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4 Tips for a Successful Ecommerce Referral Program

One of the easiest ways to get more business is to use referral marketing. Not only is it convenient, but it’s a lot less cheap than traditional marketing. Referral programs and eCommerce go hand in hand. In fact, implementing a referral program into an eCommerce website is actually quite easy.

Referral marketing uses a business’s existing customers and incentivises them to refer new customers to the business. This works well at driving people to become loyal customers, on both ends of the spectrum (the referrer and the referral). It’s been found (study by Nielsen) that referrals are more likely to stay a loyal customer than someone who was not referred.

Referral programs are a fantastic way to advertise a business, but especially an eCommerce business. You see, most referral programs are run by referral software, which allows an eCommerce site to seamlessly integrate a referral program into their already existing sales process and siteec.  Not only does this mean it will be easy for the business, but it’s actually very simple for the businesses customers as well.

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1. Promote Your Referral Program on Your Site

This may seem like a no-brainer. But there are quite a few businesses out there that don’t promote their program. Or, they keep it hidden. Sometimes the best thing you can do is make it easy for people to find. Providing a link at the bottom of your site, or having a place for it on your menu (either on site level or someone’s account level) can be extremely beneficial.

When something is straightforward and upfront, it’s a lot easier to remember. So even if a customer doesn’t sign up for the referral program right away, they will be able to remember that it exists and they can easily navigate back to it. Besides, if it’s visible it might just entice some clicks.

If you’re not a fan of having the referral program visible on your homepage, you could use a pop-up. Just be sure to not overdo the pop-up effect, customers can only stand so much. But if you already have a popup in place, you could use it for dual purposes. Give your original message and then mention your referral program. It usually helps to state the incentive or create a sense of mystery. For example, you could mention something like… “Want to get $20 in store credit, find out how”. Then provide a link to the referral program landing page. Remember if people can’t find your referral program, they won’t use it. Key point, referral program point is important.

2. Add it to Thank You or Check Out Pages

 

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Alright, so perhaps you are more of the mysterious type. You don’t really want to display the referral program on your website. And you’d rather not use a pop up. Or perhaps you just want to be extra sure customers know you have a referral program. Whatever the case, using your existing processes makes inviting a customer to your referral program simple. Since you’re an eCommerce business, you probably send emails based on certain actions, you may also have specific pages that appear after a specific action. For example, you sell a product online, someone purchases the product, they receive a receipt to their email. You may also have a Thank You or a Confirmation Page setup. These are perfect opportunities for you to place a link to your referral program.

Besides these are the moments when customers are most happy. They just bought something they wanted or needed and would probably be happy to help you out. Plus, if you offer an incentive it will be another reason to share.

3. Offer a Return Discount

Okay, this one works really well for eCommerce businesses. One sure-fire way to get someone to shop with you again is to provide them with a deal they can’t refuse. How do you do that? Offer discounts.

Think about it, if someone is offered a discount or store credit just to refer a new customer, chances are they will do it. Why will they do it? Well, if you provide a great product and great service, chances are the customer will continue shopping with you anyway. But, when you add a return discount (for a simple task like sending a referral), you motivate them to come back and shop more often.

Plus, this helps create loyalty to your business. If customers are given a reason to come back, and then they do come back, they will likely come back again and again. 

Return incentives benefit both the business and the customer. Why? People love saving a few bucks, and even though the business is giving a discount, a sale is being made.

4. Make the Process Easy

The cool thing about referral software is that it can blend seamlessly into eCommerce sites. Not only does this help provide a great look and feel for the business, but it creates a user friendly environment for the customer. Signing up for the referral program becomes easy, and spreading the word and sharing referral codes becomes as simple as pressing a button.

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Most referral programs that are implemented allow a customer to share a pre-filled message (that was created by the business) with their friends. Sharing is usually done by email or social media, but a customer can really share their link anywhere. We all know how things can go viral on social media, simply because it’s so easy to retweet and share things. This is exactly why referral software has made this a key feature.

Let’s face it people tend to get a little lazy. So the easier something is made, the better off it is. When a referral program is implemented in such a way that makes it less of a chore for the customer, the more engagement there will be.

Referral Programs and eCommerce

If it’s simple and easy to find people will use it. When it comes to incentives giving a customer a reason to come back is always a good idea. Just make sure the incentives align with your business and that it makes sense for your customers. For example, you may not want to offer a discount or store credit if your ecommerce business is a one time fee, sort of thing. You may opt for something more useful like a gift card for the referrer, but still give a discount to the referral (since they are the new customer).

 

We all know that referral marketing works, simply because people trust their friends and family’s recommendations above anything else. It’s also been proven that referral programs create loyal customers. Plus, referral programs can be integrated into an eCommerce site easily and it can be built right into the customer experience.

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  • Hello Megan,

    We at Quuu really like this article. What we look for is content heavy articles that are presented in an accessible way. The fact that you’ve broken it down into obvious subheadings is great for us. We’ll be promoting the article in the ‘marketing’ category and you should see some shares over the next couple of week!

    Ruben

  • Megan Mosley

    Hey Ruben,

    That sounds great. Thanks a bunch for sharing the article.

    -Megan

  • Thank you for the article. I agree with you that the program must be easy to find. Besides it’s better to make very simple rules for the program https://rubygarage.org/blog/referral-programs-for-online-store. I don’t see the reasons why don’t include the rules on the website – it’s the most obvious option.