eCommerce and Referral Marketing: A Match Made in Conversion Heaven [REPORT]

Successful brands today heavily rely on eCommerce referral marketing. Studies show that referred shoppers cost less to acquire, buy more, and stay longer.

When you make a purchase from just about any major eCommerce retailer today, you’ll likely receive a follow-up email (or a series of emails) that deliver a few key pieces of information:

1. Order confirmation

2. Shipping information

3. An invitation to a referral program

That last one might not seem like it fits with the other two, but it shows just how pervasive eCommerce referral marketing programs have become today.

It makes sense why eCommerce brands are leaning so heavily on this channel. Studies have shown that referred shoppers cost less to acquire, buy more, and stay longer. And a 2016 survey conducted online by Nielsen’s Harris Poll found that 82% of people seek recommendations from friends and family when considering a purchase, while 67% say they’re more likely to make a purchase when a friend or family member shares it online.

And while the those numbers might make referral marketing seem like a no-brainer for any company that sells products its customers love, we wanted to find out just how effective eCommerce referral programs are at driving cost-efficient customer acquisition.

What Our Data Reveals About eCommerce Referral Programs

To answer that question, we decided to explore metrics from our referral marketing platform — segmenting our database of customers down to a cohort of eCommerce brands.

Here’s a sampling from our most recent report, “Referral Marketing By-the-Numbers: eCommerce”:


Frankly, we expected the metrics to be pretty favorable (we are in the business of referral marketing, after all). But we were genuinely surprised by how compelling they ended up being for eCommerce brands.

Think about it this way: If you were able to enroll 10,000 of your customers in a referral program and 40% of those ambassadors shared their unique referral link, our data shows that you might be able to expect 46,000 site visits and more than $166,000 in new revenue. All from a channel that — depending on the referral incentive you offer — has been proven to lower customer acquisition costs and improve customer retention.

What Else Did We Learn?

We can’t give everything away here. But if you want to see just how powerful referral marketing can be for eCommerce brands, we’re happy to share the full results

If you already have a referral marketing program in place and you’re experiencing similar results, we’d love to hear from you. How are you promoting your program? And what channels — social media, email, SMS, etc. — seem to deliver the best referral results for you?

If you don’t have a referral marketing program yet, what are you waiting for? 

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