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What is PayPal Shopping Cart?

PayPal Shopping Carts are eCommerce applications that support customer purchases using the popular PayPal online payment service. Small business owners looking to add PayPal-friendly e-commerce functionality to their site, replace their existing cart, or create a new online storefront from scratch can choose from among PayPal's listed partners to find a solution that fits their needs.

E-commerce and m-commerce are on the rise, while old fashioned ‘brick and mortar’ merchants are doing their best to compete and adopt the so-called ‘click and mortar’ business model.

What makes PayPal so relevant

Whether you are just starting out as an online merchant, or if you are a veteran, adding support for PayPal to your online storefront is a smart move.

The online payment giant is popular with a wide range of demographics, and the service's tight encryption, lack of transaction fees (for purchasers) and built-in Purchase Protection make it an attractive choice for anyone looking to safeguard both their purchases and their personal financial information.

In 2012, the top 2.6 million of PayPal's 110 million customers spent over $4,000 a year online and made an average of 98 purchases in that time—and these numbers are expected to rise significantly as online retail sales continue to climb.

Between early 2012 and the end of 2014, PayPal’s total payment volume nearly doubled to more than $56 billion in the third quarter of 2014. At the same time the number of registered PayPal accounts went up by nearly 50 percent – the service currently has more than 156 million users.

Straightforward PayPal integration

Adding a PayPal-friendly e-commerce solution to your site is a relatively straightforward process.

Many hosts offer a selection of shopping cart applications featuring support for the service built-in with their e-commerce hosting plans. Even those that don't generally include the option to add PayPal support either with a plan upgrade or at a small additional fee.

You can also add a PayPal compatible shopping cart to your site through PayPal's own site, using the PayPal application programming interface (API). The site lets you choose a cart based on whether you're just starting out, adding e-commerce functionality to an existing site, or simply looking to replace your existing e-commerce platform with one that supports PayPal.

These applications not only allow customers to purchase your goods and services with their PayPal accounts, but also include PayPal's reporting tools, giving you deep insight into who is purchasing at your site, when they are most active and – perhaps most importantly - which products and services are your top performers.

In any case, PayPal offers numerous guides and tutorials for integration, so you should not have a hard time integrating its shopping cart regardless of your platform.

Adding PayPal support to Wordpress, Drupal and Joomla

WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system and publishing platform, offers a number of PayPal plugins to choose from. The majority of these plugins are easily installed and you can find all the necessary resources on wordpress.org.

The WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart is currently the most popular platform, with more than half a million downloads.

In case you are running Drupal, you might want to try out the Drupal Commerce Kickstart distribution, which could prove to be the easiest way to go.

Joomla also a number of PayPal extensions that should allow you to build an e-commerce site with relative ease. Virtuemart is one of these free extensions and it is specifically designed for small online stores.

You can easily find tutorials for PayPal integration on other popular platforms, including step by step guides and even YouTube videos. The whole process usually does not require a lot of skill or effort on your part.

Be mindful of additional expenses

While support for PayPal greatly increases your potential revenue, remember that adding a PayPal shopping cart to your site can add to your hosting budget every month, depending on the plan you choose.

In addition, choosing standalone or add-on cart software via PayPal's Shopping Cart service can also add some expense via either one-time or recurring fees.

Also, keep in mind that while PayPal does not charge purchasers any fees, it does charge merchant fees (as well as additional fees for its “premium” payment processing plans) so be sure to factor that into your overall website budget when choosing an e-commerce solution.

PayPal Shopping Cart Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I add PayPal shopping cart if my host is not one of their listed partners?

    Yes. If your host is not listed as a PayPal partner, it may still offer PayPal shopping cart. If not, many other shopping cart web applications also support PayPal, including Magento and XCart.

  • Does PayPal Shopping Card support multiple currencies?

    Yes. PayPal currently accepts 26 currencies from 193 countries, so you can easily make your eCommerce site available to customers worldwide.

  • Do customers have to go to the PayPal website in order to pay?

    That depends on your PayPal plan. The free, PayPal Payments Standard plan does require your customers to leave your page, login to their PayPal account, and pay for your goods or services there. The PayPal Payments Pro plan, which is available for a monthly fee, allows you to process the transaction directly from your website, so your customers never have to leave your page.

  • Do my customers have to have a PayPal account to use the PayPal shopping cart?

    No. PayPal shopping cart can be used to accept either PayPal payment or credit card payments. PayPal users have the option of using their credit card or paying with their PayPal account while non-PayPal members will only be able to pay with a credit card. Either way, you get paid.

  • Does PayPal Shopping Cart offer any discount or services for nonprofits?

    Yes. PayPal offers discounted rates for registered non-profit organizations. In addition, they can provide your organization the means to accept one-time or recurring donations, via credit card or PayPal, and allow you to easily track your donations and donors.

  • Can I customize my checkout page?

    With the free PayPal Payments Standard plan, you cannot customize your checkout page. With the PayPal Payments Pro plan, which is available for a monthly fee, you can design your own checkout page.

  • Can I send invoices to customers through PayPal?

    Yes, with either PayPal Payment plan, you can send your customers email invoices. They can then pay directly from the link in your email, or you can direct them to pay either via PayPal or your site.

  • Will PayPal Shopping Cart work for mobile transactions?

    That will depend on how PayPal service is integrated into your eCommerce site. Most modern eCommerce applications will provide mobile-friendly versions of your store, and some will even provide a mobile app as an add-on, usually for an additional fee. Your PayPal Shopping Cart should work in either case, but it’s best to check with your host or eCommerce provider to verify. In addition, your PayPal Payment plan should include a card swiper to use for in-person mobile payments.

  • Is a PayPal Shopping Cart PCI Compliant?

    PayPal offers a PCI compliance solution, Payflow Link, which includes checkout templates that are hosted by PayPal, so you don’t have to handle the financial transaction. Since the transaction is handled through PayPal, they’re responsible for PCI compliance. Companies that prefer to handle PCI compliance themselves can also do so.

  • Is PayPal Shopping Cart a complete storefront, or do I need to have additional eCommerce software installed as well?

    PayPal Shopping Cart is a part of your eCommerce solution. It allows your customers to browse items, make multiple selections, see their total costs, and pay for the transaction. If you signed up for eCommerce hosting, your host most likely already provides a storefront solution, which you will utilize to add items to your store, customize the look and feel of your online presence, host product images, and more.

  • Does PayPal provide any additional protections for sellers?

    PayPal transaction are protected under their Seller Protection agreement, which covers the full amount of payment for eligible sales in cases of unauthorized payments or buyer fraud. They also provide resolution support for buyer disputes or fraudulent payments.

  • What type of support is available?

    PayPal Payments customers have access to toll-free phone support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Can I offer any special financing to PayPal customers?

    Yes, though the exact offers change. PayPal typically offers some form of no payment and no interest for a period of time for customers who spend more than $99 at your store.

  • What type of fees does PayPal charge for transactions?

    PayPal fees are similar to typical credit card transaction fees. At the time of this writing, they were 2.9% of the purchase price plus $0.30 per transaction for the first $3,000 in monthly transactions, 2.5% plus $0.30 per transaction for $3,000 to $10,000 in monthly transactions, and 2.2% plus $0.30 per transaction for everything else up to $100,000. Above that, you have to call for specific rates. Additional fees apply for international transactions and virtual terminal purchases.

  • Does PayPal offer any seller discounts?

    PayPal offers discounts for registered nonprofits. They also offer discounts for micropayments, transactions that are typically less than $10. If your business receives mostly micropayments, you can sign up to pay a higher percentage, but lower per-transaction fee, which can result in considerable savings.

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