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View Full Version : Best way to implement E-Gift cards/Promotion codes to your online store?



JasonS
09-06-2014, 02:31 AM
Basically, my online store is set to launch the first of the year. Website is officially running and I'm beginning to purchase inventory. My plan is to use Paypal Pro as my merchant service to start out with.

I would like to be able to set up promotion codes(Ex. 10off100 for $10 off orders over $100) and would also like to do e-gift cards. From my experience, promotions will draw customers to your store and giving them an e-gift card(which would be exclusive for my site) would bring them back to it.

Unfortunately, I can't find much on the process for setting this up and so I ended up here to ask for advice.

Harold Mansfield
09-06-2014, 08:00 AM
Basically, my online store is set to launch the first of the year. Website is officially running and I'm beginning to purchase inventory. My plan is to use Paypal Pro as my merchant service to start out with.

I would like to be able to set up promotion codes(Ex. 10off100 for $10 off orders over $100) and would also like to do e-gift cards. From my experience, promotions will draw customers to your store and giving them an e-gift card(which would be exclusive for my site) would bring them back to it.

Unfortunately, I can't find much on the process for setting this up and so I ended up here to ask for advice.
Generally you would choose your eCommerce system or software with these things in mind. Most good ones have add ons or plug ins that let you run discount codes, sale pricing, gift certificates and so on.

What are you using as your eCommerce system?

JasonS
09-06-2014, 05:13 PM
Generally you would choose your eCommerce system or software with these things in mind. Most good ones have add ones or plug ins that let you run discount codes, sale pricing, gift certificates and so on.

What are you using as your eCommerce system?

Godaddy, what would you recommend?

Harold Mansfield
09-06-2014, 05:46 PM
Godaddy, what would you recommend?

Go Daddy just tells me who your hosting company is. What are you using to run your shopping cart? Is it something directly through Go Daddy like what they call the "Quick Shopping Cart"? Or are you using something like Magento, Shopify or Woo Commerce (for WordPress)?

If you are using a Go Daddy specific solution, you need to get with them and see what options it has.

It will be easier for you to use an ecommerce platform that already has those options. Trying to configure a 3rd party solution will probably be pretty frustrating to get working correctly.

How is your website built? Is it on WordPress, Joomla, or something like that? is it just a straight custom HTML design? Or are you using Go Daddy's site builder?

JasonS
09-06-2014, 05:59 PM
Go Daddy just tells me who your hosting company is. What are you using to run your shopping cart? Is it something directly through Go Daddy like what they call the "Quick Shopping Cart"? Or are you using something like Magento, Shopify or Woo Commerce (for WordPress)?

If you are using a Go Daddy specific solution, you need to get with them and see what options it has.

Judging by your level of expertise you will want to use an ecommerce platform that already has those options. Trying to configure a 3rd party solution will probably be pretty frustrating to get working correctly.

How is your website built? Is it on WordPress, Joomla, or something like that? is it just a straight custom HTML design? Or are you using Go Daddy's site builder?

Currently using godaddy sitebuilder but I'm working with somebody now to get switch to a custom HTML

Harold Mansfield
09-06-2014, 06:11 PM
Currently using godaddy sitebuilder but I'm working with somebody now to get switch to a custom HTML

I would definitely recommend that. Site builders are pretty limited and you don't own the website...you're just renting it.
A custom built site will allow you to implement exactly what you need, and use the shopping cart software of your choice that has the options you want.

I'm a WordPress guy, so I always recommend that for first timers with no technical skills who need to run their own site. But it also depends on what you're selling and what options you need. Even WordPress isn't for every possible kind of website. As long as you have a capable designer you should be in good hands, but it's up to you to insure that they understand exactly what you need before they give you a price and start building it. All eCommerce sites are not the same so you need to be specific with your needs and insure that you're getting something that will carry you for a bit.

Brian Altenhofel
09-06-2014, 06:50 PM
You also need to make sure you know at what point in the sale you are supposed to apply the discount. Most jurisdictions, it's before taxes are applied, but some jurisdictions (and situations, most commonly a discount that is getting reimbursed by a supplier) may require taxes to be assessed on the value before the discount. It all depends on the rules that your business happens to be subject to.

JasonS
09-06-2014, 07:34 PM
I would definitely recommend that. Site builders are pretty limited and you don't own the website...you're just renting it.
A custom built site will allow you to implement exactly what you need, and use the shopping cart software of your choice that has the options you want.

I'm a WordPress guy, so I always recommend that for first timers with no technical skills who need to run their own site. But it also depends on what you're selling and what options you need. Even WordPress isn't for every possible kind of website. As long as you have a capable designer you should be in good hands, but it's up to you to insure that they understand exactly what you need before they give you a price and start building it. All eCommerce sites are not the same so you need to be specific with your needs and insure that you're getting something that will carry you for a bit.

What I'm worried about going custom, I don't want to have to call him everytime I want to add a product.

Only option I need for the first year is flavor selection for a few products.

JasonS
09-06-2014, 07:35 PM
You also need to make sure you know at what point in the sale you are supposed to apply the discount. Most jurisdictions, it's before taxes are applied, but some jurisdictions (and situations, most commonly a discount that is getting reimbursed by a supplier) may require taxes to be assessed on the value before the discount. It all depends on the rules that your business happens to be subject to.

Thanks for the heads up, I'll have to look into that.

Harold Mansfield
09-06-2014, 07:55 PM
What I'm worried about going custom, I don't want to have to call him everytime I want to add a product.

That is something to think about, and it could get expensive if that's not in your operating budget. It's natural after a site is built to want to fine tune a few words, add some copy and what about new info on your products?

If you're looking to run this yourself, I'd recommend looking at WordPress with Woo Commerce. I know it has add ons for gift certificates and has support for discounts, sales, and specials out of the box.

There's also other CMS' (Content Management Systems) like Joomla and Drupal..although they are a little more difficult to me but others around here love them.
You can also look at a full ecommerece system like Big Commerce which is is all inclusive..hosting and support and a ton of add ons and integrations.

I honestly think you need to do a little more investigating to see what else is out there. Like I said, an eCommerce website is not one size fits all. Every store and store owner has different needs and different levels of expertise.

JasonS
09-06-2014, 09:13 PM
That is something to think about, and it could get expensive if that's not in your operating budget. It's natural after a site is built to want to fine tune a few words, add some copy and what about new info on your products?

If you're looking to run this yourself, I'd recommend looking at WordPress with Woo Commerce. I know it has add ons for gift certificates and has support for discounts, sales, and specials out of the box.

There's also other CMS' (Content Management Systems) like Joomla and Drupal..although they are a little more difficult to me but others around here love them.
You can also look at a full ecommerece system like Big Commerce which is is all inclusive..hosting and support and a ton of add ons and integrations.

I honestly think you need to do a little more investigating to see what else is out there. Like I said, an eCommerce website is not one size fits all. Every store and store owner has different needs and different levels of expertise.
I'll have to check out Woo, appreciate the advice

Brian Altenhofel
09-07-2014, 10:41 AM
What I'm worried about going custom, I don't want to have to call him everytime I want to add a product.

Only option I need for the first year is flavor selection for a few products.

You really shouldn't have to. Even my most non-technical clients manage their own products on their Drupal Commerce sites. Some of them even go so far as to have their site integrate with their inventory control or supplier's EDI system. It's basically a function of how much your or your employees' time is worth versus cost of implementation.

By the way, if you're planning on offering special bundles of existing products, check to make sure that whatever system you choose properly supports that. It will save inventory headaches later.

JasonS
09-11-2014, 12:55 AM
You really shouldn't have to. Even my most non-technical clients manage their own products on their Drupal Commerce sites. Some of them even go so far as to have their site integrate with their inventory control or supplier's EDI system. It's basically a function of how much your or your employees' time is worth versus cost of implementation.

By the way, if you're planning on offering special bundles of existing products, check to make sure that whatever system you choose properly supports that. It will save inventory headaches later.

Hey Brian,

What's your opinion of BigCommerce? I actually found a Premium Template by them that is exactly what I was imaging, I would have to play with a few of the margins & banner dimensions but even I have the technical skills to do that?

Appreciate the replies from you so far.

Harold Mansfield
09-11-2014, 11:16 AM
I know you asked Brian, but I like Big Commerce a lot and recommend it often. They definitely have the available tools and ad ons to run gift certificates, drop shipping and pretty much anything else that a full fledged, corporate style eCommerce website needs.

Brian Altenhofel
09-11-2014, 11:36 AM
I've never used BigCommerce, so I don't have a specific either way.

The pros and cons of a fully hosted cookie-cutter solution like BigCommerce, Shopify, and the many other similar platforms out there can be summed up like this:

Pros: Don't have to worry about PCI compliance because they (typically) have full responsibility.
Cons: Your business must adapt to their system.

Most of my e-commerce clients are at the business level where adapting to another's system doesn't really work very well. They *need* something built around their specific needs. They're also at the level where leniency from the tax man goes away; "in the ballpark" isn't good enough. They're also at the level where CC processing options like PayPal, Authorize.net, Stripe, Intuit, etc. are considered expensive.

If someone were to come to me who was just starting out, I'd direct them to one of those hosted solutions if the processes there at the very least fit the standard processes for their industry. I don't get a lot of "we're just starting" types - I get a lot of "we're well established and we want to add online sales as a primary revenue stream".

Harold Mansfield
09-11-2014, 12:12 PM
Here's a little about Big Commerce:

Founded by Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper with $75 million in venture capitol, including $40 million from Steve Chase of AOL.
In the past 2 years they've hired Steve Corona former CTO of TwitPic
Scott Baker from Eventbrite
Kei Tang from Salesforce
..and many other engineers and high profile hires from Amazon, Pay Pay, Google and Twitter.

They've also brokered deals with IBM, Magento, eBay, NetSuite, Vollusion, and Shopify.

No solution is right for everyone, but these guys are definitely serious and they do run some high profile, well known ecommerce stores for ABC, CNN, USA Today, GQ, and the Food Network. So it's not the size of the company, it's just whether or not it's the right solution for you.

If you want to buld a custom solution, then of course not. If you're going custom it's all custom. But it's not a bad solution and they have support or add ons for pretty much everything that a big store would need.

Brian Altenhofel
09-11-2014, 11:28 PM
No solution is right for everyone, but these guys are definitely serious and they do run some high profile, well known ecommerce stores for ABC, CNN, USA Today, GQ, and the Food Network. So it's not the size of the company, it's just whether or not it's the right solution for you.

If you want to buld a custom solution, then of course not. If you're going custom it's all custom. But it's not a bad solution and they have support or add ons for pretty much everything that a big store would need.

Definitely not a bad option if it fits your needs.

I wouldn't be surprised if there was a lot of customer-unique customization performed for some individual high profile customers. It doesn't always happen, but it's also not that uncommon.

Harold Mansfield
09-12-2014, 12:54 AM
Definitely not a bad option if it fits your needs.

I wouldn't be surprised if there was a lot of customer-unique customization performed for some individual high profile customers. It doesn't always happen, but it's also not that uncommon.

Actually you get access to the template files and can make quite a few changes with function and layout. It's not drag and drop like say a SquareSpace. You definitely have to know HTML, CSS and enough PHP to be dangerous.

JasonS
09-13-2014, 04:34 AM
Thanks for the input.

I went ahead and purchased the BigCommerce template I liked and set my domain to it. Right now I've checked out a few books for HTML and programming to educate myself better on them; my biggest worry running an online store is being dependent on another individual. So I'm hoping I can educate myself enough to be able to edit a pre-made template to my liking.

I also think the bigger company through BigCommercw have unique templates made for them. With their traffic/revenue, there's no reason they wouldn't.

Harold Mansfield
09-13-2014, 11:30 AM
Yes, they do. There are designers that specialize in Big Commerce the same way I specialize in WordPress. Like anything, do your home work. I've seen some fabulous designs on Big Commerce, and a few jacked up ones where you can tell they didn't know what they were doing. But for the most part, the stores look pretty nice.

Honestly, the stores are so functional and have all the options that a consumer would expect that you could use one of the pre-designed templates with some GREAT images and do just fine. Images are the most important thing. If you cheap out there or try and take them yourself on your smart phone ( and you have no skills) doesn't matter how it's designed. Bad images will kill it.