A gift certificate, or gift voucher, is a paper or electronic document which can be used as money at the issuer’s store, or related outlets (depending on the exact nature of the certificate).
Gift certificates are often used as a present when the giver is not familiar enough with the recipient to know what item they would appreciate. They are also used as a “flexible” gift, allowing the recipient to choose the exact item they desire from the store’s entire inventory - Christmas gift certificates are a particularly good choice for distant relatives, in place of a knitted sweater or other dubious present which will not be appreciated as much!
Corporate gift certificates are frequently used as part of employee incentive programs, as they show appreciation without limiting the recipient’s choice of gift. This is particularly true when using store vouchers from Amazon and other large distributors, where the gift certificate can be used to purchase clothes, books, music, films or a vast array of other items.
Thanks to their flexible nature, gift certificates are not even limited to physical goods: adventure gift certificates, concert ticket vouchers and others allow you to offer virtual goods and life experiences.