I have often found that I need to spin up test instances for experimenting inside WooCommerce on a somewhat regular basis. In its standard install file, WooCommerce’s “sample data” file only has 25 SKU’s and 7 of those all are variations of two variable products, resulting in only about 18 actual product pages. This really isn’t enough to truly test with. So I set out to find a larger data set to work with / run testing environments with. For those who don’t know, developing dummy data / sample data from scratch really sucks. So I crossed my fingers hoping to find some e-commerce data that I could get my hands on. The key things for me were that the product data contained:

    • Product Name
    • Product SKU
  • Product Description.
  • Contained both variable and simple products
  • Contained Multiple product attributes
  • Contained Multiple Product Categories
  • Has pricing
  • Has sales pricing
  • Used as little lorem ipsum text as possible.
  • Has product images

This last point was honestly the hardest, as I have / had no desire to go searching from hundreds / thousands of quality images that properly relate to the product name and description.

I started looking at dummy data generators  (Like Mackaroo), but ultimately couldn’t get everything to line up and was still missing images. Then I tried working with a UPC library. I found a few of these (, but the data with OSL licensing (i.e. free & sharable) was really inconsistent / dirty, and had lots of missing images which made it un reliable.

Finally I found the solution, that honestly I should have thought of to beginning with. Magento, which is another open-source option, also provides a sample data set like WooCommerce, but unlike WooCommerce’ theirs is far more robust and extensive. With 200ish variable (they call the configurable) products (Over 2000 SKU’s), and 50ish simple products. Here’s their GitHub of the sample data: . The issue is that their import template wasn’t even close to the same a WooCommerce. In fact it uses a complier to take all the different pieces of data stored in different directories and files and compiles them during a special import module unique to their system. Also the scattered CSV files that they did have were not in the same template layout. Regardless, it had all the information in it so I felt I could work with it.

After about 5 hours of work I have got to the below file, which is a lot closer to what is required to import into WooCommerce. I recommend the WP All Import tool as it will be the best plugin you have ever bought and has lifetime updates, unlimited site licenses, and great support (I’m not affiliated with them, just love the tool and use it daily).  The source text and images are from Magento, but are listed as OSL licensing (check the GitHub referenced above for details) so I’m pretty sure that its safe to share and use – even in a different platform.

These two links are to a .csv and .xslx file to the same dataset:


Link to my testing environment: so that you can see what it looks like (I accidently imported variation images into the gallery so I still need to clean that up).

Next Steps:

  • Make the file template WooCommerce Ready. Right now I’m using my favorite import/export tool called WP All Import. Which is a bit more forgiving when running imports and can work with multiple file formats. However the best case scenario would be to get this CSV template perfectly compatible / in-sync with the “sample_products.csv” provided in the WooCommerce  sample-data directory so that it can be quickly swapped out a run as apart of the install process instead of using a separate plugin/tool in another step. There’s going to be a lot required to get this to happen, so I decided to release this CSV now as its technically usable.
  • Flesh out more details. Some of the things missing from this source were
    • Weights
    • Dimensions
    • More Sales Pricing
    • Tags
    • More Variable Stock, with some as “out of stock”
    • Purchase notes.
    • Better Short Descriptions
    • Add other product types (Downloadable, Grouped, and External)
  • Ideally, I would love to see if an organization like to build out a library of say 5,000 products. These subscription based companies seam to specialize in having better data sets and associated images. However they do cost money, and I’m not sure about licensing agreements.
  • Push WooCommerce to develop a more extensive sample-data file for developers. They’re now owned by automatic and have a pretty decent revenue stream coming from plugin sales, theme sales, hosting, and jet pack services. They could put a small 3-4 person team on this and have something out in a few weeks. It would be a huge help, and if their competing platform is providing this data they should too.
  • Develop an import file for sample customers and sample orders that support these sample products.