Update: In October 2017 Squarespace launched gift cards! If you have an online store you can now sell gift cards to your customers which is such good news! However, this feature is only available on the Advanced Commerce Plan which may not be the right plan for you. In this case the method outlined in this post can still be a good option for you.
This post was first written in May 2015 but the method is still valid for those who are not on an Adanced Commerce Plan.
Last week I finished my biggest project so far: a beautiful Bohemian inspired jewelry store: brightstarandbuffalo.com. I used the Avenue template because we wanted a clean one-column layout and I really liked the flexibility offered by the individual header and footer sections on each page.
I always say that I am just the architect who creates the physical structure of my client's online homes but in reality I also provide a fair bit of editing, marketing and sales support. Which I am very happy to do as I have extensive experience in all these areas! Nonetheless, it ultimately comes down to my client's visual and written content, that's what gives their site its personality and what makes it stand out. And this is certainly true for brightstarandbuffalo.com as all of Natalie's images, words and jewelry are stunning.
I learned a few things along the way, like how to set up the shipping and taxes, something that my other stores did not require as they were not sending a physical product. I also discovered that Squarespace does not offer a solution for gift cards which surprised me as the commerce platform seems to handle most requirements so well and gift cards are hardly anything unusual. So what did we do?
Using Gift Cards with Squarespace
From what I can see there are two big challenges with gift cards in Squarespace:
1. While you can use a coupon code to redeem a gift card this cannot be limited to one purchase only and theoretically it's possible for the same code to be used multiple times.
2. Gift cards are tax free and this cannot be configured in Squarespace. In this case the client's store is in Arizona which means that any of their customers who also live in Arizona have to pay the state sales tax. It is easy to set up this tax but then it is applied to all purchases, including gift cards.
Here is the process that I suggested to my client which will work for smaller businesses but would probably not be sustainable for large shops because it does require some manual input:
- Create one service product for the gift card with it's different pricing levels, i.e. $50, $100, $200 etc.
- Create a pop-up form for this product to ask things like: Do you want this gift card mailed to you or to the recipient and how do you want to receive it, digitally (PDF) or a hard copy by snail mail? Collect whatever information is relevant to a gift card purchase.
- When you receive the gift card purchase confirmation, create a coupon code unique to this purchase, i.e. GIFT200LOVE4 (a $200 gift and LOVE4 is the unique identifier). Then include this code with the PDF or physical gift card that you email or mail to the client.
- Once the gift card is redeemed go and delete the coupon code to prevent it from being used again.
So how do you handle the tax? There are a few ways:
- Ignore it and let the customer pay it. I do not recommend this but that's what some shops do.
- Ask the customer to select a non-taxable state when they enter their address. In this case any state but AZ. Which I find very awkward and would not recommend, either.
- Let the customer pay the tax and then offer to pay it back when the gift card is redeemed. For example: a customer from AZ would pay $106.35 for a $100 gift card. So you create a coupon code for $106.35 for this particular gift card and this way it's all paid pack when the gift card is used.
None of this is ideal but my client was happy to go ahead with this process and see how it works. If anyone has any other suggestions would love to hear them!
Photos: Andrew and Natalie Durham