Does anyone provide gift certificates? I have a steady customer who would like to purchase gift certificates for the holidays... I am thinking it should be for the $ amount and specify placing the order 2 weeks in advance? I suppose an expiration date also? Do any of you have an example? Maybe it isn't worth the trouble?
I think gift certificates would be a great thing. I'd definately put an expiration date, time frame of notice required, and dollar amount. You could probably print one up from an online template or maybe even a greeting card sort of program if you have one.
I did a gift certificate for a charity auction. I definitely put restrictions on it. I needed 3 weeks notice, the cake was for a certain size, and they got to select the flavor and theme. I decide the final design. Anything over the price of the GC and they have to pay the difference.
You can restrict what you will do, -advance notice, but the expiration date cannot be legally enforced. And if you try, it is very bad advertising
Be very specific about what you offer or describe with the certificate will buy. I have even included a pencil drawing of the 'offer'.
Each state has legal restrictions about gift certificates. Here's a quick rundown:
It's best to check with your state gov't about what you can/can't do with them before you issue.
You need to check on the laws in your state. Some states prohibit the use of expiration dates on plastic gift cards but allow them on paper gift certificates.
I believe we're dealing with a generational gap. The web site you are referring to is about GIFT CARDS. For the edification of you young'uns, a gift certificate is a piece of paper given for a dollar amount. The fancy ones came with all the information printed on it. The usual ones were generic with blank spaces that were filled out in ink by the business. If a place was especially businesslike, they would type the information in the blanks while you waited. To be honest, I can't remember the last time I saw a gift certificate.
I use gift certificates pretty often.
I do specify:
an exact dollar amount.
an expiration date, generally 1 year from purchase
(but, I will extend if I'm busy or am just a little lazy).
if the total is more than the GC amount, they are responsible for the balance remaining due.
a definite lead time of 2 weeks notice.
a description of goods available. (cake, cookies, cupcakes, candies).
It works well, with no real complaints.
I print my own, from my computer, I do have some special GC size bordered paper that I use sometimes.
Thanks! Not sure what I will do yet..
I do gift certificates as basically a $$ off coupon. So a $25 or $50 G.C. I use a greeting card program and make it look nice. Date the G.C., and make sure you sign or initial the original (so no one can copy it), and log it into a record book of some sort, so that when they use it, you can mark that down (again, so no one is copying it and reusing it).
I stamp them w/ my biz info, so that they can easily find my phone number when they are ready to order and also my website for product info.
I think that if you're going to use them, don't be very limiting, except your usual limitations. So, in my case, I put a little sentence or two about ordering at least 3 days in advance, and there's no guarantee that a date is available, etc. I don't put an expiration date on them, because I just think that's rude. Why do I care when they use it?
Check out giftandgo.com , for free templates. They have lots of colors and you can add your info and logo before printing.
From a business standpoint, I've read that issuing gift certificates are a good way to raise some cash flow. Sell $2500 in gift certificates during your slow season and you have the cash you need. Most will be redeemed during a peak season, when your cash flow is better so you won't notice or mind the "freebie" you're doing. AND .... there is a percentage of folks who will lose them, forget about them and just not redeem them.
Actually the article suggested selling certificates at discounted prices .... Buy $50 in certificates for $40 or $45. Customer gets a "bargain", you get the cash flow.
For the record, I've not tried this one. Just sharing some info in an articles I read.
Personally, and this is just my opinion, I don't like them. I want the power to be able to say no, I'm just to busy. And, that happens a WHOLE lot during wedding season. I would feel pressured into squeezing that cake into an already hectic time.
I just don't do them for that reason. I would feel terrible if I had to say no more than once for a cert.
Actually, there are stores that still use paper gift certificates, just not the big chain stores. But the small, independently owned local businesses still use them. And every one I've ever gotten has had an expiration date.
I have sold gift certificates before, and haven't really had a problem. I would specify a dollar amount, how much notice is required. I don't know about the espiration date. I put one on them because I knew I was going to be moving soon and the purchaser had intended for them to be used for the holidays. In my case, they were being bought by an organization as Christmas "Thank You" gifts for their board, and the person buying them actually provided the blank forms for me to use that had a spot for an expiration date.
I probably wouldn't really advertise and promote selling gift certificates, because I wouldn't want a bunch of them floating around out there, and possible having too many redeemed at bad times, but if a customer specifially requested one, I'd do it. You can just write one up on the computer. It doeson't need to be anything fancy.