Generic File or ODBC for Order Import? How to Choose

ShipWorks currently has integrations to more than 100 online marketplaces and sales channels. However, in some cases it may be necessary to import orders from a source other than one of our integrations. For example, you may sell on a sales channel or store that ShipWorks is not directly integrated with.

The good news is that ShipWorks allows you to easily grab data so that you can import the order information into the ShipWorks software.

ShipWorks offers great methods of getting your data into the ShipWorks software. Let’s take a look at using the Generic File import method and Open Database Connectivity, or ODBC.

Generic File

With the Generic File import method, you can export your order information from your sales channel into an Excel spreadsheet, CSV file, or a text file and then import the flat file into ShipWorks. You then have all the ShipWorks tools available to you to easily and quickly ship your orders.

When importing orders using the Generic File method, you can import from a drive on your computer, from a network drive, from an FTP location or even from an email.

You can also export information from ShipWorks, such as Order Number and Tracking Information, into a file that can then be imported back into your order management system, shopping cart or marketplace.

This method is most useful when:

  • ShipWorks does not have a direct integration into your order management system or marketplace.
  • You need to import orders into ShipWorks from a flat file, such as an Excel spreadsheet, CSV file or Text file.
  • You do not have direct access to connect ShipWorks directly to your order system or marketplace using ODBC.


ShipWorks gives you the ability to connect directly to an external data source through ODBC. The ODBC connection can be used to both import data into ShipWorks and to export data from ShipWorks to an external data source.

When using ODBC to connect directly to your order management system, external marketplace or data source, ShipWorks can automatically send shipment information such as tracking numbers directly back to your data source.

This method is most useful when:

  • ShipWorks does not have a direct integration into your order management system, marketplace, or data source.
  • You have direct access to your data source or external database.
  • You are familiar with ODBC and custom queries.
  • You wish to create a direct connection between your data source and the ShipWorks database.

So, When Should I Switch from Generic File to ODBC?

That’s a great question. The ODBC connection in ShipWorks is available in ShipWorks version 5.4 or later.  If you configured a Generic File connection prior to version 5.4, you may wish to switch to an ODBC connection so that you have a direct connection between your data source and the ShipWorks database.

Benefits of switching to ODBC:

  • Eliminates the need to exporting orders out of your data source into a flat file.
  • Completely automates the orders downloading into ShipWorks without any manual intervention.
  • No need to babysit exports and file transfers.
  • Automatically uploads tracking information back to your data source.
  • Increases flexibility for mapping data between orders and shipments directly within ShipWorks.
  • No need to manage a separate, manual process/system for trying to get tracking information back into your ordering system.

Additional Information

We have several articles available to assist you with both the Generic File and ODBC import methods.

Adding a Generic File Store – Importing From a Local or Network Folder

Adding a Generic File Store Using Email

Adding a Generic File Store Using FTP

Adding an ODBC Store