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Omnichannel Referrals: How to Create a Seamless Referral Experience
Anna Dawal
Anna Dawal
March 23, 2023
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Omnichannel Referrals: How to Create a Seamless Referral Experience

Referral marketing is an effective marketing strategy which brings new customers in. In the end, people are very much influenced by their friends or family members. According to Invespcro, 84% of consumers trust recommendations from people that they know personally, which makes referral marketing an effective strategy for bringing new customers in, and also the customers that will stay – referred customers tend to have a 37% higher retention rate.

What can help your referral marketing campaign to create a cohesive experience for your existing customers is combining it with an omnichannel strategy. When using three or more channels within a campaign, the order rate surged to 494% in comparison with a single-channel campaign, according to the research carried out by Omnisend.

Row chart: the difference in order rates between single-channel and omnichannel marketing campaigns

Taking into account that the preferences of your customer base vary, an omnichannel referral program might be a perfect solution for finally driving up your ROI and customer retention statistics.

In this post, you will learn:

  • What are omnichannel referrals?
  • What is the difference between online and offline referrals?
  • What channels are best for distributing referral codes/links?
  • Why is an omnichannel referral program beneficial for your business?
  • How other brands implement omnichannel refer-a-friend programs?



What is an omnichannel referral marketing program?

Omnichannel refers to a marketing and sales approach that provides a seamless and integrated customer experience across various channels and touchpoints. The goal of omnichannel marketing is to create a cohesive and consistent experience for customers, regardless of how or where they interact with the brand.

Accordingly, an omnichannel referral program is a marketing strategy that incentivizes customers to refer their friends and family members to a brand or business through the usage of multiple channels such as email messages, SMS, or social media on top of conventional in-person interactions (the so-called word of mouth marketing).

Traditionally, omnichannel strategies have been more connected to, among other things, the shopping experience itself – for instance, online software is used to check the availability of particular items in brick-and-mortar stores, or there is a possibility for customers to return the items that they bought online in physical store locations.

However, the omnichannel approach can be implemented in referral programs, which would, consequently, provide for a seamless and consistent customer experience across multiple channels – your shoppers would be able easily refer their contacts through whichever channel is most convenient for them. 

The omnichannel referral strategy is mainly associated with two types of referrals that can be carried out: online referrals and offline referrals

Online referrals vs. offline referrals

Online referrals and offline referrals both involve a recommendation of a product or service, but they differ in the way they are communicated and, consequently, the channels that they use.

1. Online referrals involve using digital channels, such as social media, email, or online review platforms to carry out recommendations. Online referrals can be more easily shared and can reach a wider audience than offline referrals. They can also be more trackable and measurable, allowing businesses to better understand the effectiveness of their referral marketing campaigns.

2. Offline referrals, on the other hand, involve face-to-face communication, such as through word-of-mouth recommendations, business events, or traditional advertising methods like print – for instance, printed receipt referral codes. Offline referrals can be more personal and can carry more weight as they are often based on personal relationships and trust. Importantly, however, they also consider customers coming into brick-and-mortar stores in order to physically redeem their online discount coupons or QR codes at checkouts. 

Both online and offline referrals can be valuable for businesses looking to promote their products or services. The choice of which method to use may depend on factors such as the target audience or the type of product or service being promoted.

What channels to use for an omnichannel referral program?

An omnichannel referral strategy can involve both online and offline distribution of referral codes and links as multiple channels are used within the campaign. Here are some of the solutions to consider when creating your own omnichannel referral campaign:

1. SMS

Even though they may be thought of to be somewhat out of date, SMS still prove to be a vital part of marketing campaigns. Without a doubt, phones are something people cannot live without and so what better way to refer a friend to your business than through simply shooting them a text message with a referral code?

2. Email messages

This is probably the most well known and, undeniably, effective channel used in marketing campaigns. As nowadays, pretty much everyone has an email address, making your referral program work through sending out emails is a great idea which will be suitable both for the referrers and their friends or family members.

3. Receipt referral codes or e-receipts

This is yet another example of how to connect online and offline referrals. When your referrer has a referral code printed on their receipt or recorded within the shop’s mobile app, they can show it to their friends who then, in turn, can use it while setting up their account in your store. Such a method will definitely encourage your customers to talk about your brand more and will not be very much intrusive.

4. QR Codes

They can be sent via emails, printed on receipts in brick-and-mortar stores, or simply scanned at checkouts, and incentivize your customer to refer friends in an easy manner. Importantly, as much as 84% of "smartphone shoppers" use their phone anyways while at physical stores location, for example, for product research purposes. This fact should be taken advantage of for the sake of making your referrals mobile and omnichannel.

5. Referral cards

As your customers shop online, you can implement putting referral cards within the boxes that you ship out. A simple card with a code that can be passed to referees will most likely be a successful referral as your customers will be initially excited about the content of their received order.

6. Mobile apps

You can right away make referrals worth it and create, for instance, push notifications within your app that will say something along the lines off: "refer your friend with a code [####] and get 10% off with your next purchase." 

7. Social media

Your customers may also be able to share their unique referral codes on social media platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter, and bring new customers in through networking. On top of that, the existing customers can also engage with your brand by simply sharing your business’ posts on their social media accounts or writing reviews of your products, and in such ways attract new potential shoppers too. 

Benefits of implementing an omnichannel strategy within your referral program

1. Nurtured customer loyalty

As your existing customers will be able to conveniently refer their friends or family members across different platforms suited to their needs, they will certainly stay loyal to your brand. Especially if, on top of all that, your shoppers will receive discounts for successful referrals. Moreover, giving out vouchers to new customers acquired through referrals will certainly make them want to stay engaged with your brand as well.

Learn more: What you should know about referral program UX?

2. Wider audience and satisfied customers

By offering various channels to proceed with referrals, you will most definitely increase your reach when it comes to incentivizing customers of various ages and backgrounds to participate in your referral program. Omnichannel referrals will allow you to provide exceptional customer service to your shopper as almost 80% of consumers prefer omnichannel strategies due to a "seamless communication experience." In the end, communication between referrers and referees is of crucial importance when talking about referral marketing.

3. Cost-effective marketing

Referral marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies, as businesses can simply rely on their customers' opinions and willingness to share their love about a brand with others, for instance by sharing the referral links on social media, in order to generate new leads and, most likely, new customers.

4. Higher conversion rates

Referred customers are very much likely to convert into paying customers, as they have already received a recommendation from someone they trust and are willing to try new services or products.

5. Data collection and tracking

omnichannel marketing in general allows for the collection, and in consequence, analysis of data which gets collected from multiple touchpoints. For example, in the case of referral marketing, you are able to track a customer's shopping behavior after they are compelled to log into your website in order to complete a referral for their friend. Furthermore, you can see which referral channels are most effective and invest into developing those particularly.

Learn more: How to optimize referral program tracking?

Examples of omnichannel referral campaigns

1. Dropbox

Dropbox has implemented an omnichannel referral program and allows their customers to invite their friends to use the platform through the Dropbox website or a mobile app. After completing a referral form, the referee receives either a unique referral link directly from the referrer (for instance, via social media) or an email from Dropbox.

Implement referral marketing: Dropbox omnichannel referral program rules

As a referral proves to be successful, Dropbox rewards both the referred customer and the existing one who originally reached out to their friend.

2. Joe Juice

Joe Juice offers their customers an omnichannel possibility to refer friends. Customers can access the 'refer a friend' section within the Joe app, see their unique referral codes, and share it with friends via the manners offered by the brand.

What is more, the customers can also access the QR-Code icon which is placed in the corner of the referral landing page and simply ask their friends to scan it while talking about the reasons why they should become a customer of Joe Juice – the words of mouth marketing becomes a valuable byproduct of a QR scan referral.

Referral marketing: Joe Juice omnichannel referral landing page

When the referral is successful – the referee pre-orders an item, both the referrer and the referred friend get a Ginger Shot!

3. Club Texting

Club Texting is also associated with omnichannel referrals. In what way? The company offers their users a possibility to refer future customers via:

  • Channels such as: AOL, Gmail, Hotmail/Live Mail or Yahoo (the referrer's contacts are automatically imported) or alternatively pasting the referee's email addresses into the refer-a-friend form on Club Texting website
  • Short links that the company provides their customers with, which can be automatically shared on Twitter or other social media pages, for instance, Facebook. The link itself can be copied and placed by customers on their blogs, online forums, or other personal domains as well
Acquiring happy customers: Club Texting omnichannel referral program memo – social media and referral links

4. The Body Shop

The customers of The Body Shop can engage in a referral program by first registering on the company's website. Then, they can share the love for the brand with friends or family members via:

  • A personalized link which is shared with existing customers as they have been accepted into a referral program and can be distributed via online messaging channels
  • Their name which is simply put by the recommended friend during a checkout process. There is a special box appearing on a website when finalizing an order: "Been referred by a friend?" where the name of the referrer should be typed in.
Omnichannel referral marketing strategy: The Body Shop online referrals

5. True Places

True Places offers their shoppers a unique opportunity to advertise their products through customers simply using them. Their refer-a-friend program relies on placing the QR codes on True Places products – portable chairs.

In order to participate in a referral program, the existing customer needs to register their chair via scanning the QR code placed on a product. Once registered through an online website that the QR code brings the customer to, the referrer can now allow their friends to scan the QR code placed on their chair in order to recommend the brand to others.

Referral programs: True Places and their QR code referrals memo

True Places' referral campaign is a perfect example of 'omnichanneling' – combining offline activities such as talking about the brand (the word of mouth strategy) towards the online ones – scanning the QR codes which brings the customer into the digital space.

How to create an omnichannel referral program with Voucherify?

What will help you in creating your own, personalized omnichannel referral marketing strategy suited to your customer needs is adequate referral marketing software. With Voucherify you are able to achieve your goals concerning your promotional campaigns, including referral marketing.The success of your omnichannel referral campaign is possible due to our API which can be easily connected with POS, ecommerce, or various types of apps. 

Learn more about creating a referral campaign with us watch our webinar dedicated to the topic:


Ready to embark on a referral journey?

Start for free with Voucherify


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