The Platform now offers an enhanced CSV import solution for creating Print On Demand Virtual Products in bulk. This import works similarly to the other Artwork Only routines, but has a few key differences to offer a more efficient and automated process:
- 1) It does not require you to select your Blanks first. Instead, it is entirely data driven, meaning your Blank product IDs can be specified directly within the CSV file prior to import.
Top Tip: You can quickly obtain a list of your Blank product ID's by using the eCommerce Export via Product Manager. Use the search tools to navigate to the Blank category folder and click Exports > eCommerce Data
- 2) It does not require you to pick a single target category folder for all Virtuals to be placed within. Instead, categories can be specified per row of the CSV, allowing each created Virtual product to be placed into target categories with ease.
Top Tip: Go to Settings > Categories to see a list of all of your categories and associated category ID's
- 3) - It supports additional Artwork columns to facilitate the creation of multi sided POD Virtuals automatically (Blanks with 1-5 Print Areas).
Artwork Format Enhancements
As well as standard Raster format artwork, the import now supports both embroidery and vector artwork files via URL. This provides an effective solution to create Virtual POD Embroidery and Vector products in bulk.
Note: Artwork files must be linked to the spreadsheet via URL. The artwork files should be stored on an external server and the URL must be a direct link (publically accessible). If the artwork file is not accessible, then the import routine will fail.
- Raster files supported = PNG (Recommended as supports transparency) or JPEG
- Embroidery files supported = EMB or DST
- Vector files supported = PDF (Version 1.4 or older)
- The Vector solution is only available for Blank products that have been configured to output Vector files as per the Fulfillers requirements (The Output Type must be explicitly set on the product as Vector PDF under the Default Fulfiller options of the Blank). Any uploaded Vector PDF Artwork files should be the same aspect ratio / size as the Print Area on the Blank to fit desirably.
The enhanced import is available via Product Manager > Imports > Print On Demand (Artwork Only)
Master Import Reference Guide
A Master Import Reference Guide has been created for reference purposes to show the available columns (Row 1) and a reference description of what data should be included (Row 2, these must be removed before import).
(Alternatively, a blank template file is attached at the bottom of the article)
There is no difference in the required file structure for Raster / Embroidery / Vector solutions - it is the file format of the artwork URL specifically that determines how it is applied, which means the same process can be used for all artwork formats. (For Vector, the specified Blanks must have Vector PDF set as the required Output Type by the Fulfiller).
CSV Import Format Requirements
If using Excel, the file must be saved as a .CSV.
If using OpenOffice or equivalent, save as .CSV and be sure to:
- Enable 'Edit the Filter Settings'
- Keep Current Format
- Change the character set to UNICODE (UTF-8)
- Enable 'Quote all text cells'
The file can then be imported.
Please ensure that your CSV does not contain duplicate columns for artwork_1_url
Q - How can I access the products created?
A - Virtual Products created via the import will be placed within the target categories within Platform. These can be accessed via product manager and updated / maintained as normal.
Q - How long does it take to import/create the Virtual Products?
A - The time can vary and is dependant upon multiple factors.
- Number of Virtuals being created - higher volumes will take more time. Generally dozens of Virtuals might only take a few minutes, hundreds may take several minutes and thousands longer still.
- Total number of artwork files added - more artwork files means there is more to process which can increase creation time, even for fewer virtuals.
- Size and format of the artwork files added - larger size artwork files (mb) will increase processing time, even for fewer virtuals.
Note: If you intend to create thousands of Virtual Products, it may be best to create smaller batches of import files rather than uploading just one. This can help to avoid upload issues based on potential timeouts and processing limits, or internet connection disruptions.
Q - The Import didn't work / errors, what should I do?
A - Review the CSV import file and make sure that it is formatted correctly based on the guidelines in this document. You can also try:
- Using the example csv template attached to this support article to ensure you are using the correct column headers
- Remove any columns that you are not populating prior to import
- Check that Artwork_1_url column is populated, this is a fixed requirement
- Ensure that your artwork URLs are publically accessible - this is a fixed requirement
- Check the size of the associated artwork file - (guideline artwork size is 40mb)
Q - I want to include a 'Vector Cutline' in the output file, what is the best way to combine this with the design artwork on the Virtual?
A - Cutlines are a production requirement and should therefore be included as part of the Print Specification on the Blank product. Only the owner of the Blank (Fulfiller) has access to this and is required to upload the Vector Cutline file as Artwork against the Print Area based on the following settings:
- Artwork Type = Vector Cutline
- Fit Mode = Exact
- Required for Virtuals = Enabled (this pulls the cutline file through to any created Virtual products)
When an order is placed and print job is generated, booth the cutlines from the Blank, and vector artwork from the virtual are taken into account and merged into a single PDF output file as separate layers.
Q - For a Vector Solution, how do I change the Output Type on the base Blank Product?
A -Only the Blank Owner (Fulfiller) can change the settings against the Blank Product. This protects the integrity of the Blank based on the Fulfillers production requirements.
The Output Type dropdown is available via the Product Details page, within the Default Fulfiller rollout menu:
Be sure to include a link to your csv file when submitting the ticket as this will allow the team to investigate more quickly.