13 loyalty referral programs – benchmark overview

Care to share?

Nowadays, as customers become more and more demanding, the most crucial thing for every business is to gain trust. Creating a bond with people who might be skeptical towards your offer is a process that is both time and energy consuming. This is where referral programs come in.

Imagine being in a bar and trying to get to know a new person, might be hard, perhaps they will not even want to talk to you at all. However, as it turns out, one of your friends knows the stranger and he introduces you. Loyal customers can be this kind of “wingman”, your business advocate, who will do the hardest job – introducing you to new clients – for you.

Referral programs are quite easy to implement and can be customized to any type of business. Besides getting new customers, you also make sure that existing customers become more loyal and devoted. Below are a few interesting referral programs that might show you a little bit of the mechanics.

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

Referral programs overview

#1: Dropbox’s referral program

This workplace supply giant created a well-designed referral program that offers extra space for your files. For basic accounts, Dropbox offers +500MB of additional space for each successful reference (new user accepts the invitation) for both the Referring and Referred users, while owners of Plus accounts will get 1GB.

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

You can invite your friends by sending an email, sharing on Facebook or simply copying a link. When your friends click on the link, it transfers them to a registration form.

New call-to-action

#2: Amazon’s referral program

Amazon is one of the biggest eCommerce businesses in the world, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that they launched a referral program. As it turns out, this decision was quite lucrative for the company. Amazon Prime members spend an average of $1300 per year, while recruiting them only costs $5.

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

To take part in their referring program, one must have a valid customer account on Amazon, after sending an invitation (via email, Facebook, Twitter or just by copying a link) and when a new user completes the signup process and places an order, the referring user will receive Prime referral credit. Unfortunately, a new user gets nothing but a membership.

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

#3: Uber’s referral program

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

Uber’s referral program is pretty straightforward. If you invite a friend to join Uber, both of you will get a free ride or an Uber account credit.

You can share your Promo Code by using a mobile app or from the Uber website after logging in. The code can be sent by a text, an email, social media or simply by copying. After a new user signs up (using your code) and takes their first ride you will receive your benefits.

#4: Airbnb’s referral program

When it comes to traveling, your friends’ opinions on a location, place or time are crucial. We stopped believing in travel agencies’ empty promises a long time ago, but when someone you know tells you that they have spent the best time of their lives in a small town in Greece, you would want to go there too. Airbnb used this process in their referral program.

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

Users know which one of their friends are interested in traveling, and they will send an invitation only to those who will use it. Another advantage is the Airbnb coupons for both the Referred and Referring. Invitations can be sent via email, Facebook or Twitter.

#5: Tangerine’s referral program

Tangerine is a banking institution that offers a nice bonus for referring their business. Both, the user and the invitee will receive $50 when a new member places an initial deposit of at least $100. Besides the financial reward, both users receive some benefits (great rates on every dollar they save, no unfair fees or service charges, simple mobile and online banking, client service).

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

To send an invitation the user must simply log in and click “Share” in the Refer a Friend section on the bottom part of the screen. The invitation can be sent via email.

#6: The Clymb’s referral program

The Clymb is a provider of sportswear and equipment. Their referral program offers $10 of extra credit. The new user receives a discount on their first purchase (minimum purchase of $50) while the referring user enjoys the extra credit.

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

Referring is quite simple, just click “invite a friend” on the homepage navigation bar. Sending an invitation can take place via email, Facebook or Twitter.
The message can be edited to the personal needs of the user.

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

#7 Hulu’s referral program

Hulu is one of the main competitors for Netflix. This case of a referring program is especially interesting because of the company’s offer to the new user. When a referred user signs up they receive a free monthly trial. However, every single new user gets a free monthly trial anyways. Hulu implemented mechanics that generate no additional costs.

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

The referring user will receive $10 on a Visa Prepaid card, prepaid card or gift card once the referred user ends the free trial and becomes a paying subscriber.

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

#8 Missguided’s referral program

Missguided is a UK-based apparel retailer whose main demographic is young women. Their loyalty program is also directed towards them. The company tries to use “their” language both in an offer and later in the messages it generates to their friends.

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

A user can refer by the following means: new users should enter the referring user’s name at the checkout, the user can send an invitation via email, social media (using the promotion post) or text message. The company offers a reward for both customers. Once the referred friend places their first order, the referring user will get $20 off their next purchase.

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

#9 Tile’s referral program

Tile is a company that helps users find their valuables by attaching a small tile that uses Bluetooth to connect with the app on your phone or tablet. They want the user to help their friends never to lose anything important again.

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

The referral program offers the existing users a free tile if two of their friends purchase merchandise from their shop. The invitation can be sent through a mobile app and published either on Facebook or Twitter.

#10 Harry’s referral program

One of the most successful referral programs was the one of Harry’s. A small company managed to gather 100K subscribers before they even launched their business. They offered free products that grew in value depending on how many of your friends joined, and this is the answer to why the program was such a hit. Setting milestones makes users want to achieve the goals.

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

When it comes to sending invitations, they had a pretty standard approach. They could have been sent either through Facebook or Twitter.

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

#11 Restaurant.com referral program

Restaurant.com is one of the largest dining deals sites in America with thousands of restaurants nationwide.

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

In order to send an invitation, users must create a free account on restaurant.com, once the users are logged in they should click on “refer a friend” that is placed in the footer. When a new user makes a purchase using the referral link the $10 reward will be available to use on the referring user’s next order.

#12 N26’s referral program

N26 is a direct bank, created to speed up the process of creating an account. The company claims that creating an account wouldn’t take more than 10 minutes and can be conducted on a smartphone.

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

You can invite a friend directly in the mobile app or through a web app. When you click on a paper plane button, it will direct you straight to your contact list, where you can invite people with a text message or an email. Once a new user logs in and makes one transaction worth €15, you will receive your reward of €15.

#13 Virgin’s Media referral program

Virgin Media is a UK based company, a provider of fixed and mobile telephone, internet and television services. Their referral program for Cable TV offers each user a £50 discount on their bill.

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

A user can send an invitation via email. The registration process can take place online or through a phone call. The referred user will receive a discount on their first bill. The referring user will receive their rebate 28 days after the new user’s installation date.

13 loyalty referral programs benchmark

Why should you even try launching a referral program?

Referral programs is a simple yet extremely efficient tool that generates low costs and can win you not only many new customers but also makes sure that the existing customers become even more loyal. Both, the tiniest companies that barely even started and the giants, tried this solution, with great results.

Besides, isn’t it fun to have a “wingman”?


Published February 15, 2019