The Storefront widget offers a seamless e-commerce platform for those wishing to sell anything on their site, such as t-shirts, CD’s or other items
The widget (see pic right) includes:
- An Index page that shows thumbnail images of all the items for sale through the widget
- a product page that shows a larger view of the items/ products for sale
- A shopping cart directly within the widget
- About and policy pages mean that any conditions are also contained with the widget
Users can set the widget to “sold out” or “sorry we’re closed” from the central control panel, and comes standard with a sharing option; visitors are able to grab the html for the widget from the widget and display it on their own site should they so desire.
I spoke with Paypal prior to the launch and they emphasized that the product was focused on blogs and social networking sites. Paypal has a deal with SixApart that sees the widget being embeddable into TypePad blogs without the need to copy and paste, for everyone else though its no more difficult than any widget is to embed, presuming you know where to get at, and where to paste the html.
Initially there are some limitations with the service, for example you only get the choice of one size for the widget, and it currently only supports sales in US dollars. Paypal though will be seeking user feedback once the program takes off and they are open to expanding the options available in the future.
Paypal sees a lot of possibilities for the widget; for example it provides a seamless shopfront for bands on MySpace who may want to sell recordings. It may also be a substitute for donation buttons that are occasionally used by bloggers as well; Paypal admits that some of their previous embeddable shopping options haven’t been as user friendly as they’d hoped, where as the Storefront widget is focused on being simple to use for everyone.
I’ve had time to play with the setup features for the widget and there’s little doubt that Paypal got the easy part right. Drop down menu items for navigation compliment sample products to get users started.
There are some parallels to Tailgate, in that both are transaction on the page. The difference with the Paypal widget is that like any Paypal transaction payment is made on the Paypal website itself to guarantee a secure transaction; the widget is fully transactional only to the last purchase point. This is functionality usually delivered by often expensive merchant solutions where as Paypal is offering this service for free, except of course they get a standard cut from the sale itself.
I know when I first heard about Paypal’s Storefront Widget that my thoughts were: here we go, yet another widget offering, but this is impressive and quite unique in the marketplace. I’d think that this product will be warmly received by those with something to sell, or those who haven’t offered items for sale previously on their blogs or social networking pages due to the cost and technical knowledge required in doing so.