How Gift Cards Can Help Support Your Business
Apr 13, 2020
In the fight against Covid-19, a Movement Control Order (since 18 March 2020) is now in place which compels people to stay home and practice social distancing. Even after the MCO is lifted, it will take some time for people to get back to normal life. At least until a vaccine is ready, people will still have to practice a level of social distancing such as avoiding crowds or gatherings to prevent the risk of infection.
Due to the unfortunate side effect of social distancing, small businesses are facing decline of revenue from significantly lower customer foot traffic. In addition, there are mounting monthly expenses that cause serious cash flow problems.
In this post, I will share some information about Gift Cards and how this can help support your business during these difficult times.
What are Gift Cards?
Gift cards are also known as gift certificates, gift vouchers or prepaid cards and are issued by a retailer/ store to be used for in-store purchases as an alternative mode of payment. Gift cards are often purchased as gifts with a certain prepaid monetary value, in place of giving cash. This option gives the gift recipient freedom to pick the items that they want for their gift. Gift cards are often subject to an expiry or use-by date.
How do Gift Cards work?
Gift cards issued by online stores are in electronic format. Gift cards are delivered digitally by email and can be redeemed for online store purchases.
Gift Card Example. Store: The Lovely Madness
Customers can purchase gift cards by selecting their preferred value and make payment as usual through the online store checkout. They can also include a gift message to their recipient.
How do Gift Cards help my business?
Gift cards can help supplement your cash flow. If you are a small business, gift cards could help alleviate cash flow constraints as less cash is coming in.
Offering Gift cards as a product gives customers a way to easily support you today. In the short-term, this provides customers with a safe option to make a purchase they can redeem at a later date, which can help free up cash flow for your business.
How to offer Gift Cards?
If you run an online store on Shopify, the Gift Cards feature is available for Shopify and Shopify Advanced plans. Originally, Shopify Basic (lowest) plan does not have this feature.
From Shopify's latest update in response to Covid-19, we are happy to announce that Gift Cards feature is now enabled on all plans for a limited time. We hope that this could help support small businesses.
If your online store is currently subscribed to a Shopify plan, you can start offering Gift cards to your customers. Contact us if you need help to setup your Gift card product.
How long will Gift Cards be available on all plans?
There is no set end-date for this feature yet. However, as it is intended to help merchants during the economic difficulties resulting from COVID-19, this feature will be available until the impact of the virus begins to subside.
Examples of how Gift Cards work as a marketing strategy
Here are a couple of ideas that you can consider to implement for your next marketing strategy or campaign.
For retail businesses:
- Offer special deals such as Limited Time Only promotions and encourage customers to Buy Now, Pick Up Later.
- Customers only need to purchase the Gift card value now, which can be redeemed later at your retail premises.
- With Shopify POS, you can perform Gift card redemption easily by scanning the QR code/ Barcode, which will be reflected on the customer's order.
For e-commerce businesses:
- Take advantage of the Stay Home period to send well wishes to friends and loved ones in the form of Gift cards/ Gift vouchers.
- Birthdays and special occasions such as Anniversaries should not be forgotten, even though we are staying at home.
- Gift cards are contact-less and practical in our current situation.
I hope that you have found this information useful and are considering ideas to offer Gift cards in your business. Feel free to share your ideas with me and we can discuss further to make it work.
All the best,
Reference: Gift Card Support Is Now Available on All Plans to Help Small Businesses, Apr 5 2020