Archive for the 'e-commerce' Category

Avangate eliminates PayPal fees on payments

Dec. 13th 2008

I recently switched from Plimus to Avangate as my primary order processor, because Avangate has much better support for Japanese.

I receive my payments to my PayPal account, but when I started getting payments from Avangate, I noticed that PayPal was charging me a fee of around 3.9% of the payment. I never had this fee with Plimus, and needless to say an added 3.9% fee made Avangate pretty uncompetitive cost-wise, so I contacted Avangate and asked them what the story was.

After a bit of a delay and some back and forth, including me sending them screen shots of my PayPal page showing the fee for Avangate and no fee for Plimus, Avangate responded that they had changed their payment method to “mass payments,” and will cover the cost of transfer from now on. From their email to me:

We are currently using the PayPal service called „Send Money” to transfer the revenue to our partners and the commission is paied by the person receiving the amount.

Plimus was sending you the money through „Mass payments”, where the transfer fees are lower and they are paied by the sender.

We are willing to use this Mass payments service for your company, so there will be no cost at all for you when the monthly transfers are taking place.

The upshot is that I’ll no longer have the 3.9% PayPal fee charged for my payments from Avangate, and I’m a happy camper again.

Posted by Ryan Ginstrom | in e-commerce | 6 Comments »

Poor support for Japanese at Plimus: worse than I imagined

Jul. 28th 2008

I already blogged about poor support for Japanese at Plimus here and here. By the lame form email they sent me each time I reported a bug with Japanese, I knew that they had no interest in supporting it.

That’s why when a customer pointed out the fatal bug in their Japanese page, I jumped ship and went to Avangate.

Plimus provides a Japanese-localized order form, but it turns out you can’t enter Japanese text in the name field!

EPIC fail by Plimus

In this form, I’ve entered a common Japanese name under “customer information” — Taro Suzuki — and the red error message is telling me I’ve made invalid input. The only way to complete the form is to write the name using the Roman alphabet — it won’t accept Japanese characters on the Japanese page.

Plimus masks this critical bug from vendors. It has a feature to “test drive” purchase pages, and allows you to enter Japanese text there with no errors. What I later realized, however, was that behind the scenes Plimus changes any name you enter on the test page to “John Doe.” I’ll assume this wasn’t intentional on Plimus’ part — they just seem completely clueless about handling Japanese, and show no desire to learn.

Luckily, a customer emailed me and told me she was having problems entering Japanese text on the purchase form. No telling how many customers simply gave up when faced with this bug, but my logs do show a number of people located in Japan navigating to the Japanese purchase page, but not completing the form.

Here’s a summary of the bugs I’ve found in Japanese support at Plimus, and which made me drop them as a payment provider:

  • Can’t enter Japanese text on Japanese page
  • Can’t customize purchase page with Japanese text
  • Yen prices shown to two decimal places

If you’re selling to Japanese customers, I recommend not using Plimus. I switched to Avangate, which has flawless support for Japanese.

From my research of resellers, Avangate is probably the only solution for selling to Japanese customers apart from rolling your own shopping cart with a merchant account, or using something like PayPal. As a one-man shop, I have only limited time to dedicate to Felix. I’d rather spend that time improving Felix than dealing with payment providers, which doesn’t help my users. That’s why it’s too bad that Plimus couldn’t meet my needs.

Posted by Ryan Ginstrom | in e-commerce | 2 Comments »

Another lame response from Plimus

May. 13th 2008

A couple of days ago, I blogged about Plimus’ lackluster Japanese support, and posted the lame form letter they sent me back.

Today, I got another lame form letter as a response to my report that yen currencies should not be shown with decimals:

Dear Ryan,

I really appreciate your taking time to make suggestions to improve the Plimus system.

I have forwarded your suggestions to our development team.

Please know, we take every request and suggestion seriously and make every effort to accommodate our vendors.

As you are no doubt aware, some changes take longer than others, but we will strive to implement them all as soon as is practical.

Regards,
Max-Plimus Vendor Support

The thing is, this is not a feature request; it’s a bug report. Showing yen with decimals on a payment page is just wrong. So OK, I understand you’re busy, but why not acknowledge the bug before blowing me off?

Since a big portion of my sales comes from Japan, I’m going to have to look for a new payment processor if their Japanese support stays this lousy.

Posted by Ryan Ginstrom | in e-commerce | 2 Comments »

Plimus’ lackluster Japanese support

May. 12th 2008

Alas, I’ve hit the first bump in the road to my software empire :(.

I’m using Plimus as my e-commerce provider. All in all they’ve been great, but I’ve run into a couple of snags with their Japanese support.

The first is with Japanese text. Plimus provides localized versions of their payment forms, including Japanese, and does a decent job at it. But they don’t support Japanese elsewhere on the page — like in the <title> or <h1> tags. That text gets garbled.

I reported the issue to support, and they told me they’d pass on the issue to their developers:

Unfortunately we do currently not support localization of the product name order Japanese characters in the order page design HTML code field.

However I really appreciate your taking time to make suggestions to improve the Plimus system.

I have forwarded your suggestions to our development team.

Please know, we take every request and suggestion seriously and make every effort to accommodate our vendors.

As you are no doubt aware, some changes take longer than others, but we will strive to implement them all as soon as is practical.

Hmm, I give them a B- on this one. Luckily, the issue is pretty easily fixed by replacing the Japanese text with images, although it’s a pain. Here’s the result. Of course, the <title> tag can’t be fixed this way.

The other issue is with Japanese currency. There are actually two problems. The first is that Plimus displays all currencies to two decimal places — so $50.00, or £20.00, etc. And ¥1,000.00? Sorry, but the yen is the minimum unit of currency in Japan. You can’t pay someone a half a yen.

The second problem stems from Plimus’ rounding system. You can set up the system to round currencies for a better appearance, but the number of digits is the same for all currencies. Unfortunately, rounding to the nearest 100 yen is much less of a difference than rounding to the nearest hundred pounds! I also opened a support request for this one, but haven’t received a response yet.

Here’s hoping.

Posted by Ryan Ginstrom | in e-commerce | No Comments »
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