Payment System on Shopping Websites?


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With website where you purchase something say a toothbrush.
You first select the toothbrush then check-out to pay (using paypal processing system). Would an email be sent to the owner at that moment that this user wants to purchase the toothbrush or is the email only sent after the payment has been made?
If it's after the payment has been made how does that work?
I'm a little confused because when you click on a paypal button for example, I'm assuming you get directed to their website and you pay.
If this is the case, then how would you be sent back to your own website after payment as been confirmed to send an email that this user has already paid for the selected item and it needs to be shipped out?


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There's a little more to the process than meets the user's eye. As a user, you see that you are redirected to PayPal (in the Express Checkout version of things), fill in a short form and ta-da!!! everything's done. What you don't see is all of the back-and-forth that goes on between the merchant's site and PayPal behind the scenes. I could go into a long-winded explanation of the process, but luckily someone has already done that for me, so all I have to do is give you a link to this article on Smashing Magazine. You'll note that Eran has also gone to most of the trouble of moaning, griping and complaining so you don't have to re-invent that wheel either. (As much as he complains about the PayPal API, it's still one of the better ones in the payment-processing world. It does kinda suck compared to a lot of pure data APIs, though.)