Saturday, June 6, 2009

Gift Certificates for Your Etsy Shop

A Minnie Mae's Sample Gift Certificate

Can you believe that it's only about 4 months before holiday shopping gears up? It's never too early to start thinking of ways to snag some sales during that busy shopping season for your Etsy shop.

Gift Certificates are a great way for your customers to purchase something that they can use later, at their convenience, or even give those certificates to loved ones as gifts. Why not make gift giving easier all around!

The first step in developing a gift certificate is to determine how much you want the certificate to be for. In my personal opinion, depending on the price range of items in your Etsy shop, I would suggest at least two price ranges for those gift certificates. The amounts you choose would be entirely up to you.

Your next step would be to determine your state ordinances that govern gift certificates. In our state, (South Carolina) according to the Consumer's Union web site, gift certificates can not list expiration dates unless they are displayed on the front of the certificate. Expiration dates must be in all CAPS, and the font used to print the date in question must be in 10 point font. A seller would be permitted to charge a fee on the card but fee information must be clearly displayed on the certificate or any covering on the certificate.

The next step in developing your gift certificate for your Etsy shop is to read up on the rules and regulations that Etsy posts. You can find this information in this Storque article (special thanks to CurlyFry for supplying this link.) Etsy requires that all listings for gift certificates include the following sentence: "This Gift Certificate is valid only in my Etsy shop and is only redeemable here."

In addition to adding that very important sentence, you must clearly state the following on your certificate:

  1. The name of the certificate (ie: gift certificate, pre-paid gift certificate, etc)
  2. Your shop's full name
  3. Some form of code word/and or number would need to be supplied upon purchase of the gift certificate. This code would not need to be listed on the certificate but would need to be supplied to the purchaser so they would have the code for redeeming the actual certificate in the future. This code would need to be supplied to the purchaser of the gift certificate either by a convo, email, or paper copy. Etsy states to Not list the code in your listing.
  4. You will need to clearly state instructions on how the purchaser can redeem the certificate. Most people state that the code needs to be added in the "Notes to Seller" section upon checkout.
  5. Lastly, you would need to state the amount of money that the certificate is worth.
Etsy also points out that it is very important that you give the redeemer instructions on how you will handle overages or amounts left over out of the gift certificate. Some people may send a revised invoice to the redeemer if they spend over the amount listed on the gift certificate. Sometimes a gift certificate redeemer may spend all but a few cents or a dollar or two of their certificate amount. You will need to decide ahead of time, and list those situations in your listing and on the certificate if you choose to do so. Etsy also points out that it is very important that you keep good records as to if a gift certificate is redeemed. In my personal opinion, you would need to keep up with any money left on the certificate in all fairness to the customer. (It wouldn't be fair for someone to purchase a $20.00 certificate, spend $19.00, and loose the $1.00 left over). I would refund that person the $1.00 through Paypal or apply that amount towards the purchase of another item if the customer wanted. Some sellers might choose to state that amounts less than $1.00 left over from redeeming a gift certificate would be non-refundable. The choice would be yours in your particular situation.

Once you have all of your legal studying done to make sure you are complying with your particular state, you are ready to create!

Creating a simple gift certificate to list in your Etsy shop is quite easy if you have some form of publishing software. But don't dispare if you don't have any publishing software! There are ways to getting around that problem. Why not work with a photo of your shop banner or avatar? How about your favorite item listed in your shop?

The internet is full of free downloadable picture editing software that can do the trick just as well! Picasa for example, is a photo editing software but if you had a nice picture that you wanted for the background of your certificate, by all means, use that photo. Picasa will allow you to enter any text on the photo. You can resize and then upload the photo, which will then be your gift certificate, to your Etsy shop. Picasa can be downloaded for free here:

There are plenty more photo editing software choices available out there, but I only mentioned Picasa as I am somewhat familiar with it and have used it myself. Do a search online, I'm sure you will find a software program out there that is just right for you. Don't forget the obvious software solutions that may be already on your computer. Word, Works, or Publisher would all create nice gift certificates and have a wide array of photos and clip art that can be added to your certificate. Some of those programs mentioned, already have templates available for gift certificates to begin with- talk about easy!

Now that you have all of the legal aspects covered, ideas on where you can get or use the software needed to create a certificate, you are ready to create a unique certificate for your shop. Don't forget to size your creations to fit the upload to Etsy into your shop. Once you are done listing your new gift certificate, you can sit back and wait for that sale!

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