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How to make gift cards for my business?

Gift cards are used for many businesses, both large and small. They’re a great tool for marketing your business, growing your customer base and boosting customer loyalty. Although creating your own gift card might sound daunting, it’s easy and fast when you have a plan in place.

At Plastic Resource, we offer you a simple five-step method to make gift cards for your business.

  1. Determine POS integration and encoding: If you want to integrate with your point-of-sale system (POS), you’ll need to know which POS you have and the encoding type you want to use for integration. Don't know which encoding type or have not selected a POS? Contact us and our experts will be able to help you.
  2. Design your card: We make it easy. You can choose an existing design, allow us to design your card for you, or you can supply your own design. You can see these options outlined on the design options page.
  3. Send encoding data: The process is different for each POS. Typically the process involves generating the data within your POS and exporting to a CSV or Excel file. Don't know how to generate this with your POS? Contact us and we'll walk you through the process for your specific POS.
  4. Proof and then pay: We will send you a proof which you’ll need to approve. Once approved, you may then submit payment. All of this occurs conveniently through the Proof & Pay section of our website.
  5. Get your cards: Receive your cards by mail in as little as four days!

To help you get started, let’s discuss each step in more detail.

5-Step Process to Make Gift Cards for Your Business

At Plastic Resource, you can make your own gift cards for your business in five simple steps.

1. Determine POS Integration and Encoding

To use a gift card, you’ll need to properly integrate the card with your POS or point of sale system. Plastic Resource works with a wide range of POS systems, including:

  • Aldelo
  • PC America
  • Future POS
  • Toast POS
  • MindBody
  • Revel
  • Paytronix
  • Microsoft Dynamics RMS
  • And many more!

You’ll first need to determine which POS system you’re currently using to choose a gift card that works properly. If you don’t know which POS system you’re using, reach out to us.

Next, you’ll need to choose an encoding type for integration. Gift card encoding is a term used to describe the unique numbering used to track gift card usage. Card numbers are embedded into three main encoding types: barcodes, mag stripes, or variable number.

  • Barcodes: Barcodes look like a rectangle of black and white lines, commonly found on products in retail stores. The code is embedded into those lines and then scanned using your POS system to track card usage.
  • Mag stripes: Magnetic striping is commonly used on debit and credit cards. Gift cards with mag stripes are swiped using the POS system.
  • Variable number: This type of encoding includes the use of a random set of numbers on the back of the gift card. These numbers can be entered into the POS system.

Which encoding is best for you? It depends on how you want your gift card to look and which encoding works properly with your POS system. For help in choosing encoding, call us.

2. Design Your Card

The design of your card is important to your business. You’ll want to choose a design that communicates your unique brand in an eye-catching way—in a small amount of space. We offer three different methods to design your card: using pre-designed cards, custom design services or providing your own design.

  • Pre-designed cards: Pre-designed cards are already designed, ready for your business information. We offer over 75 different designs to choose from including holiday specific cards to everyday gift cards.
  • Custom design services: Our custom design services are offered to businesses who wish to have a complete gift card design created to fit their business. From gift card shape to color and logo, a custom design is tailored to fit your business.
  • Provide your own design: Have some Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop knowledge and want to create your own custom card? We offer card templates you can download to help you provide your own unique design.

3. Send Encoding Data

Each gift card has a unique set of numbers or alphanumeric (letters and numbers) code called encoding. These codes are used to track the gift card’s data including the amount available to spend. When the gift card is scanned or swiped, your POS system will search for the card’s code, accessing the account information from your database.

To create your gift card, you’ll need to send us your encoding data from your POS. Typically, this involves exporting the data to a CSV or Excel file. Don’t know how to get this information from your POS system? Go ahead and give us a call and we can walk you through it.

4. Proof and Then Pay

Before you receive your gift cards, you’ll need to proof the design and pay. To ensure we create a gift card that meets your expectations, we ask that you proof it by looking over the design and information listed on the card. If anything is incorrect, you’ll simply let us know using the Proof & Pay section on our website.

The first revision of your gift card is included for free with your gift card purchase. For a revision after the initial, a $25 fee will be applied. Be sure to go over your design closely to catch any mistakes on the initial proof.

Once you proof your card, you are ready to pay using a credit card. Your card will not be charged until your gift card order is shipped. If you need to pay via another method other than a credit card, you’ll need to give us a call at 833-290-5684.

5. Get Your Cards

In as little as four days, you’ll receive your new gift cards in the mail. Out of the box, your gift cards are ready for use. You’ll need to use your point of sale system to determine how to properly track and sell your gift cards to your customers. For assistance, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Promote Your Gift Card

To get the most out of your gift card, you’ll need to promote it. Ready to get started? Here are a few of our favorite tips.

  • Showcase your gift card: You can’t make the most out of your gift card when your customers don’t know it exists. Be sure to market and promote your gift card by showcasing it in your store, on your website and on your social media.
  • Run store promotions using your gift card: Try using your gift card to run store promotions. For example, you can invite your customers to purchase one card of a certain amount and receive another one in a smaller amount. Or, try offering a percentage off your products when a gift card is purchased.
  • Boost customer loyalty: Try combining your gift card with your customer loyalty program to offer your most loyal customers rewards. Or, reward your customers with a gift card after hitting loyalty milestones.

Get Started on Your Business Gift Card Today

Ready to get started on your business gift card today? Contact Plastic Resource or get an instant quote to get going. Have questions? We’re always here to give you the answers you need to make the process easy.

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