The external database that I use to generate import my products (using the .csv method) does not hold my images. I upload product images to Shopify directly after initial product import. When I update my products using a new .csv generated from my database (for example to change the inventory level for a product sold outside of Shopify), the images that I directly uploaded are deleted.
I understand this is happening because the Shopify .csv schema treats each image as an individual line item, whereas my DB only uses one line item per product. My inventory is too large to re-link images every time I update my inventory.
So my question is:
Is there any way to overwrite product data on import, while not overwriting the images?
If not - is there another work around that would allow a user to import product data from an external database that does not hold images?
Extra Credit - is there a better way to manage images in general so as not to have 6-10x the number of line items in my .csv files (one for each image for each product) when building workflows to integrate my database.
If you make sure to delete anything in the image source column in your .csv (leave it blank) - your existing images should be okay when you re-import your list. To deal with the second issue above, I found it pretty easy to filter and sort my Shopify .csv export to group the image only rows together then hide or delete them if I am not working on them.