Have you ever imagined a perfect Magento 2 import/export extension that can move all the possible data to/from your ecommerce website? Guys from the Firebear studio not only imagined but they tried to visualize the dream of every Magento merchant. In this post, I talk about a robust Magento 2 import/export extension that completely revamps the default processes and adds lots of new features that dramatically improve the common backend experience.
Upon trying it out for myself, I found out that Firebear Improved Import Export Magento 2 extension adds so many new features to both import and export. More importantly, the Firebear Improved Import Export Magento 2 extension is used by merchants of all sizes worldwide to automate multiple backend processes.
The tool utilizes import and export jobs; fully automated imports and exports from/to selected sources according to a specified schedule. Therefore, you only have to configure the Magento 2 import/export module once, and it will work in a fully automated mode. You can also control it manually.
Unlike the default platform, Firebear’s extension supports multiple file formats and import/export sources, it offers import/export mapping and export filters and allows applying import presets, and provides other useful features. Here’s a link to the following video that illustrates some basic tasks enabled by the extension.
All these export/import flows look intriguing, don’t they? So let’s take a detailed look at the Magento 2 Improved Import & Export extension to discover all the possibilities of this module.
Import/Export File Formats
The extension didn’t always have these functionalities. Initially, it was able to import only CSV files. But since Firebear always tries to make their products closer to the world of forms, the support for export was added, and the tool allows merchants to move data in three formats: CSV, XML, and TXT.
And that’s not it. The support for native Excel files is expected to be introduced soon. Furthermore, you can always share your ideas on what other formats should be added, and Firebear will make it happen. The only trouble is, you’ll have to wait in a queue since a lot of new stunning improvements are under development at the moment. Here are all the three currently supported file formats:
Although the picture above shows import file types, you can leverage the same formats for your export processes. Simply choose one that suits your ecommerce needs and handle the corresponding files. Create import or export profiles (above, we’ve just called them ‘jobs’) that start import or export automatically according to the predefined cron schedule.
Note that the Improved Import Export Magento 2 extension allows using predefined schedules. At the same time, you can create a custom one; the standard cron logic is supported. Furthermore, the module lets you generate a profile that can be launched manually only. All profiles with a schedule can be launched manually too. With the Improved Import & Export module, you can launch jobs in two different ways. If you are a tech-savvy, you launch jobs asynchronously via CLI. Otherwise, if you don’t want to deal with all the frightening screens and commands, go to Magento admin and run import/export right there.
All jobs are gathered in a grid. Both export and import profiles have their own grids where you can apply inline cron editing, just as on the gif below:
Another feature of the module is the variety of import and export sources. You can easily move files and product images to/from your own server, a remote FTP/SFTP server, or a Dropbox account. Besides, it is possible to use the direct URL upload and even upload files right in the browser. Even if you have a big ecommerce website, you can upload large files in .zip or .tar archives via the module. The archives are unpacked automatically, so you don’t need to waste time on managing everything manually.
Now, let’s take a look at the supported import and export entities. In case of import, the module utilizes only the default Magento 2 import entities from System -> Data Transfer -> Import. They are Products; Customers and Addresses (single file); Customers Main File; Customer Addresses; and Advanced Pricing. Besides, you can import categories to your Magento 2 store using the Firebear’s import tool.
As for the export section, it fully supports order export including invoices and credit memos.
Before going any further, we should also mention that the Improved Import & Export extension supports all product types. It treats simple, configurable, downloadable, group, bundle, and virtual products equally well.
Now when you have a basic understanding of the Improved Import/Export Magento 2 extension functionality, we’d like to draw your attention to one of the most intriguing aspects of the tool – mapping. One of the biggest drawbacks of the default import/export is the inability to work with custom file formats. The Magento 2 has strict requirements regarding a file structure, so you should change import files manually in order to add the desired data to your store. The same is about export, but in both cases, it is a very boring routine. And if you export/import multiple items with dozens of attributes, the routine becomes time-consuming.
In order to solve the problem mentioned above, the Magento 2 import/export extension by Firebear provides the ability to apply mapping to both import and export jobs. The powerful feature was added to the extended functionality to lets you match default Magento 2 attributes to custom ones. As a result, any file with a custom format can be imported to Magento 2. At the same time, you can export a file that already satisfies the requirement of any third-party platform.
Furthermore, the Magento 2 Improved Import & Export extension allows using default (hardcoded) values. If you are not familiar with this feature, here is a brief explanation: a hardcoded value is a static value that is provided to each item in the attribute column automatically.
In the picture below, the ‘_product_websites’ system attribute is mapped to the ‘tier_price_website’ import attribute, and the default value is ‘ENG.’ It means that in front of all items in the ‘_product_websites,’ which is ‘tier_price_website’ in the import file, the extension will specify the ‘ENG’ value. Note that this example is just an illustration of basic mapping functionality and is not a practical case. However, you should carefully match attributes and set default values that are really used with the selected attributes.
Mapping works the same for import and export, but there are several unique features added to export profiles. For instance, if you need a limited set of data to be exported, you can use filters and create special conditions that narrow down the selection of items to be exported. Consequently, you get only the necessary data in one file and apply mapping to make it fully suitable with the requirements of any third-party platform. To create a new filter, select an entity type, specify a field that will be used as a basis of the filter, and provide filtering parameters. Note that depending on the specified field, the filter parameters may vary a lot.
These were exclusive export features, and there are some unique import-related improvements introduced by Firebear. The Improved Import & Export Magento 2 module allows creating new products attributes and their values on the fly. It means that if an attribute or value doesn’t exist in the Magento 2 database, you no longer need to worry about this problem. Both are generated automatically during the import procedure. You only need to enable the corresponding option.
Another import feature is represented by presets. Currently, the Magento 2 import/export extension supports only the Magento 1 preset but presets for simplified migration from WooCommerce, Shopify, and other popular platforms should be released in the near future. The current preset simplifies product migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2. In order to move data from your old store, it is only necessary to upload the import file and apply the preset. Next, the module creates the appropriate mapping scheme automatically.
All import and export runs are available under the appropriate section. You can always get the closest details due to the extended debug of import and export. Detailed logging by SKU, time of import, and many other parameters are illustrated within the extension. To get the necessary information, select the job, open the history tab, and download a log file there.
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Improved Import & Export extension is 100% open source and is designed according to Magento 2’s best practices by the team of Certified Magento Developers. Thus, you can always ask guys at Firebear to implement your custom ideas. Just contact the support team to discuss your needs to figure out a specific import/export solution.
More features are described in the official extension manual as well as in the roadmap. Note that many more improvements are planned for further updates, and you can get them for free since Firebear offers one year of free updates and supports.
The following use case scenarios illustrate the most common ways an extension may be leveraged:
- You run a Magento 2 store, but it is connected to various third-party platforms that require information about customers and products. Instead of adding this data to the platform manually, use Improved Import & Export. Apply mapping to make the default Magento 2 export/files suitable for the requirements of all these platforms. Next, move any custom CSV, XML, or even TXT file with information about customers and product from your store. The opposite data transfer is possible as well.
- You run a multi-channel business, but the channels are not synchronized with your store. Keep stock information and other data up to date with the Magento 2 import/export extension by Firebear. Create a new job, set a cron schedule, apply mapping, select the most convenient import sources, and you will fully automate regular updates.
- The accounting system is used in your business. It means that you need to export orders, invoices, and other documents out of your store. Follow the algorithm mentioned above, but for the new export job, you will easily upload all the necessary files right to a remote server of the accounting system in the required format. Export customers, products, and product stock files.
- Migration from other ecommerce platforms is supported as well. And you don’t have to move most of the information manually. Create a new job with mapping and enjoy the fully automated process.
- Export products to third-party marketplaces and other similar platforms with ease. There is no need to install a third-party feed generator; the extension provides the ability to get an export file with any custom structure.
- Use Improve Import to update product and customer attributes. The extension supports bulk update via CSV, XML, or TXT files. Stop spending hours on manual admin work, use this precise resource wisely.
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