2. Creating Products in CCJ Channels

In CCJ Channels, the "Products" page shows the products you are managing with the component.  You can create products here in several different ways, which are outlined below.  Note that whichever way products are created, they can be edited by clicking on the product SKU (or checking the checkbox and clicking the "Edit" toolbar button).   This will take you to an edit page that works the same way as described below in the section about creating products by hand.

2.1. Importing from a CSV file

You may import products to CCJ Channels by reading from a CSV file on the "Connect" page.  The file needs to be in "normal" CSV format (comma-separated fields, fields quoted with double-quotes if they contain commas themselves, same number of fields on each line of the file).  When you are creating your CSV file, it must be saved in UTF-8 format or category names may not import correctly,  since many eBay categories have names containing non-ASCII characters.  Note that Excel (for example) does not do this by default; if you are exporting a CSV file from Excel, you must click the little "Tools" pulldown on the bottom of the export dialog and choose "Web Options", then click the "Encoding" tab, then pick "Unicode (UTF-8)".

The first line of the file contains a "header" row in which each field contains the name of that column.  The columns can appear in any order, and the case of the headers is ignored.  The acceptable column headers (shown here in all lower case) are:

sku, title, description, category, condition, price, qty, note, weight, manufacturer, mpn, upc, image#, thumb#, itemspecific#

Of these, the following are required (the rest are optional):

sku, title, price, qty, weight

The entries in these fields are directly used for fields in created products, so each of these fields is described in detail under the section below on creating products by hand.  Here we will just describe the format of the tricky ones:

condition is the name of the condition of the product, exactly matching one of the choices available in CCJ Channels (such as "Like New", etc).

category is an eBay category in which your product will be listed.    If you specify this, use a ">" character to separate category levels.  For example, an item listed in primary category "Clothing, Shoes & Accessories", subcategory "Men's Clothing", subcategory "Shirts", subcategory "T-Shirts", would be specified as "Clothing, Shoes & Accessories > Men's Clothing > Shirts > T-Shirts".

image# (here the "#" should be a number, but can be any number).  This will be a  full URL for an image (which can be anywhere, on this site or another).  When your listing is created on eBay, eBay will upload the image from this URL so it needs to be available/visible to eBay's servers. 

thumb# (again the "#" is a number, and it should match the # for the corresponding image).  Again this will be a full URL for a thumbnail of the corresponding image#.  This thumbnail will not be used on eBay; it's only used in the display of your product within CCJ Channels.

itemspecific# (again the "#" is a number, and can be any number).  This gives an "Item Specific" (eBay's term for named product attributes) in the following format: 


for example, "Size:L".  Use a separate column for each itemspecific.  


Once the file is imported, CCJ Channels will create a product for each row of the file, with its "Listed" field turned off initially.  You should check each one to make sure it imported as expected, and then turn its "Listed" field on if it's ready.


2.2. Creating Products By Hand

In order to create a product by manually entering data for the appropriate fields, click "New" at the top of the "Products" page.  

On the product creation / editing page, at the top of the page you will see an image-file uploader, which allows you to upload images of the product.  To upload an image, select it by clicking "Add Images..." and choose images with your computer's file browser, or drag and drop images anywhere on the uploader widget.  Once the uploader knows what images you've selected, click the "Start Upload" button to actually upload them to your site, or "Cancel" to remove them before uploading. 

Once images have been uploaded, you can delete them by clicking the red "Delete" button.  Note that you may or may not want to actually remove the images from your server (for example, if they're used for Virtuemart products, or in other products or in articles, etc).  For this reason, there is a switch labeled "When deleting db record, delete image file also?", which defaults to "No".  If this switch is turned off (the default), then when you click the "Delete" button, the image is no longer associated with this product BUT the file is still present on the server.  (If set to "Yes", then the image file will be deleted as well).

In the upload widget there is also a "Remote Files" tab, which you can use if your image files are actually hosted on another server and therefore don't need to be uploaded.  In this tab click the "Add" button to create entry fields for each image/thumbnail pair you want to specify for this product, and enter the full URL of each one (the thumbnail is optional; eBay will not use it, it's only for display in CCJ Channels).

For the rest of the product information:

eBay Listed determines whether CCJ Channels will try to list this product using the "Push to eBay" page (described in the Using eBay section of this manual). Normally this will be turned on for all your products, but you may choose to delist them temporarily (or even permanently) by turning this setting off.

SKU is your own identifier, it's not displayed by eBay for your listings (but you can choose to put it in your listing template in order to make it easier for yourself to identify and manage your listings).

Title is the title used for your listing on eBay (note that eBay titles must be 80 characters or less).

Category is an eBay category in which your product will be listed.   If you are matching a product in the eBay catalog, you won't need to provide the category.

Description is the long-form information about the product, which can contain HTML.

Price is the price (in US dollars) you will use in the listing for your product

Condition is the condition of the product.  Note that the name of the condition here may appear on eBay differently in some categories (for example, in some clothing categories "New" is displayed as "New with tags").

Qty is the number of items available in your listing.  

Condition note is an optional way for you to describe the condition of the item, if appropriate, such as "small nick in the lower left corner".

Weight is the weight of each item in pounds.  This determines the shipping cost for buyers.

Manufacturer is the maker of your item (also known as the "Brand").

MPN is the manufacturers' part number.  Together, manufacturer and MPN can be used to match products in eBay's catalog (see the Using eBay section of this manual).

UPC is the universal product code (bar code) for the product. UPC can be used to match products in eBay's catalog. In some circumstances eBay may give you errors if you try to list without it, even if it's not appropriate for your item (such as for items you have made yourself).  In these cases use the words "Does not apply".

Item Specifics are eBay's term for named attributes such as "Size" that apply to some products but not others.  If you match a product in eBay's catalog, these will be provided for you and you don't need to worry about them.  Buf if you're not matching a catalog product, some categories have required Item Specifics ("Size" is a good example for clothing categories), so when you try to list a product you'll get errors from eBay telling you which ones are missing, and you can create them here.  The easiest way to identify in advance which Item Specifics you may want to use is to find a product already listed on eBay that's similar to yours and see what Item Specifics it has and try to use them on your own product.  To create an Item Specific click the "Add" button, which will generate input fields for the name and value.  Keep clicking "Add" to generate more input fields.  When you click "Save", these are added to your product.


2.3. Importing from Virtuemart

You can also import products from Virtuemart (version 3.2.15 or later) if you have it installed on your site.  On the "Connect" page, CCJ Channels will detect a Virtuemart installation and tell you the number of products it would import.  When you click the "Read products from VM" button, each published Virtuemart product will create a corresponding product in CCJ Channels.

You can also use "category mapping" to set up an eBay category for each of your VIrtuemart categories, and then imported products in that VM category will automatically have the corresponding eBay category assigned to them at import time.  You'll have to choose an eBay category for each one of your VM categories; note that CCJ Channels currently will only allow you to do this for up to 50 categories.

Although Virtuemart allows you to choose many categories for each product, on eBay you can only use one.  Therefore when your products are imported, only the first category CCJ Channels finds for each Virtuemart product is used for its eBay category.

In addition, although Virtuemart allows multiple prices per product (most often used to provide prices in different currencies), CCJ Channels will only import one price, and it must be in US dollars.  CCJ Channels will also ignore Virtuemart price overrides, shopper groups, or quantity-based pricing.

CCJ Channels does work correctly with Virtuemart child products.  When you use an unpublished product as a template or master product, and then the children are created with their own settings selectively overriding those of the master, CCJ Channels will import each published child product by reading its settings and using those to override the settings of the master product, and then creating a separate CCJ Channels product for each child.  When child products are used as variants, CCJ Channels will import each one as a separate product.

CCJ Channels will also import Virtuemart "string" or "int" custom fields as Item Specifics.

After you have imported products for the first time, subsequent imports will update the existing CCJ Channels products instead of creating new ones.  CCJ Channels keeps track of which product corresponds to which Virtuemart product, and changes in Virtuemart are then carried over into CCJ Channels. (If you've made edits in CCJ Channels, they may be lost when the corresponding Virtuemart product is imported again).  New Virtuemart products will of course create new CCJ Channels products, and any products you've created within CCJ Channels that were not imported from Virtuemart won't be affected by a Virtuemart import.