Ditch PayPal Standard For PayPal Express
If you are running an ecommerce store, accept PayPal as a payment option, and are still using “PayPal Standard” as the integration method, you may want to consider switching to PayPal Express Checkout. The Express method offers many advantages, and is just as easy to implement as PayPal Standard.
The old way: PayPal Standard
Many years ago, before PayPal Express was introduced, ecommerce merchants who wanted to accept PayPal as a payment method simply passed along their PayPal merchant email address in their ecommerce software and the customer was passed off to PayPal to complete the transaction. The flow looks something like this:
PayPal then introduced the “Instant Payment Notification” (IPN) service that would allow PayPal to tell an ecommerce application that a payment was complete. This could trigger ecommerce software (like ShopSite®) to mark an order as complete and have it appear as a completed order in the list of orders.
Problems with PayPal Standard
There are a number of issues and problems that can crop up when using PayPal Standard:
- IPN prone to errors
We hear about this all the time. A merchant receives a paypal email stating a payment was made, but the order never appears. This is often attributed to a glitch with PayPal’s IPN service where the notification is never sent to the ecommerce software, or is greatly delayed. This results in the merchant having to contact the customer to get the actual details of what was ordered. In the worst case scenario, the merchant does not notice no order was generated, and the customer is charged but never receives their order.
- Flow of checkout disrupted
With PayPal Standard, the customer is whisked away from the checkout page to PayPal to complete their payment. They are not returned to the thank you page or the merchant’s website. This takes away control from the merchant, as the customer is handed off abruptly.
- Tracking / Analytics may not work
Since the customer is not returned to the thank you screen / receipt page that is normally generated by the ecommerce software, tracking code that normally records the purchase, affiliate commissions, etc… may not work (especially those that rely on the customer hitting a specific page after an order is complete).
Enter PayPal Express Checkout
With PayPal Express, which is free to use for any business account, the process is much more seamless:
The customer goes from the cart page to PayPal to sign-in, and is then sent right back to the checkout page. They complete their order as a normal credit card payer would on the merchant’s site, and are presented with the normal thank you / receipt page.
PayPal’s sometimes glitchy IPN service is avoided, and PayPal orders appear right away. The merchant has complete control over the process, and the customer is only sent to PayPal to log in and choose a payment method within their PayPal account.
It’s simple to switch
Assuming you have a PayPal Business account, switching to Express Checkout is quite easy. Here is how you would switch if you are using the ShopSite ecommerce software for your website. Other ecommerce platforms are similar in terms of integration:
- 1. In your PayPal account, Create a certificate:
My Account -> Profile -> click API Access -> Request API Credentials -> API SSL client-side certificate
(or with v10 SP1 or newer, you can use the “API Signature”)
- 2. Download and save the certificate. Make note of the API username and password
- 3. In the ShopSite backoffice, go to:
Commerce Setup -> Payment -> Configure PayPal Express Checkout
- 4. Enter your merchant email address, API username/password and paste in the API Certificate:
That’s it! You’re now ready to use PayPal Express Checkout.
When you consider PayPal Express Checkout is free to use, is easy to setup, and makes the entire purchasing process proceed more smoothly, it’s a “no brainer” decision to switch from Standard to Express.