Skip to main content
All CollectionsImporting Contact Data Into Tern
Using Tern's contact import tool
Using Tern's contact import tool

This article walks you through the process of importing your contacts into Tern.

David Shull avatar
Written by David Shull
Updated over a week ago

🚨Make sure you take the time to fully understand how the import process works before you start. Importing data incorrectly could result in many duplicate. 🚨

The process of importing files into Tern

The contact import service allows you to bulk import contacts / clients from other systems. Before we walk through the process of importing your files into Tern we need to understand a few key concepts.

Step 1: Understand the Data Import Process

Learn about the stages of importing data into Tern and what data you should have ready for the initial "core import".

This will help you understand what data you can bring into Tern right away and what data will need to be imported over time.

Step 2: Understand how Tern creates and updates record

We suggest taking a few minutes to read this article on how Tern looks up contacts during the import process. Having a good understanding of this will help you decide how you want to clean up your data file.

Step 3: (Optional) Perform some light data cleanup.

We've tried to make it as easy as possible to import your data into Tern. Our import tool will help you clean up data and map it into Tern's data model. However, some light cleaning is recommended. As the saying goes, "garbage in, garbage out" so it's worth making sure you're only importing the data you want in Tern.

We encourage you to review the file you want to import and:

  • Remove contacts you don't need anymore

  • Remove test contacts from previous systems

  • Decide how you want to handle children that don't have emails. The recommended approach is to import them with an Contact ID (also known as Import ID) and without an email. This may require removing emails from the file to be imported, though this is not required.

Step 4: (Optional) Add an Contact ID (Also known as a Import ID)

Unless all your contacts have emails (no kids without emails) AND all emails are unique (e.g. no one shares that email) it's strongly advised you use an import ID.

The Contact / Import ID is invaluable if you plan to add data to your contacts in the future and not all your contacts have unique emails. For example, you want to add loyalty programs or relationships.

Step 5: Run the Import

In this step you'll upload your file to Tern and use it to update your contacts. After this step you'll have imported all the key information into Tern.

Coming Soon

We're adding the ability to import loyalty programs, relationships, and other information. Stay tuned for updates on that. For now, keep a copy of your file with the import IDs which you'll use to add that information later.

Did this answer your question?