Tracking Gift Certificates For Your Small Business

Posted on March 22, 2011 by

Why you should keep track of gift certificates

If you’re planning to sell gift certificates for your small business, you need to think about tracking gift certificates (and if you’re not planning to, you should check our article on 6 Reasons Your Small Business Should Sell Gift Certificates).

If you’re a small business, chances are you don’t have an integrated gift card solution which can be quite costly. So, if you offer gift certificates to your customers, you need a way to track them. Let’s see why this is necessary:

  • you must prevent customers from frauding by reprinting a gift certificate, hence making your business lose money.
  • if you allow customers to redeem a partial amount of the gift certificate value, you need to know which amount is still available to redeem.
  • you also need to find out which gift certificates have been redeemed, if you want to evaluate the performance of your gift certificate program.
  • you may also be interested in getting more fine-grained knowledge about the gift certificate: when it was sold, which promotion it was part of, etc…

Gift certificate numbers

You need every gift certificate to have a unique, random certificate number. Indeed, to be able to identify a gift certificate, its serial number needs to be unique. A random number is also important in that it disallows people from reprinting a gift certificate and using a text formatting program, to change its serial number to make it look like a valid new one. Actually, in order to lessen the possibility of people guessing a valid code, you can also incorporate letters and other special characters in the serial number.

How to generate gift certificate codes and keep them in a gift certificate log

You can either use a random code generator software or generate the codes yourself. In any case, make sure you hold a registry of current gift certificates in use (also called gift certificate log). You can use Microsoft Excel or any spreadsheet program to keep this log. You need to make sure that customers cannot see such a list, as you don’t want to them to know valid gift certificate numbers. In this file, you may want to specify certificate serial number, issuing date, gift certificate value, redeemed amount, and any other information you find valuable to track, such as what promotion the gift certificate is part of, whether it was sold or given to the customer, etc…

This was a small introduction to help you start tracking gift certificates. Gift Certificate Factory provides gift certificate templates that you can print and sell to your customers.


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