By Matt Cook
Point Click Media
Back in the days when e-commerce was first starting to makes waves in gaining peoples trust about providing valuable credit card information online, one of the trusted sites that popped up to the forefront was PayPal. Not only was it a well known and secure system for processing payments, it was quick and easy for online vendors to implement into their websites and allowed merchants to accept major credit cards, checks and money transfers online.
This is pretty much still how PayPal operates today. It’s probably not a shocking development to learn that it is also owned by e-commerce king eBay. PayPal continues to allow online vendors to sell goods via a PayPal account and then request payment from PayPal itself once they’ve accumulated a certain level of earnings. This is a great feature for small businesses who don’t have the budget to implement full blown shopping software into their website. It’s something that they can do pretty much all by themselves. There are also no monthly fees or sales limitations.
The scalability of PayPal however, has always been in question. Although PayPal is quite easy to use from a vendor perspective, it’s really not designed to be a full-on free shopping cart software. You can hook PayPal up to just about any existing cart software but it comes at a price. If your small business is working off of a limited budget, PayPal can quickly outgrow its efficiency when adding large numbers of products to an account. It quickly becomes a chore to continuously set up new products and modify existing products from your account. Moreover, PayPal vendor protection also does not cover digital goods and there can be hefty fees for charge-backs.
Not everyone is keen on handing their credit card information over to PayPal either, and some avoid it at all costs. Due to the sheer size of PayPal and number of clients in its Rolodex, it is a popular target for fraud, spam and scams. Be wary of this before you begin accepting payments online.
Overall, PayPal is a handy tool that can be used to kick start your e-commerce project, but it is best used for a few simple products. If your business only has a handful of products or if you’re an aspiring author looking to sell your book online, then PayPal may be a perfect solution for you; but you don’t necessarily want to be selling magazine subscriptions or an online database for a major product line. At this point a more customized online shopping solution is likely your best bet. In any case, make sure you do your homework with any shopping cart software to know what you’re getting into beforehand.
If you’d like to chat about an e-commerce solution that fits your business, contact Point Click Media.