How do Shopify gift cards work and how to use them - A step-by-step guide

Gift card, shopify bag and cogs illustration

Gift cards are an excellent way to give your loyal customers a little something to show appreciation.

On the other hand, gift cards can be bought as presents, and the person who got the gift card will use it in your store. This means that you’ll get a sale and two happy customers instead of one, virtually doubling your chances of a review and boosting your store’s reputation simultaneously.

Now that you know why Shopify Gift cards are the next step for your e-commerce business let’s look at how they work and how you can start creating them.

How does a Shopify gift card work

You can think of these gift cards as you would for other products. Your customers can purchase them and then give them away to their friends.

When someone adds a product to their cart and starts the checkout process, they will be able to use the gift card to pay for that specific product.

How to create a Shopify gift card

There are two ways you can create gift cards: using Shopify’s built-in functionality or an app.

Let’s start with the built-in functionality and then move to some of the best apps.

Step 1. Log into your Shopify store and go to Products -> Gift cards. Here you’ll see two options; for now, simply click on the “Add gift card product.”

Step 2. Complete the necessary product information. Chances are you have already added some products to your store, so this process should be pretty straightforward.

Make sure to give your product a descriptive name and description. An image would also work wonders.

Step 3. Choose your denominations. Shopify creates four denominations by default ($10, $25, $50, and $100), but you can always add extra or remove some of them if you feel like it.

As a best practice, you should match your gift card denominations with the average price of your products. For example, say your products cost around $30 each. In that case, you might want to add a $60 denomination so people can gift two products simultaneously.

Step 4. Change the product status to “Active” and choose a collection. Once satisfied with the product details, it’s time to push it live.

Step 5. Save your changes. Once you save your changes, you will be taken to your products page. If you want to create a new gift card or edit the one you just created, simply click on Gift cards (as you did in Step 1) and select “View gift card products.”

This will automatically filter your products, so you will only be able to see your Gift cards.

You can open the gift card editor by clicking on the corresponding gift card.

That’s it. Now customers can purchase gift cards from your store.

How to issue single-use Shopify gift cards

This type of gift card is great if you want to thank loyal customers for purchasing from you multiple times. Your customers will appreciate a gift card more than a discount code.

Step 1. Navigate to the gift cards page.

Step 2. Click on the “Issue gift card” button. This will open up a page that will allow you to configure the gift card.

Step 3. Configure the gift card. Now you can edit the Initial amount of the gift card, select which customer it applies to, set an expiration date, and even add a note so you remember why you created it.

Important note: Make sure you copy this code right now, as you will not be able to see it again after you create the gift card.

Step 4. Select or create a customer and click “Activate.” Once satisfied with your gift card options, you just need to select the customer you want to send it to and click on the “Activate” button.

Right after that, you will see this page featuring all relevant information regarding your newly issued gift card.

This is the last time you can copy that code, so make sure you do so in case you skipped it earlier.

That’s it. Your customer will instantly get an email letting them know they have a gift card they can use in your store.

Depending on your store’s theme, your customer will see something like this when they click on the “View gift card” button inside the email.

Another essential thing to mention is that you do not need to add a customer when issuing a gift card. If you want to share the code via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, you can simply create the gift card, copy it, and share it. That simple.

Best Shopify gift card apps

Now that you know how to use the built-in Shopify functionality to create and issue gift cards, it's time to look at some apps.

Sure, Shopify has a robust set of tools for online selling, but apps do a better job with specific functionalities, like upsells, cross-sells, and gift cards.

Govalo | Gift Cards - Best Gift card app to delight your customers

Govalo takes the basic Shopify gift card functionality to the next level by allowing you to schedule gift card delivery and giving you more customization options for both your gift cards and redemption page.

One of the best functionalities this app has to offer is the “Out of stock” option. This means that when a product runs out of stock, customers will be prompted to purchase a gift card instead, virtually helping you sell even when you are low on inventory.

Govalo comes with a seven-day free trial. Their cheapest plan (Essential) starts at $19/month + 2.9% total gift card value and gives you access to all the features I  described above.

Suppose you want to take your gift card experience even further. In that case, you can pick the Premium plan ($79/month + 2.25% total gift card value), which lets you personalize the buying experience, customize the redemption page and even integrate it with Klaviyo.

Their highest plan (Enterprise) works best for large stores, with a base cost of $399/month + 1.5% total gift card value. If you opt for this plan, you’ll get VIP treatment and an annual billing option.

Govalo has a 4.7 stars rating from 17 store owners.

Digital Gift Cards | Giftkart - Best Gift card app for personalized video messages

What makes Giftkart stand out from the crowd is that customers can record a video to go along with the Gift card. This level of personalization is excellent as the final recipient will have a pleasant surprise when they open their email.

This app is free to install, although they charge 2.7% of the total gift card value sold. With this plan, you get access to the following functionalities:

  • Personalized Gift Cards
  • Issue Store Credit
  • Balance Check
  • Scheduled Delivery of Gift Cards
  • Gift Card Referrals
  • Gift Card Cart Offers

If you want to allow your customers to record video messages, you will need the “Plus” plan that starts at $19.99/month + 2.25% of the total gift card value sold. This plan also lets you personalize the emails sent out and customize greeting cards.

Their most expensive plan is $49.99/month but comes with a 0% usage fee. For this amount, you get everything the app offers, plus 1-on-1 onboarding and the ability to run custom gift card campaigns.

Giftkart has a rating of 4.9 stars from 47 merchants.

Why are Shopify Gift cards a great addition to your store

Remember the last time you had to buy a gift for a friend and had no idea what they’d like? Well, chances are you decided to buy a gift card.

There are many other people exactly like you. In fact, in the US alone, the gift card market is projected to reach $238.97 billion.

Moreover, 48.5% of the leading online retailers currently accept gift cards. If major players in the e-commerce industries have adopted gift cards, then it’s probably time you do the same.

Bottom line, gift cards are a great way to boost sales and also reward loyal customers, so make sure you implement them asap to see your sales increase.

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