Gift Certificates

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Setting Up Gift Certificates (or Gift Vouchers)

When you installed Zencart, you may have elected to do the install INCLUSIVE of the DEMO data - in which case, a category for GIFT CERTIFICATES would have been set up for you.

So, for those of you who have the DEMO category for Gift Certificates on your dbase, it's just a question of modifying (or inserting) products, with the correct definitions for Gift Certificates. (But read on... as there are a couple of important settings involved.)

If you DID NOT do your initial install inclusive of the DEMO data, then you will have to create a new category in which to house your Gift Certificates.

The most important things to remember are:-


Gift Certificates / Vouchers "PRODUCTS MODEL" field MUST start with the word GIFT. So name your gift vouchers something like:-

GIFT-50 (for a $50 gift certificate, for example) GIFT-100 (for a $100 gift certificate, for example) ...etc

They should also be Free of Shipping, and No Shipping Address Required (they are virtual products). - NB: This may influence your set-up of some of the Shipping Modules, eg: Free Shipping.

(If you have set up stock management options in your store, you may need to insert a quantity in the Product_Quantity field.)


In your ADMIN PANEL, go to MODULES > ORDER TOTAL and install the Gift Vouchers (ot_gv) module. You'll need to configure the various settings according to your sales tax and shipping settings, and bear in mind that these influence the SORT ORDER of GV redemption.

This SORT ORDER is important, because the relative position of the GV amount in the ORDER TOTAL will determine when the redeemed GV's value is factored into the order total. In most cases, it is the final figure BEFORE the TOTAL (Sort Order 999).

This makes sense, because in most cases, a GV is "As good as cash" - it's a PAYMENT METHOD (just like a Credit Card) and you want all the customer's sub-totals, shipping costs, taxes, etc worked out before they come to the amount they need to pay over to you, the shop owner.

Let's say:-

that they order a product for $100.00

Shipping is at $10.00 (calculated automatically from your shipping settings)

Tax comes in at $15.00 (calculated automatically from your zone, shipping and tax settings)

The total they owe is $125.00

If they are redeemeing a GV that's worth $100, this must be subtracted from the TOTAL OWING amount ($125).

Your Zencart Shop will recognise there's a shortfall of $25.00 and request the customer to "top it up" using another payment method.

The other important thing to remember about Gift Certificates, is that they are NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENTS and your Zencart Shop will treat them as a PAYMENT METHOD. So, configuring the QUEUE is a vital element in your setup.

Why is this important?

Well, if someone buys Gift Certificates, and pays for them with a C.Card (or Check/Money Order), you'll want to be absolutely sure that this payment is cleared by your bank BEFORE that customer has the benefit of using the Gift Certificate.

So unless you have a single REALTIME payment option (like a 3rd-party C.Card mod such as PayPal), enure that your QUEUE setting in gv_ot is set to TRUE. This will "delay" the activation of the Vouchers until you (the store owner) "release" it - which you'll do once you know that the customer's money is safely in your bank!

IF YOU HAVE SET UP GIFT CERTIFICATES in the manner described above, the ALERT mechanism in your Zencart Shop will become ACTIVE...

So, when a customer buys a Gift Certificate / Voucher, you will see a GIFT CERTIFICATE QUEUE button appear at the top of your Admin Console, telling you that there is/are Gift Certificates waiting for "approval".

Other thoughts

Gift Certificates should (almost always - if not absolutely always) be EXCLUDED from Discount Vouchers/Offers. In other words, don't allow Gift Vouchers to be part of an order that benefits from a discount offer.

Just think... If you walk into Bloomingdales (or Harrod's) and buy a $100 (£100) gift voucher and the price is discounted 10%, you'll pay $90 (£90) for something that has a redeemable value in the store, of $100 (£100). If you keep this cycle going (buying gift vouchers (value = $100) with discounted gift vouchers (cost = $90) for long enough, you'll become a millionaire and Bloomingdales (Harrod's) will become bankrupt!