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14 Real-life B2C Referral Program Inspirations You Need To See

Kate Banasik
Kate Banasik
July 20, 2021
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14 Real-life B2C Referral Program Inspirations You Need To See

What are referral programs?

Referral programs are schemes which reward customers who refer brands to friends.

There are two types of referral programs – single- and double-sided – depending whether they incentivize only the referrer or also the referee (invited friend). Refer-a-friend programs can have various rules and limitations. Starting from what counts as a successful referral. Is it enough if a customer invites their friend to the website? Should that friend follow the link to count? Should that friend place an order? Does that order have to have a specific value? You also need to think through the rewards available to the advocate and the referred friend, expiry dates of the invitation links and rewards, and limitations related to the rewards redemption (usage). There is no one-size-fits-all strategy but luckily there are plenty of ways to do the referral marketing right.  

Referral marketing generates from 3 to 5 times higher conversion rates than any other marketing channel. Nielsen's report shows that 92% of customers trust their friends’ advice and 77% of customers are willing to buy a product or use services recommended by someone they know. Wharton School’s study shows that referred customers are 18% less likely to churn, 25% more profitable with a 25% higher LTV as compared to other customers.

In this blog post, we will cover several referral program inspirations from real brands from a wide variety of industries. To get even more specific, we will show you their terms and conditions, landing pages and, in some cases, emails promoting the programs. 

Now that we know the benefits of word-of-mouth marketing, we can jump straight to the examples. 

Examples of highly-converting referral program from leading brands

Harry’s Referral Program – 5$ off for everyone included

Harry's is an American, NY-based DTC company that manufactures and sells shaving equipment and men's personal care products via online and retail channels. The company is known for their subscription service where customers receive new razor blades, shaving cream, and other grooming products by mail. 

They have launched a double-sided referral program (this is a new version of their previous “milestone” referral program) that gives $5 off for the referee and the referrer (if the referee starts the trial of Harry’s subscription). They have sent an email campaign with a title “A gift on us, for you and your friends” to the current customers advertising the referral program, giving $5 to everyone. It is very uncommon to give a reward to the customers for nothing, but it showed the customers what they can get for each referral and encouraged them to start inviting friends to give Harry’s a try.   

Program terms and conditions:

  • The referee gets $5 off their next box.
  • The referrer gets $5 off their next box if the referee subscribes to Harry’s using the shared link or email. 
  • Only customers with active subscription at Harry’s with no overdue payments are eligible to take part in the program. 
  • The rewards have a one year expiry date.
  • The total order value the reward is applied to has to be greater than the reward (greater than $5).
  • The rewards are non-transferable and non-refundable.
  • There is no limit on the number of referrals one customer can make. 

You can find more detailed terms and conditions here.

Referral code sharing options (channels): 

  • Email 
  • Shareable link that can be copied and pasted
  • Facebook 
  • Twitter
Harry's referral program landing page
Harrys referral program referral link


Dollar Shave Club Referral Program – 15$ for the advocate

Dollar Shave Club (DSC) is an American DTC company based in California, that delivers razors and other personal grooming products to customers by mail. It is a direct competitor of Harry’s. 

They offer a single-sided referral program where the referrer can get up to $15 for every referee that joins the subscription program. They have previously offered a smaller reward ($5) and advertised it as “get a free month” as their subscriptions started at below $5 per month. They send emails with the title “Refer a friend. Get DSC credit” to encourage current customers to take part in the program. 

Program terms and conditions:

  • To take part in the program as a referrer, the customer has to be an active customer with good standing (for example, no late payments) with DSC, resident of USA or Canada, major and not to be an employee of DSC. 
  • The referrals are considered successful only if the referee subscribes to the DSC subscription, was never a DSC client, has consented to receiving email communications from DSC, is major and a resident of USA or Canada. 
  • The amount of reward given to the referrer is at the discretion of DSC.
  • The rewards are non-transferrable. 

You can find more detailed terms and conditions here.

Referral code sharing options (channels): 

Shareable link that can be copied and pasted. It can be personalized, upon availability of the personal codes combinations. Personalized codes have restrictions, for example they cannot explicitly state any discount, be sexist, or racist. 

DSC referral landing page
Referral program receiving the referral link from DSC

Omsom Referral Program – Free Starter Packet

Omsom is a seed-stage food startup that sells packaged “starters” to recreate authentic Asian dishes at home. The starter contains sauce, spices and aromatics, and the co-founders say consumers can make a tasty dish in 30 minutes or less.

They have launched a double-sided referral program that gives a free starter packet for both, referrer and referee. Their landing page collects email addresses of people who want to become a referrer. If someone submits their email address, they get a shareable link and a couple of options to share if via social media natively as well as an email titled “Get rewarded for sharing the Omsom love”.

Referral code sharing options (channels):

  • Shareable link that can be copied and pasted
  • Facebook
  • Messenger
  • Twitter
  • Email 
Omsom referral landing page


Omsom referral email copy

Home Chef Referral Program – 35$ for both parties

Home Chef is a Chicago-based meal kit and food delivery company that delivers pre-portioned ingredients and recipes to subscribers weekly in the United States.

They offer a double-sided referral program where advocates can refer friends and family and offer them a $35 discount off their first order. The referrers get the same amount of credit ($35) if the referees subscribe to the service. The referrers and referees cannot be members of the same household. 

More detailed terms and conditions can be found here.

They send emails to their current customers titled boldly “This email will lead you to $35 free credit” to advertise the program. 

Homechef referral email copy

Odacite Referral Program for loyalty members only 

Odacite is a natural skincare cosmetics brand, based in Los Angeles, created by Valerie Grandury.

Odacite offers a loyalty program that rewards referrals. Each loyalty program member can refer an unlimited number of friends and get 500 points for each successful referral. A referral is considered successful if a referred friend purchases something from Odacite using the referral link. Only the loyalty club members can refer friends. 500 points are an equivalent of a $5 discount. More conditions of the loyalty program can be found here

Besides bringing in new customers, this referral scheme also encourages people to become loyalty program members.  

The program conditions: 

  • The points expire in one year.
  • The points can be redeemed only on 50% of the total order value (for example, $5 off can be used only on orders above $10). 
  • Rewards redemption cannot be combined with other promotions or offers.
Odacite referral promo


They used to offer a double-sided referral program with a $20 discount for referees and 2000 points for referrers but they have changed the conditions to single-sided and lower reward for referrers. 

Haverdash referral program – 30$ for both parties

Haverdash is a clothing rental subscription service that gives customers unlimited access to the latest looks for one flat fee of $59/month.

They offer a double-sided referral program where both, referrer and referee can get $30 off their next purchase. They have sent an email campaign with the subject line “Friends care and share…” to advertise the program among their clientele. 

Conditions of the referral program: 

  • Only logged in customers with an active subscription who have never cancelled can refer friends. 
  • Only people residing in the USA, over 18 years of age, and who were never a Haverdash Member can be referred. 
  • Successful referral means that the referee has subscribed to Haverdash service for at least 30 days without cancelling.
Haverdash referral program email

As a one-time campaign with a limited time frame, they also have a single-sided referral program that gives an opportunity to win three free months of Haverdash subscription (worth $137) for the referrer. 

They have sent an email campaign advertising the scheme with the subject line “You could win free Haverdash.”

Conditions of the referral program: 

  • Only logged in customers with an active subscription who have never cancelled can refer their friends. 
  • The referral gives an opportunity to win three months of free subscription to Haverdash and a bag of swag items to both referrer and referee. 
  • Only people residing in the USA, over 18 years of age, and who were never a Haverdash Member can be referred.

Haverdash referral visual
Haverdash only logged in users referral

Trunk Club – 50$ credit for the advocate and friends

Trunk Club is a personalized mid- to high-end men's and women's clothing subscription (box) service based in Chicago, United States. They offer a double-sided referral program that offers both the referrer and referee $50 credit. 

TrunkClub Referral Banner

The program conditions:

  • The advocate gets the reward if the referee uses their reward of $50 credit on above $50 order value. 
  • The referee must be a new customer. 
  • Member (referrer) benefits expire after 180 days. 
  • Referee benefits expire after 90 days. 
  • The credit cannot be spent on gift cards.
  • The Member may not earn Referral Credits if they participate in an affiliate marketing program with Nordstrom Trunk Club, Nordstrom, Inc., or any of Nordstrom’s affiliates.
  • Nordstrom Trunk Club employees with a Stylist/Sales title may share their Referral Link with Friends but are not eligible to receive Referral Credits to their personal accounts.

You can find all terms and conditions here.

Referral sharing channels: 

  • Email 
  • Text 
  • Any other channel using a shareable link 

They have sent emails promoting their referral program with a topic “NEW: Get $50 in credit when you refer a friend.”

Referral program rules explained
Copy the referral link page

Beets and Roots Referral Program – 5 EUR off next order

Beets & Roots is an innovative fast-casual concept, founded in 2016 by Michelin-starred chef, Andreas Tuffentsammer, and former Quandoo manager, Max Kochen. They offer healthy and fresh veggie bowls, salads, wraps and soups of the highest quality.

They offer a double-sided referral program where the referrer and the referred friend both get a 5 EUR discount on their next order. The referrer gets the reward only after the referred friend places their first order with Beets and Roots. 

B&R referral pop up
B&R referral flow

Helthjem Referral Program – 50% off for both sides  

Helthjem is a challenger in the Norwegian logistics market, and works to make delivery faster, more frequent and easier – all the way home to the customer.

Healthjem offers a double-sided referral program. In their program, the referrer and the referee both get a 50% discount on sending their package with Helthjem. The referrer gets their reward if the referee sends their first package. The discount codes are valid for 30 days from the date of issuing. There is no limit on the number of referrals. 

Helthjem refer a friend
Helthjem referral form
Helthjem referral rules

Taxfix Referral Program – different benefits for both parties

Taxfix is a German company that provides an intuitive app that enables anyone, regardless of education or background, to file their taxes and get a tax refund. They've raised $110 million in funding from some of the world’s top investors – Index Ventures, Valar Ventures, Creandum, and Redalpine.

They offer a double-sided referral program in which the referees get 50% off their first tax return and the referrers get a 10 EUR voucher if the referee files their tax return using the discount. 

Taxfix referral website
How to invite friends graphic
How to receive discount graphic

Away Travel Refer a Friend – 20$ for the advocate and friends

Away is a travel and lifestyle brand, offering stylish, high-​quality, direct to consumer luggage at an affordable price point. They offer a double-sided referral program giving $20 to both, referrer and referee. 

The refer-a-friend program conditions: 

  • A referral is qualified for the program if the invited customer completes their first-time purchase that has a total value of at least $125.
  • The referred customer has to be located in the US at the time of purchase and ship to an address located in the US.
  • The referrer reward expires after 14 days from the moment of purchase done by the referred friend. 
  • Each individual advocate can only obtain a maximum number of five qualified referrals, for a maximum possible referral reward of $100.
  • The obtained referral discount cannot be combined with other offers and promotions.

You can find more detailed terms and conditions here.

The referral program can be shared via: 

  • Email 
  • Messenger 
  • Twitter
  • Using shareable link 

The program also gives an option to remind the friend about the referral after three days. 

Referral form from Away
Referral email from Away

Lulus Refer a Friend program – 20$ off for both sides

Lulus is an “affordable luxurious” DTC fashion brand from the USA that in 2005 dropped all brick-and-mortar stores and went completely digital.

They offer a double-sided referral program in which the referrer and the referred customer both get $20. 

The program conditions: 

  • The referral is considered successful if the referred customer places an order of at least $50 value. 
  • Referred customer has to be above 18 years of age, US resident, and a first-time customer of Lulus. 
  • The referee can get only one coupon for their first purchase.
  • There is a limit of maximum 10 successful referrals per customer. 
Lulus referral form

Pretty Little Thing – giveaway entry as a reward

Pretty Little Thing is a UK-based fashion retailer, aimed at young women.

They offer a double-sided referral program where both, the referrer and the referred friend get a chance to win 500 pounds for shopping if the referred friend places their first order. 

Referral program conditions: 

  • The referrer is offered an entry to win £500 to spend at PrettyLittleThing for each friend who orders for the first time.
  • This offer can be shared for three months from the date of acceptance by the referrer.
  • In order for the referral to qualify for the reward, the referred friend must be a new customer to PrettyLittleThing and over the age of 18.
  • The referrer must be an existing PrettyLittleThing customer.
  • To share this offer the referrer must be over the age of 18.
  • There are no limits to the number of entries submitted (referred friends).
  • The reward is only valid for the calendar month of the referral.
  • The referred friend is offered one entry into a monthly prize draw when they place their first order.
  • Referred friend rewards cannot be combined with other discount codes in a single order.
  • A winner will be selected at random on the last Friday of every month with the winner of the £500 vouchers being contacted no later than the 5th of each month.

The invitation to join the referral program can be shared via:

  • Email 
  • Social Media 
  • By copying the referral link 
  • By inserting the name of the referrer at the checkout when placing the order.

This is the email they send to the referred customer with a subject “Hey doll, here's an entry to win £500 to spend at PrettyLittleThing”:

Pretty little thing referral email

Summersalt Referral Program – 10$ referral reward

Summersalt is a DTC swimwear, nightwear, activewear and accessories-selling designer fashion brand from the mid-price range category. 

They offer a double-sided referral program “Give $10, get $10” where the referred friend gets a $10 discount on their next purchase and the referrer gets their discount 7 days after their friend places an order using the referral link. 

They offer the following options to share the referral link: 

  • Email
  • SMS
  • Messenger 
  • Twitter 
  • Copying the link

Referral program conditions: 

  • Referrals can only be made to people the referrer knows personally and cannot be shared publicly (for example, on social media, blogs etc.). 
  • One customer can refer a maximum of 50 friends. 
  • The discount cannot be combined with other offers or promotions. 
  • The referrer gets their reward only seven days after the referee places their order. 
  • Only new customers are valid for the referral. 
  • Multiple referral credits cannot be used for one purchase. 

Terms and conditions can be found here.

Referral program best practices

We have checked over 50 referral programs and found some interesting trends: 

  • Most referral programs offer a simple and easy-to-understand amount off discount. 
  • Most referral programs are double-sided. 
  • Most referral programs require the referred friend to place an order for the referrer to get the reward. 
  • Most referral rewards expire within less than one year. 
  • The invitation links for referrals rarely expire. If they do, it is usually within one year. 
  • The referrers usually can get the reward only if the referred customer purchases in the same session when they have entered from the referring link. However, some companies give a referral code which can be used later, during a different session, ensuring those referrals where the referee needs more time to complete the order is also considered valid. We think that is a much better approach from the customer experience perspective. 
  • Many referral landing pages contain a form where a customer (or an interested individual) has to leave their email address to get a unique referral code or link to share with their friends. 
  • In most cases, the referral programs allow using shareable links or codes via email, Facebook and Twitter.
  • In some cases the companies created an email copy that can be used to share the code. They tend to be funny and usually can be changed by the referrer if they please. 
  • Usually the referral program’s landing page is linked somewhere in the home page or footer menu and rarely advertised on banners throughout the site. 
  • The referral program terms and conditions can be found sometimes in the terms and conditions of the store and sometimes in a completely separate set of terms and conditions. It depends on the store and we have not actually seen any pattern here. 
  • Some companies have created giveaways where all referrers or all referees or both get a chance to win something to further motivate the customers to refer their friends. Those actions were usually time-limited. 

We hope these inspirations will help you design your next referral program. If you would like to launch a referral program but do not have the right software to do it the way you have imagined or within a reasonable timeframe, we are here for you. Voucherify is an API-first Promotion Engine that can power any of the above-mentioned referral programs with all the referral limitations, landing pages and distribution channels. It is also quick and easy to integrate and get started with.

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Kate Banasik
Product Manager with prior experience in Marketing. Fan of efficiency and automation. Privately, traveler and outdoors enthusiast.
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