Why we chose PayPal for mobile checkout

Mobile commerce is getting hotter and hotter, with over $10 billion worth of products and services being purchased on mobile devices this year – according to Internet Retailer – and over 60% of shoppers saying that they are willing to buy using their phone during this upcoming, 2011 holiday season.

Now, there are two main reasons why mobile shopping is not already bigger than it is:

  1. Not everyone has a smartphone… but that’s changing fast. Now 4 out of 10 phones in the US are smartphones, and the percentage is growing rapidly.
  2. Checkout is a royal pain in the neck. If you’ve ever tried filling out a full checkout form with a mobile phone, you know exactly what we’re referring to.

Let’s focus on this second point as some ProductCart users have asked us to clarify why only PayPal Express Checkout for mobile payments is supported as a payment option. In a nutshell, it’s about the user experience. Here is what we mean.

Only two hands
Have you ever tried to buy something with a smartphone? One hand holds the phone, and the other one uses the phone keyboard. And the credit card? How are you supposed to be able to simultaneously pull out your wallet, get your credit card out, and hold the credit card so that you can copy the digits into the checkout form? It simply does not work.

If you try to hold the phone and fill out the form with one hand, then the finger that enters the information is your thumb, which is too big (for most people) and leads to a series of wrong entries. Not fun.

Not sitting down
Ok, so, if you are sitting down, you get your credit card out, park it on a table or on one of your legs, and things get a bit easier. But… you simply can’t do that in many mobile scenarios. The beauty of being able to shop with your phone is the idea that you can buy a book, a gift, an event ticket, … while you’re on the bus, or waiting for the subway, or in line for a hot chocolate. Which means: you’re standing up.

Optimized checkout
That’s why – when we worked on the Mobile Commerce Add-on for ProductCart – we chose to use PayPal Express Checkout for mobile devices as the only payment option. Checking out with your PayPal account via Express Checkout makes it possible for you to complete a mobile ecommerce transaction without losing your sanity 🙂

Let’s see how it works.

After locating a product in the mobile-optimized catalog and adding it to the shopping cart, customers click on the “Checkout with PayPal” button.

Mobile Commerce Shopping Cart

They can log into their PayPal account using either email + password, or cell phone number + PIN. There are over 103 million PayPal users around the world, so there is a good chance that your customers will have a PayPal account. If not, they can just click on “Pay with a card” and enter their credit card information.

Mobile Commerce PayPal Login

After that, they simply review their billing and shipping information….

Mobile Commerce Shipping Info

… review the order total one more time…

Mobile Commerce Order Total

… and place the order. Done! If you’ve never placed an order on an ecommerce store this way, you’ve got to try. It’s pretty impressive how painless the process truly is.

Final thoughts
We understand that some merchants – for a variety of reasons – are not in love with PayPal. We hear you, and we will look at other payment options in the future.

For now, though, this really is about the user experience, and we believe that PayPal Express Checkout for mobile devices does the job, and does it well.

[By the way: the Mobile Commerce Add-on for ProductCart is only $195 and it’s really easy to add it to your ProductCart-powered storefront.]

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