New Feature - Gift Certificates!

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99 comments

  • stonehillcollectibles

    That's an excellent point about various state laws. I found this list that provides a state by state summary of Consumer Protection Laws:
    http://www.consumersunion.org/pub/core_financial_services/003889.html

    The statement at the top about the Credit Card Act of 2009 led me to do a little more reading. Gift Certificates will be valid for at least 5 years. This apparently applies to all of us, regardless of state. For your reading pleasure (or displeasure, as the case may be...):
    http://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/how-the-card-act-impacts-gift-cards.aspx

  • Joe Friday

    girlshorseclothes

    National companies do sell gift certificates.  But those companies are much larger than we are and they have a whole department that handles these types of issues.  Right now, we are not of that size and we just don't have any people sitting around not doing anything that I can put on this.

    It's like the internet sales tax issue that is being batted around.  They are talking about an exemption for those websites that do less than $500,000 a year.  Those that do over that would need to collect and file the sales taxes in all 50 states..  This is going to be a nightmare for us if this is passed and will probably require a staff of at least 2.5 people just to keep up with all of these sales taxes.  

    And on the issue of keys for gifts.......   We have a selection of collector keys that folks tend to give this time of year.  But keyless remotes are our most popular gift item.  It's something that is needed and used on a daily basis.

     

     

    Joe

  • girlshorseclothes

    Looking forward to setting this up, thanks!

  • Tomas

    Cindy,

    All that will do is treat the item as a product and it won't add it to the Gift Certificate system. For automated emailing and generation of gift certificates, it must be added using the Gift Certificate form.

    This option will work if you want to manually add a gift certificate from the admin at a later time.

  • girlshorseclothes

    Tomas gave the code to turn off the add to cart button:

    I believe that gift-certificate is because the title of my item is "Gift Certificate"... so if you used a different title, you would need to put the words from that title instaed (whatever shows up as the "url handle" in the product edit form.

    --- This code would just go in your "product details" template.

    ACTUALLY, another way to do it is to create a custom page and add it to your menu builder, maybe call it "gift certificate information" and use text like I used, the link to the gift certificate page like I have, and insert a photo if you like.     THEN, you would not have to deal with adding the code to get rid of the add to cart button.

     

    (I did not do anything at all to the account wrapper code)

     

    {{ #if($producturlhandle != "gift-certificate") }}
      SHOW ADD TO CART BUTTON
    {{ #end }}
  • Tomas

    "Just noticed that the gift certificate page is titled 'My Account' ... would it be possible for you to change that?"

    {{ #if($template == "giftcertificates") }} 
    <title>Show Gift Certificate title</title> 
    {{ #else }} 
    <title>Show Account Title</title> 
    {{ #end }}
  • ezgrabs

    @ Stone Hill - I like your GC page. However, the description says $5~$100 but next to the blank it says $1~$100.

    I personally have no desire to charge fees on GC's. The only reason I'm adding an expiration date, is because I don't want to be in businesses for 10 years and suddenly this old GC comes up, or a customer is asking about it. Otherwise I'd have them never expire, it's just more customer friendly.

  • ezgrabs

    Y'all are getting worked up over nothing. What they have been considering is if an internet company should pay taxes on all transactions. If so, those taxes would be owed to the states you have a physical presence in, or to the federal government. It doesn't matter how many laws California passes about internet transactions. I am not in California, therefore their laws will NEVER apply to me. Therefore I'd never pay California taxes.

    This is why it will never happen. Most consumers are impatient. I myself am VERY impatient. If I have to pay taxes on a transaction on the internet, 90% of the time that would put the product in the price range of a product I can get from the store. I'd rather buy it from the store than wait a week to get a product I bought online. Also you have to consider profit margin. Internet companies typically offer product at lower prices because they get less return when they sell something. Charging taxes on every transaction, and effectively raising prices will put many internet companies out of business. No one wants to do that. It's an idea that has been tossed around a lot, but law makers aren't COMPLETE idiots... though idiots they may be. It would be suicide for any state to pass such a law, and the federal government knows this as well. 

    Besides, if you had to pay the taxes of your state, every company big enough to do so would move to a tax free state.

    We won't even get into the complexities of city level taxes. Here in North Texas 6.25% goes to the state while the city and public transportation each take 1% for a total of 8.25%. There's no way such a law would even be enforceable. 

  • girlshorseclothes

    I agree with Joe and ezgrabs.   Most any coupon code offer Ive seen states 'not valid on purchase of gift certificates".    Coupon codes then ARE VALID when purchasing with a gift certificate.    But, one should not be able to "double dip".  

    ANd.... we might be suseptible to tripple and quadrupple dipping at this point...    If its possible to buy a gift certificate by redeeming a gift certificate.self

    Myself, I do not care which way it is... but I do think one thing or the other does need to be prohibited....  Either using a coupon to PURCHASE a certificate (most typical), or using a coupon when redeeming a certificate.

     

     



  • Joe Friday

    What I believe is going to happen is the payment processors (Paypal, Amazon, Google, etc) will collect and remit the sales taxes, based upon where the buyer is located) for merchants like us.  At least that is what I am hoping will happen.  Amazon seems to be getting set up to do just that.

    If we all have to file this on our own, it's going to be a complete mess.  The sales tax reports are due monthly in many places.  That is 50 chances each month to not get the report in on time.  If you are one day late there is a 25% penalty of the tax due in some states. Miss one month of filing and you could be out of business or so deep in the hole that you can't possibly get out.  Imagine the IRS times 50 and think of the time this is going to involve. Ever get a notice from the IRS when you have done everything right and they can't seem to put the right paperwork in the right file?  It takes days and hours to try to straighten it out even if you are right.    And lets just hope they don't want us to collect county and city sales taxes as well.

    When Amazon gave in to California on this and agreed to start paying sales taxes in 2012 to California that is where the turning point came about.  Unfortunately, it's just a matter of time before they close the sales tax exemption on internet sales. 

    Joe

  • Tim Young

    I enabled the gift certificate settings and I don't see it on my homepage www.FloridaGiftsOnline.com 

    Seems so simple which is my problem!   LOL

  • Tomas

    Ahh, I see what you did.. You just created a link to the gift certificate form. This will work too, but I'd suggest removing the add to cart button and pricing on that page.

    {{ #if($producturlhandle != "gift-certificate") }}
      SHOW ADD TO CART BUTTON
    {{ #end }}
  • Tomas

    I really really REALLY like what Cindy has done. Can the "add to cart" button be disabled selectively???

    Sure, if you are using a product called "Gift Certificate", you can exclude the pricing and add-to cart button on the Product Details template. If you want to take it even step further with some custom coding, you can add the entire gift certificate form on the product details page using the basis of sample code I provided above.

  • Tomas

    $store.giftcertificatesenabled will work.

  • girlshorseclothes

    Damn touchpad!   I LOVE LOVE LOVE Touchfreeze, but every once in a while it stops working and I have to purposefully launch it from my start menu.     I would have tossed this laptop out the window LONG ago without Touchfreeze and my Swiftpoint mouse.y!

    (acgtually, no, I would have sold it on eBa

    CRAP... touchfreeze still isnt working.... the y for ebay ended up after mouse.

  • 405media

    Ok back to thanking the guys at Highwire for putting this out... and Happy Thanksgiving :)

    Hope to see more updates 

  • ezgrabs

    @ lightning, good point. I've been pondering how I will handle the accounting aspect of this since it was announced.

     

    @ stonehill, I didn't know that. I don't think Texas has that law. I was thinking once the GC is used or expired, I'd just consider it as profit. We'll see, I may actually setup a separate bank account just to hold GC monies until they are used. (Interest bearing of course)

  • lightningwear

    Amazing / Joe,

    You are only subject to the laws of your OWN state regarding the selling of gift certificates, and the more general Federal law. Essentially, this simply means that you need to follow the law in your own state, as all state laws are either the same as, or more restrictive than federal law.

    You don't live or operate a business in other states, so their laws do not apply to you and have no authority over you.

     

    Caveat: That would be assuming that you are a small enough business to NOT have a distribution center or a store in a different state as well, which would cause you to have a "substantial business interest" in the other state, which would cause you to be subject to the 2nd state's (3rd, 4th) states laws. So, if you're an online retailer like Amazon, which has multiple distribution centers across the country, things can indeed get a bit complicated. But even Amazon is only subject to the laws of the specific states they're in.

    The other situation would be if you were Incorporated (say in Delaware) but operating as a "foreign" corporation in North Carolina: Then DE's and NC's laws would apply. States call corporations "foreign" if they're incorporated in a different state, but have filed with a state (usually the one they're physically doing business in) for formal state recognition as a corporation in that state as well. This gives them the ability to start a lawsuit in that state's courts.

  • Tomas

    "I enabled the gift certificate settings and I don't see it on my homepage www.FloridaGiftsOnline.com "

    This is because you are using a very old custom template which isn't using the menu builder system. If you don't have any customizations , just update your store template by re-selecting it. If you do have some customizations to your template you wish to keep, you'll need to manually add links to "/giftcertificates/".

  • girlshorseclothes

    AWESOME, thanks, I knew it could be done, but would have needed a I would have needed quite a bit of time to figure it out.

  • girlshorseclothes

    OK... I guess that isnt really the full code... its just showing the if statement to add above the code that displays the add to cart button (and price, if you want, I would think)

    :)

  • ezgrabs

    Gift certs have just been changed to 5 years... 

    That's a good point on the coupons. I'm not using them yet, but if you can double dip on them when getting a gift card, I may never use them. But by the time I get around to that, I'm sure it'll all be figured out. :)

  • stonehillcollectibles

    On another note... ez,  I understand what you feel and are saying about assessing dormancy fees. However, in some states, if the GC is not used or has a remaining balance at expiration, then the monies escheat to the state. That means you'd have to cough up the $$$ balance to send to the state. Just something to think about.

  • ezgrabs

    I think you missunderstood what was happening with Amazon. They've been doing businesses WITH physical presence in states, and not collecting taxes. It's simple, you have an order from Cali, and you have a physical presence in Cali. But your Washington warehouse processes the order, so you claim you don't have to collect taxes. That act is why Amazon has been the main company associated with this. If a law gets passed, you're still only liable for your state. I don't think either side really has a real solution, but it will always remain a foreign state has no authority over you. Only your state and federal govt.

  • girlshorseclothes

    OMG, I totally want mine set up like yours Shirley, AND, I want a marketing email sent out just like yours too.   Did Jennifer do that too?  Unfortunatly, Im using Mail Chimp now, and I'm sure the coding is not the same, but maybe it wont be too far off.

    Your email is awesome.   I totally cringe at making up those emails... its always SUCH a PITA for me, so I send maybe 3 a year... MAYBE.   Setting one up just goes immediately into my "things to procrastinate" file.     (Which my brain has plenty of room to keep shoving things into!)

    Sigh.

  • girlshorseclothes

    Yep, being treated the same as any new order is PERFECT!  I just didnt know that they would be part of the order system.     PERFECT!  :))

  • Tomas

    Where is the code that creates the page? 

    The Gift Certificate form inherits the Account Wrapper template. All elements on that page can be styled using CSS. The content of the form can not be edited. 

    "I like it how it is, but Id like to show what the certificate is going to look like"

    There is a preview button that will loads a window and shows just that..a preview. :)

  • girlshorseclothes

    When I initially set it up, I didnt have it bolded and larger font to CLICK to create the Gift Certificate.      I even "added it to cart" myself.   I will be using the code you gave me so the add to cart does not show in a bit here... I have to head out for a meeting, but Ill get that cleaned up later tonight (and make it more prominent on my site too)

    Thanks again for the code!

  • austiners

    I like what Cindy's done but was thinking of putting text like hers, other info, and an image of the certificate like she did -- but putting it as a category page (not a product page) and then using the link to the gift certificate system? Would that work also?

    Susan , Austiners

  • lightningwear

    Stone Hill your certificate page looks great   http://www.stonehillcollectibles.com/giftcertificates/

    Tomas - in my opinion, this (the link above to Stone Hill's page) is what the gift certificate page should be EASILY customizable to look like -- a standard HTML block in the blank RH side of the page, where we can easily add a picture of the certificate and some verbiage. You're a talented programmer, but your visual marketing skills are lacking -- very few customers would be captivated into coughing up money by the "default"  half-blank page, and many of your users don't have the custom programming skills necessary to mod it.

    Also, when I test the "Preview", on the displayed image  I get "TO: $cert_to"  "FROM: $cert_from" and only the first 18 characters of the message. This would frighten a customer into thinking that the real certificate would print out that way.

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