have the only way. It involves the conversion of XML into CSV, which can be achieved as follows:

  1. XML to CSV Conversion: Employ an XML to CSV converter or utilize a tool such as XMLGrid. Upload the XML file and utilize the tool to transform it into the CSV format.
    Shopware 6 XML export
  2. Sample CSV Export: Export a sample CSV file directly from your Shopify website. This sample file must conform to the structure and formatting prerequisites specified by Shopify for import purposes.
    Shopify Google Drive export
  3. Comparative Analysis: Compare the converted CSV file with the sample CSV file obtained from Shopify. Scrutinize the files for any inconsistencies, deviations, or disparities.
  4. Resolution of Discrepancies: If you identify any discrepancies within the converted CSV file, undertake the necessary adjustments to align it with Shopify’s import requirements. Rectify any formatting issues, address discrepancies in data types, and ensure there are no missing fields.
  5. Initiate Data Import: Once your CSV file complies with the import specifications set by Shopify, you can proceed to import the data directly into your e-commerce website.

Following these steps guarantees that your XML data can be effectively imported into Shopify, ensuring it aligns seamlessly with the platform’s stringent import criteria. While this process allows you to harness the power of Shopify XML data imports, there is a more straightforward method. However, it requires a specific file structure.

XML File Structure

If you want to avoid file conversions and freely import XML files to Shopify, use the Improved Import & Export Tool and a specific document tree. Organize your XML files as follows prior to importing them to Shopify:

Store your column names (attributes or properties) between <item> and </item>.

import xml with the following structure

How to import XML into Shopify without conversion

Now, when your XML file is ready, create a new import profile:

Step 1: Access the Import Profile

Go to Apps -> Firebear Import & Export Tool -> Import and click the “New Profile.” This creates a new import profile.

Shopify FTP Import

Step 2: Select File

You are on the “Select File” screen. Follow these steps to configure your Shopify XML import:how to import xml to shopify


  1. Type a title for your import profile, e.g., Shopify Product XML Import.
  2. Select the entity you want to import – Products. The module also lets you import customers and we are working on the update that supports orders. 
  3. If needed, create a schedule for your Shopify XML imports to automate further data transfers.
  4. Configure email notifications if you wish to stay informed on successful and failed Shopify XML imports.
  5. Select XML as your file format. Our app can also import XLSX and CSV files or transfer updates from Google Sheets spreadsheets.
  6. Now, choose your import source for XML Shopify imports: FTP, URLGoogle Drive, or manual file uploads. 
  7. Before going any further, finetune advanced settings which include a stock increment strategy configuration.

Step 3: Configure Mapping

While on the mapping screen, specify which columns from your XML file should correspond to the product properties in your Shopify store. If your XML update contains column names that don’t meet Shopify’s requirements, you can readily substitute them with appropriate ones.

Shopify Google Sheets import

Click “Continue” to proceed to the next section. 

Step 4: Preview Results

The Import & Export Tool provides a preview of how your products will appear after importing them via XML. Here, if you spot any mistakes or inconsistencies, you can return to the previous step to address them.

Shopify Google drive import

Step 5: Import

Finally, click the “Save” button to save your Shopify XML import profile. When you’re ready to import, click the “Import” button. The app will initiate the data transfer of XML files to your Shopify website.

Shopify Google drive import

For more detailed information on enhancing your Shopify import, refer to our “Improved Import & Export Tool Manual.”

Other Features

The Firebear Import & Export Tool stands as the ultimate solution, addressing the common challenges that Shopify store owners encounter during their import and export operations. It elevates and diversifies your data management capabilities in the following ways:

  1. Comprehensive Product Import and Export: Effortlessly import and export products, complete with customizable properties and attributes, allowing you to tailor your listings to your specific requirements.
  2. Effortless Customer Data Import and Export: Simplify the management of customer data, including addresses, providing you with a comprehensive view of your clientele.
  3. Seamless Order Import & Export: Easily handle orders and consolidate sales data from various sources, bringing them together under one roof for improved order management.
  4. Product Properties Mapping and Mapping Presets: Efficiently map product properties and employ presets for precise data alignment with your store’s specifications, streamlining repetitive import processes.
  5. Scheduled Import and Export Operations: Automate data transfers at intervals that suit your needs, ultimately saving you time and effort.
  6. Versatile File Format Support: Collaborate with a variety of file formats, including CSV, XLSX, and XLSX, catering to diverse data sources and formats.
  7. Effortless Google Sheets Integration: Seamlessly integrate with Google Sheets for real-time collaborative data management.
  8. Direct File Uploads: Simplify data transfer with convenient direct file uploads, streamlining the import process.
  9. Secure FTP/FTPS Uploads: Ensure data transfer security and integrity with support for FTP and FTPS uploads, safeguarding your data.
  10. Flexible Google Drive Shopify Integration: Enhance data management by integrating Google Drive for your uploads, further extending your data management capabilities.

These features provide you with precise control over your data, offering a comprehensive solution for the efficient management of your Shopify store. For detailed information on the product and its features, please refer to our comprehensive documentation.