Gift Certificates

Estimated reading time: 12 min


The gift certificate add-on enables you to offer your customers redeemable gift certificates that can be applied towards the value of a future booking with your business. These gift certificates are fully customizable, allowing you to set the value and determine the period of validity. What’s more, a gift certificate can be used more than once. So, if a customer has a $100 gift certificate, but their booking is only $50, they will still have $50 left to spend at a later date!

Gift certificates can be issued by a privileged staff member through the business backend, or purchased by customers through your website, in the same way they would make a regular booking.

So let’s dive right in and have a look at how to activate and use the gift certificates add-on in Checkfront!

Setup in Checkfront

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First thing’s first. In order to use the gift certificates feature, you will need to activate it in your account. The add-on is not active by default. To do this, navigate to Manage > Add-ons in your main navigation bar.

From here, locate the Gift Certificates tile, hover over it with your mouse and click on the SETUP button (1).




When the pop-up window appears, simply click on the Activate button to complete the add-on activation (2).

Creating a Gift Certificate

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There are two ways in which a gift certificate can be created in Checkfront. You can either create one through the backend as an administrator and email it directly to the customer, or you can create it as an item which will then be purchased by the customer through the front end.

Gift Certificate Item

After activating the gift certificates add-on, you will be taken directly to the feature’s management screen. If you happen to be elsewhere in the system, you can access the same screen through your main menu at Inventory > Gift Certificates.

Click on the Create Gift Certificate Item button on the left to get started.


You will now see the Gift Certificate Item Builder.

Gift Certificate Item Builder: Description

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To begin, choose a category and name for your gift certificate.





Choose a category from the drop-down menu provided. If you wish to create a new category for your gift certificates, click on the + Create New Category button.




Enter a name for the new category and click on the blue checkmark button. You will now see a green New Category label applied to the field (see image above).


The category you choose does not in any way restrict the items the gift certificate can be applied to. For example, if you assign the gift certificate item to category A, it is still redeemable against items in categories B & C etc.




For the item name, enter it in the field provided. An Item SKU will be generated automatically based on the item name you enter.




If you’d like to change this, click on the Edit link, enter the preferred SKU and click on the blue checkmark button to complete.



Provide a short description which will be visible to the customer on your booking page.




You can add styles to the text, such as bold and italic, using the editor provided.



Enter a price for the gift certificate.




This amount will then be redeemable against the customer’s booking at a future date. For example, if the customer is renting a boat for $200, the gift certificate in the example above would cover half of that. The customer can then pay the remaining balance with their credit card.


Gift Certificate Valid From

When selecting the date the gift certificate is valid from, you have two choices.



You can choose either the purchase date or a specific date. If you opt for the specific date, a small calendar picker will open, enabling you to select any date in the future. The gift certificate will not be redeemable until this date is reached. This is great if you require the gift certificate to be redeemable during a certain month of the year only.


Gift Certificate Expires

Likewise, you can choose when the gift certificate expires.



Selecting Never will leave the gift certificate completely open into the future. Or, you can use the calendar date picker to select a specific expiry date.

If you selected Purchase Date for the item’s Valid From option in the previous step, a third option will become available for expiry. This option enables you to choose a number of days after purchase that the gift certificate will expire.


Additional Options

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Below the gift certificate dates section is a link labelled Additional options.



Clicking on the link, or the drop-down triangle will open up a couple more customization options for you.

Allow Customised Delivery Dates

Rather than basing the gift certificate validity on the date of purchase, you can instead choose to work off a delivery date.




Selecting yes for this option will turn on the delivery date feature. Now, when a customer is purchasing a gift certificate through the system, they will be able to select a delivery date for the purchase. If today is September 1st and little Jimmy’s birthday is September 14th, the customer can make the purchase today but choose to have the gift certificate email delivered on the 14th.


Gift Certificate Item Visibility

You have the option to select the visibility for your gift certificate item.




Choose Everyone to make your item visible for booking on your website. If you’d like the gift certificate to be visible to your staff members only, in the backend, select Staff Only.


Sort Order

The sort order determines where your gift certificate item will be displayed among your list of other available items.




Entering a higher number here will move the item closer to the top of the list.


Gift Certificate Item Builder: Media

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When you have finished entering the gift certificate details, click Next in the bottom right of the screen.



This will bring you to the Media tab.

From here, you can choose a custom product image (thumbnail) for the gift certificate item as well as a theme for the gift certificate in question.


Gift Certificate Thumbnail

By default, the gift certificate thumbnail consists of a wrapped gift in Checkfront blue.



This will probably be perfect for most situations, but if you would like to customise this with your own image, this is the place to do it.

Click on the + Upload Image button and select the chosen image from your computer.

Once the image is loaded, it will be resized to fit the 320×80 pixel thumbnail size. If your image doesn’t fit this ratio, don’t worry… you can now go ahead and edit it. However, an image larger than this will yield better results when displayed on the screen. Try making it at least twice as big, if you can.

To edit, move your mouse over the new thumbnail and click on the Edit Image button.



A pop-up window will open containing the gift certificate thumbnail editor. Drag the cropping area, as shown below, to select the part of your image you wish to display.



When happy, click Save in the bottom right.

If the image you chose already has dimensions in the same ratio as the original thumbnail, you will not need to do any cropping.


Next, you can select a theme for your gift certificate. By default, Checkfront comes with three themes to choose from. If you prefer not to use a theme, you may turn on the blank theme switch.



If selected, there will be no image at the top of the gift certificate.

If you’d like to display an image, you can select from one of the default themes, as seen below.



Again, these are probably suitable for most situations, but there may be times when you wish to use your own theme.

In this case, click on the + Add a Theme button.



Enter a name for the theme and then, if you wish to crop the image you uploaded, hover over it and click on the Edit Image button.



As with the gift certificate thumbnail, you can move the cropping area to suit your desired look and then click the Save button.

And that’s it! The custom gift certificate theme will now be added to your library under the heading Custom Themes.



Don’t forget to save the item (bottom right)!


If you don’t wish to use the default themes at all, you can replace them with a set of your own images in the Gift Certificate Settings screen. Click here for more information on that.


You will then see a confirmation that the new item has been created.




From there, you can Preview what your new gift certificate item will look like to your customers, Create a new Gift Certificate or Edit the item you just made. The edit button has a drop-down option that enables you to simply copy the item you just created. This is great if you want a new certificate with a slightly different price point.

Back at the gift certificate home screen, you will now see your shiny new certificate in the left sidebar.


If you select this, you will again have the option to edit it as you see fit. Click on Edit Gift Certificate by the item’s title, at the top, to do so.


Staff Issued Gift Certificate

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If your staff have privileges that allow them to create gift certificates through the backend, this can also be done from the gift certificate home screen.




Click on the blue Issue Gift Certificate button to get started.


Issue Gift Certificate (1)


Select your options from the left. Your updates will be previewed live on the right. At the top of the gift certificate, you will see your company logo and website URL. Below this is the theme. There are currently 3 different themes you can choose, depending on the sentiment you are sending.


Gift Certificate Change Theme


Click on the Change Theme drop-down button and hover your mouse over the choices to see a live preview of each. Simply click on the one you wish to use.

Then, enter an amount for the gift certificate, the recipient and sender names, the recipient email address, a message and the certificate validity dates.

When happy, click Issue Gift Certificate to send it.

In the gift certificates home screen, you can now click on the Staff Issued Gift Certificates link, in the left sidebar, to view the details of this certificate.


Website Gift Certificate Purchase

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Customers can, of course, purchase a gift certificate themselves through your company website. The gift certificate item you created earlier will be displayed to your customers in just the same way your other bookable items are.


Gift Certificate Website


When a customer selects the gift certificate item, they will be presented with a pop-up window, similar to the staff view we just looked at.


Customer Purchased Gift Certificate


After filling out the details and clicking Continue, the customer will be sent to the checkout screen where they can complete their purchase as normal.


Gift Certificate Checkout


If everything went according to plan, the sender will receive their usual purchase confirmation and the recipient will receive their gift certificate as a PDF attachment to an email.


Gift Certificate in Email


This attachment contains a barcode which could be scanned by your business via a third-party barcode scanner. The customer can either print out the gift certificate or present it on their mobile device screen.


Booking with a Gift Certificate

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Using a gift certificate to pay for a booking is very easy. All the customer has to do is select the item as normal and fill out their booking details. When it comes time to pay, the payment screen will default to Credit Card. There will now be a new option at the top of the screen for Gift Certificate.


Pay With Gift Certificate


Clicking on this will display a pop-up window into which the customer can enter their Gift Certificate Number, or Code. This is the number beneath the barcode on their gift certificate PDF.


Gift Certificate Number


Enter the code, including the dashes, into the Apply Gift Certificate window. Once the system recognizes the code, it will magically pop-up the gift certificate in question.


Apply Gift Certificate


Click the Apply button to deduct the invoice total from the gift certificate balance. And that’s it, the booking is complete. The customer might then have a balance remaining, which can be used at a later date.

If the gift certificate balance was not enough to cover the transaction, the customer can enter another gift certificate number, or make a payment via credit card.

Referring to the gift certificate home screen again, you will be able to see which gift certificates are active and how much balance still remains on them.


Gift Certificate Log


Pre-Booking Gift Certificate Cancellation

When a customer initiates a booking through your system, the status of the booking, before it is completed, is Pre-Booking. If the customer has entered a gift certificate number, the balance will be held aside until the booking is completed. If the customer backs out of the booking, this hold will remain on the gift certificate for a period of 30 minutes. Therefore, the customer will not be able to use the card again, if they do not have sufficient funds available, in addition to the hold, for 30 minutes.



A staff member, however, can pull up the gift certificate in the backend and manually remove the hold by clicking on the Remove Manually Now button, as shown in the image above. The customer will be able to immediately use the gift certificate again, once this button is pressed.


Gift Certificate Settings

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There are some default settings you can apply to your gift certificate process if you wish. You’ll find these via the Gift Certificate Settings link in the left sidebar of your gift certificates home screen.



You can add upload a company logo to display on the gift certificates, edit your default gift certificate themes, add some terms and conditions to the gift certificate, customize who a refund will be sent from, and a default expiry date.

Gift Certificate Logo

To display your company logo at the top of each gift certificate, click on the + Upload Image button, as seen below.



To remove any logo you currently have in place, hover over it with your mouse and click on the white trashcan icon in the top right corner.



Default Themes

Gift certificate settings is the place to manage your default gift certificate themes. If you are unlikely to use the default themes provided by Checkfront, you can replace them here with your own designs.



To do so, click on the Upload a Theme button. You will receive a warning message that continuing will permanently remove the default themes provided by Checkfront. Just continue to proceed with your upload.

Select a theme from your computer and repeat the process as many times as necessary until you have uploaded all your themes. You can upload a maximum of 3 default themes, after which the upload button will disappear.



Hover over a theme and click on the Edit Image button to crop, as seen earlier in this guide.



Click on the white trashcan icon to remove the theme.


Restoring Original Checkfront Themes:

If, at some point, you wish to restore the original Checkfront themes, you can do so by downloading the following files and uploading them to you account as described above.




Terms and Conditions

If you wish to add any terms and conditions to your gift certificates, enter them here in the text box provided.





You can customize the default information for refunds made to gift certificates. You are able to choose the name of the person providing the refund – The Company Name, Issuer Name or a custom value to be entered into the text field provided.





If you’d like to print a message on each gift certificate, maybe thanking the customer for their business, input it here in the box provided.





Finally, you can choose a select expiry date for the gift certificates. This can either be an indefinite expiry date, which means the gift certificates are open-ended, or you can enter a set number of days, after issue, that the certificate will expire.





Gift Certificate Notifications

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If you’ve worked with Checkfront’s system notifications before, you will already have an idea of how these work. After activating the Gift Certificates add-on, a new notification type will become available in your account. This notification type is called Gift Certificates.


Gift Certificate Notification


By default, the system will create a simple notification that will be sent out to the recipient after purchase by a customer. The subject of this notification is Congratulations, you have received a Gift Certificate. To edit this, navigate to Manage > Notifications in your Checkfront dashboard. You will see the notification in the resulting list and all you need to do is click on the subject to enter edit mode.


Edit Gift Certificate Notification


Once in edit mode, proceed to make any changes you like to the default template. You are able to change the email subject line, add or remove recipients, select which items the notifications should be triggered for after a booking and also the body of the email.


Email Variables

As with all notifications in Checkfront, you can add or remove variables to customize the recipient email as per your needs. When the email is delivered to the recipient, the variable you embed in the body of the email will be replaced by the relevant data that it pertains to in Checkfront. For example, if you include the variable {$COMPANY_NAME}, then this will be replaced with the name of your company in the email.

The variables you can use are as follows:

{$COMPANY_NAME} – name of your company.
{$CHECKFRONT_URL} – company’s Checkfront URL.
{$ACCOUNT_ID} – name of the staff member or partner who is responsible for initiating the purchase.
{$CREATED_BY} – who made the purchase – customer, staff, partner.

There are also specific gift certificate variables which can also be included in the recipient email. They are as follows:

{$GIFTCERT_CODE} – Gift certificate code, used to make purchases by the recipient.
{$GIFTCERT_TOTAL} – Original value of the gift certificate.
{$GIFTCERT_BALANCE} – Remaining balance on the gift certificate.
{$GIFTCERT_TO_NAME} – Recipient’s name.
{$GIFTCERT_FROM_NAME} – Gifter/sender’s name.
{$GIFTCERT_MESSAGE} – Message entered at the time of purchase.
{$GIFTCERT_EXPIRY} – Gift certificate expiry date.

You can include as many, or as few of these variables as you like, it’s totally up to you. Also, depending on how you wish to use the gift certificate system, you may decide not to send out a recipient email at all. If this is the case, simply uncheck the This notification is enabled box and click Save.

You may also decide that some of the data these variables print should not be displayed to the recipient. In this case, you can create a second gift certificate notification that does not get sent to the recipient, but any of your chosen staff members instead. You can create a new notification at Manage > Notifications, select Gift Certificates as the notification type and then customize the recipient list as per your needs. This “staff only” notification can be sent out in addition to the gift certificate recipient email.

For more information on Gift Certificate Notifications, please click here.

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