The Gift Certificate contains definitions for the certificate Order Form, and for the gift certificate, either as an E-Mail Certificate or as a Printed Certificate.
The gift certificate order form is the store page from which a customer can select options for and order a gift certificate. You may want to make the gift certificate order screen look like a store page, or like an individual product More Info Page, because the order form serves a similar function. Another approach would be to model the gift certificate order screen off the shopping cart format.
The order form requires the following:
The gift certificate uses its own unique content for the page header or footer, and what these contain will depend largely on the merchant and the overall design of the order form. These fields have a high likelyhood of having HTML content in them, so your design should accomodate such content.
The instructions for ordering gift certificates are written by the merchant in the Back Office, and could include HTML formatting. The instructions are intended as general guidelines for ordering gift certificates, and would usually go at the top of the order form.
The merchant has the option to allow only e-mail certificates, only printed certificates, or to allow the customer to select which format certificate to purchase. For e-mail certificates, this section includes a form field for entering the e-mail address to send the certificate to. E-mail certificates include a note informing the customer that the certificate will be delivered to the shipping address specified during the checkout process. If the customer has an option of which format to use, a radio button for each selection will be included with the recipient info.
This segment is created by ShopSite and includes form elements and descriptions for the customer to select how many gift certificates to order, and the price value for the certificates. The price value can be a number specified in a text entry box, or a pull-down of allowed values, depending on how the merchant configures it in the Back Office.
The Policy segment is a text block defined by the merchant in the Back Office. It is intended to provide a policy statement regarding how many recipients can be specified, and instructions for how to specify multiple recipients. This block could be located in a number of different places, but would usually go close to the quantity selection box and recipient information.
To/From/Message Form Fields
The form elements for the name of the recipient included on the certificate, as well as the name of the sender and a short personalized message to include on the certificate, are generated by ShopSite in this block.
There are two buttons that should be included on the certificate order form. The buttons are both independent objects, and can be located wherever you want on the screen. One button returns the customer to the previous store page they were visiting without purchasing a gift certificate. The second button adds the gift certificate to the customer's shopping cart.
The printed gift certificates are ordered by the customer, then printed out and mailed to the recipient by the merchant. The overall appearance of the printed certificates will probably be heavily influenced by the merchant and the printing capabilities the merchant has; if the merchant is only able to print black-and-white documents, having a highly decorated, detailed certificate may not look as good as if the merchant can print color certificates.
Printed Gift Certificates should include the following information:
The Recipient/Sender information consists of merchant-defined names for "To:" and "From:" description text, as well as the information the customer entered on the order form for the sender and recipient names. These are all independent objects, and can be laid out however you choose on the certificate.
The Certificate Value is the selected purchase value of the gift certificate. This is usually some of the more important information to the recipient, and should be displayed prominently on the certificate. There is also a merchant-defined description text element that can be included with the value.
The customer may include a short personalized message on the gift certificate order form, and this is where that message is included on the gift certificate. Depending on the feel you want the certificate to have, this could be included along with the sender and recipient info, or in a separate area on the certificate.
This section is essential to the certificate, as it provides instructions for the recipient to redeem the gift certificate. It includes a link to the store, as well as a certificate ID and PIN that must be entered on the checkout screen.
Certificate Page Layout
When a merchant prints out a gift certificate, there may be more than one certificate to be printed. The printed certificate template needs to include information to deal with multiple certificates, such as creating the beginning of the HTML page, the certificates themselves, and the end of the HTML page. It is also a good idea to include buttons on the screen to allow the merchant to print the certificates and to close the pop-up window to display the certificates for printing. There are some HTML and CSS techniques for designing the layout, and for preventing the buttons from printing with the certificates, that are discussed in the Custom Template Tag Reference and in the Custom Template Cookbook.
The E-Mail Gift Certificates are similar to the printed certificates, with the exception that they are formatted for e-mail, and as such do not require the print layout formatting. The other difference is that you can provide a link to click on, rather than having to type the link URL into a browser.
Like any e-mail message, it is a good idea to accommodate non-HTML e-mail clients and clients with image loading disabled.
The e-mail gift certificates use all the same elements as the printed certificate, and can also have the following:
Next Topic: Customer Registration Design
E-Mail Redemption Instructions
The E-mail redemption instructions are like the printed redemption instructions, in that the text to be displayed is configured in the Back Office by the merchant, but the E-mail redemption instructions can be displayed above a live link, and the instructions reflect that difference.