I recently did a website refresh for a talented jewelry artist. Her pieces are gorgeous and she wanted to make it possible for customers to order and pay for their items online. The e-commerce requirements were fairly simple and straight-forward. She didn’t have hundreds of items to upload, she didn’t need to track inventory, she didn’t need it tied to an email platform, she didn’t need all varieties of shipping possibilities, and she didn’t need to cross-sell, nor offer or redeem gift cards or coupons. And, she didn’t have a merchant account.
First, the Website
I found it easiest to get all the products set up on the website with their pictures and descriptions. Then it was just a matter of making the connection between the item on the website and its corresponding entry in PayPal.
Set Up a PayPal Business Account
You need a business account with PayPal to make this a good shopping experience for the customer. When it comes time to check-out, the customer simply enters their credit card information to pay.
PayPal utilizes all e-commerce security processes so the shopper can feel confident that their information is handled appropriately. (Neither will you be able to see the customer’s credit card number or security code.)
Setting up a “Standard” PayPal business account is free. PayPal does take a percentage of the transacton total as a fee. This varies with the amount of the transaction, starting at 2.9% + $0.30 for transactions totalling $0 to $3,000. In my opinion, this is well worth it for not having to get a merchant account, or protect the website with an SSL certificate, which have their own costs.
Set Up Your Products in PayPal
Copy the Button Code
Creating the button is a matter of generating code that has the graphics, user action, and product ID, all in a short snippet of html code. This code segment is inserted into the website code on the product page where you want the button to be visible. Re-publish the page and test the button. Did it go to the PayPal entry for that product? Yey!
Now go back to PayPal to create buttons for the rest of your items. To save time, you can choose “Create Similar Button” and change only the fields that are unique to the next item.
When you have all the buttons created and integrated with your web pages, publish your website. Customers can begin shopping right away.
When a shopper makes a purchase, PayPal sends you an email to the address associated with your PayPal account. After receiving this message, log into your PayPal account to find out what they ordered. PayPal even helps you with printing shipping labels.
Simplicity and Practicality
PayPal is a simple, straight-forward platform with no set-up fees for the Standard package, no application installation on either your desktop computer or your web server, and no additional hosting or licensing fees. It integrates easily with your website so that you don’t have to build your website around a shopping cart.
Shopping carts definitely have their place. If creating and inserting button code for each product becomes a significant time burner using PayPal, then the input and product management processes of a shopping cart will probably be more appealing.
But, if you have just a few items, consider PayPal to start selling online quickly.
Have you used PayPal as a shopping cart? What did you think?