FTP in Ecommerce: Utilizing an FTP Site

The Internet is a mainstay of many retail businesses. With online sales increasing around the world and current global circumstances creating the need for many retail operations to expand to ecommerce models, these companies benefit from a reliable FTP site to manage their business files.

Person accessing ecommerce site on a tablet.

FTP in Ecommerce

FTP is a standard protocol for transferring files over the internet. It is often used in business to transfer large amounts of data between systems efficiently. In ecommerce, files are transferred to a web hosting service via FTP to supply product and marketing information. Files are also shared with distributors, warehouses, and other operation checkpoints using the FTP protocol. 

A hosted FTP site allows ecommerce businesses to:

  • Utilize FTP for file transfer.
  • Manage smaller transfers online.
  • Easily keep track of files in a centralized location.

Manage Product and Order Data

Having an FTP site with a web-based file management interface provides access to files from any device with a web browser. You can monitor account activity, send small files to colleagues, and make sure transfers have completed as expected.

FTP activity logs.

Also, it’s convenient to organize your files to keep track of orders, products, customers, and more in an online interface. With ecommerce, it can be vital to set permissions for users, including which folder will be their home folder. This gives limited or restricted access to individuals while allowing them to perform the duties necessary for their roles in the business.

Upload Files to Web Host via FTP

Another important aspect of running an ecommerce business is having a website — a place to offer your retail wares for people to find and purchase. One common use of FTP in ecommerce is uploading product detail files to a web host. This is another instance where an FTP site comes in handy for online retail operations.

Web hosting provides the customer-facing portion of an ecommerce site. FTP provides the means of uploading files from a secure server to the web hosting service that displays your products. An FTP site is where product files and other business data is stored securely on a remote server, even though the product listings are also hosted and visible on your website.

Maintaining Current Product Catalog

Because FTP is ideal for transferring large amounts of data, it is used to export entire product catalogs with current product listings. Some businesses use file transfer protocol to deliver their product listings to their site. Others use FTP to transfer the entire product catalog to distributors. This eliminates the need to print catalogs and reduces the chances of items changing or going out of stock before distribution. 

The fast-paced ecommerce world must maintain current product listings. There are many pieces involved in keeping things up to date. Using FTP in ecommerce can help with many of these pieces. 

  • Accept large image files from designers via FTP. 
  • Upload digital assets or product specs from contractors and manufacturers to an FTP site for review.
  • Store the full product catalog on an FTP server and provide access for individuals to view and download.

With a modern FTP service, ecommerce also benefits from the ability to send individual links. Send links to clients and contractors working on designs to avoid delays in acquiring new products. Features like notifications let you know when files have been downloaded or uploaded, keeping your team on top of various stages of product development.

Graphic showing flow of files via FTP in ecommerce.

Building Blocks for Automation

Once you have a hosted FTP site supporting your ecommerce data files, it’s a short step to move to full automation. Webhooks can provide near-real-time notices of orders submitted. Then, follow through with API calls to automate ordering and fulfillment workflows.

File Storage for Compliance and Reporting 

Finally, a secure FTP server provides a repository for ecommerce to store product and order data. Securely store all your data along with any other business files for compliance and reporting purposes.

Do you have an ecommerce business, or are you transitioning your retail business to an online model? ExaVault is the modern file transfer solution that supports FTP. Set up your secure FTP site today and start managing your product and order data, improve the delivery of your digital product assets, and perform critical exports of large files to your web host and other systems.


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