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CASE STUDY
How to manage mass refunds and gift cards in the time of pandemic
Blog

COVID-19 – Ensuring business continuity with mass refunds to gift cards.

by 
 
April 8, 2020

How to deal with mass refunds, cancellations and managing claims during the COVID-19 crisis with smart gift vouchers? A step-by-step guide to automating mass refunds to gift cards using Voucherify Promotion Engine.

COVID-19 – Ensuring business continuity with mass refunds to gift cards.

The ongoing COVID-19 global health emergency is on everyone’s lips. And no wonder, it is a weighty threat to public health and global stability. The domino effect was quick to hit the world economy and businesses of all shapes and sizes. Many industries are at risk of not only losing their revenue, mass layoffs but also going out of business indefinitely. 

From offline shopping to aviation, which predicts losses to reach $252 billion this year alone (!), many businesses now face fallout from the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19. The automation of mass refunds is one of them. Understandably, companies are doing everything in their power to maintain liquidity. From offering gift cards, discounts, loyalty programs to other benefits redeemable after the crisis to ease customers and keep the revenue flowing. Without automating the whole process, the support teams are deemed to drown in waves of unsettled claims and dissatisfied customers. And that’s not a happy-ending scenario. 

Using gift cards to fight against covid-19
Source: Unsplash

The guide to automating mass refunds management

With this post, we want to guide you step-by-step through automating mass refunds to gift vouchers using Voucherify to preserve liquidity in your company and meet customers’ demands. The process of automation is shared between Voucherify and your systems and it will require some developmental effort up-front. What you get from us is a flexible API and ready-to-go building blocks for creating, storing, validating, redeeming and tracking gift vouchers. 

Thanks to our developer-friendly API, the integration of your e-commerce stack with Voucherify can take as long as one day (if you have enough resources and manpower to spare).

Here is the workflow step-by-step:

  1. Create a gift cards campaign manually or via API.
  2. Set up automatic publication (assignment) of gift vouchers to customers.
  3. Use API to add proper gift voucher balance based on customer order amount. 
  4. Track the progress of your campaign and manage your gift cards straight from the Dashboard.
  5. Alternatively, instead of using API publication you can use Voucherify Distribution Mechanism to assign codes to customer profiles. 

Thanks to high performance scalability, Voucherify will be able to process up to several thousand API calls per hour so you won’t have to worry about lagging behind. We also do not place limits on the number of customers and gift cards you want to manage, giving you many options for scalability – the platform capacity will increase and decrease according to your needs. 

You can also customize the parameters of your gift cards such as the expiration date, code pattern, and redemption rules. 

Step 1: Creating a gift card campaign

Begin with creating gift vouchers that you will later on use for handling mass claims. 

Creating a gift cards campaign
Creating a gift cards campaign

There are many gift card attributes that you can set up including campaign name, code pattern, redemption limits or timeframe. In our use case, there are three key components to set up:

  1. The initial gift card balance should be 0 – the proper amount will be added to the gift card later on as it will depend on the given order amount. 
  1. The expiration date of the gift card should be limited to “X days after publication” – we don’t want the gift cards to be redeemable indefinitely. In our example, the gift card redemption is limited to 365 days after the publication. 
  1. To ensure the security of the gift card, we should set up a validation rule “redeemable only by the holder.” Keep in mind that you need to upload your customers into Voucherify to be able to use this feature, otherwise Voucherify won’t recognize who is and isn’t the card holder during the validation process. 

Of course, there is a number of customizable parameters left and we’d love to spend the next few pages describing them. But to cut the story short, these are the bare basics of the workflow. 

Please refer to our support article for gift cards if you run into any problems or want to learn more about Voucherify possibilities for gift vouchers.

Step 2: Connecting the API to assign gift cards programmatically

Disclaimer: Voucherify runs on API. If you’re new to this concept, please check out this article to get started or if you’re ready to take on the big guns, go straight to our Developer Documentation

Voucherify is an API-first Promotion Engine. What it means for you is that your e-commerce platform can easily “talk” to Voucherify and exchange bits of data. The first step to integrate with Voucherify API is to use the Distributions API, and more specifically “Create publication” method. By using this method, Voucherify will select gift cards that aren’t assigned to customers and return the publication confirmation. 

Disclaimer: The process of publication in Voucherify is about assigning codes to particular customer profiles. The actual process of sending out incentives will be described in Step 3. 

Here is an example of an API request you can create:

{{CODE}}

curl -X POST \

  -H "X-App-Id: c70a6f00-cf91-4756-9df5-47628850002b" \

  -H "X-App-Token: 3266b9f8-e246-4f79-bdf0-833929b1380c" \

  -H "Content-Type: application/json" \

  -d '{

    "campaign": { 

      "name": "gift card refunds", 

      "count": 1 

    },

    "customer": {

      "source_id": "jane-doe@voucherify.io",

      "email": "jane-doe@voucherify.io",

      "name": "Jane Doe"

    },

    "metadata": {

      "booking_id": April_01,

    }

  }' \

 https://api.voucherify.io/v1/publications

{{ENDCODE}}

Please visit our Developer Documentation to learn more about Distributions API. 

The next step of using Voucherify API for your gift cards is adding the proper value to our gift cards. If you remember correctly, we set the initial gift card value to 0 but it can’t stay like that forever, can it? By using the “Add Gift Voucher Balance” API method, you can quickly add the proper amount to the gift card code. 

Please visit our Developer Documentation to learn more about adding gift card balance via API. 

Perhaps you have noticed that we’ve included the metadata property in the API request. Metadata enables you to add custom data to Voucherify. Every object type like: 

  • vouchers 
  • campaigns 
  • customers 
  • products 
  • SKUs 
  • redemptions 

By including booking_id metadata, you can effortlessly check the booking that is refunded which will help you track your progress. In addition, you can filter vouchers by booking_id on the Dashboard to see what bookings have been refunded the most often or derive any other data important for your business. 

Step 3: Notifying customers 

After creating gift cards, assigning them to customers and giving them proper value, it’s time to send them to customers. We already achieved this effect in the previous step – after publishing vouchers to customers, you know which codes are assigned to which customer profile. The last step is to share codes with your customers either via own infrastructure or by using Voucherify Distribution Engine, or 3rd party integrations such as Braze, MailChimp, Active Campaign, Twilio or more

In our example, we are going to use Voucherify Distribution. If you prefer to use your messaging solution, you can skip this step. 

Setting up Automatic Distribution in Voucherify

We are going to select Automatic distribution with the purpose of sending out codes from the gift card campaign. 

After selecting the audience, marketing consents, titling your message, and choosing the messaging channel, design your message. We wanted to offer our users a wide field for customization. You can play around with fonts, colors, footers and CTAs. For our Enterprise clients, we also offer a possibility to use custom HTML email templates. 

Step 4: Getting the most of API

Now, the only thing that’s left is to connect your checkout form with Voucherify API for validating and redeeming codes. By integrating your checkout form with Voucherify systems, you will be able to track the redemption rates, activate and deactivate vouchers on the fly, see the detailed activity logs to see all changes made to specific gift card code, monitor your budget and many more. 

Go to developer docs to learn more details

If you’d like to connect Voucherify with your BI system, you can use our API to list redemptions and export them into a CSV file for quick access.

Another important thing to consider is how to quickly accommodate to customers’ wishes? If you have already generated a gift card assigned to a customer but he or she refuses to accept it and instead wants to receive a cash refund, all you have to do is to integrate Voucherify API with a payment gateway of your choice.

We live in a pretty hostile world, the fact that hits especially hard in times like these. You will certainly encounter people who are willing to game the system for their gains. But Voucherify is ready for that. Our Platform is set up to respond to your call in 200 ms and you decide how frequently you want to sync data from Voucherify with your platform. Thanks to swift validation and redemption API, you will instantly know whether the gift voucher was redeemed. This way you secure your business from a scenario in which a customer requests a cash payment only to use the gift card cash a minute later, taking advantage of unsynchronized data systems. 

Another method of preventing fraud is using webhooks – smart and fast IT informants who will notify you in a blink about selected events. You can use webhooks to communicate redemption data to other systems ensuring smooth data synchronisation across platforms. This way you won’t have to synchronize Voucherify and your system so frequently as you will stay updated about all selected events up-to-date. 

Voucherify Webhooks

Incorporating gift cards into your current stack

We, here at Voucherify, sincerely hope that you, your family, and friends are safe in these challenging times. We never wanted to do marketing out of this crisis, and we thought that since we have nothing to say to make the situation better, we should stay at home and wait it out. However, recently we were contacted by a big airline company seeking help in coping with mass refunds, and we thought, “Hey! Maybe that’s how we can help?” and so this article was born. 

We hope that this short workflow reveals at least a glimpse of possibilities that Voucherify offers. We are aware that in this critical time it is difficult to integrate new solutions into your current stack. But, what we also know from experience is that thanks to a developer-friendly API and multiple SDKs, connecting our API to your platform can take less than one day. And thanks to built-in validation, redemption, and tracking mechanisms your business will be quick to react to any issues and huge spikes in refund requests taking this heavy burden of your customer care teams.  

That’s why our support team and solution architects are ready to help you with every step of your journey. Drop us a line and we will see how we can help you. 

{{CTA}}

If you want to save your profits and protect your budget from COVID-19 crisis, give us a call.

I want to try Voucherify

{{ENDCTA}}

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