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eGift cards guide: How to buy, sell, and use them

Editorial Team

5 min read
Cashier scanning eGift card on mobile

Electronic gift cards (eGift cards) offer many of the same benefits as their physical counterparts. In both cases:

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  • Customers can buy cards and send them to friends and family members
  • Recipients can shop at your business and redeem the face value of the card when checking out

However, there are important differences in how physical cards and eGift cards work. Before offering either option at your business, it is important that you understand the relative pros and cons of each.

So, what is an eGift card – and how is it different from a traditional gift card? The main difference between these payment options is that customers can buy and share eGift cards digitally. By contrast, traditional gift cards require physical materials and they often involve direct contact among merchants, givers, and recipients. eGift cards can usually be redeemed in-store as well as online, and vice versa for physical gift cards.

How do merchants benefit from using eGift cards?

Below are just some of the potential advantages of offering electronic gift cards at your business:

1. Generate more sales

The most obvious benefit of using electronic gift cards is that you introduce a new way to sell your goods and services. In fact, you are technically making a sale right away – without giving up any inventory or services at the moment.

2. Expand your market

Both physical and electronic gift cards provide a way to reach new customers.  Your customers may be introducing your brand to new people who have not patronized your business before.

3. Engage with customers

Electronic gift cards help create another avenue through which to connect with customers (old and new). In fact, Clover digital gift card technology integrates seamlessly with most sales and CRM platforms. Not only does automated reporting save you valuable time, but it also makes it easier to launch and manage loyalty programs that could help drive even more sales in the future.

What kinds of merchants should use digital gift cards?

If you sell directly to consumers – instead of to other businesses – it could be worth learning how to use eGift cards in your operations. However, some business models are a better fit for this payment option than others.

1. Physical retailers

Gift cards are incredibly common in the retail sector, with most customers already knowing how to buy gift cards from their favorite brands. If you also manage a retail store, adding eGift cards is a great way to generate more sales.

2. eCommerce retailers

Are you an online retailer looking to improve the eCommerce shopping experience for your customers? Add the ability to redeem digital gift cards during checkout. You should also add an extra sales page so that customers know how to buy gift cards online for their friends and family members.

3. Full-service restaurants (FSRs)

Do you have loyal customers who come back to your restaurant week after week? Imagine how much more business you could generate if those patrons shared their experiences with others. Adding eGift card options may allow you to expand your reach and wow entirely new customers with your delicious meals.

4. Quick-service restaurants (QSRs)

Gift cards aren’t just for full-service restaurants. Many fast food and fast casual eating establishments have also started offering this payment option to their patrons. It would be well worth your time considering how many more sales you could start generating by adding electronic gift cards to your QSR.

5. Service providers

From massage therapists to hairstylists to landscapers, there are many services that lend themselves to electronic gift cards. If your business is one that could benefit from more “word-of-mouth” advertising, offering eGift cards may be an easy (and profitable) way to promote your services to new clients.

How customers can buy, share, and redeem gift cards

With traditional physical gift cards, customers would normally have to visit your business in-person to pick up a physical piece of plastic. Then, they have to hand-deliver or mail that gift card to the intended recipient. Some gift givers like the personal touch of actually giving a physical gift card to a recipient rather than sending an email. In this instance, some retailers and service providers also offer the option to purchase a physical gift card online that can be mailed or delivered to the recipient.

At Clover, we support physical gift cards – complete with branding options and easy account management. However, our digital gift cards offer several important advantages to your customers:

  • Once a customer knows how to buy an eGift card online, he or she can purchase the gift card quickly and easily from the comfort of their homes.
  • Once a customer knows how to send a gift card online, he or she can share that gift with friends or family members via email, text, or app.
  • Once a customer receives an electronic gift card, he or she has the option to redeem the card remotely (for online shopping) or in-person (for in-store shopping). Either way, the balance is updated automatically and electronically on both sides of the transaction. As a merchant, you benefit from easier account management, and the customer enjoys a more seamless shopping experience.

This convenience is hard to beat – especially when making last-minute purchases around busy holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Christmas. Gift cards are also a great way to celebrate special occasions like anniversaries, birthdays, and graduations. They allow the receivers to indulge themselves.

Ready to add eGift cards to your business?

At Clover, we specialize in the full spectrum of gift card tools – complete automated account management and seamless integration with all Clover POS devices and software. In addition, you can expand our gift card technology with any number of apps from the Clover App Market. Whether you choose to design custom digital gift cards, physical cards, or both, we offer a complete suite of customization tools to help ensure that your cards truly reflect your brand.

To learn more, schedule a free consultation with our merchant services team or visit our dedicated gift card page today.

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