I was having a conversation with The Savvy Seller on Twitter about gift certificates and when I was talking to her about PayPal Gift Certificates, I realized that I had totally forgotten they existed! Gift Certificates have always been a bit hidden on the PayPal site so I wanted to do a quick overview on them before we get into the holidays. 

PayPal gift certificates are a very neat product, very easy to set up and, obviously, a great thing to offer this holiday season. What is great about them is that they apply to wherever PayPal is accepted so you can accept them on your own website, Bonanzle, eBay, Etsy, Craigs List, Overstock, Google Base, or wherever else you are selling where customers pay you directly via PayPal. If you sell on multiple platforms, it’s a great way to offer something that buyers can use across them all.

Just to make sure I am clear, these gift certificates are through PayPal but are only for your items only. In other words, a Priced Nostalgia gift card would be good at Priced Nostalgia’s eBay, Bonanzle, Overstock and own web store, but could not be used anywhere else where Priced Nostalgia is not the seller. When a buyer uses a gift certificate, the money goes into your PayPal account just like with any other sale.

You can read more about and sign up for PayPal Gift Certificates here. (If you are already logged into your PayPal account, click the Merchant Services tab and then scroll down and under “Create Buttons” is Gift Certificate.)

The set-up for Gift Certificate buttons is pretty similar to creating any other buy it now button in PayPal. You can set up a custom image and customize the look of the gift certificate with your own logo and colors (or use one of their pre-made ones in themes like Birthday or New Baby). In addition, you can also opt to either only sell the gift certificates in denominations that you set ($25, $50, $100, etc) or leave the amount open to whatever the buyers wish to set it to.

My advice? Create your own custom gift certificate colors and logo. It’s worth it to have the branding there and that will serve you better than their holiday related clip art. Also, this saves you from having to create multiple buttons for each event if you have one generic branded one. I would also advise that you set your own gift card values. This is both because you will have a better idea of a useful amount for the sort of items that you sell and also because it often encourages people to spend a little more to reach a round number.

Now, if you constantly have similar items in your store, this may be a simple cut and dry application. Your customer buy a a gift certificate for a friend who would like to buy your items, the friend redeems the gift card for purchases in your store.

If you are a blogger, author or a seller without consistent inventory, you may not be sure how to use these to your advantage. Here are a few other ideas for using PayPal Gift Certificates this holiday season.

Sell gift certificates for. . .

  • a class, webinar or other online service
  • a custom craft item made to the buyer’s specifications
  • personalized items
  • your online advertising (if you do that through a PayPal payment method)
  • premium memberships to your site
  • your books or eBooks that you offer for sale
  • pre-orders of an item that isn’t available yet

The above are just a few examples meant to illustrate that you can think outside the box when it comes to these.

Got another idea you’d like to share about using these to your advantage? Share it with us below!