When PayPal was introduced, it rapidly became one of the most common independent online payment facilities and is now a trusted brand recognised worldwide. Its strength has always been in the simplicity – both for user and vendor. However, for many businesses, it can be surprisingly difficult to implement PayPal payment functionality well on an existing website.

Flexibility is key

For a modern e-commerce business, flexibility is crucial. You want to give the customer the option to pay the way that they prefer, without unnecessary complexity at the payment processing stage. However, this often becomes an afterthought for companies that already have a web infrastructure in place. It can be frustrating to discover that an existing website can’t be easily updated with changes to payment handling.

Why users choose PayPal

PayPal is a preferred payment option for many online shoppers, for a number of reasons.

  • It’s a safer option. Paying with PayPal means you don’t have to enter your credit card details every time you make a payment online. Your card details are stored centrally on your PayPal account and aren’t disclosed in the transaction data. (There is of course still a risk of your PayPal account becoming compromised or hacked, but there are many ways for users to protect themselves)
  • It’s fast. Rather than having to dig out physical bank cards, it’s quick and easy to choose from a list pre-loaded card details. This also helps if the primary card turns out to be low on funds and a different card is needed to complete the purchase.
  • It’s great for mobile. The majority of online users now access websites using mobile devices. This means that not only the browsing experience but also the payment process needs to be optimised for mobile. PayPal gives a streamlined, fast interface for transactions on any device.
  • It’s free. Users don’t pay to have a PayPal account and don’t have to worry about processing fees or service charges.

Incorporating PayPal

Although the PayPal platform is simple by design, it is not necessarily straight-forward to integrate into an existing website. If your site was designed to process payments a certain way – or perhaps not at all – then adding PayPal will require you to re-visit the user experience and make sure the website works the way your users want it to. Not all e-commerce platforms accommodate PayPal the same way, and sometimes adding it becomes a ‘patchwork’ solution that interrupts the customer’s buying process.

The user journey matters

It’s just as important to consider the user journey as it is to integrate the back-end payment handling. The key concept is to make the check-out process seamless, safe and fast, while keeping any roadblocks to a minimum. The more complicated the payment step is, the more likely the customer is to abandon the transaction. This means that it’s important to look at user behaviour, and not just technical capability.

The GAK story

One great example of a PayPal integration project where the user journey was put firmly into focus is the re-designed online retail system of GAK, the UK’s leading retailer of musical instruments.

For GAK, it wasn’t just about facilitating PayPal payments: they wanted to modernise their entire online presence and their e-commerce system. However, PayPal was a key part of the puzzle.

So how do you modernise an online retail system, complete with financing options, back-end system integration, PayPal, and mobile-optimised visuals? As GAK would discover, there were no off-the-shelf systems that would tick all the boxes – and their existing platform was already outdated and costly to maintain. It was time to build a new framework from the ground up.

Secure and scalable

Here at One Beyond, we were able to work with GAK to design and develop a completely customised, secure and scalable e-commerce website using cutting edge technology. The new framework allowed for an improved user experience across all devices, stronger social media engagement, faster payment processing and integrated finance applications.

Once all these pieces were brought together, GAK quickly started seeing an increase in global sales and are now able to convert leads to sales much more efficiently on the website.

Payment is not just another function

In summary, the big challenge of PayPal integration is far from just a technical one. Today’s users are expecting transaction processes to be simple, smooth, fast and secure – and in line with their overall browsing experience. If your platform doesn’t allow for a seamless and painless customer journey, your sales conversions will suffer.