As part of a our mini series about all things digital, today I’m sharing some ideas about how we can create income, anticipation and hope in our business by selling gift cards/vouchers.
Gift vouchers have been almost reinvented in the last 12 months as a way for your customers to support you but also as a way to build your diary for the future even if you’re closed or severely restricted in your business right now.
There is another element to the ‘gift voucher’ world too. That is, that joe public are looking for ways to enhance their lives, create new experiences, plan gathering with friends and for a brighter future. There is evidence that folks will pay more for something that isn’t just ‘stuff’ to buy, but really adds value to their lives or helps them experience something new.
But what could is mean for your business? Well there are several things to remember about gift vouchers. Firstly, it creates additional income for you even if your business is closed or restricted. It also means that your business has something to talk about, promote and advertise, keeping your brand in your customer’s minds. Gift vouchers need to be very visible and easy to buy with online options for those who are buying last minute or during a bout of insomnia. Ideally you also need to have a ‘gift’ option – something lovely to send out to either the buyer or the recipient.
So – how best to do it? Here are 5 easy ways to make gift vouchers work for you and your business.
- Basic 101. You don’t have an online shop or a payment gateway (e.g. Stripe, WorldPay etc) but you still want to sell vouchers? Create something lovely on a platform like Canva (they have free templates for gift cards) that includes your branding. Create and lovely image (see below) and add to social media and your website. Ask folks to pay by BACS or Paypal to buy the voucher and then send out either to the buyer or the recipient as a digital email option or as a printed/snail mail option. Advantages – anyone can set this up and requires almost no digital skills or website upgrade etc. Disadvantages – it can be a little clunky for the buyer and some people won’t buy using BACS like this. It also means there isn’t a instant ecard solution for last minute buyers.
- Online Shop. If you have an online shop option on your website or you can take payments on your website, then simply create a new ‘item’ in that shop as the gift voucher. Make sure that your voucher is attractive and visible on the website and in denominations that are relevant to your offer. You can create a voucher image on Canva for free with your logo or branding, print one off and then set up some quick photography with the voucher and a ribbon or next to an item etc etc. Make sure that what ever digital receipt they get when they buy INCLUDES the gift voucher code in case they need to email it to the recipient immediately.
- Payment gateway options. If you use a payment gateway (Stripe/Square Up etc) and maybe you don’t have an online shop as such, check out what they have to offer in terms of gift card options. For example, Square Up have a new digital and physical gift card option that can be easily set up for free and included in your package. This is ideal if you normally trade in person on a stall, in a shop/cafe etc using one of the gateways but now have to go online. You can promote these gift cards on social media & on your website. Examples – Square Up (don’t forget our exclusive partner offer in the Member Hub giving you £1000 fee free transactions if you’re a new customer), iZettle & Stripe.
- Third Party App. There are now many gift card app options out there that you can set up for your business. This can be promoted from your social channels or your website. Depending on which one you choose, you can brand it these pretty well. Advantages – was to set up, flat fees and all the functionality is pre set up. Disadvantages – it’s another system to use, separate from your other platforms requiring customers to ‘travel’ somewhere else. Examples are SumUp, Up, Gift Up & Robovoucher.
- Sell direct from Facebook. You can now integrate your digital gift card/voucher app with your Facebook business page to see directly through Facebook. Rather like setting up a Facebook shop, you do need to use one of their gift card app platforms so check that out first. Examples that they use are Up, Sum Up, Ecwid and Voucher Cart. Set up your Gift Card app first using one of these platforms and then you can set up a ‘Purchase Gift Card’ button on your page. This can then be shared in posts and stories. Advantages – easy to set up, no need for you to already have an online shop or existing payment gateway set up, easy for customer to buy. Disadvantages – you’re not driving people to your own business asset i.e. your website.