Create Gift Cards for Your Shopify Store November 05, 2015 03:00

Retail sales usually pick up going into the holiday season at the end of the year for most stores. In our post about how to prepare your Shopify store for the holidays, we covered a number of things that can help you boost sales. In this post, we will go over how to sell gift cards on your store to boost sales, especially while preparing for the holidays.

Gift cards are easy-to-create digital products that you can set up on your Shopify store if you are on the Professional or Unlimited plans. In this post, we cover why gift cards are important in your product line-up, how to create them for your online store, and a quick overview of how to create them for the Shopify POS system.

Why offer gift cards?

According to a First Data study about the U.S. gift card market, “closed loop” cards (cards that are store specific) remain more popular than “open loop” cards (cards that can be used at multiple merchants, like Visa or American Express cards). The reason is that closed loop cards are perceived as a more personalized gift than open loop cards. Creating a gift card for your Shopify store allows you to take part in the closed loop gift card market.

Gift cards specific to a merchant are perceived as a more personalized gift than cash or use-anywhere gift cards like Visa or American Express.

Some more reasons to start selling gift cards on your store include:

  1. You can potentially gain new customers as more than half of consumers bought at least one gift card for the holiday season in 2011. For a happy customer, these can be a great way to share your products with others.
  2. Gift card purchases typically exceed the gift card amount as customers try to use the entire value of the gift card. This can help increase the average order value on your store. Make sure to offer gift card in denominations that are above your current average order value. For example, if your current average order value is $65, selling a gift card worth $75 would help boost your average order value. Read more about increasing average order value in our previous post.
  3. Gift cards make easy and convenient gifts. They save time spent shopping for, and selecting specific gifts for others. In addition, gift cards are easy to send to others, and reduce the hassle and cost of mailing. According to the study, a majority of people preferred a gift card than cash, even if the gift card was at a slightly lower value.

Shopify allows you to set up, personalize, and sell gift cards on your online store or the Shopify POS system.

Gift cards for your online store

If you are on the Professional or Unlimited Shopify plans, you can activate your gift card by clicking on “Products”, and then “Gift cards” in your Shopify admin dashboard. Click on the “Start selling gift cards on my store” button to activate the gift card product.

activate gift cards on your store screen

Activate gift cards as a product

Once the gift card product is activated, you have the option to “Edit product” or “Show preview”. Click on the “Show preview” button to get an idea of what the default gift card looks like for your store.

image of gift cards preview

Default gift card preview

In order to edit, and start selling the gift cards, click on “Edit product” under the “Gift cards” section, or click on the “Gift card” product in your store’s Products list.

On your “Gift card” product page, you can edit the description that appears on your gift card product. If you haven’t created a branded and unique image for your gift cards yet, you canmodify the default reddish gift card image that Shopify creates. Hover over the image, and click on the pencil to edit image in order to make it more unique to your store.

gift cards image editor options

Edit default image to make it more unique

Next, you can add or remove the various denominations for your gift card by modifying the variants. You can create a gift card value that is slightly higher than your current average order value, as an example. To add a different gift card value than the default options, click on “Add a variant”, and fill in the name of the variant (like “$10”, or “Special $75”) along with the Price to set the value.

create variant for gift cards

Add gift card value using a new variant

Once you have modified the Gift card product options to your liking, you can list it on your store by selecting on the “Online Store” under the Visibility area, and clicking “Save”. The gift card will now appear as a product in your store catalog that people can purchase and share.

You can also issue a gift card directly to customers by clicking on the “Issue gift card” button in the Gift cards section. You can do this to appreciate existing customers, or as part of a promotion for a select group of customers based on their order history.

If you are comfortable with coding, you can also customize the notification emails sent to customers when they purchase a gift card, and the customize how the gift card looks in the email to customers.

Gift cards for your POS system

You can also activate gift cards for your Shopify POS system if you have a Professional or Unlimited plan. Similar to the online store, this will add the gift card as a product on your store catalog. Learn more about how to sell gift cards on the POS system in the Shopify documentation.

You can also purchase, and sell physical gift cards in Canada and the U.S. for your Shopify store.

Summary

Shopify comes with the ability to easily create gift cards for your store. Gift cards can be a great way to let existing customers share and recommend your products to others. Gift cards also help increase the average order value on your store as customers typically want to use the entire gift card and would end up ordering a value that is slightly higher than the card amount.

Create a gift card for your store and start selling it before the holidays start. Make sure to promote it on your site so that customers become aware of the new option!


Cover Photo Credit: photochem_PA ( CC BY 2.0 license)

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