Archive for April, 2011

Advanced PayPal Integration in Two Steps

FormSmarts Advanced PayPal integration is as easy to use as our popular PayPal form feature, but it provides several additional benefits, mainly:

  • FormSmarts only notifies you of a new order form submission after the payment is confirmed and verified (no need for manual verification)
  • Your customer receives an automated order & payment confirmation email
  • Advanced PayPal Integration works seamlessly with other FormSmarts features (export to Excel, PDF reports, API).

What Are the Benefits of Advanced PayPal Integration?

FormSmarts standard PayPal integration is easy to use and set up as it requires no change to your PayPal account. A downside to this is that FormSmarts has no way to know if the payment went through or not, and you — the seller — needs to manually reconcile payments and order forms using the FormSmarts Reference Number. That’s usually not an issue for small sales volumes, but can quickly become so as sales increase. At this stage payment processing must be fully automated and integrated with the form processing platform. Here are the benefits:

  • No need to manually reconcile form responses with payment notifications from PayPal
  • The seller is only notified of an order when the payment has gone through
  • The transaction won’t appear in Excel exports until the buyer has paid
  • FormSmarts verifies that the payment details match data submitted on the form (e.g. amounts, quantities)
  • Excel exports combine data submitted through the form and details of the corresponding payments.
  • FormSmarts sends a confirmation email to the buyer with both the order details and a payment confirmation. If you have verified your website and uploaded a logo, your site URL and logo will appear in the email.
  • Payment processing is fully automated and if you’re using online/PDF reporting or export to Excel, your order forms are on autopilot — at least for the ordering part.
  • You can further automate order processing or integrate FormSmarts with your website or another web service using the FormSmarts API.

Setting Up Advanced PayPal Integration

This video shows how to configure your form and set up your PayPal account for Advanced PayPal Integration.

To set up advanced PayPal integration, first create a payment form with prices formatted as shown in the PayPal integration section of the site. Then visit the Forms tab of the form builder and select Integrate with PayPal using advanced integration in the Form Details screen, as illustrated below.

Select Advanced PayPal Integration in the Form Builder

It’s now time to log on to your PayPal account to add your secret PayPal Notification URL. PayPal will use that URL to communicate with FormSmarts. You’ll find your notification URL in the Security Settings section of your FormSmarts account. Note that the URL contains your private security key and it should therefore be kept confidential.

New PayPal Site. Use this link or click on Seller preferences under Selling tools in the lower left-hand corner of your account, then Getting paid and managing my risk > Instant payment notifications and follow the Update link. Hit Edit Settings and paste your URL in the text box provided. Make sure Receive IPN message is enabled before saving.

Classic PayPal Site. In your PayPal account, click on Profile, then My selling tools > Getting paid and managing my risk > Instant payment notifications and follow the Update link. Hit Edit Settings and paste your URL in the text box provided. Make sure Receive IPN message is enabled before saving.

Turn On PayPal IPN Notification

If you have added multiple email addresses to your PayPal account, please note that your Primary PayPal email must match your FormSmarts login. That is required for FormSmarts to be able to verify that payments are sent to the correct PayPal account. You can change your login if needed.

If your account allows multiple PayPal recipients, payments will be sent to the email address matching your FormSmarts login by default. To have payments sent to another PayPal account, add the corresponding email address to your FormSmarts account and verify it, then contact us.

Notes

PayPal Integration is only included with Business-level plans.

A Tip to Increase Form Conversion: Use Required Fields Wisely

When creating a form, the form builder allows you to specify whether your want each input field to be required or optional. The meaning of required is obvious: form users will not be able to submit the form unless a value has been entered for each and every required fields. For radio buttons and drop-down lists, that means users will have to explicitly select an option between the ones provided. The decision to make a field required is not to be made lightly, because that could frustrate the user and affect the form’s conversion rate.

Radio Button and Drop-Down List as Required Input Fields

The meaning of optional is more subtle as it is different for text input fields (text boxes, multi-line text areas) on the one hand, and radio buttons and drop-down lists on the other hand. That’s because in the latter case users only have a limited set of options to choose from, and the first option in the list is always selected by default.

In the example illustrated below, we’re building a registration form for an event. The form should accommodate up to two delegates. The first delegate is required, but the second one is optional. It turns out that:

  • The first set of radio buttons or drop-down list should be required.
  • The second set of radio buttons or drop-down list should be optional, with None as the default option.

Required or Optional Radio Button and Drop-Down List in the Form Builder

Because None is selected by default, the form user won’t have to do anything in the most likely scenario where he’s only registering one attendee. This will save him time and frustration, and will statistically increase the form conversion rate and reduce form abandonment.

About the Form Builder Blog

The Online Form Builder Blog is published by FormSmarts, a web form service providing all you need to create a form and publish it online in minutes. FormSmarts makes it easy to build a form and embed it on your site. You can then get form submissions by email or store them on FormSmarts and download an Excel report. Learn more about the many other benefits of FormSmarts.