Friday , 24 October 2014
It took me many hours to figure out how to make gift certificates work through Etsy. I’d like to be able to offer my customers gift certificates, but how to do that? Here’s what I discovered after combing through the Etsy forums and looking at examples of other sellers.

Etsy Gift Certificate Guide – 3 Methods

Etsy Gift Certificate Guide

Gift Certificate - a Sharee Design
It took me many hours to figure out how to make gift certificates work through Etsy. I’d like to be able to offer my customers gift certificates, but how to do that?

Here’s what I discovered after combing through the Etsy forums and looking at examples of other sellers.

Creating the certificate wasn’t the hard part. I created mine using Microsoft Publisher and then saved as a .jpg file. The hard part was figuring out how the gift recipient would redeem the certificate and my policies regarding use of the gift certificate.

Method 1

Have the gift recipient shop as usual and check out as usual, but include a “Note to seller” with the gift certificate number indicated. I would then back out the gift certificate portion of their payment via Paypal essentially giving them a refund in the amount of the gift certificate.

This method seemed very clunky, non-professional, and requires a whole lot of trust on the part of the buyer.

Method 2

Have the gift recipient shop as usual and then send me a convo indicating what they would like to buy including their gift certificate number. I would then create a custom listing for the purchaser adjusting for the gift certificate.

This method also seems clunky and time consuming for everyone. Meanwhile, someone could buy that item out from under the gift certificate recipient prior to me pulling the listing to revise into a custom order. Not cool.

Method 3

Change your shop payment options to include “Other” option. At checkout the gift certificate recipient chooses “Other” and then waits for me to send a revised invoice prior to completing the order. Once I send the invoice, they can pay the remaining amount if they went over the gift certificate amount.

This method seems cleanest. The forums, however, show that when you have “Other” as a payment option, regular customers will click that attempting to pay with a credit card or something, only to be hung up and unable to choose another option after they click it. So this method can introduce a whole new realm of headache for you.

My Conclusion

I opted to go with Method 3 for this first go around. Take a look at my gift certificate listing to see how I set it up. Be sure to think ahead about how you will track certificate amounts (if someone only uses part of the amount, you need to keep track of what is remaining). Also think about expiration dates, if any. You will do your own thing and I’d love to hear how you decided to manage it in your shop.

Oh, and another thing. You will be charged twice from Etsy. You will be charged for the gift certificate purchase and then again charged when the recipient redeems the certificate in your shop. For instance, if someone buys my $50 gift certificate, I pay Etsy 3.5% of that sale. Then when the $50 is later spent
elsewhere in my shop, I pay the normal 3.5% of that sale, too. Is it worth it? I think so, but what do you  think?

Find me at www.aShareeDesign.etsy.com
Or check out my blog at www.aShareeDesign.blogspot.comblog ad1

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10 comments

  1. Recently had to check this out and as you say – it just seemed so clumsy that I opted for a coupon code which is far less pretty of course.
    Etsy !!! Anyone listening ??

  2. I also offer gift certificates in my shop http://HoneysHive.etsy.com I do the third option. So far in a year I’ve only had 1 person click on “other” for payment when they wanted to pay via paypal. I just sent them a money request via paypal instead to get the payment, so it wasn’t a huge deal. I think it’s worth it to provide gift certificates even though we have to pay etsy twice. Just make sure you have enough wiggle room in your pricing that it won’t be eating too much out of your profits!

  3. The cleanest option for me was to offer them via Paypal. You can put a link on your facebook page, website and/or blog for customers to purchase the gift certificate. This eliminates one of the 3.5% Etsy charges. Paypal handles the gift certificate for you and when a buyer goes to pay, they pay via Paypal with their gift certificate code. Then they are prompted to pay whatever balance is left. I have a VERY high percentage of customers who are confused by the ‘other’ form of Payment on Etsy and end up never paying at all. It requires a lot of time to communicate with those customers, so it’s easier for me to not have ‘other’ as a form of payment at all!

  4. I really dont like paying Etsy twice to offer GCs, and the hassle is just really not worth it. I offer all my gift certificates now through ArtFire, as they are all set up to do it with their coupon codes AND they dont charge a final value fee:)

  5. Karla, I also have an ArtFire store. I think I will do what you do and bypass Etsy regarding gift certificates.

  6. Thanks so much for this very helpful article! I really appreciate you sharing the advice.

  7. Wow, thanks so much for this article! It really made sense. I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this for about an hour, so you’re a real life-saver :)

  8. ETSY IS DOUBLE DIPPING, WHEN IT COMES TO GIFT CERTIFICATES….THEY GET A FEE FOR SALE OF CERTIFICATE AND THEN TAKE ANOTHER FEE ONCE CERTIFICATE IS REDEEEMED

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