This article is intended for Volusion ecommerce software users and contains information about preparing product image files for bulk upload when importing large amounts of products using product data prepared offline or exported from another source.
The information is also helpful if you are migrating from another ecommerce / shopping cart platform and want to save time converting your existing store’s product photos for use in Volusion.
For Volusion stores with only small number of products, using the Admin console to upload your product images is very easy. You simply create a product record, click the Upload New Photos link, and follow the prompts. Volusion will automatically size and store your product image file, and create the various sizes it needs to display on category, product and check-out pages.
If you are using the Import/Export features of Volusion to upload a .CSV or MS-Excel spreadsheet containing hundreds, or thousands of product records, you also need to upload the image files needed for each product.
When using the Admin console to manually upload product image files, Volusion takes the first image file you upload for a given product record and creates (4) images for use in the online store.
The following instructions demonstrate how to create the needed image files and upload them so they’re matched up with the proper product records.
Regardless of the name of the original image file you upload, Volusion renames the four images to match the ProductCode, and adds the suffixes 0, 1, 2 and 2T. For example, for ProductCode: ABCD-0001 the resulting images would be named:
|ABCD-0001-2.jpg||when “LARGER PHOTO” button is clicked on product page|
|ABCD-0001-2T.jpg||on PRODUCT page|
|ABCD-0001-1.jpg||on CATEGORY page|
|ABCD-0001-0.jpg||as icon in SHOPPING CART at checkout|
Suggested image sizes:
|FILENAME||IMAGE SIZE (width x height)|
|filename-2.jpg||500w x 500h|
|filename–2T.jpg||250w x 250h|
|filename–1.jpg||150w x 150h|
|filename–0.jpg||50w x 50h|
The sizes of the images can be set on a product by product basis, or you can set a default for all product photos. To keep layout of your store looking neat and organized, its better to use default size(s) through out the store, (note: using default sizes will also make it easier to maintain the image files for your store, although in some cases it may be desirable to use alternative sizes).
To manually replace image files, or to batch upload files when you are importing PRODUCTS into the store (from a .CSV or Excel spreadsheet), you can create the image files offline and FTP them into the directory where Volusion stores them:
If you do not already have FTP software, you can download and install a free copy of FileZilla from http://filezilla-project.org/
To create the various sizes needed, you can use Adobe CS programs PhotoShop, ImageReady and Bridge and use actions or create droplets if you plan to reuse the processes in the future, (if you use Adobe CS and do not know how to process a batch of files, search Adobe Help for the word “batch” and follow the steps needed to create the actions to process and resize as needed). In addition to resizing and renaming you may want to use PhotoShop to add a watermark or copyright data to the larger image sizes, or add sharpness, color correction or other image enhancements during the batch process.
If you do not have Adobe CS, you can download a copy of IrfanView, ( http://www.irfanview.com/ ), which has very good batch rename and resize features, (the software is free to download with a “suggested donation” of 10 Euros to the author via PayPal… and it’s well worth it!).
In IrfanView you’ll find the Batch Conversion/Rename function listed in the File menu pull-down;
Once you open the batch screen, check off Batch Conversion – Rename Result files, then select the Output format (JPG), then check off the Use Advanced Options setting, and fill in the Name Pattern field. You would enter $N-2 to produce the first size, (you’ll later repeat the batch process with $N-2T, then $N-1 and finally $N-0)…
Once you have those setting in place, click the Advanced button where you can set the output size (width and Height in pixels) for the batch, and any other options you want to use such as adding a little sharpness or color correction.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you use the Overwrite Existing option, make sure to set your image output directory to something other than the folder where your original images are stored.
Once you’ve set everything the way you want, you can click Save Settings, which will let you create a named file you can use later if you need to repeat the process, (hint: give the file a name that will mean something to you later). When you’re done, click OK.
Next, you select the image(s) you want to process.
You can either select individual files, or click Add all after you navigate to the folder containing your original product images. When you’re ready, click Start Batch.
NOTE: JPG is a “lossy” image format. To achieve small file size, the JPG format uses image compression that throws away some of the small details from the image’s data. Because of this, it’s always better to batch process and generate each set of image files from the (largest) original images you have.
A few more digital image / Volusion product photo tips and hints:
– Product Images are one of the most important selling points in your Volusion store. Creating the best quality, most inviting images you can is one of the things that can set your merchandise apart (and above) the competition. Your online store is the front-line between you and your customers, and the photos of your products sell your products. Even if your product is well known, using blurry, grainy, or other low quality images can make an otherwise high quality product look like junk.
– Try to photograph your products in a way that will show the size of the item. You can either place something in the photo, (a ruler to show dimensions, a coin to show the comparative size of smaller items, a person’s hand holding an item, something that will allow the visitors to your site to get an idea of the actual size of the product). If you sell product that are different sizes, be sure your photos demonstrate the size difference — if the products are organized in a group, take a photo of the different sizes and include it in the product listing, in the category page or in an article linked to the category or product pages(s).
– If your store has a very busy or colorful template, use plenty of white space around your product images so the product will stand out from the page.
– For most store layouts, having all your product images the exact same size, (height and width in pixels), will make your home page featured products, category pages and search results pages look clean, organized and easier to browse.