hippoGIFT is a gift card and voucher system, designed to work with our popular hippoVEND web-enabled vending system. Using hippoGIFT, you can distribute gift vouchers — either for a fixed amount of L$ (change can be credited to a voucher, or a voucher used for whole payment), or in part payment (v2.0 vouchers or higher) or for a particular product — that can be used with your vendors inworld. This allows lots of possibilities: people can give gift vouchers to friends as presents, you can give away vouchers to loyal customers or as part of a marketing campaign and so on. It’s an easy and flexible way to expand your sales.

Please note that hippoGIFT vouchers only work with regular vendors (not catalogues) that are version 2 or higher.

1. Setting up hippoGIFT for the First Time

Before you can create your first gift voucher, you first need to set the permissions on your hippoGIFT voucher — this is because we have shipped it to you with full permissions (except on the scripts!) ... however, you don’t want your customers to be able to copy and transfer vouchers! So ...

  1. Rez the “hippoGIFT” voucher that came with you hippoGIFT system.

  2. Click it and it should chat something like:

    This voucher has no settings in it. If you are the merchant, please begin by setting the permissions of this prim (and the '.gift_voucher' script in it) to no-copy for the next owner. Then click me again and choose 'Set Up'.

  3. Right-click the voucher and choose “Edit”, then, if only the mini build window opens, click More >>>.

  4. Under the “General Tab”, turn off ”Copy” for the next owner (we’d recommend turning off “Modify” as well ...

  5. Under the “Content” tab, right-click the .gift_voucher script and, again, set the permissions so that the next owner cannot copy the script.

  6. Close the build window and take the hippoGIFT voucher you’ve just modified back into inventory — you can use it as the starting point for creating all your future vouchers, saving you the time and effort of repeating these three steps.

2. Creating a new gift voucher

To create a new gift voucher, ready for distribution, simply follow these steps ...

  • Rez a hippoGIFT voucher that you’ve correctly set the permission on (see section 1 above).

  • Click it and choose “Set Up” from the menu that appears.

  • From the next menu, choose whether you wish this voucher to be for a specific product or for an amount of L$ that can be spent at your vendors.

    • If you use the first type of voucher, you will be asked to type the name of one of your products. Please be exact, as the voucher will check your hippoVEND product list to ensure it can find a match. The finished voucher will then only be exchangeable for that exact product.

    • If you choose a voucher for a L$ value, you’ll be asked to type the amount. The finished voucher can be exchanged for any product of that value or less from your vendors. If the customer buys a product worth less than the amount on the voucher, the voucher will update its value to reflect the new credit on it. (Please note: vouchers can’t be used to part-purchase a product ... it must have enough credit on it to cover the whole product).

  • Finally, you’ll be asked to decide whether the voucher should display it’s value in floating hovertext. We recommend choosing ”Yes”, it makes it easier for your customers to quickly see the status of their vouchers.

  • That’s all done! You can now take this voucher into inventory and begin distributing it. However, we would also recommend ...

    • Adding a title to your voucher (perhaps your company name or some other useful information) — click the voucher and choose “Set Title” and then enter some text in chat. What you type will float in hovertext over the voucher when the customer has it rezzed.

    • Renaming the voucher to something more meaningful than “hippoGIFT Voucher”. Right-click it, choose “Edit” and rename the voucher object in the usual way.

    • Adding an information notecard to the voucher. When the customer who ends up with this voucher clicks it, if it contains a notecard they’ll see a “Help” button in a menu if there is a notecard. It’s a good way to include information about your business, where your store is (so they can find your vendors and cash in the voucher) etc.

Useful Tip: If you set up a voucher wrongly, simply click it and choose “Wipe” from its menu to reset it to being a blank, fresh voucher once again.

3. Setting up a vendor to accept vouchers

Only regular (not catalogue) vendors will accept gift vouchers and they must be version 2 or higher. If you’re using an older version of hippoVEND, there is a free upgrade available to the latest version.

A vendor will only accept gift vouchers if you turn on this option in its configuration. To do this, open up the configuration page on the website for the vendor and tick this option:

(This option only appears if the vendor you’re configuring is version 2 and can accept vouchers).

Save the vendor configuration, then refresh the vendor by hitting its icon (or resetting and downloading its contents using its menu commands inworld).

Important Note: If you’ve set CONFIRM EACH PURCHASE WITH CUSTOMER: Yes in the vendor’s configuration notecard, then a customer using a voucher and answering “No” to the confirmation will get a cash refund back from the vendor. (The voucher will have been debited correctly). If you don”t want the customer to be able to cash out the voucher this way, use CONFIRM EACH PURCHASE WITH CUSTOMER: No in your voucher-accepting vendors. (Verson 2.5 or higher vendors will actually igonore the confirm purchase setting and not show a confirmation when a voucher is used, to avoid this issue).

Gift Vouchers and Payment Sharing

A customer paying for a product with a gift voucher raises interesting questions if you’ve got payment sharing turned on for that vendor or product. Should the vendor still pay out payment shares or not?

You can use the new PAYMENT SHARING WHEN PAID BY VOUCHER: <Yes/No> setting in version 2 vendor configuration notecards to control this. If set to PAYMENT SHARING WHEN PAID BY VOUCHER: No then the vendor will ignore any payment sharing settings if the customer pays for a product via a gift voucher.

4. How do customers use vouchers?

How you distribute your vouchers to customers is entirely up to you — you can sell them from vendors, for example, or give them out as prizes and promotions — the possibilities are endless.

Once a customer has a voucher, using it is simplicity itself:

  • They should find one of your vendors selling the product they wish to exchange their voucher for (so it’s often a good idea to add a notecard to your vouchers listing your store locations).

  • Rez, wear, or attach the voucher (so you’ll need to ensure that scripts are turned on for visitors at your store).

  • Find the product on the vendor so the main panel is showing it and then touch any part of the vendor (or the main panel showing the product).

  • If the voucher is for a product, a menu like this one will appear ...

    If they answer “Yes”, the product will be delivered and the voucher will deactivate itself and delete its scripts.

  • If, on the other hand, the voucher holds a L$ value, the menu is slightly different ...

    If they answer ”Yes”, the product will be delivered and the voucher will update its value. If the purchase leaves it with L$0 left, it will deactivate itself and delete its scripts.

  • If the voucher is a hippoGIFT v2.0 or higher voucher and the vendor is hippoVEND v2.5 or higher, then a customer may use a voucher to part pay for a product. For example, if the product costs L$750 but the voucher only has L$350 remaining on it, the customer will see a dialog menu like this one ...

    If they click “Yes”, the vendor will adjust its price to the lower value and lock itself so that only the voucher owner can use it for the next sixty seconds. Provided they pay the vendor in that time (and the vendor is able to cross-check with the voucher before the delivery is made — if they unattach or de-rez it, the transaction will fail and they’ll be refunded the L$ they paid) then the product will be delivered and the voucher expired.

    If you wish to disable the ability to part-pay at a vendor, simply add this line to the vendor’s configuration notecard — DISABLE VOUCHER PART PAYMENTS: Yes and reset the vendor. It will then (provided, of course, it’s generally set to accept vouchers) only accept vouchers for a specific product or where the voucher’s cash value is equal to or greater the price of the product. This can be useful if the vendor is on an extremely slow sim and communications between vendor and vouchers seem to be suffering.

5. Useful Information

  • Any sales paid for by gift voucher appear in your hippoVEND sales log online with a little icon. You can filter your sales log to show only voucher sales by clicking the button, ticking “Voucher Sales Only” then clicking OK.

  • If you add a landmark to a voucher’s inventory, then when the voucher is rezzed (or attached) the owner will be offered it. This can be a useful way of directing voucher recipients to your store — otherwise somebody may get a voucher as a gift, then puzzle about where to come and spend it!

  • You can click one of your vouchers owned by somebody else (e.g. a customer who has bought one and has rezzed it for you or is wearing it) and choose “Wipe” to blank it out. If the voucher is for a monetary value, you can also choose “Alter” to adjust the value on it (e.g. add more credit).

  • Vouchers store their data encrypted in script memory. We recommend encouraging customers not to reset their voucher’s scripts (indeed, if you ship them with no modify this is very hard to do!) as it runs the risk of them entirely losing the voucher’s contents.

  • Be careful about enabling group discount as well as voucher use on a vendor, as at the moment they’re not entirely compatible. Somebody who pays for a product with a voucher will get the group discount refunded back to them in cash. If you’re not happy with this arrangement, simply don’t turn on group discount on a vendor that accepts vouchers. (Version 2.5 and higher vendors automatically ignore any group discount setting if a customer pays by voucher. They’ll also ignore the “Confirm Each Purchase” setting in the vendor’s configuration notecard, since using this with vouchers has caused problems in the past if Second Life is being pernickity.)