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How to Offer Physical & Digital Gift Cards
How to Offer Physical & Digital Gift Cards

The best of both worlds is possible if you follow these steps

Rob avatar
Written by Rob
Updated over a week ago

Sometimes, there's no substitute for the real thing. In some situations (e.g. stuffing stockings, putting gift baskets together, etc.), your customer would prefer to a receive a physical gift card instead of the digital gift card they can easily build in your eCommerce store.

Luckily, offering both a physical and digital option is easy with the Run Free Project.

Make sure Digital Gift Cards are Enabled

The first step is ensuring you've enabled the digital gift card builder for your customers on the admin side of your eCommerce store.

Once you're logged into the Run Free Project platform, click the settings icon in the upper righthand corner of your screen, then select Digital Gift Cards as shown below:

On the next page, be sure that Allow Dynamic Gift Card Sales is toggled to the "On" position as circled in red in the image below:

If you made any changes on this page, click the blue save button to lock them in.

Create Gift Card SKUs in Your POS

You're going to go into your point of sale (POS) system and create SKUs to represent the gift card denominations you want to make available in physical form. You can create as few or as many options as you'd like. In most cases, these seven common denominations will be sufficient:

  • $5

  • $10

  • $25

  • $50

  • $100

  • $250

  • $500

The actual process of creating the SKUs will vary depending on which POS you use, but you should ensure the following within your POS:

  1. You must create a unique SKU for each denomination (e.g. RUNSTORE5 for the $5 card, RUNSTORE10 for $10, and so on)

  2. You must set each SKU's price to be equal to its face value

  3. You must enter on hand quantities for each gift card SKU you create such that each shows at least 1 in stock so the POS pushes the SKU to Run Free (we recommend setting it to 1000).

Note: POS systems will not send product information to Run Free if there is less than 1 on hand.

Still a bit unclear? Check out the example below from Red Coyote. Once they followed the steps above, their gift card SKUs were auto-pushed to Run Free. Notice that they created a different SKU for each gift card denomination and each shows more than 0 in stock:

Add Pictures & Descriptions in Run Free

After creation, your new gift card SKUs flow to Run Free from your POS. You're going to want to attach pictures and descriptions to them in Run Free so you can list them for sale.

Navigate to the Products tab in the admin area of the Run Free Project platform. Select Store Incomplete as shown below to display only items that are missing pictures, descriptions, or prices:

If you assigned a brand and/or category to your gift card SKUs in your POS, you can use the corresponding filters to find each in Run Free's Store Incomplete tab.

Once you find the new gift card SKUs, you need to add at least one picture and a description to each. This will ensure the item moves from Incomplete status to Complete in Run Free so you can show it in your eCommerce store. Incomplete items cannot be presented to customers.

Finally, ensure your new gift card SKUs are set to show online by toggling Show On Site "On" in the product details page for each or by selecting Take Online in bulk settings.

If you didn't assign a category to your gift card SKUs in your POS, we recommend you create a new category in Run Free (e.g. "Physical Gift Cards") and assign it to each of the gift card SKUs you just created. That way they're easy to find on the front end and you can set a tax rule to ensure you don't charge tax on physical gift card purchases (check with your accountant before setting tax rules, we're just explaining how the system works).

Find the URL to Your Physical Gift Card SKUs

After you've created the physical gift card SKUs and set them up to show in your eCommerce store, you need to locate the URL that leads customers to your physical gift card SKUs. There are two ways to accomplish this:

  1. Create a collection, assign your physical gift cards to that collection, then copy the collection's URL.

  2. Navigate to your physical gift card's category page and copy the URL.

You can also get creative with the presentation of your physical gift card options by inserting the collection into a page that describes that the items displayed represent physical gift cards as an alternative to the digital gift card builder you offer on the site.

Link to Your Physical Gift Cards from Your Digital Gift Cards Page

With the URL of your physical gift cards' category page (or collection) in-hand, navigate to Settings in the upper right corner of the Run Free platform's admin area and select Digital Gift Cards as shown below:

In the Gift Card Description section of the Digital Gift Cards page, type out a sentence or two explaining to users that they can opt for a physical gift card if digital won't do as shown in the example below:

Next, click the Source button, circled in red in the image below, to toggle on hacker mode (so you can see the HTML code version of the text you just added to the gift card description box):

Copy the code snippet below:

<p style="text-align:center"><a class="button" href="YOURURLGOESHERE">Get a Physical Card</a></p>

Go back to the text box where the HTML version of the sentences you just typed appear. Click to place your cursor after the very end of your text, then press enter (or return depending on your keyboard) to go to the next line and paste the code snippet there. It should look something like this:

Finally, replace YOURURLGOESHERE in the code snippet you just pasted into the gift card description with the URL to your physical gift card SKUs page. For example, if I put my physical gift cards in a collection with as its URL, it should look like this:

Last, but certainly not least, click the blue save button in the upper right corner of the page to lock in your edits.

Checking Your Work

To make sure everything's linked up properly, navigate to the customer-view of your eCommerce store and click to visit your Digital Gift Cards page (you can navigate directly there by adding giftcard after your store's URL too - e.g.

You should see the text you entered into the Gift Card Description box as well as a button labeled Get a Physical Card similar to the example below:

Click the button to be sure it sends you to the page with the physical gift cards described in this article.

Once you verify the link works, you're all set. When a customer purchases a physical gift card, the order will come to you with the SKU of the card denomination they selected as one of the items on their invoice. Simply prepare the physical gift card just like you would prepare one in-store at the register, then deliver to the customer in their desired manner of fulfillment.


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