In this post we are addressing reasons your business can benefit from offering gift certificates, types of certificates you can circulate, practical tips on gift certificate use that you can give to your customers to make their experience smooth and pleasant, as well as a quick tutorial on making a gift certificate with Crello templates.
Does your business need to offer gift certificates?
First things first – do you actually need to bother with this whole gift certificate business? Well, here are a few things to consider.
Gift cards remained the most desired present in the US, as of 2017. More than 60% of customers preferred gift cards to clothes, accessories, books, video games, and electronics, according to National Retail Federation.
Besides customer preferences, there are a few business upsides to releasing gift certificates. Let’s take a closer look.
- easy to sell
A gift certificate doesn’t just provide insurance against a bad gift, it also relieves the recipient from the pain of paying. This double upside makes gift certificates an easy sell.
- upfront revenue
Gift certificates are a cash flow you get even before you sell anything. And they are typically non-refundable.
- new customers
A lot of the time the gift recipient is not familiar with your brand – moreover, their first interaction with the brand is through something they get for free from a person they know and (likely) trust.
- more full price purchases
People are 2.5 times more likely to pay full price for the product if they are paying with a gift card, according to Investopedia.
- unused value
Unused value includes both the cards that go completely unused and the part of the card value that hasn’t been redeemed during purchase as a portion of the customers will target their shopping to stay below the card nominal value.
- people spend more
The card is a way to attract people to your store, whether online or offline, and that means some of your gift card customers will like products or services over the value of the card and actually spend more.
Types of gift certificates
When deciding on the kind of gift card options you want to offer, research your competitors and similar businesses. Here’s the main gift certificate varieties we spotted in the wild:
- tangible vs electronic
The most popular gift certificate type is a paper or plastic card. Examples of tangible gift cards include wooden vouchers and certificates of unusual shape. Opposite to a physical gift certificate is an e-card. Retailers and brands can distribute it via an app, email or as a text message. Many brands also accept pictures of their tangible gift certificate that customers can store on their phone and scan at the store at checkout.
- monetary value vs item/service
Another gift certificate differentiation is certificates for a certain amount of money ($100) versus certificates for a type of item or service. For example, a gift certificate can be for a spa session, a museum visit, one free cup of tea, one free deodorant, a free class, etc.
Gift certificates can also come in the form of a discount – 10% off or 5 dollars off on an item, all products/services, or a specific collection/type of item.
A gift certificate to a certain location, like a mall or an online retailer like Amazon or eBay, are also increasingly popular. They make gift giving even more safe with the expanded number of options the receiver gets.
Top rated gift cards
Here are the top 10 popular gift cards in 2018, according to WalletHub: Amazon, Visa, Walmart, American Express, iTunes, Starbucks, Target, eBay, Google Play, Sephora. Next on the list are Disney, Netflix, Home Depot, Best Buy, Fandango, MasterCard, Lowe’s, Gamestop, McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts. Following that are brands like Olive Garden, Ikea, Etsy, Subway, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Chick-Fil-A, Nike, Rei, Nordstrom.
As you can notice, people love buying cards that provide a lot of options – multi-brand stores make up over half of the top 30. Next in popularity with 20% of the top 30 are food brands. If your business does not offer versatile product range or services, compensate that with creative ideas like pretty wrapping or form for your certificates, as well as providing your customers a clear idea of the main target audience for your products/service.
But the most popular gifts do not equal the most desired. Let’s look at the results of the Lendedu’s study of the best gift cards for 2017. Here are the top ten in the category Happiness of receiving a gift card: Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Subway, Olive Garden, eBay, Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Taco Bell. Let’s chart them by category:
Department stores: Walmart, Target, Kohl’s
Food: Subway, Olive Garden, Taco Bell
Multi-brand, online: Amazon, eBay
Home decor: Bed Bath & Beyond
Electronics: Best Buy
What to feature on your gift certificate
Gift certificates are small, so brands normally only feature bare essentials on them, like:
- your offer (monetary value, discount, product or service),
- how to redeem the gift certificate (store addresses, website),
- terms of your offer (non-refundable, time-limited offer, for seasonal collections only),
- expiration date or valid through dates (if needed),
- contact information/where to get more information about the offer/terms,
- certificate number (to prevent fraud).
How to create a gift certificate in Crello
In order to design a gift certificate in Crello, browse our collection here and pick the design you like most. You can also convert any Crello template you like to the gift certificate format using the Resize button in the top right corner of the editor interface:
Preset gift certificate size in Crello is 6 by 4 inches, but you can resize it to any custom size within 3,000 by 3,000 pixels.
After you are all set with your gift certificate size and template, add your own visuals, if needed, type in your text and adjust the design elements. Create a second page for a double-sided certificate.
Once you are done, download your design and use for printing or creating an e-gift card.
How to promote your gift cards, certificates, vouchers
Once you are set on your gift certificate format, value and design, it’s time to come up with a strategy to promote them. These are some of the ways you can do that:
- place your gift certificates where people can see them
Whether you are selling physical or electronic gift certificates, make sure your customers are actually aware of them. Not a lot of people will go to your website Gifts section looking for gift certificates. Add a popup to your e-cart interface and place your physical cards at the checkout in your store.
- run a promo campaign
There are two reasons you need to promote your newly released gift certificates. For one, your customers don’t know you have them yet, and secondly, people outside your target audience buying gifts for said target audience likely don’t know about you.
- throw in a certificate with purchase
To popularize your gift cards, throw them in as a gift once in a while, for example, with big purchases, – this will spread awareness and promote your gift certificates. To make the experience even more exclusive, create a unique gift certificate denomination(s) just for this purpose. You can also throw in a gift certificate with your giveaway and contest prizes, as well as for anyone joining up your loyalty program.
- promote them like you promote your social media
Do you have a link to your social media pages on your website, in your emails and in all your marketing materials? Promote your gift certificates by including them in your marketing materials, like emails and web page footers.
- offer your gift certificates at partner stores
Partner up with a store or business to do a gift certificate exchange – whether online or brick-and-mortar, your gift certificates will get more exposure to audiences outside your target, increasing the chances of someone buying gifts for your target audience considering your business as one of the options.
Helping your customers make the best out of your gift certificates
Gift certificates are tricky for your customers – if they love the service themselves, they might want to share the experience with their friends, family or coworkers, but a gift certificate can seem like a lazy way of approaching gift giving. That’s why you have to work extra hard to make your gift certificates feel more like a present.
Once you launch your gift certificate range, be prepared to help your customers overcome any difficulties they might experience when buying a gift certificate as, well, a gift. Create a comprehensive guide to help make the gift giving experience rich and fulfilling.
- make your certificate feel like a gift in the first place
To make it easy for your customers to give a gift certificate to your business, make it look and feel like one – use unusual materials and shapes, creative design, throw in samples or freebies, etc. In short, do all the work for the customer.
- creative wrapping
If you want to go for minimalist design of the actual card, offer optional wrapping services for your gift cards and provide suggestions on smaller items your customers can include in their gift set.
- release complimentary gift recommendations
Provide your customers with compatible gifts from other brands that they can give along with your gift certificate so that the gift feels more thought-out and personalized. Say, you are selling bikes – link to brands offering healthy snacks, sportswear or water bottles.
Gift certificates are a great type of product that most businesses can benefit from. Decide which type of gift certificate will work best for your product/service and customers and start testing!