Archive for April, 2011

PayPal Integration in Two Steps

FormSmarts 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 registration (or more generally, payment form submission) after the payment is confirmed and verified (no need for manual verification)
  • Your customer receives an automated email receipt with a copy of the data submitted and a payment confirmation. For registration forms, this can work as an e-ticket.
  • PayPal Integration works seamlessly with other FormSmarts features (export to Excel, PDF reports, API).

What Are the Benefits of PayPal Integration?

FormSmarts’ old PayPal integration was easy to use and set up as it required no change to your PayPal account. A downside to this was that FormSmarts had no way to know if the payment went through or not, and you — the seller — had to manually reconcile payments and the corresponding form responses using the FormSmarts Reference Number. That was usually not an issue for small sales volumes, but could quickly become so as sales increased. We’ve now fully automated payment processing and integrated it 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 a registration/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 registration forms are on autopilot.
  • You can further automate processing or integrate FormSmarts with your website or another web service using the FormSmarts API.

Setting Up PayPal Integration

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

To set up 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 in the Submit Actions tab of 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

Did you link multiple emails to your PayPal account? Then your Primary PayPal email must match your FormSmarts login. FormSmarts will otherwise reject payments for being sent to the wrong PayPal account. If needed, change your FormSmarts login.

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.

If PayPal shows an error on the checkout page when testing your first form, you may need to update your PayPal account settings.

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.