- Nov 18, 2020
- 4 minutes
PayPal order management features
If you've ever worked with a well-designed order management program such as StoneEdge Order Manager or M.O.M., then you're well aware that PayPal - and for that matter, most other shopping cart programs - don't offer anything close to a full-featured order management system. But it does have enough basics for a small online store to conduct business, ship orders, and mark the status of orders.
Refunds are a fact of life with any online business. People have buyer's remorse - or receive the product and it isn't what they expected. You'll need to set policies on returns and refunds for your online business. I recommend, however, generous return and refund policies. Very few people will intentionally try to defraud you. And it is much better to have a happy customer whose money you refunded than a disgruntled customer whose money you retained.
If you do have an unreasonable, problem customer, PayPal has a Resolution Center that can help arbitrate your dispute. My advice: As a merchant, when possible be generous and avoid the resolution center. You don't want to develop a problem reputation with PayPal. Fortunately, refunds are easy with PayPal. Open up the detail of the order in question, scroll to the bottom, and select the refund link. For up to 60 days after the purchase, PayPal allows you to refund all or part of the purchase price, as well as to enter comments that your customer will be able to read explaining the refund. When you make a refund, the PayPal fees for that purchase are credited back to you.
Create UPS or Postal Shipping Label
One very nice feature that PayPal offers is the ability to create a shipping label and pay postage or shipping costs for your package - all online. In the USA, you can select either US Postal Service or UPS - each with a discount off of standard prices. With either program, you enter the speed of shipping desired, the package weight and size, shipping date, etc. You can also add on insurance or other enhancements, such as requiring a signature, etc. USPS will print labels for Priority Mail, Express Mail, First Class, Media Mail, and Parcel Post. Delivery Confirmation is required but is free with Priority Mail. UPS offers a number of options as well. Once you've entered your selections and agree to the price, you charge it to your credit card, generate the label on your printer, and affix it to your envelope or package. You can even request a package pick-up online.
The shipping label described above, however, only provides for purchasing and printing a single label at a time. If you have a number of orders to process and ship each day, you'll need something faster. Fortunately, PayPal now offers MultiOrder Shipping for domestic orders via USPS. Their tool imports recent orders from PayPal or eBay, allows you to select the type of shipping desired, then purchases your postage, prints all your labels, and schedules a pick-up, all at one time. Pretty slick.
Account Overview Screen
The PayPal account overview screen shows the payment status of each order. It also allows you to take three actions:
- Print a shipping label
- Add tracking information
- Mark as shipped
If you have a business that sells tangible products, you can quickly tell from the overview screen the status of each order.
Of course, this system doesn't offer the sophistication of multiple packages per order, split orders, backorders, etc. But it does provide a basic tool that can get you started.
Contact Information on Your Customers
Unlike other order management systems and some shopping carts, PayPal doesn't maintain a searchable record of your customers' shipping addresses or e-mail addresses. Nor does it make it easy to e-mail a monthly special to your customers. The information is still in your PayPal order file, but can't be searched like a normal customer database. You can, however, export your order file with customer information and import it into another program, such as an Email Marketing Service (EMS) like iContact.
Import Transactions into QuickBooks, Quicken, or Excel
If PayPal's order management features aren't adequate for your needs, you can export your transaction file and import it into the program of your choice. Here are the file types you can choose from:
- Comma Delimited
- Quicken (.qif)
- QuickBooks (.iif)
I periodically download my transaction file in .iif format and import it into QuickBooks. You are required to designate two standard accounts: one for PayPal's fees and another account for the products sold. If you have several different income accounts for products sold, you'll have to go through the imports line by line in QuickBooks to designate the correct account - which is tedious.
QuickBooks is an excellent accounting program for small businesses. It is weaker as an order management system. It uses the term "Sales Order," a function available in more advanced versions of QuickBooks. But the file PayPal prepares for import into QuickBooks handles PayPal transactions as deposits and payments, rather than as sales orders. You'll need some type of third party service to prepare your PayPal sales so they can be entered as sales orders in QuickBooks. You could map the transaction file to import your data into StoneEdge Order Manager. Or you could set up an Excel spreadsheet to import data and manage your orders, but you'd have to develop the application. On its own, PayPal has features to help you prepare simple orders for shipping. However, as your operation grows, you'll need to find a better way to manage orders for your store.