When you are creating your first, smaller online store, choosing a payment gateway can sometimes be a challenge. You often decide on a single one to get started and go from there as your store grows. But is that first choice the right choice? Listen to me as I share with your a short story about my experience with PayPal and Stripe with a membership site I started.
Whether you are creating sites for clients, doing it for your own store, or just considering the payment gateways for an existing small shop, this will give you some food for thought.
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Hey everyone and welcome to episode 27 of Do the Woo, a podcast for WooCommerce Shop owners. Bob Dunn here, also known as BobWP on the web. Today’s show is typically a bit shorter than our usual podcasts, but I wanted to share an experience I personally had sometime ago that may help you if you are just starting our with you WooCommerce online store, especially a small store. I call it the Tale of Two Payment Gateways.
But before I jump into this, a couple of things I would like to have you consider. First, we are still looking for some of you to ease on over to iTunes and leave a rating and review. As we head into our 6th month of Do the Woo, it would be so much appreciated.
And if you are a developer that uses WooCommerce for clients, not only do we want you to continue to tune-in, but also consider sponsoring a show. Same goes for any of you that offer a WooCommerce related theme, plugin, extension or service. It’s your support that will keep Do the Woo on the air.
Lastly, Do the Woo will be heading to WordCamp US in Philadelphia in December. So keep an eye out for those updates.
With that all said, let’s return to my story. To set the scene, first let me tell you that I have been using PayPal for a long time. No matter what horror stories you have heard, for me it’s worked great. Because of my sale level I have not needed to go to a merchant account, nor would want to get involved with it. PayPal has just made it easier for me.
The story takes place around a couple of years ago when I was making yet another attempt at a membership site. Of course I was using WooCommerce, but at that time the site protection was the Groups extension, so it was quite a bit more limiting than the current Membership plugin that’s available. In any case, I had launched the site and was pondering the payment gateway Stripe. Mainly because a lot of my friends and colleagues were raving about it and many felt they were going to move away from PayPal entirely, for several reasons.
Now I had been listening to all of this long before I launched this site, so it had been on my mind. But initially I just wasn’t ready to take PayPal off. In fact, I knew that it wasn’t a matter of dropping PayPal wherever I used it, but simply deciding whether I should try Stripe at all.
Then came the time awhile after the site launched. More and more people I know were raving about Stripe and the temptation was overwhelming. So one day I just said screw it. I’m going to get signed up for Stripe, buy the WooCommerce extension and go for it. A note for some of you who aren’t aware but, yes, before the Stripe extension cost some bucks, but now fortunately, you can get it free.
Now the other part was I did need to get an SSL to use Stripe, so that happened and I’ll fast forward over that experience since I let my peeps at WPEngine take care of that.
Once I was setup, I must say I was impressed with the user interface for stripe. It was very slick. I was ready to rock, as some say.
But no more than 3 or 4 hours slipped by and I got an email. Someone asked me why I didn’t have PayPal as an option. And yes, less than 4 hours had gone by. They explained that it was the only way they could pay. I thought about that and within the hour I received two more asking me the same. In fact one said they had come back to join and wondered why I took PayPal off?
One more email flew in and I said, damn, PayPal, you are coming back. So I popped in, activated PayPal via woo commerce and replied to all the emails that we were good to go. Each one joined my site.
So as you can guess, lesson learned. People do want options. No matter how you feel about PayPal there are a lot of people that find it the preferred payment gateway, no arguments. But for those haters, sure, I left Stripe up there.
I cannot say what goes on in the mind of the buyer. Do they use Stripe because they refuse to use PayPal. Or do they just prefer Stripe over PayPal. Whatever the case may be, in my experience, sales over time, always play out to be about 50/50 with the two of these. So obviously having a choice is good.
That’s my story and something for you to ponder on. If you are a large eCommerce site I am guessing PayPal is an option and you probably use an merchant account. But if you are a small shop just starting or working on a small online store, this is something to keep in mind. Don’t let either your or the store owners prejudice influence anything. If one payment gateway logically doesn’t work for you logistically, or due to fees, then I understand. But if you moan and groan about one and don’t take your buyers needs into consideration, you may just lose some sales.
So that’s it for this week. A story, a tale of two payment gateways.