Gift Certificates

UltraCart's Gift Certificate function provides merchants with the ability to create and sell gift certificates, as both an item gift certificates that can be sold or an on demand gift certificates that merchants can create when needed.

Multi-page checkout required

The gift certificate redemption field, where the customer enters their gift certificate code during the checkout process, appears only on the multi-page checkout and is not compatible with the single page checkout.


Creating an on demand Gift Certificate

Often times merchants present their goods at trade shows, exhibits, etc. This is an ideal place to provide customers with gift certificates. Hence, UltraCart provides a method to create "on demand" gift certificates. To begin, navigate to the Gift Certificate screen:


At this screen you basically will be creating a Gift Certificate code to give to the customer to use when they purchase your product. Some Merchants create pre-printed cards to write the code on before presenting them to the prospective customer.

Any existing give certificate, either store item or on demand, will be listed on this screen. If there are no gifts certificates, you will be presented with the familiar "no gift certificates exist" notice.

Use the "Filter Certificates" button to filter by:

  • gift certificate code
  • purchased amount of gift certificate
  • by remaining amount

Use the "Hide Expired" toggle button to hide/show expired gift certificate codes.


To create a gift certificate, click the "New" button. The New Gift Certificate screen will appear.

There are only 3 fields to complete to create an On Demand Certificate; Amount, Quantity, and Expiration date.

Field Name

Description

Amount

This is the total amount that can be used on the gift certificate.

Quantity

This is the number of certificates you would like to create at the set amount.

Expiration (MM/DD/YYYY)

This is the date that the gift certificates will become unusable.


The New Gift Certificate screen shows the randomly generated codes in the exact quantity you specified. Although you can view and manage the certificates later within UltraCart, you should consider copying this list into a separate document so you can easily keep track of those you have issued to customers.

Creating a store item Gift Certificate

The first step is to create a store item called "Gift Certificate". You can use any name for this item but Gift Certificate seems most appropriate. Navigate to:

Click on the "New Item" link at the top of the screen. This will bring up the familiar Item Editor. Enter the Item ID (in this case we use Gift Certificate). Some merchants may offer more than one certificate. Insure that the Item ID is unique for each certificate.

There are typically only 6 fields of major concern when creating your Gift Certificate Item. They are: Item ID, Description, Cost, Weight, Minimum Quantity, Gift Certificate, and Expiration. See Chapter 6, page , for more information on the Item Editor and creating items. The following is a sample Gift Certificate as it appears in the Item Editor.

The most important of these fields is the Cost field. This is where you determine and set the value of the Gift Certificate. For example, if you are selling a Gift Certificate on your store for $50.00, you simply enter 50.00 into the cost field for the Gift Certificate store item. The Weight field is only necessary where a merchant wants to send an actual Gift Certificate upon purchase. Specifying at least .25 lb. will cause the "shipping address" to be a required field at checkout which will insure that you obtain an address to deliver the certificate to.

Gift Certificate Value Options

Customer Selected Values:

You can configure your Gift Certificate to allow the customer to select the amount (value) of the Gift Certificate at Checkout. You can configure this by adding and item option to be a drop-down list of the amounts. (see Item Options for more details on creating thew drop down list)

Allow Customer To Enter the Gift Amount:

You can customize the "buy form" code to provide the customer to enter in the amount of the gift certificate they are purchasing:

Gift Certificate Buy Form Code
<form method="POST" action="http://secure.ultracart.com/cgi-bin/UCEditor">
  <input type="hidden" name="merchantId" value="DEMO" />
  <input type="hidden" name="add" value="GiftCertificate" />
  <table>
    <tr>
      <td>Choose Gift Certificate Amount (Min$ 10.00 - Max $1000.00)</td>
      <td>
        <input type="text" name="ArbitraryUnitCost" value="50.00" />
      </td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
      <td />
      <td>
        <input type="submit" name="submit" value="Add to Cart" />
      </td>
    </tr>
  </table>
</form> 

The example code makes a couple of assumptions:

Line 2 defines the UltraCart account as DEMO, so change that value to your own UC MerchantID:

  • <input type="hidden" name="merchantId" value="DEMO" />"

Line 3 defines the ItemID of the Gift Certificate item:

  • <input type="hidden" name="add" value="GiftCertificate" />

Line 7 defines the gift amount using the "Arbitrary Unit Cost" setting located on the "Other" tab of the item editor. This must be enabled for this to work:

  • <input type="text" name="ArbitraryUnitCost" value="50.00" />

Regardless of the method for creating your gift certificate(s), it's important to know that you are basically creating random codes that customers will enter during checkout. There is no physical certificate created. If you want to issue a physical Gift Card showing the certificate code to be used during checkout, it's up to the merchant to create it.


Applying Gift Certificate Code During Customer Checkout

Multi-page checkout required

The gift certificate redemption field, where the customer enters their gift certificate code during the checkout process. appears only on the multi-page checkout and is not compatible with the single page checkout.

A customer that has a gift certificate to use to pay for part or all of their purchase, will proceed to checkout by clicking the checkout button on the shopping cart page. The customer will continue through the checkout process, filling out the shipping or billing address address details first (depending on whether or not the orders is a shipable or billing only order) then on the "options" screen of the screen branding the gift certificate redemption field will appear (if one or more unexpired gift certificates are configured in the account. if no redeemable gift certificates are configured, the gift certificate field will not appear in the page.

Managing Gift Certificates

Once the Gift Certificate is activated (purchased) you can manage it from your UltraCart store. Navigate to:

The Gift Certificate screen will list the following data for each of your certificates: Code, Amount, Remaining (amount) and Expiration (date).

The Code field is the auto-generated code that was assigned when the certificate is purchased (store item method) or created (on demand method). The Amount field indicates the value of the Certificate. The Remaining field indicates the balance available (in the case where the customer purchased an item valued less than the value of the certificate). The Expiration field is the date that you initially set for the certificate to expire.

Certificate Deletion

To delete a certificate, click on the "delete" button to the right of the listing.

You will not be prompted with an "are you sure" question. This action is not undoable.

Certificate Editing

To make changes to the certificate, click on the "edit" button to the right of the listing. The Edit Gift Certificate screen will appear.

Field Name

Description

Code

is the auto-generated code that was assigned when the certificate is purchased (store item method) or created (on demand method).

Original Balance

indicates the value of the Certificate.

Remaining Balance

indicates the balance available (in the case where the customer purchased an item valued less than the value of the certificate).

Expiration

is the date that you initially set for the certificate to expire.

Email

If this certificate is sold as an item the customer email will be provided in this field.

Order ID

If this certificate is sold as an item the Order ID that it was purchased on will be provided here.

The only items you can change in an existing certificate are the Expiration Date, and Email (address of purchaser). Click the "Save" button to save your edits.

You can temporarily "suspend" a Gift Certificate by removing the check in the box to the right of the "Activated" field. To re-activate, place the check mark back into the box. Click the "Save" button to save your edits.

You can also delete a Gift Certificate (not advisable) by placing a check in the box to the right of the "Deleted" field.

This feature is not "undoable" and you will not see a warning dialog box.

Certificate Ledger

This section of the Certificate Editing Screen gives you a "line-by-line" accounting recorded as each transaction is made. In our example below, you'll see the three entries, the certificate purchase, a customer's store purchase and a New Ledger Entry. Note that the ledger keeps a running balance of the certificates value.

Certificate Ledger Entry

A Merchant can make an entry to the ledger at anytime using this feature. This gives you the opportunity to update the ledger with a single credit or debit entry. Enter a short description for the entry in the Description field. Enter the amount in the amount field. Make certain that you enter a negative number for a debit. Click the "New Ledger Entry" button when finished.


Related resources:

Gift Certificate Template for Microsoft Word: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/gift-certificate-TC010357047.aspx

Using the template referenced above, you could create a gift certificate for your store and then configure it to the gift certificate item as a digital download file, so that the customer could print it out and write the gift certificate code onto to to give the recipient a physical gift certificate (although they will really need is the code itself to use during the checkout process in order to redeem the gift certificate.


Tutorial: How to record an in-store usage of a gift certificate