Most of you will know that you can send money online via PayPal – and many websites use PayPal checkout as an alternative online payment – but did you know that you can also use PayPal to take online payments for goods and services, build a shopping cart, and create recurring subscriptions – all without any programming knowledge?
It used to be the case that PayPal was seen as less legitimate option compared to credit and debit card payment methods, however this theory is years out of date. Today PayPal is one of the most trusted brands in the world, and accepting online payments from PayPal customers is proven to increase sales – many people have funds in a PayPal account that they would prefer to use over their bank balance for non-essential and leisure purchases. Most importantly however, your customers don’t need a PayPal account to pay via PayPal – they can checkout just as easily using a credit/debit card without signing up for an account.
If you want to do more than simply send and receive personal online payments or request money manually, PayPal buttons make it really easy to start taking payments online in a reliable, professional way. All you need to do is create a free PayPal account, choose a button type, configure it and you’re done. PayPal takes care of charging your customer and handles their sensitive details meaning you don’t have to worry about PCI compliance or SSL certificates – although you should have SSL on your website.
We’ll admit the design of the default PayPal buttons are pretty dated, but if you’re looking for a tighter integration with your website and a better user experience it’s possible to replace these graphics with your own, or convert the button to a standard text link or button.
PayPal don’t charge a monthly fee but instead they take a small percentage of your sales. This makes them a great choice for small businesses and startups as there is no contract or tie-in, but if you’re already making regular sales it’s worth comparing their fees against contracted options.
Although PayPal buttons represent a huge jump forward in making online payments possible without any programming knowledge, the downside to using PayPal is that the user experience is detached from your own website and brand. Although the PayPal checkout process is extremely slick, sending people away from your main website to complete a sale can create a jarring experience and increase customer drop-off. This can be improved – or even better, solved completely – by investing properly in PayPal’s development and integration with your website, opening PayPal in a popup window, redirecting customers on checkout completion, and much more.
For the ultimate PayPal checkout experience we would recommend looking into Braintree, which is PayPal’s response to the success of our favourite online payment platform – Stripe. Although it requires more technical knowledge and investment, Braintree enables you to accept credit and debit card payments as well as PayPal payments from customers without leaving your website (or even the page they are viewing at the time!).
Of course, PayPal is only one of many options available to businesses looking to accept payments online, but it absolutely should not be overlooked. If used correctly it can vastly improve the overall checkout experience of your application as well as making the process of taking payments online accessible and scalable for any sized business.
Diverge Digital are experts in branding and web design based in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. If you’re looking to integrate an online payment platform into your website or application, or want advice on the options available for your business, then please get in touch with us.
Header Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash
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