Posted on June 17, 2021
Are you looking for a way to increase your cash flow and gain new customers? Check out gift certificates. Your massage business can increase sales and provide your clients with added value by offering gift certificates redeemable for your business’s products or services.
Adding gift certificates to your product mix is a great way to:
• Increase your business revenue
Gift certificates are a form of advanced sales. You receive payment right away for products or services that you won’t have to deliver until later. Because you get the cash when the gift certificate is sold, these items can be a handy device for smoothing or boosting your cash flow.
Increase demand for your gift certificates by offering them at a small discount to supplement your revenue during slumps. Or take advantage of periods of high demand by suggesting a gift certificate as an upsell.
• Expand your customer base
Gift certificates are also a great way to expand your customer base and increase customer loyalty. Each time someone gives a friend or family member a voucher for your business, it’s free word-of-mouth marketing for you.
Gift certificates used as presents are super-referrals. Not only are they telling the recipient that they like your business, but they are paying for them to give you a try!
• Maintain your customers’ loyalty
Not every customer will purchase a gift certificate to give to someone else. Sometimes they buy them as a treat for themselves. When this happens, you’re gaining customer loyalty.
Clients who purchase a gift certificate for personal use are committing to visit you the next time they want a massage and backing that commitment with cash. That’s good for your bank account and your ego.
• Serve your customers
Selling gift certificates both in-person and online gives your clients the ultimate gift of convenience. Gift certificates, whether for goods or services, have always been a popular item for holiday shoppers. When you offer gift certificates, you’re helping your customers complete their shopping list while also indulging in a little me time.
Digital certificates that can be purchased on your website and delivered via email are the ultimate last-minute gift. ClinicSense’s practice management software supports online gift certificate sales making it easy for you to increase your revenue--even while you sleep.
Have we sold you on selling gift certificates?
Great! Now, let’s look at some gift certificate best practices.
1. Be mindful of consumer protection laws
The first thing you should know is that there are consumer protection laws about gift certificate and card sales. Be sure to review the laws of your jurisdiction before you begin selling gift certificates.
In the U.S., the 2009 Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD) applies to gift cards, certificates, and general-use prepaid cards. The CARD act requires any gift certificate to be valid for at least 5 years after it is issued and limits when you can charge a dormancy or inactivity fee. Canada’s consumer protection laws prohibit dormancy fees or expiration dates for most gift cards.
Some U.S. state consumer laws are more restrictive than federal law. For example, they may prohibit expiration dates or require that low-balance cards be exchangeable for cash.
2. State your terms and conditions
When you sell a gift certificate, you’ve made a deal. You and your customer should understand exactly what that deal is. The best way to make sure of this is to put all of your terms in writing on the gift certificate.
Some of the information you’ll want to disclose includes:
• Your business name (add your logo to enhance your brand recognition)
• The business location (or locations) where the certificate can be redeemed
• Your contact information
• A description of what the certificate includes and any exclusions (e.g., Redeemable for treatments only vs. redeemable for goods or services)
• Any additional terms, conditions or limitations such as whether the certificate is redeemable for cash, can be used to purchase sale items, or is limited to redemption only during non-peak hours
• The expiration date
• A unique ID so you can keep track of each certificate
Adding all these terms and conditions may seem like it will take the fun out of giving a gift certificate, but it is important to make sure your customers understand what they’ve purchased.
3. It’s a present. Make it fun!
Just because you have to add that legal-speak to your gift certificate doesn’t mean that’s all you can add. It’s okay to have a little fun with your gift certificates. Use an enticing title or fun description to make your certificates extra memorable for the recipient. Try offering “Recapture your youth, invigorating deep-tissue massage” birthday certificates or “Winter warm-up hot stone treatment” for the holidays.
Remember, some of your gift certificates will be going to people who are “meeting” you for the first time. Include a delightful description of your business, create special certificates for special occasions, or present unique treatment packages and turn these revenue builders into marketing machines.
4. Keep track of payments and redemptions
The way in which you record and pay taxes on gift certificate income depends on whether you are using the cash or accrual accounting method. But regardless of which system you use, you’ll want to keep careful records so that you know how much and when you received payment for each certificate. Then, you’ll need to record each redemption amount.
It is best to keep track of this information using a separate list to keep your debits and credits in the right places. If you use ClinicSense to manage your gift certificate sales, we keep track of this information for you. You’ll be able to check on your certificate balances and generate reports to help you stay on top of your outstanding certificate “debts.”
Offering gift certificates is easy to do when you have the right tools. Sign up for a free trial of the ClinicSense suite of management tools today and discover just how easy growing your business can be.