I'm thinking about opening a large online store for Jewelry, the one thing that really bothers me is managing the actual operation of taking pictures, uploading and describing all the products.

I'm trying to figure out the best way to do it, in terms of performance or the least time consuming.

Just a few things to keep in mind

  1. I'll have over 1,000 items in the online store
  2. I'll have 3-4 pictures for each item, I'm using a DSLR camera if it makes any difference.
  3. I'm going to probably use Magento, unless you have better experience with another eCommerce platform that will help me get this done quickly.
  4. I'll need to randomly(?) create a product code for each item.

I'm really liking Shopify. Although I've not actually used them, I've looked into their site quite a bit.

If you have over a thousand items, you might want to hire a hand to help you. If it's all jewelry items, you're lucky. Taking pictures with a DSLR of small items such as jewelry becomes a cinch when you set up a small studio (white or dark backdrop, a floodlight or two, or whatever you have), line up your items, and run them through.

If you know a lot about your product line, the main bottleneck will probably be those photos. Photo library software such as Picasa (free and great) or Lightroom (NOT free, but really great) will make preparing for upload a breeze.

I think that most good e-commerce software such as Magento and Shopify will take care of product ID numbers, or codes, for you. Hope this helps.

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Magento is capable of bulk import as well as export. The way I recommend you do this is by:

  1. first creating a sample product,
  2. then do a bulk export (even though you'll only have a single product) via System>Import/Export>Profiles and select Export All Products.
  3. You can then retrieve the CSV file from /var/export.
  4. Open the CSV file in your preferred spreadsheet editor (OpenOffice/LibreOffice Calc, Excel, Apple Numbers, etc.) and use the sample product's entry as a model to create all of your other products. Remember to put a / before your image filenames.
  5. Upload your images to the /media/import directories.
  6. Finally, go to System>Import/Export>Profiles and select Import All Products and upload your new CSV file and save.
  7. After saving, you'll be able to select the uploaded file from the dropdown list and run the profile, which will create all the products and load the product photos.

However, I don't recommend you use randomly generated product IDs. Like Matt says, any decent web store will generate these codes for you, and they'll be consecutive numbers, which would be more logical than random codes.

The SKU field is only used if you already have a cataloging system in place for your products. For instance, many businesses will already have a system for cataloging their products for stock-keeping, ordering, distribution, etc. before they migrate to Magento. They would use the SKU field to bring the system over to Magento.

Otherwise, it's more important for you to specify a user-friendly (thus search engine friendly) URL key for each product. I believe Magento will try to generate one automatically from the product name, though often auto-generated slugs are not optimal.

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