How to promote gift cards on your Shopify store

The gift card industry is growing - sales continue to boom, and customers want them more and more. Rather than just being a “nice to have”, gift cards are becoming a major strategic element for ecommerce stores. They can play a pivotal role in improving customer experience, and boosting sales during key periods.

You only need to look at the numbers to see why gift cards are becoming so popular with merchants:

  • The number of digital gift cards sold by US retailers in November 2020 increased 25% YOY, and 106% YOY in December.
  • 55% of consumers’ yearly gifting budget will be spent on gift cards. 
  • 33% will spend more on a gift card than on a physical gift.
  • On average, a customer will spend $59 more than the value of a gift card.

Beyond the hard figures, gift cards solve a number of problems for both merchants and customers. If for example a merchant runs into inventory issues during key periods such as Black Friday and the holidays, gift cards can be a sales lifeline. As for customers, they act a vital option when they don’t know what to buy, or when they’re running out of time and need a great gift at the last minute.

Perhaps recently, you’ve also taken notice of these trends and benefits, and have decided to put a bigger strategic effort behind your gift card offering. Maybe you’ve recently installed Govalo into your Shopify store, and you’re ready to shine the spotlight on your new and improved gift cards. The question do you begin?

We’ve got a few ideas to help you make the most of your gift cards and promote them to your customers. 

#1 - Add gift cards to your main navigation

First and foremost - if you want to draw attention to your gift cards, there’s no better way than to include them in your main navigation.


Felix Grey Primary Nav

This immediately puts them in the spotlight, and gives really easy access to any customers who are looking to quickly buy a gift card without searching through your catalog. It also means that the option for a gift card will follow them as they explore your store, so if they aren’t immediately looking for a gift card but find they’re a bit overwhelmed trying to pick out a catalog item, they can easily navigate to that page to buy one. 

As for how to add it to your navigation, here’s a really quick guide:

  1. From Shopify store admin, select "Online Store", then "Navigation".

  2. Some stores have just one layer of nav, some stores have menus with nav links inside of those. Go to wherever you want to add the nav link for the gift card, and select "Add Menu Item"

Add menu item in Shopify

  1. Add the name for your gift card product as you want it to display in the Nav under "Name”.

  2. To link the nav item to your gift card product, click within the Link area and select Products. This will open a sub-menu of products, from which you can select the Gift Card. (NOTE: If there are other or previously existing Gift Card products in the store, be sure the correct one is selected.)

  3. Alternatively, you can paste the product URL into the Link area - this URL can be found in Products > Govalo Gift Card, or whatever you have named the gift card. 

Add link to menu item in Shopify

Your main navigation is the most visible location on your store - it’s at the top of every page whether they’re reading a blog or browsing your catalog. Including your gift card here will give it the best chance at catching your customers’ attention.

#2 - Create a hero image for your homepage

While your navigation is the most visible location on your store, your homepage will likely be the page with the highest traffic. As a primary landing page, it’s prime real estate for promoting anything from sales to new products to exactly what we’re talking about now - gift cards.

That’s why it can be a good idea to include gift cards as a hero image on your homepage. 

40 Boxes - Gift card hero image example

Adding a hero image can vary slightly store to store, but here’s generally how you would add one:

  1. Go to Shopify Admin > Online Store > Themes > select "Customize" on the theme you wish to edit.

  2. Some themes have a single hero banner, many are slideshows. For either setup, there should be a section that can be selected from the left side settings that controls the hero/slides. If slides are supported, a new slide can be created for Gift Cards, or an existing one can be edited.

    Hero image addition

  3. Once you have selected the banner/slide you want to link to the gift card page, there should be settings for the Button on that slide. The button will not show until Label text has been provided - hitting 'Save' may also be necessary before it shows. As with adding the link to the main navigation, use the same options to add it to the hero image - Products>Gift Card or inserting the URL.

    Note - Some themes may not have these settings, in this instance you may want to check with your development team.

It’s worth noting here that with hero images, less is more when it comes to effectiveness. Too many slides can mean less attention is drawn to each slide, and worse still it can impact your homepage’s site speed which can affect SEO and customer experience. Clickthrough rate goes down the more slides there are, due to the nature of how users interact with homepages and hero slides. Therefore limiting the number of images you use can be beneficial and in general they’re great for visibility so consider swapping out your main hero image for one promoting gift cards during key sales periods such as the holidays.

#3 - Customize the gift card’s product page

So you’ve got the gift card in your main navigation, you’ve added a hero image to catch the eye of all those homepage visitors - how does the gift card product page look? As with any other product, once a customer lands on the product page that’s what will help seal the deal in purchasing one.

If you’re using Govalo, then when it has been properly installed to a store and the onboarding process is complete, the gift card should automatically appear in the store’s products under Shopify Admin > Products > All Products. This is where you’ll be able to edit the product title as you choose, as well as the description and gift card quantities. 

Before we get into content, let’s get technical. You first need to make sure the gift card will show in your store, which can be done easily by setting the product status to Active from Draft.

Adding content to PDP

Now onto content and variants. The
name should be something straightforward that makes sense to your customers - avoid using language that deviates too far from “gift card” or “gift voucher”. Save branded and colloquial language for the product description.

The description should be fairly succinct, offering why a customer may choose to purchase a gift card. For example if they’re looking for a gift, if they’re not sure what to buy, if the product they planned to buy is out of stock, or if they need something last-minute. Include any other details they may want to know such as the ability to schedule sending the card, how the gift card is delivered and links to any further information they may find useful. If you have a physical retail store, clarify whether or not gift cards can be used both online and in-store. 

Variants will depend on what your typical price point is, and average order values. You should include a variety of price points equal to your products - so for example if your cheapest product is $100 then it doesn’t make a lot of sense to increase in increments of $5 as it won’t go particularly far in a single order. Averages should be taken from the average of your lowest value pool of orders, highest value orders, and overall average. These figures will give you a good idea of what customers typically spend, and therefore what values of gift card you should offer. 

Finally, let’s talk about SEO. You can customize the SEO options on your gift card product page as you would any other Shopify product page.

Editing SEO in Shopify

You can tailor these options to suit your store’s wider SEO strategy, while also following best practices. Shopify’s SEO is inherently great for merchants, designed with ecommerce in mind. As Govalo gift cards are treated the same as any other product in your Shopify store, this gives it a big boost in SEO with these additional configuration and customization options. This will be a key part of promoting your gift cards, as it’ll make discoverability that much easier for search users.

#4 - Use gift cards in email marketing 

Emails are your best method of directly communicating with those most engaged with your brand. They’re either customers, email subscribers, or people who have previously browsed your store. Therefore they have a higher level of interest in your brand, your products, and promotions. 

House of Wise - gift card email example

There are two distinct ways you want to use email marketing for gift cards. The first is in promoting the gift cards to customers yet to buy one, and the second is communicating with gift card recipients. 

Marketing gift cards

Before you can start sending emails to recipients, customers need to first buy a gift card. This can be tricky to balance alongside your usual email marketing campaigns, as you want to strike a balance of just the right number of marketing messages so they stand out in customers’ inboxes. Start with an email letting customers know about your new gift cards - any extra features they can use, as well as why they may want to purchase a gift card. From there, you want to weave them into the rest of your marketing campaigns.

Promote close to key sales periods

Promoting gift cards requires you to consider why a customer may purchase a gift card. During the majority of the year, there will be gifting opportunities for individual customers such as birthdays, house warmings, life events etc. but you can’t always send emails about gift cards just in case. Therefore it makes sense to focus your gift card marketing efforts on your key sales periods throughout the year that typically involve gifting. That may be holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas, etc. As you get close to these holidays, promote gift cards in emails with gift ideas and recommendations as an option. Then as you start to close in on the days close to the holiday itself when shipping won’t be possible, send campaigns about gift cards making a great last-minute gift option. 

Add to Browse/Cart Abandonment flows

You can’t always determine why a customer abandons their cart, or browses your store without adding anything to their cart. That’s why it can help to add gift cards to your automated flows. This can be as simple as including a link and brief description to existing emails around abandonment. As above with key sales periods, consider making it more visible in automated emails and even adding an email into the flow specifically about gift cards as a sort of “Looking for the perfect gift? Why not send a gift card?”. 

Existing gift card orders

Your capabilities with email marketing go beyond just promoting gift cards as an option. As Govalo integrates with Klaviyo and Omnisend, there are plenty of ways you can do more with gift cards to further engage those who have purchased or received a gift card. 

Recommendations for gift card recipients

While a customer may buy a gift card as they’re not sure what to buy, the same may be true for the recipient. Whether they’re new to your brand or a loyal customer, it can be helpful to include some product recommendations in your automated gift card emails. Include your best-sellers as well as any new products you want to promote, as well helpful links to catalog pages.

Gift card use reminder

While the majority of gift card recipients use their cards soon after receiving them, there are plenty of people who forget completely. Especially if the gift card is digital, it can become buried under a mountain of other emails and marketing materials between the time they receive it and when they actually want to use it. Therefore it’s important to send automated reminder emails when a user has remaining balance on their card after a certain amount of time. This will be great for your customer experience also, as you’re not only helping the customer find the gift card but you’re not simply allowing them to forget to use the balance.

There are plenty more ways to use email with gift cards, including utilizing segmentation and different types of automated flows to tailor content and recommendations.

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