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How do Shopify gift cards work? A complete guide


how do shopify gift cards work (A complete guide)

Gift cards are some of the easiest products for retailers to sell, especially during the busy holiday season. No matter what product you offer, selling gift cards is an easy way to boost sales, traffic, and revenue for an e-commerce business. That said, many POS platforms make offering gift cards a tricky and arduous process for business owners and customers alike.


Enter Shopify gift cards. These prepaid cards work on any online store that uses Shopify as a checkout solution, which means there are over 1.75 million options of where gift cards can be purchased from. (Backlinko)


If you're an online retailer, then you've definitely heard of Shopify—but how do you add a Shopify gift card option in your sale process? This can be confusing, especially if you're new to Shopify as a whole.


Luckily, we've got you covered with a complete guide to how do Shopify gift cards work so you can get started before the holiday season is in full swing. Read on for everything you need to know about Shopify gift cards.

Table of Contents:

  1. What is a Shopify gift card?

  2. How to add a Shopify gift cards page

  3. Why should I offer Shopify gift cards?

  4. FAQs and helpful tips

What is a Shopify gift card?


Shopify gift cards work the same as other gift cards for online or retail stores—customers can gift a certain amount of money on a card, then the recipient can use it to cover part of or an entire purchase.


Shopify gift cards come with a unique code that is then entered during the Shopify checkout process. Certain retailers can set a card expiration date after a certain length of time, while others can opt to not have an expiration date.


Retailers have a few different options when it comes to how they choose to offer Shopify gift cards on their store. (Shopify) They can be sold in any of the following methods:

  • Sold in an online store like other products

  • Issued for free to customers as rewards, incentives, or part of a loyalty program

  • Shared via social media links to gift cards and products

How to add a Shopify gift cards page


Now that you know what a Shopify gift card is and how it works, here's how to go about adding the Shopify gift card feature to your online store.


Note: all levels of Shopify subscription plans are eligible to use gift card functionalities

on a Shopify store.

Step 1: Activate the gift card feature



Activating the gift card feature allows you to sell or offer gift cards. You will not be able to sell gift cards on your store without enabling this feature.

To do so: (Shopify)

  1. On the Shopify admin dashboard, toggle to Products then Gift cards.

  2. Enable Add gift card product. Your first gift card should be automatically generated upon enabling this feature, but its status is automatically set to draft to let you edit it before it goes live on your website.

Step 2: Add a new gift card product and new gift card denominations



The gift card product is what is sold in your store and what the customer will purchase when they wish to buy a gift card. There are two ways to add gift card products: new denominations or updating existing ones. Here's how to add a new one. (Shopify)

  1. On the Shopify admin dashboard, toggle to Products then Gift cards.

  2. Click Gift card products.

  3. Click Add a gift card product.

  4. The following information will need to be added when enabling a gift card:

  5. Title: What the gift card product will be called, i.e. Holiday gift card.

  6. Description: How this product will be described on your storefront. This should explain how they can be redeemed in your store.

  7. Media: An image or a video of the gift card.

  8. Denominations: The amounts your gift cards will be available in. According to Shopify, there are several denominations that will default automatically. The denominations will be saved as different variants of the original gift card product.

  9. Search engine preview: How your gift card will appear on the search engine results page. Consider making this as SEO-optimized as possible.

  10. Sales apps and channels: Which of your sales channels gift cards are sold on your store, and whether it's available to be purchased. This is where you'll publish the gift card so users can purchase, it or schedule it to go live at a certain date or time.

  11. Organization: Where Shopify gift cards live on your site. It's recommended to add them to an existing collection so customers can easily find and purchase them.

  12. Click Live to see the gift card on your webpage, ready to purchase.

  13. To sell your gift card and make sure it's tracked on one or more of your active sales channels (as the default is to not have it published on these channels), click Make products available so it's displayed.


Step 3: Update existing gift cards



If you want to change the name, description, picture, or any other aspect of a Shopify gift card, you can easily update information (or remove it altogether). (Shopify)

  1. On the Shopify dashboard, toggle to Products then Gift cards.

  2. Click Gift card products.

  3. Click on the name of the gift card you wish to edit (i.e., Birthday gift card) and update the categories you wish to edit.

Why should I offer Shopify gift cards?


It's a smart idea to offer Shopify gift cards as a business owner for a number of reasons, the biggest and most obvious being sales.


Gift card sales can help boost revenue and drive more interest and traffic to your site. Since Shopify gift cards are paid for upfront and can be used on any Shopify store, these boost sales, cash flow, and offer loyal customers a convenient way to shop online.

Gift card purchases also drive brand awareness and vastly expand your customer base. Since these are often given as gifts for holidays, birthdays, and other big events by existing customers, you can find new customers for very little lift on your end.


Another big win for offering gift cards from Shopify is how easy they are to work. If you want to give away a free gift card as part of a giveaway on social media platforms, offer them for a limited time for holidays, or just easily manage gift cards, Shopify makes their gift card experience easy.


From the customer perspective, a huge draw for gift cards is their convenience. We've all been in a situation where we needed a last-minute gift for family members, friends, or coworkers and it's too late to get a physical gift. Gift cards are a wonderful solution for gift-giving conundrums, and ensure the recipient can purchase something they really like.

FAQs and helpful tips


You're bound to still have a few questions after the initial setup of gift cards on your Shopify store. Here are a few FAQs and helpful tips for getting you comfortable with this new addition to your sales offerings.


How to redeem gift cards


Customers can redeem their gift card code on any channel that utilizes Shopify checkout. This includes your online shop, a Shopify POS, Facebook Shop or Messenger, or the Buy button. (Shopify)


Then, the unique gift card code is emailed to them with the address they used to make the sale. The gift card can then be used by entering the gift card code in the corresponding field during the process of checking out.


Gift cards can be used on multiple orders or just one. If the balance of the gift card covers the purchase in full, then customers can hit Complete order as they would with other payment methods.


If the gift card balance does not cover the amount fully, the customer is then prompted to choose a secondary payment option in order to finish the sale.


How do I issue free gift cards?



If you're using a Shopify gift card as an incentive or reward for your customer base, then you'll need to be able to create gift card codes without a customer prompting it. Here's how. (Shopify)

  1. On the Shopify admin dashboard, toggle to Products then Gift cards.

  2. Click Issue gift card.

  3. Enter the value of the card. You can choose the value of the card.

  4. Toggle to Find or create a customer and enter the email address of the customer to get the gift card code.

  5. Set an expiration date and add a note if you'd like to do so.

  6. Click Save to issue the gift card.

How to customers check their gift card balance?


Customers are able to check the balance remaining on their gift card by clicking the link emailed to them when the gift card was issued. This shows the remaining balance, expiration date, and code.


How do I add gift card product amounts?


On Shopify, customers are not able to customize the balance of their gift cards when shopping online. It's up to you as the business owner to set up the amounts gift cards can be purchased—though you are able to issue a custom amount to a customer after they've paid. (Shopify)


What rules apply to gift cards?


Certain regions have gift card rules and regulations, like if they have to expire and the minimum tax amount. Consult a legal or tax expert in your area for more information. (Shopify)

The ability to purchase a Shopify gift card for your store is a fantastic idea for boosting sales, increasing traffic, and winning over more loyal customers. Now that you know how they work and how to manage them, there's nothing stopping you from adding this functionality.

Sources: Backlinko | Shopify (1, 2, 3)

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