Let’s be honest – if you run a B2C WooCommerce store and you don’t currently sell gift cards, this is the right time to get started.
If you do a quick Google search about “Gift Card Statistics”, you will probably notice a huge trend: gift card sales are on the rise (we’re talking billions), as well as the percentage of customers spending more money than the redeemed amount.
The good news is – you can enable gift cards with a simple click of a button or, alternatively, purchase a premium plugin to get a more efficient, automated, integrated system.
Either way, there is really no excuse: you should start selling gift cards (or “vouchers”) from today, or at least test it away. Sometimes – trust me – ecommerce marketing is pretty simple: see what works (specifically on Amazon and Alibaba), and copy it.
In this post we will analyze different solutions. We’ll see how to use a simple coupon code (oh yes, you can do that), as well as taking a look at the best free and paid plugins out there.
1. Free WooCommerce Workaround: Sell a Gift Card as a Downloadable Product
If you’re like me, you probably love workarounds. WooCommerce is so flexible that workarounds are not only possible – but they also work perfectly.
The first (free) way to enable the sale of a WooCommerce Voucher / Gift Card is to create a coupon code e.g. a $50 discount on the shopping cart. Go to WordPress dashboard > WooCommerce > Coupons > Add New:
Yes, you’ve just created a $50 gift card – just so you know 🙂
Now that you’ve decided the coupon code and the amount, use a graphic design software to create a good-looking gift card image. I love using Canva.com – they even have predefined “Gift certificate” templates for you to use (https://www.canva.com/templates/gift-certificates/):
Now download the image as PNG or JPG – you’ve now got a “downloadable product”! The last step is to create a new WooCommerce “downloadable” and “virtual” product, and then click on “Add file” to add the the gift certificate as download:
In this way, you’ve just enabled the sale of gift cards on your WooCommerce store. You don’t even need PHP, and can use this free method to run some marketing tests. Of course this option has its limitations, so let’s take a look at some plugin alternatives.
2. Free WooCommerce Gift Card Plugins
There are two gift card plugins available on WordPress.org, and this is a great starting point. The only major difference between the two is the average ratings: 3.6 vs 3.1 at the moment. As usual, I always recommend to go beyond the average rating and consider the speed and level of support, the size of the support team, the options and – last but not least – the quality of the plugin code.
a. WooCommerce Gift Card Plugin by WP Ronin (free)
The plugin can be downloaded for free at https://wordpress.org/plugins/gift-cards-for-woocommerce/
This free plugin adds a “Gift Card” custom post type to your WooCommerce store. Each gift card sold has its unique code and can then be used by the recipient as a coupon code in the checkout.
To create a gift card, you simply need to add a new simple product and tick the “Gift Card” checkbox. Add an image and the product is ready to be sold.
The plugin also adds new fields to the single product page:
b. WooCommerce Gift Card Plugin by YITH (free)
The plugin can be downloaded for free at https://wordpress.org/plugins/yith-woocommerce-gift-cards/
Unlike the previous plugin, YITH creates a new “product type”. Instead of simple / variable, you can select “Gift card”:
The great benefit is that you can add multiple gift card amounts within a single product, similar to a variable product with options:
With the gift card purchases enabled, YITH changes the default WooCommerce checkout by renaming the “Have a coupon?” field into “Do you have a coupon or gift card?”:
Testing free plugins costs nothing, so this is your chance to implement this on your test/development website and see if this works for you (and your customers).
3. Premium WooCommerce Gift Card Plugins
The great thing about the free plugins available on WordPress.org is that you can test them out without having to buy the premium version.
Once you’ve found that the free plugin works and suits you, you might want to investigate if it’s worth investing into a proper “gift card engine”. The ROI is potentially very high.
It’s quite impossible to cover all the options, so let’s stick to the most reliable plugin developers out there: WooCommerce.com and YITH.
a. WooCommerce Gift Card Plugin by YITH (premium)
This is the premium version of the free plugin we mentioned earlier. YITH WooCommerce Gift Card Plugin can be purchased on YITH website as a standalone product, or you can join the YITH Club and for an affordable annual subscription you can use all their WooCommerce plugins on up to 30 sites.
The plugin page on YITH is very detailed, so I won’t spend too much time copying their content.
What really stands out, in my view, are the following features:
- User can enter their own Gift Card amount
- Admin can verify if the recipient received the coupon via email
- Admin can customize the email template
- User can add a custom message
- User can delay the gift card delivery on a custom date
- User can select multiple recipients
- User can edit the gift card via the My Account page
- And so on…
And here are a couple of nice screenshots:
When considering the purchase of a premium plugin, support is something I value a lot. And YITH support is fast, skilled and have a team of 30+ developers.
Besides, their plugins are constantly updated to keep up with WooCommerce and they’re usually quite happy to accommodate your customization requests.
b. WooCommerce Smart Coupons by WooCommerce (premium)
The official WooCommerce plugin is not called “Gift Cards” – this is due to the fact this is an all-in-one solution. However, as all multi-purpose plugins, it might not be entirely focused on gift card sales.
Smart Coupons allows customers to buy credits for themselves or buy them as a gift. It automatically issues coupons on product purchase, provides “Apply Coupon with One Click” technology and more. It won’t use images in this case, instead the recipient email gets a unique code that can be used at checkout.
In section #15 and #16 of the official Smart Coupons plugin documentation, WooCommerce describes the “workaround” to create Gift Card products after setting up a coupon via the dashboard:
I strongly suggest to contact the WooCommerce pre-sales team and read the documentation before buying – both will be extremely useful and there is no doubt WooCommerce would be very happy to help you.
c. Other WooCommerce Gift Card Premium Plugins
There are many more gift card plugins available on the internet for purchase. Each one is different, has its pros and cons, has its good or bad support and its own features.
I’ve only tested the YITH and WooCommerce official plugins described above so I can’t be of any help.