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Importing items into a purchase order

You can simultaneously add batch items to a purchase order and create the items in Lightspeed Retail. You can also import existing items and catalog items using an import file.

The import file must be a .CSV file formatted according to Lightspeed specifications.

Importing new and existing items

New items

New items are items that are not yet created in your inventory. After they are imported, the items are simultaneously added to the purchase order and automatically created in your Lightspeed Retail system.

Existing items

Existing items are items that are already in your inventory. After they’re imported, the items are added to your purchase order. You can update the existing item information with the new imported information.

Lightspeed Retail determines whether an item exists in your system based on the item’s values in your import file. See the Matching on items section below for more information.

Matching on items

When you upload an import file to a purchase order, Lightspeed Retail matches the imported items with any items already in your system. For each item in your import file, Lightspeed Retail scans the values in this order for a match:

  1. System ID
  2. Vendor ID
  3. UPC
  4. EAN
  5. Custom SKU
  6. Manufacturer SKU

If a match is found for any item, Lightspeed Retail will not create a new item. If the Update Existing Items option is selected when the file is imported, any non-matching values will be updated with the new values in the import file.

Lightspeed Retail doesn't look for a match for existing items based on the product description. If a match is not found for an existing item in the import file, even if the product description already exists in your inventory, a new item is created with the same item name.

Importing vendor catalog items

If you use vendor catalogs, you can import catalog items to a purchase order. If the item isn't in your inventory, the item is created based on the details in the catalog. All you need is an accurate Vendor ID in the import file and the associated vendor selected in the purchase order.

Because a purchase order pertains to one vendor in particular, you should create separate item import files for each of your vendors. If you purchase the same item from multiple vendors, you can add the item to as many vendor-specific import files as required for use on separate purchase orders.

Preparing the import file

When a new item is added to Lightspeed Retail through purchase order import, the item's default vendor is set to the vendor you selected for the purchase order. Since a purchase order is specific to a vendor, you should create a separate item import file for each of your vendors.

An import file can have a maximum of 500 items.

  1. Download the import file template or use a .CSV file formatted identically to the template.
  2. Open the import file template in Excel or Google Sheets.

To avoid import errors, do not edit, add, delete, or reorder the columns in the template.

The import file contains these columns:

The purchase order import spreadsheet showing the columns Order Qty and Unit Cost.

Order Qty

Item order quantity for the purchase order. Imported to the item's Order Qty field.

Unit Cost*

Used if multicurrency is disabled. Cost paid to your vendor for an item. Imported to the item's Unit Cost value in the Inventory section.

Vendor Cost*

Used if multicurrency is enabled. Cost paid to your vendor in your vendor's currency for an item. Imported to the item's Vendor Cost value in the Inventory section.

*Your template will have either Unit Cost or Vendor Cost, depending on your multicurrency settings.

The purchase order import spreadsheet showing the columns System ID, Vendor ID, and UPC.

System ID

Lightspeed Retail System ID number for the item.

When importing new items, leave this field blank. Lightspeed Retail automatically designates a System ID to new items.

Vendor ID

Vendor's part number for the item. Imported to the item's Vendor ID field and Vendor ID section.

If there is no vendor ID for the item for the selected PO vendor, the new vendor ID is added to the item's Vendor ID section. This occurs whether or not you choose to update existing items when importing the file.


Item's 12-digit UPC (universal product code) barcode number. Imported to the item's UPC value in the Details section.

The purchase order import spreadsheet showing the columns EAN, Custom SKU, and Manufacturer SKU.


Item's 13-digit international article number barcode number. Imported to the item's EAN value in the Details section.

Custom SKU

For internal shop use only. Some shops use this field for their old POS's barcodes or item numbers. Imported to the item's Custom SKU value in the Details section.

Manufacturer SKU

Manufacturer's SKU for the item. Imported to the item's Manufacturer SKU value in the Details section.

The purchase order import spreadsheet showing the columns Description and Price.


Item's name. Each item description must be unique. Imported to the item's Description field in the Details section.


Retail price that you charge for the item. Imported to the item's Default Price value in the Details section.

Verifying the import file

Scan the document for any erroneous data, which can cause the data import to fail.

  • Remove special characters, such as ☺↨♪♫♀♂¶▓ so that they display the correct data.
  • Erase cells with N/A so that they have a blank field.
  • Change cells with scientific numbers, such as 4.001E+11 (usually UPC or EAN values) to regular integers, such as 40010000000.
    • To do this in Excel, select the column with the scientific numbers. Click Format > Cells. Change the Category to Number, set the decimal places option to 0, and click OK.
    • To do this in Google Sheets, select the column with the scientific numbers. Click FormatNumberNumber.
  • Make sure that your spreadsheet is a .CSV file.

Uploading the import file

After you've prepared the import file and verified the data, you're ready to upload the file to a purchase order in Lightspeed Retail.

Only one purchase order import file can be imported at a time, per store.

  1. Navigate to Inventory > New Order.

    Inventory page with New Order button emphasized.

  2. Select the vendor.
    1. If you have a multi-store account, select the shop you’re creating the purchase order for in the Location drop-down. The shipping address that appears on the purchase order is linked to the selected shop.

      New purchase order page with options to select Location, Vendor, and to enter additional information.

  3. Click Save Changes.
  4. Click Import.

    Purchase order page with Import emphasized.

  5. If you want to update any items in your inventory with the new values in the import file, select Update Existing Items.

    Import screen.

  6. Click Upload CSV File and select the file.
  7. Match the column headings of your import file to the appropriate product field in Lightspeed Retail.

    List of columns and their matches.

  8. Click Import Items to Purchase Order to confirm.
  9. Wait for the import to conclude. This may take several minutes. You can navigate away from the page and your import will not be affected.

    Job status screen, showing import in progress.

  10. The job will change status.
    1. If the upload was successful, you're done! The uploaded items will appear in the purchase order screen.

      Job status screen, showing successful import.

    2. If the upload was unsuccessful, the page will state the issue. Correct any errors outlined on the page and reupload.

      Job status screen, showing unsuccessful uplaod.

    You may need to refresh the page to view the outcome of the upload.

  11. Click the order's name.

    Job status screen with order's name emphasized.

  12. Click Ordered to change the purchase order's status.

    Purchase order details page with Ordered button emphasized.

What's next?

Managing purchase orders

Understand and edit statuses and shipping of purchase orders.

Learn more

Receiving items in purchase orders

Receive items from your purchase orders.

Learn more


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