Now Available: Stripe Payment Processing

Stripe payment processingI am pleased to announce that WideRange Galleries v.5 website shopping carts are now fully integrated with Stripe Checkout payment processing! While PayPal payment processing is still available and still works fine, the Stripe cart checkout process is much more streamlined and professional. In the Cart Settings page in the admin, you can now choose whether you’d like to use PayPal, Stripe, or both.

Stripe vs. PayPal

PayPal has long been a trusty payment method, but Stripe offers some major improvements on the checkout flow.

With PayPal, when a customer on the shopping cart clicks to “Check Out”, they are sent to PayPal’s website where they go through the payment process. This transition from your website to PayPal might seem a bit jarring to some customers who are probably more used to on-site shopping cart payments. Also, while it is possible for customers to pay without signing up for a PayPal account, this option is not totally obvious which might potentially cause some confusion with customers. Once the customer finishes the payment process, they get an order confirmation email from PayPal, which lists the order details in the standard PayPal email format.

Stripe Checkout PanelBy comparison, the Stripe checkout flow is much quicker and more seamless. A customer in the shopping cart clicks “Pay with Card” and a very clean and simple Stripe payment panel pops up over the cart. There are no convoluted options or sign-up forms – only the necessary payment details are presented. Once the customer submits payment, the popup panel disappears and the customer is sent to an Order Confirmation page that summarizes their order. Additionally a custom Order Confirmation email is sent to them – this email has the order details along with customized messages which you can set up in the admin. Overall the Stripe checkout is quicker, easier, and more professional.

You can choose to use both PayPal and Stripe if you want, in which case both checkout options are displayed for the customer on the shopping cart page. This might be the best solution since some customer may prefer to use PayPal.

For what it’s worth, I have been using and testing the Stripe Checkout on my photography site for the last month or so, and so far the majority of my customers have been choosing the Stripe checkout option; only one customer has opted to pay with PayPal.

How to Activate Stripe

1) Sign up for a Stripe account at Stripe.com. You will need to follow their instructions to hook up your bank account for deposits and to fill out the various business settings on the account settings pages there.

2) In your Stripe account, go to the “Developers” menu, then to the “API keys” page. Copy the Publishable and Secret Keys, and paste those into the respective fields on the Cart Settings page in the admin. Make sure these are the LIVE keys, not the TEST keys.

3) Customize the Stripe Checkout panel. On the Cart Settings page in the admin, upload a square 128 x 128px jpg image file for the Checkout Panel Image. This is the little logo image that shows up in the circle in the Stripe Checkout panel, like my little mountain logo you see in the screenshot image above. Also, write a brief Checkout Panel Description – mine in the example screenshot above is “Photography by Jack Brauer”. The main title above this comes from the Business label as seen in your General Settings page in the admin.

4) Customize your Order Confirmation Emails, which are the emails sent to customers when they’re finished paying. You do this on the Cart Settings page in the admin.

A screenshot of the order confirmation email, showing how the messages are compiled. Click for larger view.

  • First upload a Confirmation Email Logo Image, which should be a 500px wide jpg image with a white background, since the emails are white. This displays at the top of the emails. Try to optimize the file size of this image so that it will load quickly in your customers’ emails.
  • Scroll down the Cart Settings page and enter an Introduction and Footer text. This text will be included on ALL order confirmation emails, so it should include only very generic information that will apply to all your possible orders. If you only sell one type of product, such as prints, then you can include all the info you need in these two fields and that’s enough.
  • If you sell different types of products – not just prints, but other non-print products as well – then you can modify those products to give them product-specific messages to include in the order confirmation emails when those products are ordered.

5) Test your Order Confirmation Emails. An easy trick to test the order confirmation emails is to create a set-amount discount code for yourself on the Products > Discounts page in the admin, then add a variety of prints and/or products to the cart on your website, then apply that discount. When the discount code covers the entire cart total, you can then proceed through a “no pay” checkout and the order confirmation emails will be sent to you (assuming you enter your own email address in the customer email form).

6) Test a live cart payment using Stripe, to ensure that everything is working as expected. You can either create a cheap $1 print or product item to do this, or create a discount code for yourself that covers most (but not all) of the cost.

I hope you find this new feature useful and that it hopefully leads to increased sales! As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions and/or suggestions.