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Configuring the PayPal Shopping Cart

When it comes to implementing the PayPal Shopping Cart, there are several payment options you need to configure, such as tax rate, shipping charges, and the like. While you can specify some of these settings on an SKU-specific basis when you create the product's Add to Cart button, most settings are applied universally to your entire shopping cart.

You configure these universal payment settings under the Selling Online heading of your profile, shown in Figure 4.4. To open this page, log in to your PayPal account, select the Profile subtab on the My Account tab and, on the left, select My Selling Tools.

Figure 4.4

Figure 4.4 Your PayPal profile with My Selling Tools selected on the left. This is where you configure your account's payment settings, under the Selling Online heading, by clicking to update the default settings.

Figuring Taxes

As an online business, you may or may not be required to charge sales tax on the items you sell; it depends largely on what kind of traditional retail presence you have, and where. If you have to charge tax, go to your profile, click My Selling Tools on the left and then, under the Selling Online heading, update Sales Tax settings.

This displays the Sales Tax page, shown in Figure 4.5. Go to the Set Up Domestic Sales Tax Rates section and click the Add New Sales Tax link. When the Domestic Sales Tax page appears, as shown in Figure 4.6, select a state and enter the applicable tax rate for that state; if you need to apply sales tax for a specific city or county, click the Zip Code link and enter the ZIP code, instead. By default, the sales tax is applied only to the product price; if tax must be applied to the entire purchase price, including shipping, check the Apply Rate to Shipping Amount box.

Figure 4.5

Figure 4.5 Getting ready to configure sales tax settings.

Figure 4.6

Figure 4.6 Specifying sales tax by state.

In most instances, you charge sales tax only for those states in which you have a physical presence. If you have a physical presence in multiple states, you'll have to specify tax rates for each state in which you do business. Click the Create Another button to add another state to your list. When you're done specifying tax rates, click the Continue button.

Determining Shipping and Handling Fees

You also set universal shipping and handling fees from the same area in your profile. Click the Set Up Shipping Calculations link under the Selling Preferences heading; this displays the Shipping Calculations page, shown in Figure 4.7. From here, click the Start button in the Set Up Domestic Shipping Methods section. (To set up shipping fees for shipments outside the U.S., click the Start button in the Set Up International Shipping Methods section.)

Figure 4.7

Figure 4.7 Getting ready to set shipping and handling fees.

What follows is a somewhat detailed process, only because you can be very specific about the shipping services you use and the fees you charge your customers. In essence, you can set shipping fees dependent on where the item is being shipped, the shipping service used, and either the item weight or price.

Start by specifying where you ship to on the Shipping Region page shown in Figure 4.8. Click Continue and you see the Set Up Domestic Shipping Methods page shown in Figure 4.9. Here you select a shipping method, set your standard delivery time, determine how your rates are based (on total order amount, total order weight, or total item quantity), and then set your shipping rates, either by dollar amount or percentage. You can create multiple shipping fee schedules, for multiple shipping methods; just click the Create Another button. Click Continue when you're done.

Figure 4.8

Figure 4.8 Specifying where you ship.

Figure 4.9

Figure 4.9 Specifying how you ship—and how much you charge for shipping.

PayPal now displays the Review and Save page, like the one shown in Figure 4.10. If what you see is correct, click the Save Shipping Methods button.

Figure 4.10

Figure 4.10 Reviewing your shipping settings.

Customizing the Payment Confirmation Page

By default, PayPal displays somewhat generic pages (with your business name at the top) to accept and confirm a customer's payment, like the one in Figure 4.11. That's fine for many businesses, but you may want to provide a more branded experience to your customers.

Figure 4.11

Figure 4.11 A standard payment confirmation page.

To that end, PayPal lets you customize the various checkout pages with your own logo, header image, and custom colors. Go to your profile, select My Selling Tools on the left, and under the Selling Online heading, click to update your Custom Payment Pages. When the Customize Your Payment Page appears, make sure you have the Page Styles tab selected, and then click the Add button.

When the Edit Custom Page Style page appears, all you have to do is fill in the blanks:

  1. Enter a new name in the Page Style Name box.
  2. Enter the URL for your logo image file in the Logo Image URL box. Your logo image file should be no larger than 190 pixels wide by 60 pixels high, and must be hosted on the Web, preferably on a secure server. This logo will appear at the top of the order summary.
  3. Enter the HTML hex code for the desired page color in the Cart Area Gradient Color box.
  4. Enter the URL for your desired header image in the Header Image URL box. Your header image file should be no larger than 750 pixels wide by 90 pixels high, and must be hosted on the Web, preferably on a secure server. This image will appear on the top left of the payment page.
  5. Enter the HTML hex code for the desired header background color in the Header Background Color box.
  6. Enter the HTML hex code for the desired header border color in the Header Border Color box.
  7. Enter the HTML hex code for the desired background color for the payment page in the Background Color box.
  8. Click the Preview button to see what your page will look like, and then click Save to save and apply the new template.

The result will look something like the page shown in Figure 4.12. Note the custom header image, and gradient color.

Figure 4.12

Figure 4.12 A customized payment page.

Receiving Notification of Payment Activity

How do you know when a customer makes a purchase from your site?

If you're using the PayPal Shopping Cart, PayPal notifies you by email of all PayPal-related transactions—purchases and otherwise. If you're integrating PayPal into an existing shopping cart, PayPal will notify the shopping cart system directly—and can send you an email notification, as well. In particular, you're notified of

  • Instant payments, including direct credit card payments.
  • E-check payments and associated status.
  • Recurring payment and subscription actions.
  • Chargebacks, disputes, reversals, and refunds.

If you have a more sophisticated back-end system, you can take advantage of PayPal's Instant Payment Notification (IPN). This messaging service automatically notifies your system of all PayPal-related transactions, with no human intervention required.

IPN messages are detected and processed via a listener script or program that is integrated into your back-end system. (You'll need to write your own listener scripts.) When the listener receives an IPN message, it then passes that message to the appropriate process to respond to the message. For example, an IPN message about a customer purchase can trigger order fulfillment processes, update your customer list, and update your accounting records. You can configure the IPN messages you receive by clicking the Instant Payment Notification Preferences link on your profile.

Configuring Other Options

There are several other options you can configure from the My Selling Tools area of your PayPal profile. These include

  • Selling Online. This section includes a variety of links to help you manage your online selling activities. From here you can manage your PayPal payment buttons; change the company name that appears on your customers' credit card statements; set up sales tax options; configure PayPal payment pages to look more like your own website; determine which web pages customers are directed to after they pay with PayPal; manage API credentials for integrating PayPal with your own online store or shopping cart; and create and manage your invoice templates.
  • Getting Paid and Managing My Risk. This section includes a variety of links to help you manage customer payments. From here you can manage subscriptions and other automatic payments; integrate PayPal's instant payment notifications with your website; manage PayPal's risk and fraud controls to automatically accept or decline certain types of payments; block payments based on specified criteria; and create a personalized message to use when faced with customer disputes.
  • Shipping My Items. This section helps you configure PayPal's shipping functionality. From here you can edit your shipping preferences, including carriers and labels, as well as set up shipping methods and pricing for each of your customers.

You'll also find links to additional selling tools, including encrypted payment settings, PayPal button language encoding, PayPal shops, and your seller reputation number.

The three other entries on the left panel of your profile pertain to any PayPal member—they are not specific to a business that is selling through PayPal. These are:

  • My Business Info. Where you edit your contact information such as email address, phone number.
  • My Money. Where you set your payment and banking information, including credit card and bank account numbers.
  • My Settings. Where you will find your basic account settings such as notifications, customer ID, and so forth.

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