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What contributes to the smooth running of an eCommerce business?
For online stores to function, they require many features. But the payment process is a key element.
A shop page may look great, or have its products arranged well. However, a reliable payment platform is essential for a WooCommerce store.
Clients need to have different payment methods available to them. They should also be able to enter their data safely.
Shop owners should be able to manage their transactions and use integration tools.
WooCommerce includes a PayPal payment section. Stores can enable this with just one click.
Thus, admins can reach a wide variety of customers in different parts of the world.
Yet, there are ways to make better use of one’s PayPal account. Integrating PayPal with WooCommerce allows clients to also pay with credit cards, besides their actual PayPal money.
With PayPal, users can create a sandbox account. Among other things, this allows them to test payments in a trial environment.
This article explains how to make a WooCommerce-PayPal sandbox integration easily and safely.
Why use a PayPal account?
So why is PayPal the most popular payment gateway?
Many people around the world choose PayPal over other options. This is thanks to its security measures, wide availability, and simplicity.
Business owners can work with clients worldwide and also manage large transactions.
Users can create a PayPal account at no cost. They can fund it with a credit or debit card or link it to a bank account.
Users can choose a preferred payment method or pay with their PayPal balance. Thus, it’s possible to send and receive funds for a reasonable fee.
The platform offers recurring payment services, which simplifies many processes. It is possible to pay for long subscriptions or one-time tasks.
Moreover, PayPal is compatible with lots of popular software and sites.
It provides best-in-class anti-fraud and security systems. These enable customers to enter their financial data in safety.
It is also possible to integrate PayPal easily with most WooCommerce sites and apps.
Statista.com estimates PayPal to have over 390 million active users. Hence, online stores that don’t offer this payment method may risk losing clients.
Advantages of using PayPal with WooCommerce
- High-security standards
- Safe and free
- Easy to use
- Millions of users all over the world
What is a PayPal sandbox?
As noted, the payment checkout is very important for an online business.
Yes, stores need to list the products, update the inventory, and put security measures in place. But admins also need to make sure that the system works.
However, there is no way to try the payment gateway unless an actual transaction occurs. If a problem arises when a client is trying to make a purchase, it might be too late.
The PayPal sandbox account brings a solution. It is a virtual environment that simulates the platform’s live version.
So, admins can test how the app manages transactions without actually having to make one.
A sandbox provides a security shield and a testing environment. From here, admins can check that the PayPal payment gateway is working.
A sandbox doesn’t mirror all of PayPal’s features. But it presents the same API characteristics as the PayPal live version.
From the sandbox, it’s not possible to close an account, store shipping preferences or issue monthly statements.
Installing a PayPal sandbox is a great way for admins to control and test their payment system. The following is a guide on how to set up a WooCommerce-PayPal Sandbox.
Creating a PayPal sandbox account
To create a sandbox account go to the PayPal developer site and click the button ‘Log in to Dashboard’. This button is in the upper right corner of the screen.
Next, there’s an option to create a new account or log in with an existing one. When creating a new one, the system will ask users to choose between a personal or a business account.
A personal account is advisable for end customers. These are people who want to use the account for occasional purchases or hiring services.
Business accounts are for those who have a company or an online store. This is the best option for users who want to add a PayPal checkout to their WooCommerce settings.
For this guide, the ‘create a business account’ option is selected.
Users should also set up a personal account. A personal account is necessary for testing transactions.
Next, choose whether to create the account with a personal ID or the business ID. Then, enter the email address.
Now, PayPal will send an email to the address to verify your identity. Clicking the link in this email verifies the account and you will have a PayPal sandbox set up.
Always check the spam folder if the email doesn’t appear right away.
It’s better not to include personal information in the business account profile. If the owner shares access with partners or employees, this information is at risk.
By not including personal data, they can delegate tasks safely.
Duplicating a PayPal sandbox account
Those who already have a PayPal sandbox account have the option to duplicate it.
This is useful if one wants to test the platform in different scenarios. Especially if the user has customers or merchants with varying characteristics.
By duplicating the sandbox account, the new version will have the data of the original. This includes name, balance, and type of account.
Merchants can have many models to test errors under various payment flows.
How to duplicate a PayPal sandbox account
- Log in to the developer dashboard.
- Go to the ‘Sandbox’ section on the left and click ‘Accounts’. This displays a list of your existing sandbox accounts.
- Find the column ‘Manage accounts’ and hover the mouse on the logo beside the account to duplicate. A dropdown menu will appear.
- Click ‘Duplicate account’.
- Edit the fields as you deem proper.
- Click ‘Create account’.
Now it’s time to integrate the PayPal account with WooCommerce. After installing the plugin, users will see the following options for payment methods:
- Direct Bank Transfer
- Check Payments
- Cash on Delivery
- PayPal Standard
The first three are traditional forms of payment usually used for offline purchases.
How to set up the WooCommerce-Paypal sandbox integration
- On your WordPress dashboard go to WooCommerce > settings > payments.
- Click ‘Payment options’. This brings up the default options.
- Go to PayPal (it should be selected) and click ‘manage’. The settings page will open.
- Check the box ‘enable/disable’. This will set PayPal as the payment method for your WooCommerce store.
- On ‘Title’, type what the customers will read on the checkout page, e.g., ‘Pay with PayPal’
- Fill in the field ‘Description’. This will also display on the checkout page.
- PayPal email address: Type the address used to set up the PayPal account.
- Receiver email: Enter your PayPal email address or another one.
Merchants must pay special attention to the fields ‘title’ and ‘description’. This is what customers will see on the PayPal checkout page before buying.
The PayPal email is where merchants will receive payments.
In the ‘receiver email’ field, merchants can enter another address. This is where they will receive account and payment information.
PayPal identity token
The identity token’s purpose is to verify payments. It’s possible to use this instead of the Instant Payment Notification (IPN).
The token allows merchants and clients to follow the transaction history while it’s still in process. Users can share information with customers and keep track of the payment progress.
Generating a PayPal identity token
- Log in to your PayPal account.
- Hover the mouse over the user name (at the top right corner) and click ‘account settings’.
- In the menu on the left click ‘Website payments’.
- Go to the main column and find ‘Website preferences’.
- Click ‘Update’.
- Find ‘Auto return for website payments’ and set it to ‘On’.
- Enter an URL in the field below. This is the URL where clients go after purchasing at the online store.
It can be the home page or a ‘Thank you’ message. It can also contain information about shipping or a ‘Keep shopping’ option.
The latter will bring clients back to the shop page.
- Click ‘Save’.
- Find ‘Payment data transfer’ and set it to ‘On’. The identity token is now displayed.
- Copy the identity token and paste it in the WooCommerce section ‘Identity token’.
- Click ‘Save changes’.
With an invoice prefix, merchants can identify transactions with ease. When an invoice is generated, it will have a transaction number and a prefix.
Store owners can set the prefix to be whatever they want. Thus, they can set a particular prefix for each source of payment.
This is especially helpful for merchants that own more than one WooCommerce store.
The prefix is set to WC by default. Merchants can change it to any other such as ‘BabyClothesShop’ or ‘SportswearShop’.
When enabling this option, PayPal will ask that the shipping address matches the billing address. Thus, buyers will have to enter only one address matching both fields.
It is advisable to put a message on the PayPal checkout page instructing customers to do so. Thanks to this, the platform offers an extra layer of protection.
Merchants can look after the safety of their business. Clients have the option to review the order and prevent potential fraud.
By checking the ‘Address override’, owners can prevent the address from being changed.
How to set up sandbox credentials
After creating the sandbox, users must enter the information into the WooCommerce settings. WooCommerce will save these settings for the next time someone wants to use the sandbox.
- Check ‘enable PayPal sandbox’.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and find the fields: ‘Sandbox API username’, ‘password’, and ‘signature’.
- Open your PayPal account and find the API credentials tab. Copy this information.
- Paste the data in the corresponding fields in WooCommerce (‘Sandbox API username’, ‘password’, and ‘signature’).
- Click ‘Save changes’ in the WooCommerce settings.
- Scroll back to the top of the page and disable the ‘enable PayPal sandbox’.
- Scroll down again and click ‘save changes’.
It’s important to customize the checkout page. Merchants can add the brand’s logo, name and description of the business, and header images.
They can also choose where the checkout page will lead after the purchase.
Store owners can find a variety of options in their WooCommerce dashboard. They can customize the cart, the buttons, fonts, colors, sizes, and more.
Also, users can enable visitors to go to checkout straight from the cart.
A well-optimized checkout page and cart can make a difference for a business. It helps to improve the user experience and enhances the store’s efficiency.
Having done this, the merchant will be ready to launch the PayPal checkout live.
They must go to the ‘PayPal checkout manage’ section and find ‘Environment’. Then, click the ‘Live’ option under it.
With the WooCommerce-PayPal integration implemented, shop owners should run a test purchase. This is why they installed the sandbox.
Running a test purchase with the sandbox account
To run a test, enable the sandbox function. To do this go to WooCommerce>> Settings>> Payments and save changes.
- Log in to your developer account. (Please see the ‘Creating a PayPal sandbox account’ section in this article).
- Go to the developer menu on the left and then to Sandbox > accounts.
- Click ‘create account’.
- Select ‘Personal buyer account’ and complete the required fields. Make sure to enter the email address that is making the test purchase.
It doesn’t matter what country you choose. The fields ‘First name’ and ‘Last name’ can remain empty.
- Go to the ‘payment’ section and enter the chosen balance.
- Select PayPal as the payment card.
- Click ‘create account’.
The new account should now be visible in the Sandbox dashboard. The next step is to run the test.
Testing the buyer account
Go to your online store and make a purchase. Add an item to the cart and proceed to checkout.
Complete the fields with the billing details and then click ‘Proceed to PayPal’. Before the ‘Proceed to PayPal’ button, merchants will see that the sandbox is still enabled.
Users are next taken to the sandbox’s PayPal account.
Enter the email and password from the sandbox you want to use. Accept the terms and conditions and click on ‘Pay now’.
To manage the order, go to the ‘Orders’ section on the WooCommerce dashboard. Thus, merchants can test their payment gateways without making a real purchase.
Before going live, remember to uncheck the ‘sandbox mode’ field. This will ensure that real customers can make a purchase in the store.
Final thoughts on the WooCommerce-PayPal sandbox integration
Allowing customers to pay via PayPal is a good strategy. This is one of the best virtual payment platforms and millions of people use it.
Having PayPal as a payment method allows merchants to expand their business. They can reach more clients worldwide.
A WooCommerce-Paypal sandbox integration allows users to improve their store’s efficiency. They can customize the cart and checkout page in a variety of ways.
It helps to make the client’s experience more pleasant. Also, clients will find a fully functioning site to help them find what they need.
The sandbox account with WooCommerce integration brings many advantages. The main one is the ability to test the payment system in a safe environment.
Store owners can find errors and eliminate bugs. This enables them to provide the best purchasing experience for their customers.
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