Gift certificates are being touted as a popular way for small businesses to continue generating revenue during shutdowns and social distancing procedures enacted due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, selling gift certificates can help various businesses increase their sales, regardless of the situation or time of year.
Sell gift certificates
If you want to sell gift certificates but don’t know where to start, here’s a guide.
How to get gift certificates
If you want to sell physical gift certificates for your business, you have a few main options: you can design and print them yourself using a program like Photoshop, or you can use a template from a service printing like Vistaprint and ordering them. Whichever route you choose, just add essential information like what each card is redeemable for and when it can be used.
You can also get up and running quickly by selling gift certificates online, which will be covered later in the post.
Differences between gift certificates and gift cards
Gift certificates differ from gift cards in that they are generally only redeemable once and are generally not reloadable. They can cover a fixed amount of money or a specific type of product or service, such as a free lunch or a spa service of the person’s choice. Gift cards only work in dollars and can often be used multiple times. This option usually takes longer to get started, but you might consider offering both at some point.
If you want to use gift cards for your business, there are services like Square, Gift Up! and GiftFly that you can use to get up and running quickly.
How to save and track gift certificates
If you plan to offer gift certificates, you must have a way to record and track those that are sold and used to prevent fraud and counterfeiting. The easiest way to do this is to use a numbering system. Basically, each certificate should have a unique number so you can check when they are used and ensure there are no duplicates. If you have a POS system that works with gift certificates or cards, you can even include a barcode that you can scan to ensure a certificate is original.
Also, avoid displaying gift certificates in your store or posting exact images of them on your website so people can’t easily copy and alter them. You should also make sure they have a unique design, possibly using some sort of hidden element like a watermark to make them specific to your business.
Rules surrounding gift certificates
Laws surrounding gift cards and certificates may vary from state to state. However, businesses are generally not allowed to refuse to honor a gift card unless the customer violates a clearly stated condition in the card’s terms and conditions, such as presenting the card after a clearly stated expiration date. You should also clearly state the terms and conditions on the card and avoid changing them without the customer’s knowledge.
Basically, if you want to give gift certificates, explain exactly how they can be used and be sure to note any limitations on the card itself, such as if the card is only redeemable for a certain type of item or on certain days of the week. Place a clear expiration date (which should be at least a few years away) on the front of the card. And then make sure your staff knows how to follow all these rules.
Sell gift certificates online
Selling gift cards online can currently be a particularly attractive option for businesses in areas with very limited foot traffic. However, it can also help businesses that primarily operate online in general. If you sell on platforms like Etsy or Shopify, each of these services has its own process for creating and offering gift cards. So go to your store’s dashboard to create them.
If you have your own store or want to offer gift vouchers on another platform, you can offer them for free download on your site. Just add them as you would any other product. Then, at checkout, ask customers to share their email address and you can send them a copy of the gift certificate that they can print or view on their mobile device. You can even automate this part of the process through your sales automation software if you have one.
Is your website set up to add products? Do you accept payments? Otherwise, start giving away gift cards quickly anyway. Add a “Buy Now” button to your website. Or use a WordPress widget. And add e-commerce functionality to your site. Then, email gift cards to each customer as they purchase. Or have them sent automatically when this product is purchased. Do this for several types of gift certificates. For example, a restaurant may offer a $20 gift certificate for a free lunch for two and a $40 gift certificate for a free dinner for two.
How to increase gift certificate sales
Planning to offer gift cards? And make sure customers know they’re available. And how to buy them. Do you want to sell gift cards in store? Place billboards and promotional materials where customers will see them. For example, is your restaurant offering gift certificates to increase sales during the coronavirus outbreak. Put visuals all around the transport area. And they potentially come out of the window. So people see it in passing.
Online, highlight gift certificates. Put them on your website and social media profiles. Some customers remain employed. They’re looking for ways to help their favorite businesses stay afloat. Make it easy for them to buy online. Or to place a takeout order. They may want to support you. Also, post on social media. This helps you gain a larger audience. Ask others to share your offer with people they know.
Offer discounts or promotions to attract even more customers. For example, include a gift certificate with every order over a certain amount. Or offer a two-for-one promotion. Use it to increase the amount each customer is likely to spend.