How to improve Magento 2 Commerce/Cloud import and export procedures, import XML and Json

- E-Commerce, Magento 2

It is not a secret that Magento 2 Commerce/Cloud edition import and export procedures can be automated and offer an enhanced functionality compared to Magento 2 Open Source (Community) edition.
Still there is some functionality lacking. In this post we have gathered the suggestions on how to improve Magento 2 Commerce/Cloud import and export, how to import XML and Json file, import categories and other entities.

Magento 2 Commerce/Cloud in comparison with Open Source (ex. Community) version comes with improved Import and Export procedures. The main difference with Open Source comes from the possibility to schedule the import and export. Let’s break down the process and look at the features available.

Magento 2 Scheduled Import/Export

The scheduled import and export can be found under System > Data Transfer.

First screen you get on is the Scheduled Imports/Exports grid. Here you can add new imports and export, or manage existing ones.
Let’s click ‘Add Scheduled Import’ button to see how it works. The export comes with the same settings.


You first get to set up the general import settings such as name and description. Next, you need to select the entity you will be importing. Magento 2 allows importing following entities:

  • Advanced Pricing
  • Products
  • Customer Finances (!)
  • Customers and Addresses (single file)
  • Customer Addresses
  • Customers Main File

Compared to Magento 2 Open Source we get additional entity ‘Customer Finances’. This entity has been added because Magento 2 Commerce allows customers to use store credit and reward points. In Customer Finance file you can find such fields as store_credit and reward_points. In this fields you can specify store credit and reward point balance of a particular customer respectively.

As for the Import Behavior you can select from three variations:

  • Add/Update – entities from the file will be either added to the store or updated if already exist.
  • Replace – entities from the file will replace relevant existing entities at the store.
  • Delete – entities in the file will be deleted from the store.

Once you are done with this settings scroll down for scheduling the import.

Here you decide on the import start time, and how often you want to repeat this procedure. The frequency can be set to: daily, weekly, monthly. Later in this post we will discuss Improved Import and Export extension which allows you to use advanced schedule and set any time and any intervals based of your requirements.

Next, you are suggested to specify the field and multiple value separators, in case your CSV file uses different from the required by Magento 2. With Improved Import and Export you can also import XML and Json file types and import CSV files directly from Google Sheets.

When done with mapping the file you proceed to the Import File Information configuration section.

Here you decide whether you want to import a file from the local server or remote FTP. The choices are pretty limited compared to Improved Import and Export extension for Magento 2 by FireBear. With the help of the extension you can import any Magento 2 entity from Google Sheets, FTP/SFTP, Dropbox, direct URL or file.

Next come Import Failed Emails.

These emails can be sent to the store administrators in case errors happened during import or export processes. Magento 2 unfortunately doesn’t offer import and export run logs, so you cannot find any information on the process success and errors except in these emails.

Improved Import and Export extension enables import and export loggins. Once the process is over the extension stores the progress log where you can find all the fields imported from the table and refer to the errors if any.

That’s pretty much it for Magento 2 Commerce/Cloud scheduled import. The only thing left to do is hit ‘Save’ button. The import process will run automatically according to the set schedule.

How to improve Magento 2 Commerce/Cloud import and export

There are several ways of improving Magento 2 Commerce/Cloud import procedure. Most of the top quality variants involve use of the third party applications that you need to run manually from your desktop.

However, here we will talk about Improved Import and Export extension for Magento 2. The extension has been developed and is supported by FireBear Studio.

Buy Improved Import and Export extension

The extension provides the store owner with possibility to schedule import and export procedures to any time and interval required with the help of built-in cron scheduler. It allows importing almost any Magento 2 entity from different sources. Supports XML and Json file formats. And provides powerful attribute and category mapping capabilities.

Let’s break down the import procedure using Improved Import and Export extension for Magento 2.

Step 1: import and export jobs

Improved Import and Export extension operates in ‘Jobs’. That’s how to the automated import and export processes are called. The term comes from the functionality, as it covers every possible setting the store owner may need: scheduling, imported entity, behavior etc.

Both import and export jobs can be found under System > Improved Import/Export section of the administrator panel.

Here you create and manage all the import jobs. For the export jobs you get the similar screen with the same management tools.

In the grid you get the explicit information on the jobs you have and can edit the jobs directly from the gird.

To create a new job click ‘Add New Job’ button.

Step 2: general import settings

When you first get to the import job settings you see general settings section.

Here you are suggested to name the job and schedule it. Pay attention how the scheduling works. FireBear team integrated cron scheduler into the Magento 2 administrator panel. Using the cron scheduler you can create any recurring patterns and specify exact days you want the job to run on. It is a great deal compared to natived Magento 2 scheduler.

In addition to the general settings you can decide if you need to re-index the catalog after the import completion. This can save you a lot of time, as some of the stores can run just fine without reindexing the catalog. Moreover, you get to specify whether the extension should handle URL duplicates for you. For example, if you not sure that all the imported product links are unique.

Step 3: import settings

Below the General Settings you can find Import Settings section.

Here you select the entity you want to import. As you can see, in addition to native Magento 2 Commerce/Cloud edition entities you can import:

  • Categories,
  • Orders;
  • Cart Price Rules;
  • CMS pages.

More to it, you can now import tier prices along with the products, in a single file. If you are interested – read dedicated blog article on Advanced Pricing import.

Step 4: import behavior

Follow up next is the import behavior. This section is similar to the native Magento 2 one.

However, you can also specify the separators used for categories. These separators come useful when you are working with suppliers that provide you with custom-formatted CSV tables.

Step 5: import source

This section hold great differences and enhancements over native Magento 2 Commerce/Cloud import procedure.

New Magento 2 import file types

First of all Import File Type. With Improved Import and Export extension you can take advantage of the following file types:

  • import CSV;
  • import XML;
  • import Json.

If with CSV everything is clear, we need to talk about XML and Json.

XML files can be imported to Magento 2 Commerce/Cloud, and can be of any format. This become achievable with XSLT transformation templates that can be included right into the import jobs. For more information – read a dedicated blog article on XML file import.

Json files can also be imported to Magento 2 Commerce/Cloud. This is a first step to integrating Improved Import and Export extension via Rest API with any management software you might be running. CRM systems, POS or ERP, you name it, – FireBear Studio is working on providing the store owners with full integration.

New Magento 2 import sources

Improved Import and Export introduces new import sources in addition to default Magento 2 Commerce/Cloud ones. You get to import files from:

  • local server;
  • FTP/SFTP;
  • Google Sheets;
  • Dropbox;
  • Direct URL.

The Google Sheets import makes it much easier for you to work with your colleagues or a supplier on the CSV tables you about to import. To understand how the Google Sheets import works – read a dedicated blog article on Magento 2 Google Sheets import.

We have also composed a Google Sheet Master Table for you to get into Magento 2 import quick. The table comes with the description and sample values for every entity attribute.

Check out Google Sheet Master Table

When you are done specifying the file type and import source click ‘Validate file’ button.

Step 6: map attributes

Now, once you selected the entity you may want to map its attributes.

For example: your supplier doesn’t know which attributes you use at your Magento 2 store, or you are migrating from another store. In this case you can take full advantage of the attribute mapping.

In this section you select the system attribute – an attribute that you use in your Magento 2, and specify the attribute from the file you are importing. The extension will handle the rest. During the import process the values of an attribute from the file will be added to as values of the selected system attribute.

If you are migrating from Magento 1 or Shopify – you can also select the attribute mapping presets. This will automatically fill the mapping table for you, and you will only need to run job.

Step 7: category mapping

In addition to attribute mapping, when importing products you can also map product categories.

The extension allows you to upload categories from the imported file and specify the end category paths the products should have after the import process is complete.

Step 8: price rules

If you want to update the product prices during import it is also possible.

The extension allows you to specify either a percent or fixed value to be added to the price of the products from the imported file.

You can also take advantage of the conditions if not all products from the imported file should have their price updated.

Step 9: creating configurable products

Improved Import and Export allows assigning simple products to configurables in several patterns.

If you are adding new configurable products to your Magento 2 Commerce/Cloud catalog you may find it difficult to use native Magento 2 configurable product building pattern.

With Improved Import and Export extension to get to choose the scenario on which simple products can be assigned to their parent configurables.

We will omit the available patterns in this blog post. However, if you want to read more about it – check out the Improved Import and Export extension manual.

Step 10: run the job

That’s it. The only thing you are left to do now is to import the selected entity to your Magento 2 store. To do this click ‘Save & Run’ button in the upper right corner of the screen.

The job will be executed and you will see the job progress. After the entity is imported to your Magento 2 store you will get access to the job log where you can see if any errors and if the job has been successful. The extension stores log for every job run so you can access them at any time to learn what has been imported.

Magento 2 Commerce/Cloud vs Improved Import and Export comparison table

To have a better look at the extension let’s build a table to compare Magento 2 Commerce/Cloud features with the Improved Import and Export extension.

 

Feature Native Magento 2 import/export Improved Import and Export extension
Scheduled import/export Yes Yes. More scheduling options with cron
Import source Local server, FTP Local server, FTP/SFTP, Google Sheets, Dropbox, direct URL
File format support CSV CSV, XML, Json
Import and export entities Products, customers Products, customers, categories, orders, cart price rules, CMS pages
Logging options Notification emails Logs for every import and export instance run
Automatic reindex after import Mandatory Optional
Running via CLI No Yes
Custom configurable product logic No Yes
Attribute mapping No Yes
Category mapping No Yes
Price rules No Yes

This is the list with the main differences offered by the Improved Import and Export extension. Of course there are multiple differences including UI and workflow.

The full Magento 2 improved import export processes are described in the Improved Import and Export extension manual.

If you are new to Magento 2 import and export procedures we have composed a Magento 2 Import/Export Guide list for you. There you can find articles on how to import different entities to Magento 2 and how to prepare import tables.