How Gift Cards Can Increase Brand Awareness

We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words.

But sometimes a picture can be worth a thousand customers (or more) for your Shopify store.

We’re not talking about the product images you use (although we agree those are critically important) or the graphics on your store’s theme (ditto). We’re talking about the visual aspect of your gift cards.

Your gift cards are your brand’s ambassadors. They are quite literally the face of your store on every channel: online, in your brick and mortar locations and on social media. With their very nature entailing them being sent from one person to another, they have a high degree of virality, exposing your store to new potential customers all the time.

Are you taking advantage of all those first impressions? This is your chance to understand the power that visuals bring to your gift cards and learn how to use it to get ahead.

Let’s go.

Make Your Gift Cards Say “You” All Over

Even if your gift card is a digital product that no one ever holds in their hand, it needs to look like something when you display it on your website. That “something” could be a white card with your logo on it… but if you do that, you’ll be missing out on a big opportunity. 


Instead, take advantage of the appearance and imagery of your gift card to appeal to the senses of your customer and their recipient. 


Imagine a gift card sales page where the images, text and whole delivery experience express:

the sensation of heavenly chocolate truffles melting in your mouth 

the fresh, natural feeling you’ll have from using organic, straight-from-nature shampoos and body oils

the roar of the fans in a crowded stadium featuring your customer’s favorite team

The intense, fantastical atmosphere of a band’s music

How to put this into action:

Spend about 15 minutes getting into the head of your ideal customer. When Suzie Customer experiences your product or service, what experience does it give her? What emotions does it evoke? What pictures does it bring up in her mind? You might want to brainstorm with staff members if you have them, or with a few of your best customers.

Now spend another 15 minutes thinking about what graphics and text would give over that experience and its accompanying feelings.

If you have a few different ideas, you can test out a few different designs at a time to see which one gets the most traction. We wouldn’t recommend testing more than about four at a time, however, or you may end up with customers stuck in analysis paralysis.

Give Your Gift Cards Some Holiday Spirit

You’re Mother’s Day shopper debating between gift cards from two different brands. Your mom loves both brands and you know she would be thrilled with a gift card from either one. Then you look at the design on the gift card. One gift card shows the brand name and logo on a white background. The other gift shows the brand name and logo – against a backdrop of a kid holding a bouquet of roses with a tag that says “For the Best Mom Ever.” 


Which one are you going to choose? No-brainer, right?

Or how about this one from Maryland spa A Perfect Face?


Gift cards that are visually customized for specific occasions attract givers and impress recipients. And with digital gift cards, you don’t have to invest resources in printing hundreds of holiday-themed gift cards that may or may not get used. One graphic image of your gift card and you’re good to go! 


By using free photo sites like Shopify’s or the mountain of other options available, you can save on graphic design costs. A search for “Christmas” or “Kwanzaa” will turn up gorgeous images available to use for commercial purposes without charge or attribution. Just make sure that the photo site you’re using allows your intended use or you may find yourself in hot water. 


You can also offer special designs for common occasions, like a confetti-filled “Happy Birthday!” card design.


Don’t give too many options for any one holiday or occasion, or (as mentioned above) analysis paralysis may kick in and prevent your customer from selecting any of them. To decrease the noise, also remove options that aren’t timely. You don’t need to have your Hanukkah design show as an option in June. 

Bath & Body Works have put a lot of effort into making sure they have a range of gift card designs for different holidays, occasions and even sentiments.

This is only half of the available designs. With 23 options in all, they might be violating the “eliminate analysis paralysis” principle. To be fair, if you’re looking for a Christmas gift, you’re not likely to be “paralyzed” by the birthday, thank you or bridal shower options. But the existence of all those options, all in the same place, does create a lot of noise for your customers to tune out, so you might want to help them and have some kind of filter where they can choose to see only “holiday gift cards” or “birthday gift cards.”

Let the Buyer Customize the Card

Let’s take this a step further. What if you enabled your gift card buyer to customize the look of the gift card? The costs of such physical gift cards would be prohibitive, but digitally, it’s a snap. 


Boutique coffee roaster La Colombe already gives several different image options that the customer can choose for their e-gift card or gift card announcement. What if they would let you upload your own image?

Can you imagine what an amazing gift it would be for a coffee lover to receive a La Colombe or Starbucks gift card featuring a picture of herself drinking coffee? 

The Eyes Have It

We’re visual creatures. The way something looks makes a tremendous difference. Use the power of the visual wisely to help your gift cards make a great first impression and be the most effective brand ambassadors they can be.

  • Make them beautiful
  • Make them branded
  • Make them memorable
  • Make them holiday-specific


Put the power of personalization in your customers’ hands.

And then watch the results in your gift card sales. Watch, too, as your gift cards draw ever greater numbers of customers to your site.

You’ll have to see it to believe it.