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John T. Unger

Updates to the PayPal Storefront Widget

John T. Unger April 4, 2008

I just wrote a guest post for Everything TypePad about new features for the PayPal Storefront Widget. I've archived a copy of the post in the extended entry below, or you can cick through to read it on Everything TypePad here.

When I first wrote about the Paypal Storefront Widget, I called it "the fastest, easiest eCommerce solution for blogs." If you're looking for a quick and easy way to add fully functional eCommerce to your blog (whether selling goods or services) you should definitely give the Storefront Widget a look. The widget works equally well for TypePad blogs using basic or advanced templates. You can add a storefront with a single click by visiting TypePad's Widget Gallery. Or, you can embed as many stores as you like, anywhere you want, by cutting and pasting a snippet of code provided by PayPal at the end of the set-up process. For a list of features and an overview of what the Storefront Widget can do for your blog, please check out my previous articles on Everything TypePad and my own blog TypePad Hacks.

I'm writing about the Storefront Widget again today to tell you about some new features and to congratulate Judy Chang and the PayPal Distributed Payments team on the fantastic effort they've put in to supporting widget users and continuing to improve the widget for everyone.

Here's a list of what's new for the widget:

Multiple Currencies: One of the most-requested features that was missing from the initial release was the ability to sell in currencies other than US Dollars. This has been addressed and you can now configure your store to sell using any of the 17 currencies that PayPal supports.

Product Options: Just like the original PayPal buttons, you can now customize up to two options for a product. For items that might come in different sizes, colors or materials this is certainly handy. Even better, you can now also include a surcharge for certain options if you want to. For instance, if you're selling jewelry, you could set different prices for the same ring done in gold or silver. Or you could use the surcharge to offer upgrades to services.

Inventory Control: For items that have limited quantities, you can now specify the available inventory. This can be broken down further to allow you to set inventory numbers for each item by options or combinations of options (ie: I have 9 red shirts, size xxl and 15 blue shirts, size xxl).

Store Reputation: We all know that favorable feedback from buyers is one of the best ways to increase trust online. Now, customers who buy from your Storefront Widget can provide written feedback and rate your store from 1-5 stars. Only one rating per transaction is allowed and buyers must provide the invoice ID that PayPal generates in order to leave feedback.

Shipping Options: Originally, shipping had to be included in the sale price. The obvious drawback to this approach is that it makes items look more expensive. Although the widget does not yet include a way to automatically generate shipping costs, the PayPal team has called attention to a clever hack developed by sellers using the widget: You can add shipping fees to your storefront and have buyers select the proper shipping rate as an item based on the order subtotal. This is still an imperfect solution for some situations, but should prove useful for many sellers.

For a more comprehensive overview of features and benefits, visit my PayPal Storefront review at TypePad Hacks. If you'd like to compare the widget to several dozen other eCommerce options that can be integrated with TypePad please check out my article: Blogs as Stores: A Comprehensive Overview of eCommerce Solutions for Bloggers.

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