How to keep track of gift certificates
Why you should keep track of gift certificates
If you are a small business and you are giving / selling gift certificates (also called gift vouchers) to your customers, you probably don’t have an integrated gift card solution which can be quite expensive.
So if you’re offering gift certificates to your customers, you need a way to keep track of them, mostly for fraud and accounting reasons. Let’s see why this is necessary:
- You should prevent customers from committing fraud by reprinting a gift voucher, which will cause your business to lose money.
- If you allow customers to redeem a partial amount of the value of the certificate, you need to know how much is still available for redemption.
- You should also find out which certificates have been redeemed if you want to evaluate the performance of your certificate program.
- You may also be interested in obtaining more detailed knowledge about the gift voucher: when was it sold, what promotion was it part of, etc.
Track gift certificates using a manual code
In this tracking system, you need each certificate to have a unique and random certificate number. In fact, in order to identify a certificate, its serial number must be unique. A random number is also important because it does not allow people to reprint a certificate and use a text formatting program to change its serial number to look like a valid new one. Actually, to reduce the chance 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
You can use random code generator software or generate the codes yourself. In either case, make sure you have a record of the current certificates in use. You can use Microsoft Excel or any spreadsheet program to maintain such a list. You must ensure that clients cannot see such a list as you do not want them to know the valid certificate numbers. In this file, you may want to specify the certificate’s serial number, issue date, certificate value, amount redeemed, and any other information you find valuable to track, such as the promotion the certificate is a part of, whether it was sold or delivered to the customer, etc …
An easier option: generate barcodes for gift vouchers
For an easier, more automated way to track gift vouchers, you can print a barcode on each gift voucher to seamlessly integrate with your point of sale software. Contact your POS software vendor to see if they can provide such integration.