Shopping online has become a trend in recent years. Due to the increased competition, online shops want to lure customers in different ways. So, have you come across the terms, ‘gift cards’, ‘vouchers’, and ‘coupons’. The main purpose of these offers is to save you money and increase your purchasing capabilities.
But, most customers are confused about the differences between these terms. They think that those terms are interchangeable. However, as an online shopper, you should learn about the differences between digital vouchers, online gift cards, and coupons.
What are Gift Cards?
Gift cards refer to prepaid debit cards with a monetary value that you can use for various purchases. If you have availed a store gift card, you can use it at a particular merchant. But, prepaid gift cards for general uses may not be affiliated with certain merchants. You can also use them for withdrawing cash at ATMs.
For most gift cards, there is the highest and lowest limit to the initial amount you can load. For instance, you may need to load at least $10, while the maximum amount you can load is $500. You can also use the gift cards to pay for a part of your deal with credit, debit, or cash.
Gift cards can be categorized in 2 ways- non-reloadable and reloadable. In case of non-reloadable gift cards, you can load them only once. If you have a reloadable gift card, you can reload it with money several times till the expiry date. In some cases, you can turn a non-reloadable card into a reloadable one after undergoing a registration process.
Consumers often buy gift cards during special occasions and holidays. Many companies and retailers also offer gift cards to loyal customers to keep them engaged and promote their business. However, as soon as the stored value ends, the card is disposed of.
When you receive an e-gift card, you will get a PIN and a card number with it. Buyers also receive these details in their confirmation email.
Using a gift card is better than paying through cash. As you can register the card online, there is no risk of losing the money.
What are Vouchers?
Many online shopping platforms deliver digital vouchers to their customers via email or SMS. These vouchers are redeemable in-store or online with a particular code. In fact, they have become popular because they allow customers to get instant access to promotions and discounts.
Using a voucher, you can pay for a product. Many eCommerce websites offer digital vouchers to their loyal users via email or SMS. However, in most cases, you need to fulfil a minimum purchase requirement to use the voucher.
Digital vouchers have made it easy for customers to send or purchase gifts to their dear ones. One advantage is that you can instantly receive the online voucher via email. If you want to maintain a long-distance gifting trend, you can choose a digital voucher.
Several online stores offer vouchers to market their services to customers. They attract customers with amazing offers. You can find these vouchers, especially during holiday events like Valentine’s Day, Black Friday, and Christmas.
So, gift vouchers work like promotional vouchers that let you get a discount. You will be able to use the voucher one time only. However, you cannot exchange vouchers for cash. Besides, there is no way to get a refunded in any way. Most gift vouchers have a short validity, such as 2 to 10 weeks.
Although vouchers offer one-time discounts, they work mainly on a depletion basis. If there is money, they encourage repeat purchases.
What are Coupons?
Online coupons are promotions, offers, or discounts offered by virtual stores to existing and potential customers. Like physical coupons, online couples entice customers to make a deal at the virtual marketplace.
Related: Cashback vs Discount
Coupons are of different categories
Coupons available in the online world are of various types-
Consumers can access these coupons from almost any location. For instance, they may download them from the company’s official website or receive them via email or social networking platform.
Several eCommerce websites have integrated their custom mobile apps to run business. So, they provide their customers with mobile-only couples that increase their sales rate.
Some discounts are applied automatically at the checkout. Most consumers love this type of discounts, as they do not need to go through multiple steps to receive the discount. Most commonly, online retailers use this strategy to attract customers and reduce the rate of shopping cart abandonment.
Coupon codes have gained popularity in the eCommerce world. They work faster than downloadable coupons. Customers can use them easily while buying an item. Moreover, these codes combine unique letters and numbers.
It is to be noted that virtual coupons remain valid only for products of a digital store. You cannot redeem them at any offline or physical store. This is mainly because products of a physical store and an online shop have different overhead costs. So, businesses cannot apply the same discounts.
However, the online world also presents you with traditional coupons at the retailer’s website. Retailers can send you the online coupon via social media platforms or email. In some cases, businesses also post them during their advertising campaigns.
Online coupons are a part of customer loyalty programs. Especially, first-time customers get the opportunity to avail online coupons.
So, you have now understood how online coupons, digital gift cards, and vouchers are different from each other. Many online stores want to attract their customers with coupons, gift vouchers, and other similar offers. Their aim is to increase the loyalty of their customers and gain their trust.
At the same time, these coupons or vouchers are beneficial to customers who want to save money with every deal. However, these terms have subtle differences that you must understand. It will help you take advantage of these offers and make your deal more affordable.