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Behind The Scenes: Why We Integrated Braintree and How It Helps Our Users

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We work with over 20,000 paying customers, and we’ve received a great amount of feedback from those who faced this single obstacle.

How Do I Easily Pay for Piktochart?

Entrepreneurs in all regions of the globe are finding it easier and easier to build and launch their ideas online. Our own Southeast Asian team has been able to scale quickly, from 0 to 2M users in 36 months, thanks to democratized startup tools ranging from Amazon Web Services for our hosting to Slack for communication between our growing team.

With three Piktochart customers ready to start their paid membership on the very first day of the paid product launch, our team knew establishing a fast, secure, and easy e-commerce system was essential to the startup’s growth. However, from the day we launched the first paid version of Piktochart, this pervasive problem has plagued both our team and our users. We work with over 20,000 paying users, and we’ve received a great amount of feedback from those who faced this single obstacle.

Why the Braintree Integration Proves To Be a Solution for Piktochart’s Paying Users

When Piktochart was starting out in March 2012, the only option was to accept payment from users via PayPal as it was established as the most straightforward payment processor to figure out.  Even with the advancement in the United States and Europe, e-commerce payment processors and solutions were still a gap many founders in the Southeast Asian region faced when launching their startups.

If you haven’t read through our product update, here’s a recap of the major pain points some users were facing when deciding to level up to LITE or PRO plans:

  1. Some users prefer not to use PayPal 
    Some customers aren’t fans of having to register for an account and creating an attached payment source with the service.
  2. Challenges for corporate clients 
    Users who prefer to pay via credit card, such as our corporate clients, found we didn’t provide an easy way to set up recurring billing.
  3. Problems with the back-end 
    Our Customer Delight and Finance teams find the PayPal backend system lags often, making searching for transactions while helping users in real-time cumbersome.

Piktochart users were requesting the ability to make recurring monthly payments for their PRO account via credit card without going through the mechanics of creating a Paypal account.  Our flow for one-time payments was complicated too. We began searching for payment gateways that support Asian merchants, are easy to integrate development-wise, and have a trusted reputation.

In the summer of 2014, our team began on our journey to fix our payment problem. The key technical requirements for our new payment system were determined to be: security and reliability, pricing, responsive technical support, and payment features. The search began!

When it was announced that Braintree was launching their beta service in Malaysia in March 2015, our team was excited to explore the integration. Here are a few reasons behind it:

  • Easy for developers: Boasts an SDK that is easy for dev teams to use. Developers can set up integration seamlessly by copying and pasting code. Has great (but not perfect documentation)
  • Rich features: Allows users to manage recurring billings (perfect for our PRO subscription!), to checkout via credit card, has tools to help our team detect fraud, and allows for transactions in multiple currencies, including Bitcoin.
  • Convenience:  The entire payment process happens within the site, making the checkout process simple for users. Users get to save multiple credit cards on the system to make future purchasing easy.
  • Trust & Security: A trusted reputation as their product has been on the shelf for years and got acquired by Paypal in 2013. Automatic and tested anti-fraud detection.
  • Pricing: Offers competitive pricing
  • Support: Has a helpful/dedicated account manager and responsive support team.

Our team began the integration with Braintree in June 2015, and we have been testing the entire process internally. Without a doubt, the greatest benefit of this integration is users not needing a Paypal account in order to make payments to Piktochart. This smoothes the entire payment and purchase experience for users, while lessening the likelihood of them to drop out in the middle of the payment process.

Before, it took time to create a Paypal account, link a credit card, get the verification code, then enter Piktochart to make their payment. Now, users can make a payment for PRO in 30 seconds and get straight to creating their visuals.

So far, the only snags have been that Braintree in Asia only supports Visa and Mastercard. Users who have other credit cards, like AMEX, will need to continue relying on PayPal. All things considered, we are betting that this integration with Braintree is a preferable move to optimize Piktochart users’ payment process and provide them with a more seamless experience with our tool.

Valuable Takeaways Regarding Payments for Your Startup

For startups launching outside Silicon Valley, it’s important for founders to know there are some countries where mainstream payment gateways are not yet available. For our team, it was best to consider where most of our users were coming from.

Since the beginning, Piktochart has always seen heavy traffic from North America, and in particular the United States. We chose Braintree to make sure our checkout process is simplified in a way that users from the region are accustomed to. If a startup sees many users from Europe or Latin America or Asia, there are different payment gateways and processors that meet the needs for those markets.

An invaluable takeaway from this journey is that billing systems can get very complex as the product grows. A well structured codebase and extensive testing, especially in the early stages, goes a long way. If you’re a founder or in charge of your startup’s UX and payment experience, take some time to think about where the product could grow in the next 2-5 years to see if the billing system can support it.

Are you a startup founder taking payments online? Have you learned any lessons when setting up your payment process for your users? What integration would you recommend for startups in your part of the world?

If you’re a Piktochart user, let us know what you think of our new payment system! We think you’re going to love it.

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