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Amazon - an alternative to PayPal?

    • 3 posts
    September 24, 2008 7:10 PM EDT
    I did some research today on why there is aversion to paypal.  I have used it for about 5 years, and although I think it`s the best on the block, I also have an aversion that I couldn`t nail down.

    It all comes to the landing page - or the page that Paypal presents for a consumer to checkout.  As it turns out, Paypal first checks to see if the customer has ever accessed Paypal in the past on their computer, Paypal will present one page, and if the customer never accessed Paypal before, it presents a second page. 

    The way it does this is through cookies. 

    I cleared my cookies to see the page that`s presented, and sure enough, it`s pretty straight forward.  There`s only a small message suggesting the customer join Paypal.

    If a cookie exists though, this is where most of the issues come from.  Paypal assumes the customer wants to pay with Paypal.  Even the most techy consumer has a hard time finding the link to pay with a credit card.  So if a customer gets this type of landing page, and they don`t want to pay with Paypal, they usually either give up, or call and place the order over the phone.

    This recently happened to me.  One of my customers asked if I can send them an invoice through Paypal.  They had a paypal account, but just wanted to pay by credit card.  They were so frustrated, they finally called me and gave the card info over the phone.  If I hadn`t had a merchant account that allowed me to process the card, I would have been out of luck.

    I did confirm that many others have a problem with this landing page issue.  If you`ve found a way to overcome this, please let me know.

    I just checked out the Amazon solution, and it appears even worse!  It seems as though your customers MUST have an Amazon account to pay for their order.  Great for customers with an Amazon account.  For customers without, I`m guessing they`ll have to go through the process of creating an Amazon account just to pay for your product (talk about barriers to the sale).  Please correct me if I`m wrong - or more importantly, check it out for yourself too.

    Jim Carrillo
    www.jimcarrillo.com


    JimCarrillo9/25/2008 12:19 AM

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    Jim Carrillo

    • 3 posts
    October 3, 2008 9:23 AM EDT

    I posted a question to some colleagues in the National Speakers Association (NSA) Northern California Chapter regarding credit card processing.  I’ve been processing credit cards for over 9 years, using two companies - Nova and Paypal, but I didn’t have a clear understanding of everything that was involved.  Some of the responses I received from my colleagues made me realize that many of us don’t know what’s truly going on, and we just stick with whatever solution we started with.

    I conducted some research on this subject, and created a presentation to explain it all.  Hopefully it will help you with the question of how to process credit cards.  By the way, now that I understand what’s going on, I’m going to change my provider and save some money!

    Here’s a couple of articles I found with some good information at:

    Taming the Beast

    Payment Gateway Primer

    I also created a presentation that I posted on my site.  It covers the basic elements of processing credit cards both online and offline, and relates them so you can shop for the best product.

    Video Presentation


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    Jim Carrillo

    • 2 posts
    September 27, 2008 5:17 AM EDT
    Jim:  Wow, thanks for that post!  It never occurred to me that Paypal would be presenting alternate landing pages based upon previous user history.  I had been using Paypal exclusively to accept Payments for several years.  Customers would complain about not trusting Paypal, so I began accepting personal checks as well.  Luckily, none of the checks were bad, although I would wait until the funds cleared before sending out product.  One customer sent an emphatic note "I HATE Paypal!" with her check.  Customers definitely think they have to have a Paypal account to use the Paypal service. 

    Several times I looked into credit card Merchant Accounts and it always came down to needing about $3k/month in credit card sales to cover the fees associated with it.  Finally within the last 6 months we added the Merchant Account so customers can pay directly on our site instead of being redirected to Paypal.  I think part of the issue is simply the redirect.  Customers will have the same redirect issue with Amazon. 

    Another issue we have with Paypal is the "Paypal IPN" status.  If a customer begins the Paypal payment process, and then uses the "Back" button to check something, the payment is aborted and goes into a limbo state called Paypal IPN.  The Customer at that point cannot log in to our site and complete the payment process.  I have to manually go to Paypal, send a money request and then after the payment is made, manually change the status of the Order in the Admin. from Paypal IPN to Pending.  Not such a big deal, except it`s a pain, and the automated Order Process is not generated.   I wonder how Amazon`s checkout process will work in that sort of a situation.

    Best,

    Linda

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    Zosimos Botanicals
    Exclusive Green Cosmetics

    • 747 posts
    September 28, 2008 7:06 AM EDT
    Actually paypal IPN is a solution for ecommerce store owners so purchase information is not lost. It is "Instant Payment Notification" (IPN)... so, if a potential buyer fails to return to the store, the purchase information is still sent to the store owner.
     
    If the potential buyer aborts the transaction... the store still gets the purchase information (the order) but does not get the payment... so the store owner ignores the "order".
     
    If the buy just fails to return to the store... the purchase information and the PayPal payment is still relieved by the store owner.
     
    ~Roland

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    Web Design | Best Beef Jerky | ecommerce articles | Follow vwebworld on Twitter

    • 7 posts
    September 30, 2008 8:12 AM EDT
    We`ve been using Paypal for years and have had few issues.  We have looked into Amazon but their shopping cart is limited for our needs.
     
    Our implementation of the Paypal cart allows our customers to select from two drop down menus a "model" and then a "color" and their parameters are passed directly into the cart.
    This lets us have minimal maintenance in the sense that we do not need a "button" for each product.  In our case we offer 5 models in 6 colors...that would be 30 buttons to maintain
    on total of 5 model pages, 6 colors per pages.  The Paypal implementation allows us to do
    this on ONE page and allows us to add/delete models and or colors in under a minute.
     
    I have gone `round and `round with Amazon about how to implement a similar process but
    since they offer NO support on the phone for payment setups and their email technical support
    is sorely lacking we have had to put that on hold. 
     
    We`d really LOVE to use Amazon because the fees are the same AND you get a shipping credit form them but until we can get this issue resolved its a no go.
     
    Parick
    • 434 posts
    September 24, 2008 5:42 AM EDT
    Amazon recently announced their payment service that is aimed squarely at PayPal:
    http://www.amazonservices.com/payments/

    Too many people, mostly those who sell merchant accounts, are fast to dis` PayPal, and there`s a few anecdotal references to "horror stories" - which are far outnumbered by the satisfied users like myself.

    Now, in addition to PayPal (or instead of) you can use Amazon to process your credit card purchases.  Same terms: no equipment lease, no monthly charges, no minimum - but a higher per transaction fee, much the same as PayPal.

    My business is mostly by check or cash and a low-volume of credit card customers, so PayPal and Amazon will be perfectly satisfactory for my credit card processing.  If you have a high volume site then the monthly fees of a merchant account combined with a lower per-transaction fee might be the best option for you.

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    Steve Mann
    Internet Videographer
    MannMade Digital Video
    My Email


    • 434 posts
    September 27, 2008 8:22 PM EDT
    "Another issue we have with Paypal is the "Paypal IPN" status.  If a customer begins the Paypal payment process, and then uses the "Back" button to check something, the payment is aborted and goes into a limbo state called Paypal IPN."

    I`ve never run into this with my buyers.  There`s a "Continue Shopping" button on the PayPal chopping basket/checkout page that takes the buyer back to the page on my site that they came from.

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    Steve Mann
    Internet Videographer
    MannMade Digital Video
    My Email


    • 434 posts
    September 28, 2008 7:19 AM EDT
    Actually paypal IPN is a solution for ecommerce store owners so purchase information is not lost. It is "Instant Payment Notification" (IPN)... so, if a potential buyer fails to return to the store, the purchase information is still sent to the store owner.
    ...


    OK, since I have never had a customer abandon the cart, I haven`t run into this.

    **DISCLAIMER** I do not sell general products to typical shoppers.  I have a very limited stock of product.  When I send a customer to PayPal, they have already made the choice of PayPal over sending a check.

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    Steve Mann
    Internet Videographer
    MannMade Digital Video
    My Email