It may be tempting to use the discount code function in place of gift cards just to ‘get-by’ but this isn’t ideal for a number of reasons.
A discount code does not track balances. If a customer has a $100 code, spends $75, then that’s the end of that code’s life. You have to set up an additional code manually for any balance.
Multiple gift cards can be used on the checkout at once whilst only one discount code can ever be used at a time.
Gift cards are applied to the final order total, including shipping (if any).
When you sell a gift card, you’re actually creating a debt that you owe a customer, and your outstanding gift card total should be represented as such in your balance sheet. This isn’t accounted for if you set it up as a discount.
Get Gift Card Functionality
The Shopify plan and above all come with native Shopify Gift Cards.
But if you’re on the Basic plan then investigate if Rise.ai app will work for you. It’s US$19.99 pm (for up to 100 orders a month) and you get a lot of features for your money including Gift cards/e-gifts, incentives etc, it will add quite a few new options that you can get creative within your marketing.
You might be able to get away with using discount codes but it’s 100%, not a gift card and you shouldn’t treat it or promote it that way.