How To Create Gift Cards for Your Business in 2024

Selling digital gift cards is one of the fastest ways for a brick-and-mortar business to move into the online market and secure immediate cash flow.

Here’s how to create gift cards for your business: Set up a simple online store and share your URL with customers who want to support you. Customers can buy and pay for gift cards through your new online store, and receive them by email.

Meanwhile, you can track and manage all gift cards in Shopify as customers redeem them in the future. As you launch new products that can be purchased online, or make your products available for local delivery or pickup, customers can redeem gift cards at checkout.

Let’s go over how to create gift cards for your business, why you’d want to, and what to do once you’ve launched your gift cards for sale.

Why you should create gift cards for your online business

Gift cards offer a variety of benefits for merchants and customers alike, including:

  • Boosted cash flow: You don’t necessarily need any product to generate cash flow when you sell digital gift cards. It can be a way to boost revenue during slow periods or times of need.
  • New customers: Your existing customers serve as brand ambassadors. You can encourage them to purchase gift cards for their friends and family—a whole new pool of potential customers.
  • Promotions and deals: Gift cards are a flexible tool for special sales, campaigns, and other deals you might want to offer. You can incentivize higher cart values with gift-card-with-purchase promotions.
  • Easy fulfillment and redemption: Because they’re digital in nature, there are no shipping or warehousing fees, and fulfillment is immediate. Plus, customers don’t have to worry about keeping tabs of a physical card.
  • Better sales and customer relationships: Loyal customers want gift cards as rewards. As many as 60% of consumers say they prefer digital gift cards to discounts codes, coupons, bonus “dollars,” or other offers.

💡 Note: Before you set up your store, you’ll need a logo for your business and a few photos that represent your brand. If you don’t have any on hand, you can source royalty-free stock photos from Burst.

How to create gift cards for your business

There are two ways to create digital gift cards for your Shopify store:

  • Through the Shopify native app
  • Through a third-party gift card Shopify app

How to create gift cards on Shopify

It’s possible to sell digital gift cards on all Shopify plans. Log in to your admin and navigate to Products > Gift cards > Create gift card

This will activate gift card features and allow you to create your first gift card in draft mode. 

When finished inputting the information, click Save

To create and publish a gift card, making it available for purchase, navigate to Gift cards. Click Add a gift card product. You can only add a gift card product once.

Next, you’ll need to input the gift card information, including:

  • Title: the name for the gift card—for example, “holiday gift card” or “birthday gift card”
  • Description: the product description as it will appear on your store
  • Media: your gift card product image
  • Denominations: use the variants to add or edit denominations
  • Searchenginelistingpreview: how your gift card could appear in search engine results
  • Saleschannelsandapps:availability settings and publishing date
  • Organization: optional information about the product type and vendor—add it to existing manual collections and add tags

When you’ve inputted all the data, click Save gift card product.

To make your gift card public and available for sale on one or more sales channels, click View gift card products and select the gift card you want to publish. 

In the Sales channels section, make the gift card product available to the sales channel of your choice and then click Save. This will enable people to purchase the gift card via the selected channel(s).

To add additional denominations, you can create variants for the gift card. Here, you can update the title, price, and image as needed.

How to create gift cards with third-party apps

If you want more features and functionality, you can also install a paid third-party app from the Shopify App Store. Some top picks include:

  • Gift Cards & Loyalty. Create and sell digital and physical gift cards. Additional features include allowing customers to schedule gift card delivery and bulk gift card sales.
  • GiftKart: Gift Card & CashBack. Allows customers to schedule email gift card delivery as well as personalize messages and design. Customers can also add video messages to their gift cards if they want.
  • ShopKeeper Gift Cards. This app allows for design customization, personalized messages, and scheduled delivery. However, it doesn’t offer any advanced features.
  • Gift Card Factory. Gift Card Factory offers unique features, including balance reminders, the ability to bulk upload gift card data via CSV file, and incentivized purchases with free gift cards.
  • Gift Card Pro. Customers can personalize gift cards with handwritten or video messages. They can also schedule delivery via email or SMS text message, as well as customize the gift card design.
  • Govalo. Govalo is a fully integrated gift card and store credit platform. Customers can schedule delivery and add messages. You can also promote gift card sales when products go out of stock.

Manage gift card sales on Shopify

Gift cards are sold like products, but gift card sales are reported differently. You can use the gift card sales report to track your gift card sales. Note that gift cards you issue for free aren’t reported here.

Gift card orders will appear in the gift cards sales report, while the amounts paid will appear in the payments report.

Your gift card sales report will show you the following information:

  • Date the gift card was sold
  • Order number
  • Customer name
  • Gift card value
  • Any discounts applied
  • Total sales (gift card value minus discounts)

Note: Gift cards you issue for free from the Shopify admin don’t appear in the gift card sales report.

You can also view your Gift cards outstanding balance report. This shows the daily balance of all gift card transactions, including the following:

  • Date
  • Opening/starting balance at the beginning of the day
  • Issued value of gift cards for the day
  • Sold value of gift cards for the day
  • Disabled value of gift cards for the day
  • Redeemed value of gift cards for the day
  • Refunded value of payments that were originally paid by gift card and were then refunded for the day (includes amounts from gift card refunds due to failed transactions)
  • Adjustment value of manual adjustments made to gift cards for the day
  • Closing balance of all issued and sold gift cards at the end of the day
  • Net change between the opening balance and the closing balance

To see a full list of your active gift cards, head to Products > Giftcards. Each gift card is tracked here, so you can see the customer’s information, their current balance, and when they purchased it.

These gift cards will be redeemable through your Shopify store at a future date, even as you add new items that are available online or for pickup.

Tips for using gift cards to drive sales and customer loyalty

Now that you know how to create and customize a gift card, here are ways to expand the program.

Create a custom image for your gift cards

A custom gift card image that reflects your brand will look more professional and personal. Even if you’re not a designer, you can quickly create one for free using Canva’s gift certificate maker and replace your gift card image with it on your product page.

If your brand is bold, go for a playful, colorful design to match your company’s personality.

You can also keep it simple and use your logo and/or a dollar amount to indicate the gift card value. That’s the route OMA Designs took with its digital gift cards.

Discount your gift cards

One way you can reward loyal customers for supporting your brand is by giving them a discount for purchasing a gift card for a larger amount. Not only does this increase the amount of immediate cash flow you can generate per sale, it’s a nice way to say thank you to your customers.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your most loyal repeat customers. Incentivize them to support your business now by offering a discount when they purchase a gift card.

You can create one discount to apply across all gift card denominations or discounts that apply to specific denominations or purchasing thresholds. 

Below is an example of creating a 15% automatic discount applied across all gift card tiers. Customers will see this discount automatically applied at checkout, but remember to also communicate it upfront on your product page:

  1. Go to Discounts in Shopify and click Creatediscount.
  2. You’ll see a Select discount type menu. Click Amount off products or Amount off order.
  3. Under Method, choose Automaticdiscount so customers can get the discount without entering a code.
  4. Choose your Title to name the discount. 
  5. Under Discount value, enter a fixed amount or percentage value for the discount. Choose percentage for the sake of this example. 
  6. The Value section will change depending on the discount type you select. With percentage, you’re going to set the Value to 15% and apply it to Specificproducts, searching for the gift card product you created.
  7. With the Minimum requirements option, you can set the purchasing threshold for applying a 15%-off discount. In this case, you want it to apply to all gift card tiers, so set it to 1¢.
  8. Under Active dates you can set a start and end time for this discount. Since you can manually remove it later, set the start date to today and leave the end date blank and hit Save.
  9. Now that the discount is active, you need to go back and update the gift card product description to highlight the offer for customers and call out that it will be applied at checkout (e.g., “We want to give you 15% off the purchase amount for a gift card as a show of thanks for lending us your support. The discount will be applied at checkout.”).
  10. Finally, test the discount to make sure everything works correctly.

    Sell your gift card on another site

    If you have an existing website your customers are familiar with or you simply want to sell your gift cards on another website, you can do so using Shopify’s Buy Button channel.

    You can embed a Buy Button on another website so customers can purchase your products there. Simply install the Buy Button sales channel to create one, customize the color and layout, and then generate an embed code to copy and paste into another website.

    Offer gift cards in your loyalty program

    The easiest way to use gift cards to build customer loyalty? Simple: Make it part of your customer loyalty program. A great place to begin is to offer a gift card to customers on their birthday. It doesn’t have to be a hefty expense.

    Think about the number of people you have in your customer loyalty program and the discount amount you could comfortably provide to each of them. Keeping this in mind can help you stay within your budget, especially if you’re a newer retailer.

    If your business has a mobile app, you can also take this a step further by making gift cards accessible there. This provides an incentive at the tip of your customers’ fingers—which can lead to more immediate purchases for your business.

    Collaborate with other brands

    When you have a brick-and-mortar store, chances are you’re aware of a similarly sized business that provides a complementary service or product to yours. By collaborating with a business, you can use gift cards to benefit each business while increasing customer loyalty.

    A partnership can help to widen the services or products you offer to your customers, resulting in a win-win for all parties involved. You can increase sales for the business and offer discount prices for the customer.

    Take a seasonal approach

    Gift cards are increasingly popular during the holidays, particularly for last-minute gift shopping. Convenience is key. Customers can pick a gift card up at checkout, online or in-store, even when shipping deadlines have passed. This helps to position you, the retailer, as reliable. The result? Shoppers who keep coming back.

    Taking a seasonal approach with gift cards is another way to incentivize customers to come into your brick-and-mortar store, too. Encourage customers to come on specific days, like Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM), to redeem a gift card with purchase. Or try pairing a free gift card with other sales strategies like a buy one, get one (BOGO) promo to get customers to buy with you during the holidays.

    Include a discount when redeeming

    Gift cards are incentivizing in themselves, but when combined with a discount, it’s difficult to ignore. You could use a discount with your business’s gift cards as a way to encourage customers to visit your physical store, for example. Offer an extra 15% to 20% off a purchase if the gift card is used in-store versus online.

    The discount doesn’t have to be used with the gift card either. Instead, encourage customers to use their gift card (either online or in-store) by advertising that they’ll get a special offer, coupon, or reward upon purchase.

    Offer gift cards as a response to complaints

    When customers bring a complaint, either in-store or through email, there’s a way to resolve it in terms of what you’ll provide to apologize for the specific inconvenience. With a gift card, you can easily do this in a way that says you hear the complaint, are taking it seriously, and appreciate their business.

    When you acknowledge the customer and make their input feel valued, you can reap the rewards of increased brand loyalty and sales.

    Create a social media contest

    We all know what it’s like to be on Instagram and scroll past reposts from family and friends trying to win a product, service, bundle, or gift. While it seems like a one-in-a-million chance, there’s still an inkling of hope you could be chosen—especially if it’s a product you want from a brand you love.

    This method obviously resonates well with shoppers, and social media contests and giveaways can be easily executed with gift cards. To do this yourself, offer a gift card of decent value—a lot more people will be interested in a $200 gift card than a $10 one—but make sure it’s within your budget. 

    After you initially promote the contest, be sure you stay active on your social media platforms. If someone responds with a complaint, always reply. And even if someone simply retweets your post, give it a like so they know you’re paying attention and appreciate their participation.

    Incentivize abandoned carts

    Gift cards can be an incentive to return to abandoned carts, giving people another reason to consider completing the purchase.

    Imagine leaving five items in your cart. A day or two passes, and you get an email from the retailer with a $5, $10, or even $15 gift card inside. Chances are, it takes you no time to make your final purchase.

    With this small incentive, customers can make their purchase with confidence, which leads to a positive customer experience—and one that will keep them coming back for more.

    Sell gift cards on your Shopify store

    Digital gift cards are a low-cost way to boost sales, customer loyalty, and brand awareness. You can do more than just sell gift cards. They can be tools for customer service, cart abandonment, and more. It’s easy to create and sell digital gift cards with Shopify. 

    Take control of your cash flow with Shopify Payments

    Only with Shopify Payments can you track your orders and payments all in one place. Have a complete view of your finances, and accept local currencies and payment types for a smooth checkout experience.

    Discover Shopify Payments

    How to create gift cards for your business FAQ

    How can I make my own gift cards for my business?

    You can make your own gift cards for your business using Shopify’s native gift card app or a third-party tool, like Govalo or GiftKart, from the Shopify App Store.

    Do businesses make money on gift cards?

    Yes, businesses make money on gift cards. Shoppers may feel inclined to make a purchase they otherwise wouldn’t have made. Many gift card recipients spend more than the allotted amount, increasing profits for businesses.

    Do gift cards help small businesses?

    Yes, gift cards help small businesses. Gift cards can help small businesses generate cash flow during times of need without having to invest in inventory or fulfillment at the time.

    How much does it cost to make gift cards?

    It’s free to offer digital gift cards via the Shopify native app.

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