How we learned that Stripe alone was costing us customers
Like most of the tech world, we love Stripe for processing payments. The API? Great. The integration? Painless. Unfortunately, we discovered that going with an all-Stripe solution was costing Blurity customers.
People just wanted to fix their blurry photos — and pay us money! — but we were turning them away. Unknowingly.
We first got the inkling that something was amiss when we looked at the map of Blurity customers. Although there were many international customers — mostly in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia — there were some big names missing. Germany, in particular.
We could see that many Germans were finding the Blurity web site and trying the Blurity demo, but nobody from that large, prosperous, technologically advanced country was buying. We chalked it up to a language difference, and wrote off as a fluke the fact that we had many customers from Spain.
The problem escalated when German users started emailing to ask about possibly paying with PayPal. Were they simply reluctant to use their credit cards? Did they have an aversion to buying anything on the internet except via PayPal, perhaps reinforced by too much time on eBay?
No. The real reason: they didn’t have credit cards.
Unlike people in the United States, where seemingly everybody has at least one credit card or Visa/MasterCard-branded debit card, that is not the case throughout the rest of the world. It turns out that credit card penetration is remarkably low in some surprisingly large countries. For example, according to payments company Adyen, only 26% of Germans have credit cards.
Users from those countries were practically begging to buy Blurity, and because Blurity supported only Stripe, they were getting the door slammed in their faces. That’s not good business.
After getting a dozen such emails, we decided that something needed to be done, and that something was PayPal. Though it’s clunky, expensive (1% higher for international with PayPal versus Stripe), and sometimes irritating, PayPal does have one, huge, colossal advantage: you can use it to take just about any form of payment, from just about anywhere. Also, its name recognition is hard to beat.
So, begrudgingly, we opened a PayPal account and spent 10 minutes adding a “buy with PayPal” button on a child page of the main Blurity purchase page. It went live on September 20th, and the results were amazing. Since we added the option to pay with PayPal, 26% of the purchases have been made using PayPal.
It’s hard to say how many of those users would have purchased anyway using Stripe, but based on their email addresses, IP addresses, and the prevalence of credit cards in their associated countries, my wild guess is that somewhere around half would have been lost sales without PayPal.
Though it seems to be popular in tech circles to hate PayPal, it has its place. For us, that place is alongside Stripe.