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How to Make a Gift Card for Your Business: Easy Guide

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Gift cards are a powerful tool in a retailer's arsenal, driving sales, enhancing customer loyalty, and boosting brand visibility. As we approach the holiday season, it's crucial to implement targeted strategies to capitalize on this lucrative period. 

From setting up your gift card program to leveraging advanced marketing techniques, each step is essential in ensuring the success of your initiative. 

This guide will walk you through the process of establishing a robust gift card program, incorporating holiday-specific strategies, and maximizing your program's potential through advanced tips and analytics.

Why Create Gift Cards for Your Business

In the bustling world of commerce, creating gift cards for your business is a savvy strategy that can drive customer loyalty, attract new clientele, and boost your bottom line. Gift cards act as both a marketing tool and a sales driver, making them a versatile addition to your business arsenal.

Boost Customer Loyalty

Gift cards are a fantastic way to enhance customer loyalty. By offering gift cards, you give your existing customers a reason to return. They are likely to revisit your store or website to redeem their gift cards, potentially purchasing more than the card’s value. This return visit not only increases sales but also deepens their relationship with your brand.

Attract New Customers

Gift cards can also be an effective way to attract new customers. When someone receives a gift card to your business, it introduces them to your products or services without the initial hesitation of spending their own money. It’s a low-risk way for them to try out your offerings, which can convert them into loyal customers.

Benefits of Gift Cards for Small Businesses

Increased Sales and Cash Flow

One of the most significant benefits of gift cards for small businesses is the immediate boost in sales and cash flow. According to a study by the National Retail Federation, 62% of consumers spend more than the value of their gift card. This means that not only do you secure the value of the gift card upfront, but you also benefit from additional sales when the card is redeemed.

Cost-Effective Marketing

Gift cards serve as a cost-effective marketing tool. They keep your brand top of mind and are often given as gifts, which means they come with a personal recommendation from the buyer. This word-of-mouth marketing can be invaluable, especially for small businesses looking to expand their reach.

Reduced Returns and Exchanges

Gift cards can help reduce the number of returns and exchanges your business handles. When customers buy products for others, they might not always get it right, leading to returns. However, a gift card allows the recipient to choose what they want, which decreases the likelihood of returns and exchanges.

Enhanced Customer Engagement

Offering gift cards can enhance customer engagement. You can integrate them into loyalty programs or special promotions, encouraging repeat visits and purchases. Additionally, digital gift cards can be easily shared via email or social media, increasing engagement and reach.

Data Collection and Insights

Gift cards can provide valuable data and insights into customer behavior. Tracking gift card purchases and redemptions can help you understand purchasing patterns, peak shopping times, and popular products. This data can be used to tailor your marketing strategies and improve customer service.

Eco-Friendly Option

Digital gift cards are an environmentally friendly option compared to traditional paper cards. They reduce waste and can be updated or customized without the need for physical reprints. This sustainability aspect can appeal to eco-conscious customers and reflect positively on your brand.

Gift card

Creating Gift Cards

The process of creating gift cards for your business is simpler than you might think. Whether you run an online store or a brick-and-mortar shop, there are multiple platforms and tools available to help you set up and manage gift cards seamlessly.

How to Create Gift Cards on Different Platforms

Creating gift cards can be done through various platforms, each offering unique features and benefits. Let’s explore how you can set up gift cards on Shopify and through third-party apps.


Shopify makes it incredibly easy to create and manage gift cards. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Log in to Your Shopify Admin Panel: Navigate to the ‘Products’ section.
  2. Click on ‘Gift Cards’: This option is usually found in the ‘Products’ dropdown menu.
  3. Add a Gift Card Product: Click on ‘Add Gift Card’ and fill in the necessary details such as the name, description, and denominations.
  4. Customize Your Gift Card: Upload custom images and set expiration dates if needed.
  5. Save and Publish: Once you’ve customized your gift card, click ‘Save’ and then ‘Publish’ to make it available on your store.

Shopify’s built-in tools also allow you to track gift card usage, making it easy to manage your gift card program effectively.

Third-Party Apps

If you’re looking for more advanced features or use a platform other than Shopify, third-party apps can be a great option. Popular third-party apps include Gift Up!, Square, and GiftFly. Here’s a general guide on how to use these apps:

  1. Choose a Third-Party App: Select an app that integrates well with your current platform.
  2. Sign Up and Create an Account: Follow the app’s sign-up process to create an account.
  3. Set Up Your Gift Cards: Customize your gift cards by adding images, setting denominations, and configuring expiration dates.
  4. Integrate with Your Platform: Follow the integration instructions to link the app with your website or POS system.
  5. Launch and Monitor: Once everything is set up, launch your gift cards and use the app’s dashboard to monitor sales and redemptions.

Choosing Your Gift Card Processor

Selecting the right gift card processor is crucial for ensuring a smooth and efficient operation. Here’s a breakdown of the options available:

POS Providers (e.g., Square, Toast, Shopify)

POS providers often offer integrated gift card solutions that are ideal for businesses that already use their systems. For example:

  • Square: Square offers physical and digital gift cards that can be customized and managed directly from your Square dashboard.
  • Toast: Toast provides gift card solutions specifically for restaurants, allowing you to manage both physical and digital cards seamlessly.
  • Shopify: As mentioned earlier, Shopify’s built-in gift card feature is straightforward and integrates well with its e-commerce platform.

These POS providers make it easy to manage gift cards alongside your existing sales and inventory systems, providing a unified solution.

Standalone Gift Card Apps

If you prefer a more flexible solution, standalone gift card apps might be the way to go. These apps often offer advanced customization and management features. Popular options include:

  • Gift Up!: This app allows you to create and sell digital gift cards with no monthly fees, only charging a transaction fee.
  • GiftFly: GiftFly offers customizable digital gift cards that can be shared via email or social media.
  • Yiftee: Yiftee focuses on community gift card programs, making it ideal for local businesses.

Standalone apps are perfect for businesses that require more customization or advanced features not offered by their POS systems.

Customizing Gift Cards

Customizing your gift cards can make them more appealing and aligned with your brand. Here are some ways to personalize your gift cards:

Custom Images

Adding custom images to your gift cards can enhance their visual appeal and make them more attractive to customers. Use high-quality images that reflect your brand’s aesthetics. For example, if you own a bakery, you might use images of beautifully decorated cakes or pastries.

Discount Options

Offering discounts on gift cards can be a great way to incentivize purchases. For example, you could offer a $50 gift card for $45 during special promotions. This not only encourages more sales but also adds value for your customers.

Selling Gift Cards

Gift cards, both digital and physical, can be a powerful tool for driving sales, attracting new customers, and retaining existing ones. Whether you’re using Shopify or other platforms, selling gift cards effectively involves several steps and strategies. 

Here’s a detailed guide on how to sell and manage gift cards for your business.

How to Sell Digital and Physical Gift Cards

Selling gift cards requires a combination of good strategy and the right tools. Let's break down the steps for both digital and physical gift cards.

Selling on Your Shopify Store

Shopify offers a seamless way to sell both digital and physical gift cards. Here’s how you can set it up:

  1. Enable Gift Cards in Shopify:
    • Go to your Shopify admin panel and navigate to the ‘Products’ section.
    • Select ‘Gift Cards’ and then click on ‘Add Gift Card Product’.
    • Fill in the necessary details such as the title, description, and denominations.
  2. Customize Your Gift Cards:
    • Add custom images to make your gift cards visually appealing.
    • Set any terms and conditions, such as expiration dates or usage restrictions.
  3. Publish and Promote:
    • Once your gift cards are set up, publish them to your online store.
    • Promote your gift cards through your marketing channels, such as email newsletters, social media, and your website’s homepage.
  4. Physical Gift Cards:
    • If you also want to sell physical gift cards, you can order them through Shopify’s printing partners.
    • Ensure that physical gift cards are integrated into your inventory management system to track sales and redemptions accurately.

Selling on Other Sites

If you want to expand your reach beyond your own Shopify store, consider selling gift cards on other platforms:

  1. Third-Party Marketplaces:
    • Platforms like Amazon and eBay allow you to list and sell your gift cards. Follow their guidelines for listing gift cards and ensure you comply with their policies.
  2. Social Media:
    • Use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to promote and sell your gift cards. Create engaging posts and ads that direct customers to your online store or a landing page where they can purchase gift cards.
  3. Email Campaigns:
    • Send targeted email campaigns to your customer list, highlighting the benefits of your gift cards and offering special promotions or discounts.
Gift card in envelope

Managing Gift Card Sales

Managing gift card sales effectively is crucial for tracking performance and ensuring a smooth customer experience. Here’s how to handle the management side of gift cards.

Tracking and Analytics

Tracking the performance of your gift card sales can provide valuable insights into customer behavior and the effectiveness of your marketing strategies.

  1. Use Shopify Analytics:
    • Shopify offers built-in analytics tools that allow you to track gift card sales, redemptions, and balances.
    • Generate reports to see how many gift cards have been sold, the total value, and the redemption rate.
  2. Third-Party Analytics Tools:
    • For more advanced analytics, consider integrating third-party tools like Google Analytics or specialized gift card management software.
    • These tools can provide deeper insights into customer demographics, purchasing patterns, and campaign performance.

Integration with POS Systems (Square, Lightspeed, Revel)

Integrating your gift card program with your POS system can streamline sales and management processes, making it easier to track and redeem gift cards both online and in-store.

  1. Square:
    • Square offers a comprehensive gift card solution that integrates seamlessly with its POS system.
    • You can sell digital gift cards online and physical gift cards in-store, with all transactions being tracked in real-time.
  2. Lightspeed:
    • Lightspeed’s POS system includes built-in gift card functionality. You can issue, sell, and redeem gift cards directly through the Lightspeed platform.
    • The system also offers robust reporting features to track gift card sales and usage.
  3. Revel:
    • Revel’s POS system supports both digital and physical gift cards, allowing you to manage them efficiently.
    • The platform integrates gift card transactions with your sales data, providing a unified view of your business performance.

Marketing and Promoting Gift Cards

Marketing and promoting gift cards effectively can drive sales, enhance customer loyalty, and boost your brand’s visibility. Here are some actionable tips and strategies to help you maximize the impact of your gift card program.

Tips to Drive Sales and Customer Loyalty

To make the most out of your gift card program, consider implementing the following strategies:

Social Media Contests

Social media contests are a fun and engaging way to promote your gift cards. Here’s how to run a successful contest:

  1. Choose a Platform: Select the social media platform where your audience is most active (e.g., Instagram, Facebook, Twitter).
  2. Create Engaging Content: Design visually appealing posts that highlight your gift cards and contest details.
  3. Set Clear Rules: Establish contest rules, such as liking the post, tagging friends, sharing, and following your account.
  4. Offer Attractive Prizes: Use your gift cards as prizes, making them a desirable reward.
  5. Announce Winners: Publicly announce winners to encourage participation and build excitement.

Loyalty Programs

Integrating gift cards into your loyalty program can incentivize repeat purchases and foster customer loyalty. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Points System: Offer points for every purchase, which can be redeemed for gift cards.
  2. Exclusive Offers: Provide exclusive gift card deals or bonuses for loyalty program members.
  3. Tiered Rewards: Create different tiers within your loyalty program, offering higher-value gift cards for top-tier members.

Seasonal Promotions

Capitalize on holidays and special occasions to boost gift card sales through seasonal promotions:

  1. Holiday Specials: Offer discounts or bonuses on gift card purchases during major holidays like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or Mother’s Day.
  2. Limited-Time Offers: Create a sense of urgency with time-limited promotions (e.g., "Buy a $50 gift card, get a $10 bonus card").
  3. Themed Campaigns: Design themed gift cards and marketing materials to match the season or occasion.

In-Store Marketing and Promotions

Don’t forget to promote your gift cards in-store with effective marketing tactics:

  1. Prominent Display: Place gift cards in high-traffic areas near the checkout counter.
  2. Signage: Use eye-catching signs and posters to draw attention to your gift cards.
  3. Employee Training: Train your staff to mention gift cards during customer interactions and suggest them as gift options.

Incorporating Gift Cards in Return Policies

Use gift cards as part of your return policy to retain revenue and provide convenience:

  1. Return for Store Credit: Offer gift cards as an option for returns instead of cash refunds.
  2. Incentivize with Bonuses: Provide a small bonus for customers who choose store credit over a cash refund (e.g., an additional 5% on the gift card value).

Prioritizing Design and Convenience

An attractive and user-friendly gift card can make a significant difference in sales and customer satisfaction:

  1. Custom Design: Invest in custom designs that reflect your brand’s aesthetics and appeal to your target audience.
  2. Personalization Options: Allow customers to personalize gift cards with messages or recipient names.
  3. Digital Convenience: Ensure that digital gift cards are easy to purchase, send, and redeem online.

Implementing the Strategies

To effectively implement these marketing and promotional strategies, consider the following steps:

  1. Plan Ahead: Develop a marketing calendar that outlines your gift card promotions throughout the year.
  2. Leverage Multiple Channels: Use a mix of online (social media, email, website) and offline (in-store, print) channels to reach a broader audience.
  3. Monitor and Adjust: Track the performance of your gift card promotions using analytics tools and adjust your strategies based on the results.
Person holding a gift card

Setting Up a Gift Card Program

Establishing a robust gift card program can be a game-changer for your business, driving sales and increasing customer loyalty. Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up a gift card program:

Steps to Set Up a Gift Card Program

  1. Determine Your Needs:
    • Identify whether you need physical, digital, or both types of gift cards.
    • Consider your target audience and the most effective way to reach them with gift cards.
  2. Choose a Platform:
    • Select a platform that supports gift card sales, such as Shopify, Square, Lightspeed, or another POS system.
    • Ensure the platform you choose offers the features you need, like tracking, analytics, and integration with other tools.

Ordering Physical Cards

If you decide to offer physical gift cards, follow these steps:

  1. Design Your Cards:
    • Work with a graphic designer to create a custom design that reflects your brand.
    • Consider options for personalization, such as space for writing messages or recipient names.
  2. Select a Printer:
    • Choose a reputable printer to produce your cards. Many POS providers like Shopify offer integrated solutions for ordering physical gift cards.
    • Order an initial batch based on your sales projections, and ensure you have a plan for reordering when stock runs low.
  3. Shipping and Storage:
    • Plan how you’ll store physical cards in your store. They should be accessible to staff but secure from theft.
    • If you’re selling online, ensure you have a system in place for shipping gift cards to customers promptly.

Inputting Cards into Your System

  1. Set Up in Your POS or E-commerce System:
    • For Shopify: Navigate to the ‘Products’ section, select ‘Gift Cards,’ and add your physical card details.
    • For other systems: Follow the platform’s specific guidelines for adding gift cards to your inventory.
  2. Activate and Track:
    • Ensure each physical gift card has a unique identifier (e.g., a barcode or QR code) that links to your inventory system.
    • Track sales and redemptions in real-time to manage your gift card program effectively.

Establishing Policies and Training Staff

  1. Create Clear Policies:
    • Define terms and conditions, such as expiration dates, redemption limits, and return policies.
    • Ensure these policies comply with local regulations and are clearly communicated to customers.
  2. Train Your Staff:
    • Conduct training sessions to educate your staff on how to sell, redeem, and troubleshoot gift cards.
    • Provide scripts or guidelines for discussing gift cards with customers, emphasizing their benefits as gifts and convenient purchase options.

Choosing the Right Gift Card Program

  1. Evaluate Features:
    • Look for a gift card program that offers essential features like customizable designs, tracking, reporting, and integration with your POS or e-commerce platform.
    • Consider additional features like the ability to send digital gift cards via email or SMS.
  2. Test for User-Friendliness:
    • Choose a program that is easy to set up and use, both for your staff and your customers.
    • Ensure the redemption process is seamless, whether in-store or online.

Flexibility and Integration with Other Tools

  1. Integration with CRM and Marketing Tools:
    • Ensure your gift card program integrates with your CRM system (e.g., Salesforce, HubSpot) to track customer interactions and preferences.
    • Use marketing tools to promote gift cards through targeted campaigns, social media, and email marketing.
  2. Scalability:
    • Choose a program that can grow with your business, offering features that cater to both small operations and large enterprises.
    • Ensure the system can handle increased demand during peak seasons or special promotions.

Implementing the Gift Card Program

  1. Launch:
    • Announce your gift card program through your website, social media channels, and email newsletters.
    • Use promotional tactics like discounts or bonuses to encourage initial sales.
  2. Monitor and Optimize:
    • Use analytics tools to track the performance of your gift card program, including sales, redemptions, and customer feedback.
    • Make adjustments based on data insights to optimize the program and address any issues promptly.

Holiday and Seasonal Considerations

The holiday season presents a prime opportunity to boost your gift card sales. Implementing targeted strategies can help you capitalize on this period and drive both sales and customer loyalty. 

Here are some key considerations and strategies for holiday and seasonal gift card promotions:

Holiday Gift Card Strategies

Exclusive Packaging

  1. Custom Holiday Designs:
    • Create festive and seasonal designs for your gift cards. This could include holiday themes like Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, or New Year's.
    • Use vibrant colors, holiday-specific icons, and special fonts to make the cards visually appealing.
  2. Special Packaging Options:
    • Offer exclusive holiday packaging, such as decorative boxes, sleeves, or envelopes that reflect the festive spirit.
    • Provide options for personalized messages or custom gift wraps to enhance the gifting experience.

Charity Giveaways

  1. Partner with Charities:
    • Collaborate with local or national charities and donate a percentage of gift card sales to a charitable cause.
    • Highlight the charitable aspect in your marketing campaigns to attract socially conscious customers.
  2. Charitable Gift Cards:
    • Create special edition gift cards where a portion of the proceeds goes directly to a charity.
    • Promote these cards during the holiday season as a way for customers to give back while giving gifts.

Timing (e.g., Black Friday)

  1. Pre-Holiday Promotions:
    • Launch early bird promotions for gift cards leading up to major shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
    • Offer limited-time discounts or bonuses (e.g., buy a $50 gift card, get a $10 bonus card) to create urgency.
  2. Peak Holiday Periods:
    • Intensify your gift card marketing efforts during the peak holiday shopping period from late November through December.
    • Utilize all marketing channels, including email, social media, and in-store displays, to maximize visibility.
Payment terminal with different cards

Maximizing Your Gift Card Program

To fully leverage your gift card program, consider implementing advanced strategies and tools to enhance performance and user experience.

Advanced Tips

Analytics and Performance Tracking

  1. Use Analytics Tools:
    • Integrate your gift card program with analytics tools to track key metrics such as sales, redemptions, and customer engagement.
    • Platforms like Shopify, Square, or custom CRM systems can provide detailed insights into gift card performance.
  2. Monitor Customer Behavior:
    • Analyze customer behavior related to gift card purchases and redemptions. Identify trends such as peak purchasing times, popular denominations, and preferred redemption methods.
    • Use this data to refine your marketing strategies and improve the customer experience.

Incorporating Promotions and Discounts

  1. Seasonal Discounts:
    • Offer special discounts on gift card purchases during holiday seasons (e.g., 10% off gift cards during the month of December).
    • Promote these discounts through targeted email campaigns and social media ads.
  2. Bundled Offers:
    • Create bundled offers that combine gift cards with other products or services. For example, “Buy a $50 gift card and get a free mug.”
    • Highlight these bundles as perfect holiday gifts to increase their appeal.

Ensuring Ease of Use and Convenience

  1. Seamless Redemption:
    • Ensure that the process for redeeming gift cards is straightforward and user-friendly, both online and in-store.
    • Train staff to handle gift card transactions efficiently and provide excellent customer service.
  2. Multi-Channel Availability:
    • Make your gift cards available for purchase across multiple channels, including your website, physical store, and social media platforms.
    • Ensure that digital gift cards can be easily sent via email or SMS, providing instant delivery options for last-minute shoppers.
  3. Mobile-Friendly Options:
    • Optimize your gift card purchasing and redemption processes for mobile users.
    • Consider developing a mobile app that includes features for buying, storing, and redeeming gift cards.

Implementation Steps

  1. Plan and Design:
    • Begin planning your holiday gift card strategies well in advance. Design exclusive packaging and promotional materials that align with your brand and holiday themes.
  2. Promote Early and Often:
    • Start promoting your holiday gift card offerings early to build anticipation. Use a mix of online and offline marketing tactics to reach a wide audience.
  3. Monitor and Adjust:
    • Continuously monitor the performance of your gift card program using analytics. Be ready to make adjustments based on customer feedback and sales data to optimize your strategies.


Incorporating a well-planned gift card program into your business strategy can significantly boost sales and customer loyalty, particularly during the holiday season. By offering exclusive packaging, engaging in charitable giveaways, and timing your promotions effectively, you can make your gift cards an attractive option for holiday shoppers. 

Additionally, leveraging advanced analytics, incorporating promotions, and ensuring ease of use can maximize the effectiveness of your program. 

By following these steps, you'll not only drive sales during peak shopping periods but also create a lasting impact on customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

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