What are eCommerce Gift Cards and how to use them
This article was last updated on July 30, 2023
Digital gift cards might be one of the most underutilized growth tools in eCommerce (see our guide on what is eCommerce). Not only do they require minimal upfront risk, they can also help boost your brand awareness, drive sales, and build customer loyalty.
Online gift cards are among the most popular choices for holiday shoppers. But the global pandemic has accelerated their sales even beyond seasonal periods.
In 2020, digital gift card sales rocketed 80 percent year-over-year, fueled by an overall surge in eCommerce sales as consumers avoided crowds in stores.
Also known as e-gift certificates, digital gift cards are delivered electronically via email or text message as a virtual coupon code shoppers can redeem at checkout online or in-store. By contrast, although shoppers can place online orders for traditional plastic gift cards, they must be delivered like any other physical product.
Adding gift cards to your online store can be an effective way to expand your business in the short term. But can also provide a long-term foothold for your business as you look to scale with minimal upfront costs.
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7 ways gift cards benefit your online store
Instant electronic delivery is just one advantage of online gift cards for 2021, when supply chain headaches promise to thwart on-time arrival of packages in myriad ways. Digital gift cards are also worth adding to your online store (no matter the type of business) because:
01. They drive traffic to your site
Building a gift card landing page you promote across touchpoints and in PPC advertising can attract these shoppers to your brand. As a popular last-minute shopping item, you can capture high-intent shoppers if you cater to them during their search and purchasing moments, ultimately bringing them to your site.
02. They differentiate your brand
Retailers that offer digital gift cards can stand out from the competition, offering a convenient way to send presents during seasonal periods or important life events.
03. They boost sales and revenue—in more ways than one
Not only do gift card buyers spend money upfront, but recipients redeeming their presents tend to overspend by an average of $59, adding incrementally to the original purchase amount.
04. You win new customers
In addition to helping to convert new shoppers searching for gift cards, recipients are introduced to your company through increased brand awareness—a double win.
05. They make great loyalty rewards
Incentivize repeat customers to return by offering free gift cards above a threshold. The freebie can be given to someone on their gift list—or they can keep it to treat themselves.
06. The shipping cost is zero
Free shipping has long been the top discount or promotion shoppers seek, and online gift cards have the advantage of free electronic delivery. There are no added costs once shoppers pick the gift card denomination.
07. You avoid inventory costs–and stocking headaches
The opportunity to add a new product offering without adding upfront costs or complexities is a no-brainer, especially in a year when uncertainty reigns about physical inventory.
4 ways to promote digital gift cards
Marketing gift cards across touchpoints can maximize their benefits. Some possible promotional places to insert them are:
01. Throughout the eCommerce site
Building a comprehensive e-gift card product page is just the start; you should also promote and link to it throughout the online store, using global navigation, promotional spots such as website banners, category and index page headers, and featured listings in on-site search results.
02. In the cart and checkout
Toward the end of the path to purchase, reminders about gift card availability give shoppers a quick and easy way to cross another product off shopping lists.
03. In email marketing
Dedicated messages promoting digital gift card availability can highlight their convenience, flexibility, and lack of delivery costs and complications. Adding gift cards to the email headers or footers, as part of your larger eCommerce email marketing strategy throughout the season, puts them in easy reach with every message sent.
04. On social media
Not only can posts promote gift card availability, but post-holiday campaigns encouraging shoppers to show off their gift-card-funded hauls give customers a reason to re-engage.
Setting up gift cards on the Wix platform
Offering digital gift cards is easy using Wix eCommerce. Just follow these steps:
Enable gift cards - Your site’s dashboard now has a Gift Cards tab; click it and then select Add Gift Cards to Site. Doing so will automatically enable shoppers to enter gift card codes at checkout.
Customize the gift card product settings - On the Gift Cards tab, click “Edit Gift Card.” You can change the default image associated with gift cards, the denominations offered, the description, and the gift card product name.
Craft the perfect message to gift card recipients - When a digital gift card is purchased, the recipient instantly receives an email notification. To customize its style and content, visit the Notifications You Send settings in your dashboard and select “view and edit” for “Gift Card (to recipient).” You can completely customize the color scheme, style, and text content of the message.
Set up the gift card landing page - Navigate to the Editor, where you’ll find Gift Card listed in the Main pages menu. Click to edit the colors, style, and text of the page, as well as gift card details and the button style.
Publish your site - Launch the online gift card feature so it’s visible to shoppers.
Track and manage gift cards - From the Gift Cards tab, select “Gift Card Sales” to see a list of gift cards that have been purchased, their buyers, and their recipients. You can view details about each gift card and disable them if needed.
Unwrap the benefits of holiday gift cards
Gift cards were the number two most popular gift type holiday shoppers sought in 2020—only apparel ranked higher. Online gift cards are a popular choice for the holidays, but their advantages extend well before and beyond the peak season.
The flexibility and convenience of digital gift cards can drive sales without inventory worries or shipping costs—making for a standout shopping experience that delights new visitors and loyal brand followers alike. They're also a popular sales tactic for small business Black Friday deals.
eCommerce gift cards FAQ
What is an eCommerce gift card?
An eCommerce gift card, also known as an electronic gift card or e-gift card, is a digital version of a traditional gift card that can be used for online purchases. Instead of a physical card, an eCommerce gift card is typically delivered electronically via email or through an online platform.
How do eCommerce gift cards work?
Here's how an eCommerce gift card works:
The purchaser buys the gift card from an online retailer or an eCommerce website. They can choose the gift card's value, which may vary depending on the retailer's offerings.
Once the purchase is made, the eCommerce gift card is sent to the recipient via email or through a designated online platform. Some gift cards may also be available for instant delivery, making them convenient for last-minute gifts.
The recipient receives a unique gift card code or link, which they can use to redeem the value of the gift card during checkout on the retailer's website. The code is often entered in the designated "gift card" or "promo code" field during the payment process.
The recipient can use the gift card to make purchases on the retailer's website, up to the card's available balance. They may apply the gift card value towards the total cost of their order, and if the purchase amount exceeds the gift card balance, they can pay the remaining balance with other payment methods.
eCommerce gift cards may have expiration dates and usage restrictions, so it's essential for both the purchaser and the recipient to be aware of these terms.
Head of Outbound Marketing, Wix eCommerce
Bogar leads thought leadership and outbound marketing for Wix eCommerce. He has an extremely soft spot for all things eCommerce, retail, tech, content, and marketing.