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How Can eCommerce Referral Programs Help Your Business?


Arjun Chhabra

Sr. Specialist - Content Marketing @ Shiprocket

September 3, 2021

5 min read

Referral programs or referral marketing is one of the most innovative ways that brands use worldwide to raise awareness about the products and services they offer. These programs are used to gain new customers, retain existing customers, and, in hindsight, get feedback about their services and products.

In retrospect, referral programs are not anything new and people have been referring people to their favorite restaurant, products, and even shops. While it was all word-of-mouth marketing, things have changed since the world went digital.

But why is referral marketing so important?

People struggle with finding the brands that can put their trust in. This is where referral marketing comes in by incentivizing the task of referring friends and family. This not only retains the existing customers but also brings in new customers.

To filter out the limitless information available on the internet about any particular brand, consumers turn to their friends and family for recommendations. Although most of the referrals are natural, there are ways through which business owners can formalize the referrals.

While business owners do employ various other ways to gain traffic and bring an audience to their website, referrals work wonders as it uses the existing customer base to generate awareness and bring in traffic, thus increasing the overall rank of the websites too.

How can you employ referral marketing for your business to gain traction?

Create a social media strategy

eCommerce businesses and social media go in hand-in-hand and such businesses must have an amazing social presence, especially one that can perfectly fit a social strategy around it.

A majority of referral programs house social sharing buttons that let customers share their experiences with their friends and family online. This way, eCommerce businesses can track new referrals that come from the social channels.

Referral marketing with the help of social media also provides social proof. This helps in building a trust factor for brands as whatever is publicly shared is visible to the masses. This is one of the best ways to reach out to people and make an impact.

Leverage technology-based referral software

Referral programs were very tricky to implement in the past, but with the advancement of technology, many platforms offer referral marketing softwares that are implementation-ready and can be deployed easily.

Such softwares easily sync up with the existing websites or online stores and make referral marketing easy. Many companies offer customisable referral marketing softwares that are made for particular brands based on various factors.

These companies create referral campaigns for your business that are bound to give you good results as they are tested to optimise to drive maximum traffic.

Boost in email marketing ROI

Email marketing spans different verticals such as promotional, informational, transactional, and more. You can leverage your email marketing strategy to also promote your referral programs and bring them to the notice of your customers.

Referral programs can easily be clubbed with post-purchase emails. When a customer confirms an order or buys a product, that is when they are likely to refer the services to their friends and family. By adding an extra lead generation source, you can boost your ROI significantly.

The best way is to create an email that reminds the customers of their purchase and how much they loved the products, and capitalising on the post-purchase process to bring in referrals to your business.

Referrals help discover brand advocates

There are no two referrals that are the same. Some referrals might bring in two people, and some might bring in five people, but every referral is important as it will boost up your sales and get the word out about your business and the services you offer.

However, the ones you need to look out for are people who send multiple referrals across your way. These customers can be your brand advocates who are willing to give your business a shoutout; offline and online.

You should filter out brand advocates that have a high follower count and reach out to them as these customers can drive your sales up by a significant volume as their followers take their advice and buy products that they use.

Referral marketing is cost and time effective

The conventional method of marketing is demanding and a costly affair. Apart from running an online store, many businesses devote a large part of their time to marketing. From creating Google ads to blogs, and paying for PPC campaigns, marketing requires effort, time, and money.

Here comes referral marketing, which saves both time and money by leveraging something that is already there. Referral marketing simply taps into the act of satisfied customers praising your brand and the services you offer.

The customers only refer people whom they think would be interested in the services or products you offer, thus finding qualified leads for you on your behalf. This cycle continues whenever a new referral joins thus minimising your cost, effort, and time.

Final thoughts

Referral marketing is the easiest type of marketing as it is simple to implement, saves time, and is cost-effective. It efficiently brings in leads and boosts the sales of your eCommerce business. If done proactively and in the right manner, referral marketing can drive up sales. Start planning your referral marketing strategy today!

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