Using Referral Marketing to Get Your Customers Sharing

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They say “your word is your bond”, which is why few marketing strategies can hold a candle to the tried, tested and true power of word-of-mouth marketing. According to this international Nielson study, 92% of consumers trust online recommendations made by family and friends over all other forms of advertising. Studies also find that by sharing their positive experiences with loved ones, people feel an increased sense of well-being and happiness.

So, how do successful brands get people spreading the word to their family and friends? Refer-a-friend bonuses!

You’ve been using a product or service, and the company sends you a personal referral code. When people sign up using your code, both you and the person signing up get a bonus or discount...a nice win-win. By giving both the person sharing the code and the person redeeming the code an incentive to act, you can grow your customer base on Shopify in an easy and effective way.

Here’s a look at how some of the world’s leading ecommerce brands are leveraging the power of refer-a-friend programs to rapidly grow their customer base, and how you can do the same thing in your own Shopify store.

Frank And Oak

This wildly successful online clothing retailer allows customers to invite their friends to get $25 off their first purchase through their store. The existing Frank And Oak customer then receives $25 every time someone makes that first purchase after signing up with the referral code. Just like our referral feature in Spently, Frank And Oak includes a unique referral link that customers can share with their network via email, Facebook, and Twitter.

With this referral program, Frank And Oak gives equal attention (and credit) to both the existing customer and the new customer signing up with the code.

Frank And Oak
Frank And Oak's Referral Program


Uber was one of the first companies to leverage the power of referrals to build their customer base, and build brand loyalty among current users. In fact, they’ve used a tier-based system, essentially gamifying the referral process. Uber riders can invite friends with a $10 Uber credit, and they get $5 for that new referral. Existing riders can even win an additional $1000 every week for referring the most people in their network. Second “prize” is $600, and $400 for third place. They’ve managed to strategically tap into people’s competitive nature, and grow their business to new heights (and streets) in the process.

By using this approach, Uber is placing a higher importance on rewarding their existing customers to share, while offering a smaller discount to new customer signing up through the program.

Uber's Referral Program


Airbnb takes the concept of the Sharing Economy one step further by allowing their existing users to - you guessed it - share referral codes with friends. The referrer receives a certain amount of a ‘travel credit’ to their account, and their friend then gets almost twice the amount of credit in their new account.

This offer is more skewed to the new customer’s end, which encourages user growth, but still keeps existing customers happy.

Airbnb's Referral Program

Now It’s Your Turn

So you’re ready to take advantage of the power of word-of-mouth in your Shopify store. But where do you start? One of the easiest and most effective ways to encourage your current Shopify customers to spread the word is to include a referral link right in your Shopify email notifications: order confirmations, abandoned cart reminders, customer account welcomes, and shipping confirmation emails.

Customers are already opening these emails at a much higher rate than traditional email marketing, getting 8x more opens and clicks than any other type of email, so optimizing them with a personalized referral link will help drive sales for existing customers and increase new customer acquisition.

With our simple drag-and-drop referral feature, Spently lets you easily optimize your notification emails by including a referral section directly under the customer’s order details. Whether you’re offering a $20 bonus for every $100 sale, or letting customers offer friends a 30% discount on their first purchase, you can personalize your referral options directly within Spently’s template builder.

Monte And Co Referral
Spently's Refer-a-Friend Feature

Powerful, Yet Easy Marketing For Your Store

Word-of-mouth used to mean literally telling a friend about something verbally. Now, with the power of technology and social media, a customer’s voice can reach a much larger audience, while still retaining that personal feel. With Spently’s easy-to-use referral tool, customers can simply send a special offer to anyone in their network by posting it on their Facebook or Twitter feed, sending a direct link to someone’s email address, or posting a link to a friend’s social media page.

Current customers want to feel appreciated, and new customers want to be wooed; with referral marketing, particularly in highly effective, optimized Shopify notification emails, you can do both. Continue to delight customers, and they’ll be more than happy to share about your company to their friends and family. Just make it as simple and easy as possible for them!

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