L. R. Series has been launched
It’s a little bit belated, however The Floating Frog have launched L. R. Series – our first online shop.
The brief was to create an online presence for L. R. Series’ land rover parts business with integrated checkout and live payment processing. Due to their existing eBay presence Paypal Payments Pro was the prefered payment gateway.
Integrating Paypal wasn’t as simple as I had expected it to be. Firstly there was a requirement from Paypal that you offer their Paypal Express Checkout in addition to their live card payment option. This to me was a crap requirement – but because Paypal are a cheaper gateway in reality you are paying them by giving them free advertising on your website as well as helping them gain a stranglehold on the market ahead of the likes of google.
There was then confusion on my part over which system we were integrating with – it turned out that the USA and UK systems were completely separate, and that the UK one had been bought from Verisign. Support for the UK product wasn’t brilliant, particularly as it was all based in the USA plus the documentation seemed to only reference the UK docs as a footnote.
The USA system has a fantastic test environment where you can create your own test accounts etc, the UK one has only a selection of pre-defined accounts. This became a problem when we needed to test with non-ASCII characters – e.g. European customers with accents in their names. I contacted Paypal asking if they had a demo account with such characters – they didn’t and nor were they willing/able to create one so our poor European customers had garbled text in their address labels for a time.
… oh, and did I mention that behaviour differs between the live and test systems – e.g. during express checkout the redirect back to your site passes ‘payerid’ in test; ‘PayerID’ in live. Great fun.
Anyway, we got there in the end. Paypal is the first payment gateway I have integrated with and my first impressions aren’t great, however we have now overcome the hurdles so we know exactly what to do next time.
I would like to try something like Google Checkout on my next project if they don’t already have an encumbent supplier, or ideally use their own merchant account with their bank if they can afford the transaction costs.