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How existing Shopify Products are identified when imported

Shopify Products import identify products SKU Barcode Handle Title Matrixify CSV Excel XLSX

With the Matrixify app, you can bulk update your Shopify Products and use various different Product fields to identify Shopify Products for your bulk imports.

In this tutorial, we will cover what columns and in what order, the Matrixify app uses to search for existing items in the store.

Summary of how Matrixify Identifies Shopify Products

Matrixify will identify Products by:

  • ID
  • Handle
  • Title

If the import file does not have any of the above columns, then the app will identify Shopify Products by Variant columns:

  • Variant ID
  • Variant SKU
  • Variant Barcode (only if the file does not have a Variant ID or Variant SKU columns)

You can also add [ID] at the end of Variant ID, Variant SKU or Variant Barcode column headers to force identification by Variant, even if having higher priority identification columns in the import file.

Identify Products by Product basic columns

Normally you would use regular Product columns for updating existing items.


If your file has ID column with Shopify internal ID to the Product, then app will use this field to find the existing Product.
This allows you to update other Product basic columns such as Handle or Title.

Matrixify Products template “ID” column.


If there is no ID in the import file or the Product is not found by it, then our app will use Handle column for identification.
Handles in Shopify are still unique for each Product in the store, so they are a great way to find and update existing Products.

Matrixify Products template “Handle” column.


If you do not have Handle column or it is set as empty, then app will use Title for identification.

Matrixify Products template “Title” column.

Identify Products by Variants

If your file does not have ID, Handle or Title columns then the app will try to use the following Variant columns for identification.

The main difference between identification by product or variant fields is that there could be multiple variants within the same Product.
The app will first index existing products in the store to prepare an import file by finding each product’s main ID which will be used for actual import.
So you might have to wait a moment before app starts importing data as we first need to find those Products in the store.

The app will group all variants from the same Product together to update as a single Product.

Variant ID

Same as with ID, app it is a great identifier to use as it is unique for each Variant in the store.

Matrixify Products template “Variant ID” column.

Variant SKU

If there is no Variant ID or no variants are found by Variant ID then app will use Variant SKU as identification.
Any Variants in the store that have this SKU in the store will get updated, so if you have multiple Variants with the same SKU, be careful with data that you are updating by SKU.

Read our tutorial “How to update Shopify Products by SKU“.

Matrixify Products template “Variant SKU” column.

Variant Barcode

If the file does not have Variant ID and Variant SKU column then app will use Variant Barcode for identification.
Same as with SKU – if multiple variants in the store have the same Barcode, all of them will be found and updated.

Note that app will only use Barcode if file does not have Variant ID or Variant SKU columns at all. If they are in the file with values or empty, then app will not use Barcode for identification.

Matrixify Products template “Variant Barcode” column.

Force to identify by Variants with Product basic columns in file

Additionally, you can also force the app to identify Shopify Products by Variant ID, Variant SKU or Variant Barcode even if you have ID, Handle and/or Title in the import file.

To do so you can add [ID] after the variant column header, for example Variant ID [ID], Variant SKU [ID] or Variant Barcode [ID].
Using force identification allows updating the product basic column when identifying by variant. For example, update Handle when force identified by Variant SKU [ID].

Read more about how to force-identify Shopify Products by Variants.

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