I'm quite excited about this. I happened to venture into my coupon section on Etsy yesterday to create a free shipping code for the Etsy UK free shipping month event, and I noticed that the page looked a little...different.
There are now 3 new options, though only two are shown above. I'll go through them one at a time:
First we have a new checkbox. This checkbox allows you to set a coupon code to be sent out to people after they make a purchase from you. This code is likely to be the one you would give them to use should they return - around 10-15%. You can only have one discount set up to do this, however, and it is optional to buyers whether they receive them. In fact, it seems to be default for them to opt out of it. To change the settings for yourself to receive such codes after you make a purchase, go to your account > settings > email and tick the box to enable you to receive them. Not all shops will have this feature set up, but some will have. It is all new, afterall.
The second option shown above is a minimum spend. Now, I'm based in the UK, and all of my prices are in GBP. So it confused me to see a dollar sign beside it. However, it did become GBP, not dollars. This option means that you can create discounts such as free shipping or a percentage, on the premise that people spend a certain amount first before being able to use it. Many websites offer free shipping with purchases over, say, £45. Even some Etsy shops do the same, refunding the shipping manually. Now, however, you can set it up to do so automatically. By creating a code for free shipping, and setting the condition that it only be usable on orders over £45, you can freely post the code in your shop info/announcement box without worrying about people trying to use it after spending only £10. While they can try, the code will not work.
Now, the third option isn't shown above because the drop down box would have hidden the minimum spend option, but this third option is by far the best.
Fixed Discounts. They have finally implemented the option of setting an exact amount of money, rather than just a percentage. Many people have tried to create gift cards for their shop specifically, and they way they did it was by enabling the "other" option at checkout, and keeping a record of the code they gave out. It was a big hoopla, really, and it ended up with people trying to use the "other" option at checkout without having a gift card at all, creating problems for both buyer and seller alike.
Now, however, we can use the fixed discount option and do away with the other method completely. Now, personally, I would also set a minimum purchase here of slightly more than the gift card, as shown above, but those are just the conditions I would use. The discount, however, will not be usable unless they spend the amount the fixed discount is worth, so you probably want to fill the minimum spend field in as the amount the code is worth.
I recommend, if you are going to sell gift cards, using individual codes for each card, and deactivating them after a certain amount of time (say, 6 months - but you must state this on the listing and card/email containing the code itself), and deactivating after it has been USED. If, however, you are offering money off as an incentive to buy during, say, a giveaway, then one single code can be used instead.
The fixed discount works the same way as the percentage - there is no expiry date, and you cannot electronically set one - yet. I expect that will come in time. If you wish to give them expiry dates you will need to manually disable them on the date itself.
As with the minimum spend option, the dollar sign was still shown alongside GBP. I created a random code to see how it came out, and it is shown below (don't be cheeky, I deleted the code right away!)
As you can see, the code turned into GBP. The yellow bar shown above belongs to the coupon above it. The yellow bar is given to the discount you have set to be emailed out, so you can clearly see which is currently set as a returning customer incentive.
I hope this is of some use to you lovely people - I know that I'll be setting up my own gift cards in both of my shops within the next week! Good luck, all!