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Importing new categories

Categories help you group your products. They determine how items are structured in your online store.

Generally speaking, there are two different ways to create or update categories. If you only want to create or modify a few categories, then we would recommend doing this manually. However, if you have a lot of categories, then it will probably be quicker to import your category data.

That’s what this page is all about. Here you’ll learn how to import category information into plentymarkets. This is useful if you want to create a lot of new categories at once or if you want to update a lot of existing categories at once.


This page assumes that you’ve already thought up a meaningful category structure and that you have a basic understanding of the import tool.

1. Practical example: Initial situation

Imagine you sell clothing in your online store. You’re new to plentymarkets and you want to import all of your category data at once. You want to structure your categories like so:

  • Women

    • Accessoires

    • Shoes

    • Clothing

      • Jeans

      • Tops

  • Men

    • Accessoires

    • Shoes

    • Clothing

      • Jeans

      • Tops

  • Kids

    • Accessoires

    • Shoes

    • Clothing

      • Jeans

      • Tops

2. Setting up the CSV file

First, transfer this category structure into a CSV file. This is the file that you’ll import into plentymarkets later. In our example, the categories would look like this in the CSV file:

best practice category category structure csv

You are free to choose any names for the column headers. In this example, I’ve put the following category information in the columns:

  • Name = The name of the category.

  • Parentname = If you want this to be a main category, i.e. a top-level category, then leave this field blank. If you want this to be a sub-category, then enter the path of whichever category is directly above it. Use semicolons to separate the individual category levels.

  • Multiname = The complete category path, i.e. the Parentname and the Name. Decide which separator you want to use to separate the individual category levels.

Adding further category info

You probably want to create much more than just a bare-bones category structure. Perhaps you want to add descriptive texts or SEO-relevant meta data.

Add a few more columns to your CSV file and use them to specify the additional category information. For example, like this:

best practice category category info csv

You are free to choose any names for the column headers. You can add any or all of the category information listed here. In this example, I’ve decided to add the following information:

  • Description = A description of each category.

  • Meta title = A text that should be displayed as the tab title in the web browser and in the search engine results.

  • Visible = Whether I want the individual categories to be included in the sitemap.

    1 = Yes, the category should be included in the sitemap.
    0 = No, the category should not be included in the sitemap.

    In this example, I only want the first two category levels to be included in the sitemap. I’ve inserted the numbers 1 and 0 accordingly.

3. Choosing the import settings

Create a new import. Most of the settings can be chosen freely. However, since you want to import category data, make sure you’ve set the Type to Categories.

4. Choosing the matching settings

During the import, plentymarkets will check whether the category already exists. This is done with the help of a so-called matching field.

Since we want to import new categories in this example, configure the settings as follows.

Setting Explanation

Combined category name

Which column of your CSV file contains the complete category path? Choose this column header from the first drop-down list. In our example, I’ll choose the column Multiname.
Select the separator from the second drop-down list. In our example, I’ll choose the semicolon.

Import options

Since you’ll be importing new categories, choose the option Only import new data or Import new, update existing data.

5. Choosing the mapping settings

Your CSV file is already filled with a bunch of category information. Now you’ll decide where in plentymarkets each piece of information should appear when you import the file. Take a look at this page while you map the columns of your CSV file to the fields in plentymarkets. In this example, I’ve configured the settings as follows.

best practice category mapping settings

I created the bare-bones category structure by:

  • mapping the Name column of my CSV file with the Category settings / Name data field in plentymarkets.

  • mapping the Parentname column of my CSV file with the Category / Parent category name data field in plentymarkets.

  • using the Own value option and entering 1 for the data field Category / Create parent category if not found. In other words, by deciding to create the superior category if it doesn’t already exist.

I added extra category information by:

  • mapping the Description column of my CSV file with the Category settings / Description 1 data field in plentymarkets.

  • mapping the Meta title column of my CSV file with the Category settings / Meta title data field in plentymarkets.

  • mapping the Visible column of my CSV file with the Category / Visible data field in plentymarkets.

6. Did it work?

Ready to import your categories? Start the import and check whether the data was correctly imported into plentymarkets.

Starting the import and checking the result:

  1. Activate the lines that should be imported ().

  2. Test the import () or start the import ().
    Note: This can take a few minutes.

  3. Go to Item » Category.

  4. Check whether the categories were correctly structured.
    Note: Click on a category’s folder icon () on the far left. This displays the subcategories within.

  5. Open a few categories and check their settings.

Do a trial run

We recommend testing the import () before you start it for the first time. This imports the first 10 rows of the file and bypasses the cache. It gives you time to check whether the import works correctly. If the import does not perform as expected, you can correct it before importing the entire file.

Resetting the cache

Directly within the import, you’ll find the button Reset cache (). This button allows you to reset the import cache in order to reimport a file that does not contain any changes.

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