Stay ahead of the game

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest digital marketing strategies and insights for the month ahead, delivered straight to your inbox!

    What Is a .CSV File and How Is It Used In ECommerce

    PPCPPC Basics

    If you manage an eCommerce site, chances are you have heard about CSV files or even have experience using them. What you might not be familiar with is how CSV files are vitally important to ECommerce and how they make managing an ECommerce site much easier.

    A CSV file helps with inventory management, uploading product and seller information, exporting customer account and order details, and downloading store discount data. 

    Without CSV files, each task would be significantly more problematic, complicated, and prone to human error. It would also require a dedicated database management professional to be on hand to perform uploads, downloads, and queries for reports.

    The following is how and why CSV files are so important to your ECommerce business and why you should consider using them if you are not already doing so.

    Table of Contents

    What is a .CSV File, and How Is It Used In ECommerce? 

    The term “CSV” stands for Comma-Separated-Values. 

    That definition is important because it maps out why CSV files are so critical to ECommerce efforts. A CSV file lets you store text and numeric values in a tabular format, which makes querying, uploading, downloading, and producing reports on the stored data much easier.

    CSV files are also widely used. They are compatible with spreadsheet applications, including, but not limited to:

    • Excel
    • Google Sheets
    • Apple Numbers

    The benefit of the format of CSV files is that it is universally accepted, at least at the ECommerce level of managing data. While traditional spreadsheet file formats separate data by rows, columns, and cells, CSV files are separated only by a comma.

    How Does CSV Help ECommerce? 

    To bring a CSV file into a traditional spreadsheet format, one must only use a spreadsheet application that can upload a comma-delimited format. That makes it easy to import, export, or generate reports on almost all data types in multiple databases.

    Effortlessly imported data means that managing data on ECommerce sites is much more streamlined and easier, even for non-technical ECommerce site managers. With CSV, a database programmer is no longer needed to perform simple uploads or downloads and create and download management reports.

    So, if you are not technically savvy, you can still keep your ECommerce site updated with the most current information while being able to download data for storage or analysis. You do not have to understand how database management or data relationships work or any programming language to download or upload data or create reports.

    The benefits of not having to rely on technical personnel to perform simple tasks are three-fold:

    • You can perform site data management on your schedule
    • There is no waiting for or reliance on tech people
    • Since CSV files are usually smaller, uploads and downloads of data are faster
    • No specialized programming is needed to perform data management tasks

    Who Should Use CSV Files? 

    Every ECommerce website owner, manager, or customer service representative should use CSV files. The chances are that if you manage an ECommerce site, you are already using CSV files. Even if you use a customized data management system, your application is likely CSV-compatible.

    If you do not use CSV files, converting to them is easy because the file format is almost universally accepted.

    With a CSV file, getting the most up-to-date administrative data and performing database management is simple, quick, and easy. Your customer operations are more responsive and quick to respond, improving customer service.

    Why Are CSV Files Important? 

    The quick answer is that CSV files are important because they make data management so easy that even someone with zero technical experience can learn how to use them. Here is what that means to different aspects of an ECommerce business.

    Technical Level

    Virtually everyone can learn how to upload and download data and create, select and download reports. You do not need tech support with CSV files once the system is set up and troubleshot. You only need technical support if something goes wrong with the site or the site data becomes corrupted. 

    You would need the same support with or without CSV file management.

    Basic Manager Level

    Site, product, or department managers can perform almost all down and upload functions quickly and easily. For example, a CSV file affects the following areas with streamlined operations.

    Inventory and Product Management

    CSV files allow for easy:

    • Updating inventory and product names and information
    • Separating products by categories or service departments
    • Import bulk batches of new products

    Database product production management once required working with a third party, internally or externally, to get simple data management functions performed. If you wanted to upload or download data, generate reports or perform data analysis, you worked with a database expert. 

    CSV lets non-technical staff quickly and easily manage their inventory and upload and download data, ensuring the most up-to-date data resides in the ECommerce management system and on the website potential customers visit.

    Financial and Sales Management

    CSV files also let managers:

    • Update financial-related data to a product category or specific product
    • Download sales data
    • Convert data into management reports
    • Perform data analysis to identify trends

    Those capabilities make it easy to collect and analyze data in virtually any format.

    Administrative Management

    For customer service representatives and operational managers, CSV files help:

    • Manage vendor information
    • Add new vendors
    • Download customer account data
    • Recall in real-time query-driven customer histories

    With a CSV file, getting the most up-to-date administrative data and performing database management is simple, quick, and easy. Your customer operations are more responsive and quick to respond, improving customer service.

    Main Takeaways 

    CSV files are plain-text files that streamline importing, loading, exporting, and managing data. Their text format helps keep products updated and lists of customers, vendors, promotional campaigns, products, and product descriptions current. The format helps website administrators manage ECommerce sites regardless of their technical skills.

    Easier to perform functions results in happier customers and more responsive employees. ECommerce site data management lets personnel download and upload data that used to require a third-party database manager. Even employees with little or no technical skills can update the website quickly and easily.

      Get exclusive CMO tips that I only share with email subscribers.

      Share this article
      Back to top