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5 Things You Should Know While Building A Shopify Referral Program

Updated: Jan 2, 2023

Hey Champion! Yes, I’m talking to you and you should know that you’re indeed a champion. Wondering why? I’d rather say, why not?

From dreaming of having your business to taking it online — you’ve done it all. Was it easy? Of course not and no one knows this better than you.

But you still made it and kudos to you for that.

Speaking of starting your dream business online, I’m sure you would have thought of several ways of growing it, with referral marketing being an important part.

And if you haven’t thought of using referral marketing for your e-commerce store, I don’t blame you because it’s undervalued by many.

A meme featuring two characters, one representing paid marketing and the other representing referral marketing.

In case you’d like to learn why a referral program for your e-commerce business is important, this article will help you.

Now let’s move forward. Whether you’re a Shopify store owner who is still exploring a referral program or already has one, I strongly want to know these 5 things.

Try it for your Shopify store and thank me later.

1. Know if Your E-commerce Store Is Referral Ready

Do you have a base of existing customers who love you? Customers who will be ready to shower your e-commerce business with shares and support once you launch your referral program?

Ensuring that your eCommerce store has Social Proof is the first step. For this, you need to focus on those sets of customers who are happy with your product or gave you a shining badge of testimonials. For a better idea, look at how Beardo, a men’s grooming company has highlighted their product’s selling proof. They can easily run a referral program on this user segment.

Beardo logo, featuring a stylized beard with the brand name written in bold, sans-serif letters.

2. Know Your E-commerce Customers

“Why should I join this referral program?” is the first question that comes to your customers’ minds and in order to answer this, you must understand them.

Like if I were to build a referral program for my Shopify eCommerce store, I’d ask myself —

  1. What is it about my brand and product that will make customers want to refer others?

  2. How will I motivate customers to refer a friend?

  3. What is the frequency of my product purchase?

  4. What platforms do my customers mostly engage at?

Additionally, I also feel that the best way to know what your customers want is to ask them directly. One way of doing this would be by conducting customer surveys.

Collecting post-purchase NPS, especially for eCommerce brands is a great way to understand if your customers would refer it to their friends and family.

Here’s how Myntra does it. While this may be basic, it’s highly recommended when it comes to understanding your customers while creating a referral program.


3. Know Your Referral Communication Plan

One main thing I’ve learned from years of marketing is that your brand needs to be out there — in customers’ minds, in front of their eyes, in their shopping journey.

The same applies to referral programs.

A referral program that isn’t communicated is never going to work.

Hence it’s absolutely crucial that a referral program is not only put across clearly but also communicated via the right channels at the right time.

Let me explain further. I’ve recently begun to like burgers from Burger Seigneur, Indiranagar, Bangalore.

The other day, I was craving one and wanted to check if they deliver it online.

Minutes after I searched the same on Swiggy, I got a message from them and that’s what you call contextual messaging.


Similarly, you as an e-commerce store have to communicate your referral program well.

Here are some ways you can show a referral message

  1. As a pop-up message on a customer’s website arrival

  2. In a banner on your app/website

  3. On social media channels

  4. On the order confirmed screen or email

  5. Post delivery, right when a customer is enjoying the order

Casper, a New York-based e-commerce company that sells sleep products, has generated 7x higher returns than their average marketing investment, using a referral program.

Check out how smartly they communicate it in their post-product delivery email.


4. Know Your Shopify Referral Program Incentives

This is what sets word-of-mouth different from referral marketing - incentives or rewards. Rewarding or incentivising customers for spreading the good word about your e-commerce store is the base of the referral program. Rewards are also what increase referral retention.

Now when it comes to deciding a referral program rewards, you must take both the referrer and referee into consideration meaning, Two-Way Rewards.

Most well-thought e-commerce referral programs reward both the advocate and the referred friend.

Why reward referrer?

Rewarding your advocates not only encourages them to refer more friends and family but also ensures that the referred person completes the purchase so that they can avail of it.

Why reward the referee?

Rewarding a friend cancels out the social risk involved with referrals. It doesn’t portray the advocate as a selfish person as well as enhances the likelihood of the referee becoming your new customer.

Having said that, I can’t help but share this simple referral program set by Tempo - an AI-powered home gym with a personal trainer.


5. Know How to Launch Referral Program

This is rather simple, provided you’ve cracked the above parameters. In order to launch a referral program for your Shopify store, all you need to do is integrate Flyy’s referral program software with a single click.

Yes, with just one click, you can integrate a referral program, set up the look and feel, define rewards and go about tracking the results. Having helped 30+ brands like Momspresso, Kotak Mahindra Bank, TaxBuddy, and more, Flyy’s Shopify referral program plugin is curated to help you create a referral program that delivers results.

Want to try it free for 30 days? Sign up today.



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