Shopify Custom Collections are most frequently used (also known as Manual Collections), although there are also Smart Collections (also known as Automatic Collections).
It is a better practice to use Smart Collections for grouping Products, as it is more dynamic and you don’t need to attach each product manually. But if defining rules for Smart Collection seem too complicated, or you need to have more than 5000 collections, then Custom Collections are a way to go. Shopify has a limit of 5000 Smart Collections, but no limit on Custom Collections.
In a Custom Collection, products are added manually by Product ID or Product Handle. Typically there are be two cases – 1: you want to create new Custom Collection and add products; or 2: when you want to add products to existing Custom Collection.
1. Create new Custom Collection and add Products to it
To create new Custom Collections with products, you need to know Product IDs or Product Handles for those products you want to add. Let’s get this data by exporting products with Excelify.io app. You might even not need to export any additional details about those products:
When Products are exported, open the exported Excel file:
As a bare minimum, you need only 4 columns in my Excel:
- Title (Custom Collection Title)
- Body HTML (Short description of the Collection. This column can be skipped if you don’t need a description)
- Image Src (Image for the collection. Also can be skipped, but I want it to look nicer on the store page)
- Product: Handle (Handles of the products I want to add to this collection).
You will have as many rows, as many Products you want to include into this Collection. And it is important to provide Title on each row, as this will tell the app that the Product will be included in this Collection. Take “Product: Handle” column values from the exported Product file.
Remember to call this Excel Sheet: “Custom Collections”.
Now I am importing this Excel file with the app:
My Manual Collection is imported and I can check that in the Admin:
2. Add Products to Existing Custom Collection
Here is the second case, when you already have Custom Collection and want to add additional products to it.
First of all, I will export my Products and Custom Collections with Linked Products with the app. It is good to export those both, because then you will have them both in the same file, and in Custom Collections you will see also “Product: Handle” values for existing products, not just the “Product: ID” values.
Download exported Excel file and open it.
There are 2 products in the Collection “Our favourites”. I would like to add 3 more products to it. I will find their handles in the Products sheet and add 3 more lines for collection with the same ID and Handle values, so that app knows that those lines belong to the same Shopify manual collection.
To make it easier, you can just copy the previous row – to mark the spot for additional product in that manual collection.
Now I will delete Products sheet from this file because I don’t want to import products now – I want to import just Custom Collections. Save the file and import it into your Shopify Store with the app.
Let’s check in the Admin. There are 5 products now in the Custom Collection Our Favourites.
Good to know:
- If you want to replace products in Collection, you should use command REPLACE in the column Command. But you should be very careful with it, as this will delete the existing collection (if there is one with provided ID or Handle) and create the new one with the specified set of products. The new collection will have different ID.
- Read full description of all columns for exporting and importing Shopify Custom Collections.