PayPal Standard Updates

From mid-September until mid-October 2017, we’ll be rolling out some improvements and changes to the way Big Cartel works with PayPal Standard. If your store is currently using PayPal Standard (instead of our newer checkout options), we wanted to make sure you were in the loop.

All remaining shops using PayPal Standard checkout will be switched to the newer flow on October 16, 2017.

Here’s the gist of what you need to know:

New Features & Improvements

We’re moving PayPal Standard onto our newer and better checkout platform, the one that PayPal Express Checkout and Stripe have been using for a few years. That means you’ll immediately get some awesome improvements:

  • Single-page design - our elegant single-page checkout design significantly cuts down on checkout times, which can lead to more people completing their order.
  • It matches your store - your checkout page will now seamlessly match your store’s theme, colors, images, and fonts. Only the payment step on PayPal’s site will be different.
  • Beautiful receipt pages - after your customer completes their payment on PayPal, they’ll be taken to an order confirmation page that reviews what was purchased.
  • Great on any device - no matter if your customers shop from a desktop, tablet, or mobile device, their checkout process will work (and look) perfectly.
  • Faster, more reliable storefront - everyone using our new checkout is also using our new storefront system, which is incredibly fast and stable.
  • Improved Google Analytics integration - everyone using our new checkout use Google’s improved Universal Analytics, for better visitor and ecommerce stats.

Other Changes

Aside from the improvements we mentioned above, once we switch your shop over to our new checkout, you’ll notice a few other differences as well:

  • Inventory Reserve is gone - those of you with inventory tracking enabled, and overselling disabled, may be familiar with our previous 10-minute Inventory Reserve workaround for PayPal Standard. Learn more about why this is being removed.
  • Visitor stats may be lower - we’re now using Javascript to track visitors, so search engine spiders and crawlers aren’t tracked. This means visitor stats may appear lower than before, but are now more accurate and inline with services like Google Analytics.
  • Customers enter contact and shipping info directly - your customers will now enter their name, email, and shipping address on our end, which will help with the issue of people selecting old addresses by mistake on PayPal.
  • Shipping and discounts are removed from the Cart page - instead, the new checkout screen will handle the shipping and discounts you’ve set up in your admin. If you’ve coded your own custom theme, you may need to remove these yourself.
  • Checkout and Success pages are gone - these pages are completely handled by the new checkout. After an order is placed, instead of just a success message, your customer will now see a beautiful receipt page.

Beyond that, everything should work the same way it does today, including PayPal Standard’s shipping, tax, and fulfillment features.

Inventory Reserve

One of PayPal Standard’s shortcomings is a (generally short) delay between a customer making a purchase and our system being notified that money has been received. To work around this delay (for shops with inventory tracking enabled), our Inventory Reserve system would remove items from your inventory for 10 minutes when a customer added them to their cart. This gave them time to complete the checkout on PayPal and for us to be notified of the payment. If we didn’t receive payment in 10 minutes, we’d put the item back on sale.

We’ve talked to a lot of people about this workaround, and while many love it, and said their customers like knowing an item in their cart wouldn’t be taken from them, just as many people hate it, and feel like they’ve lost sales, and had it abused by people to hoard limited edition products. The workaround would also break down when PayPal experienced delays, and would often put a severe load on our servers during flash sales, leading to occasional downtime, and even accidental overselling of popular items.

Ultimately, we feel that first-come-first-serve is the fairest and simplest solution to high-demand products, and Inventory Reserve was a problematic and ineffective solution to this issue. If you have a high-volume shop, and do flash sales on limited inventory products, we highly recommend you switch to PayPal Express Checkout and Stripe, where we only need to reserve the items while the payment is processing, which eliminates overselling.

Shops currently using Inventory Reserve won’t be rolled onto our newer platform until October 16, 2017. We want to give you enough time to switch to PayPal Express Checkout and Stripe before Inventory Reserve goes away. As always, please ask us any questions you might have before the switch.

Switch to PayPal Express Checkout and Stripe

Decades ago, PayPal Standard was a true breakthrough for ecommerce. Now however, it’s outdated and error prone. Quite simply, there are much better ways of getting paid online today. Here are a few of the reasons we recommend everyone switch to our newer and better PayPal Express Checkout and/or Stripe options:

  • Direct payments - your customers can pay you directly with a credit card (through Stripe) or with their PayPal account (through PayPal Express). PayPal Express also offers a “guest checkout” feature for those who wish to pay with a card instead of logging in.
  • Fewer headaches, more awesome - no more pending e-Check payments, IPN delays, or attempts to spoof orders.
  • Better for high volume sales - no delays from PayPal Standard means a reliable first-come-first-serve checkout experience.
  • Better conversion tracking with Google Analytics - since your customers always return to your receipt page, we can better keep Google informed.
  • Print shipping labels with PayPal Express Checkout - just the same way you’re used to now with PayPal Standard.
  • It’s the same price - PayPal Express Checkout and Stripe both start at the same price as PayPal Standard: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
  • Switching is fast and easy - you can setup PayPal Express Checkout and Stripe in just a few clicks, and we’re here to help if you have questions.

How to make the switch to PayPal Express Checkout or Stripe

  1. Visit the Account > Edit your payment options area of the desktop admin.
  2. From there you can choose Stripe, PayPal Express, or both.
  3. Follow the steps on screen to connect your accounts, and you’ll be done in minutes!

FAQs about making the switch

Do customers have to log in to a PayPal account to pay using PayPal Express?

Nope - PayPal Express offers a “guest checkout” option the same as PayPal Standard, so customers can pay by card instead.

Is there an extra fee or membership cost for using PayPal Express or Stripe?

No, there are no monthly or annual fees for using either option. PayPal and Stripe each have their own per-transaction fees.

How long does it take for Stripe and PayPal Express to deposit money?

The first payment Stripe processes will be available in 7 days, and most accounts will then move to a 2-day rolling schedule for deposits. You can also request different deposit scheduling via Stripe. Check out their help doc for more details.

Payments processed through PayPal Express will be available to transfer or use directly from PayPal right away, the same as with PayPal Standard.

Will PayPal Standard’s shipping and tax settings still work?

No, PayPal Standard’s shipping and tax settings aren’t compatible with PayPal Express or Stripe. If you rely on those settings, you’ll either want to stick with PayPal Standard, or switch to Big Cartel’s shipping and tax settings instead.

How do I set up shipping costs and tax rates in Big Cartel instead of PayPal?

Edit any product in your admin to add shipping costs in the Shipping section of the product’s page. You can set a tax rate for your shop in your Account area. Customers will see the appropriate shipping and tax costs added on at the final checkout screen, once they’ve entered their address.

Need a hand?

If you have any questions or concerns about these changes, or need help with anything at all, just contact our Support team and we’ll help you out.

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