PayPal streamlines online checkout for faster and simpler shopping experience

PayPal’s heading into 2014 with some big site changes designed to streamline the checkout process, allowing shoppers to complete a transaction within a merchant’s website instead of being redirected to PayPal’s main site.

The improvement should give a more seamless feel to the payment process and help consumers in areas of speed and efficiency when it comes to making payments via the site, with fewer steps required to purchase an item. For merchants, it means customers stay on their website for longer, increasing the possibility of additional purchases.

The new system, which PayPal vice president of retail services Don Kingsborough said in a blog post is set to “deliver shopping experiences that are more convenient, more personal, and more fun for consumers, and more profitable for merchants by making it easier to shop and pay from anywhere and at any time,” is currently being tested with several PayPal partners, with a broad rollout to major merchants expected in the first half of this year. Kingsborough added that small- and medium-sized merchants would also be able to integrate the new checkout system “very soon.”

He also offered an update on PayPal’s Beacon service, announcing that it’s now being tested at several merchant locations in the US and Australia, with plans for further trials at merchants in the UK, Canada, France, and Germany.

Beacon, unveiled by the company last September, lets brick-and-mortar stores collect a payment from a shopper’s smartphone quickly and simply. The Bluetooth-based system connects the store with the shopper, allowing them to pay without the need of a cash register. Saving a customer time when lines are long, the system also allows retailers to gather information about a customer’s shopping habits.

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