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Referral Programs Starter Guide

  • How to grow your business with highly-converting referral program?
  • What limits to use and how to build an effective referral flow?
  • See the best practices and examples of refer-a-friend programs done the right way.
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Referral Programs In WooCommerce – When Off-The-Shelf Plugins Don’t Work
Karolina Kmita
Karolina Kmita
June 2, 2023
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Referral Programs In WooCommerce – When Off-The-Shelf Plugins Don’t Work

In today's highly competitive business landscape, word-of-mouth marketing has emerged as a game-changer, fuelling growth and building brand loyalty. According to Nielsen, 92% of customers place more trust in recommendations from friends and family than in advertisements. One of the most effective strategies for unlocking the potential of word-of-mouth is through well-crafted referral campaigns (also known as refer-a-friend programs).

In this blog post, I will explore the capabilities of WooCommerce referral system and show you the advanced referral opportunities unlocked by integrating WooCommerce with Voucherify. This comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools to leverage the full potential of referral marketing for your WooCommerce store, so roll up your sleeves and let’s get started.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is a popular open-source e-commerce plugin for the WordPress content management system (CMS). It enables you to turn your WordPress website into a fully working online store so you can market your products and services to customers effectively.

With WooCommerce, you can secure payments, handle shipping and inventory, sell both tangible and digital goods, and automatically sort taxes. The WooCommerce plugin also offers support for mobile devices, you retain full control over all of your data, and there is almost no limit to how large your website may be scaled.

WooCommerce offers plenty of plugins and extensions that can effectively support critical commerce functions that may be otherwise unavailable or greatly limited in the standard WooCommerce store instance. One such functionality is referral programs.

How to run a referral program with WooCommerce (WordPress)?

Currently, brands looking to grow their WooCommerce store through referrals can choose between plenty of plug-and-play plugins that can only support basic referral scenarios.

Here are some of the most noteworthy limitations of off-the-shelf referral plugins for WooCommerce:

  1. Limited types of discounts for referrers and referees – most referral plug-ins support only fixed (amount) and percentage discounts with no options of fixed order discounts, free shipping, loyalty points, or gift cards.
  2. Lack of control over the conversion event – the majority of available WooCommerce referral solutions lack the option to precisely define when the referral should be marked as successful – with the majority focusing on placing the order. If you want to ensure that only specific orders (e.g., after the return period has passed) are counted towards referrals, you will find these solutions lacking.
  3. Limited redemption limits – only limited configuration options based on the order total.
  4. No tiers – most referral plug-ins lack gamification mechanisms needed to engage the modern consumer, such as referral tiers where the rewards are triggered only after a specified number of users have been referred.
  5. Simple analytics – the success of any marketing campaign is determined by your ability to track and refine it. If your WooCommerce referral system lacks in analytics (detailed customer profile, referral history, performance metrics), you may find yourself in the dark when it comes to optimizing your WooCommerce refer-a-friend campaign.

As you can see, WooCommerce refer-a-friend plug-ins offer a straightforward referral experience that likely won’t meet the needs of growing brands. Here's where Voucherify comes into play with its agile approach and flexibility to respond to your customers’ shifting needs.

{{Referral Programs Starter Guide}}

Why build a WooCommerce referral campaign with Voucherify?

As an API-first referral software, Voucherify gives you all the necessary tools to fine-tune your referral campaigns to your unique requirements. Here’s where Voucherify comes in handy offering you more flexibility and customization than off-the-shelf referral plugins for your WooCommerce store:

1. Rich selection of referral rewards

With Voucherify plugged in your WooCommerce shop, you can reward both the referrer and the referee with a vast collection of incentives:

  • Percentage, amount, free shipping, fixed, unit and dynamic discounts.
  • Loyalty points so that you can combine your referral and loyalty programs.
  • Gift cards.

2. The ability to define when referrers are rewarded

Instead of relying on orders made, Voucherify can trigger referral rewards in response to specific events such as sign up, profile completion, run completed, and many more. This opens up your referral strategy beyond transactions, allowing you to build a more custom-made experience for brand advocates and their family and friends.

3. White-labeling and front-end agnostic

Voucherify acts as the brain behind your WooCommerce referral strategy – as such, it does not limit your front-end look to any specific style and branding. There is also an option for a complete white-labeling allowing you to resell Voucherify referral technology to partners, affiliates, and connected brands.

4. Gamified referral levels

With Voucherify, you get to create referral tiers with more valuable rewards at each step to encourage customers to refer as many friends as possible instead of offering a less engaging and flat program structure.

5. Enhanced referral fraud prevention

Voucherify comes with advanced referral fraud prevention measures, such as limiting redemptions per referee in a predefined time window, setting referral code activity limits, preventing customers from joining the refer-a-friend program multiple times, double opt-in features for referral landing pages, blocking email aliases, and storing email addresses to prevent duplicates.

6. Referral targeting

With advanced customer synchronization snippets used in your WooCommerce store, Voucherify can help you segment and target only predefined used groups with your referral strategy. You can split your customer base on top of demographic, location, behavior, and custom data.

7. Suitable for marketers and developers

Voucherify robust API functionality and custom code snippets will make the integration effort much easier for your development team while still giving your marketing team a competitive edge with a vast array of referral configuration options available through the user-friendly interface.

8. Omnichannel referrals

Referral programs come in all shapes and sizes. This is why Voucherify can be effectively integrated to support plenty of ways to reach your referral audience, including email, SMS, push notifications, third-party applications, referral notifications triggered by code publication, custom API integration, dedicated referral landing pages, and a web widget for your WooCommerce store.

How to set up a refer a friend program in WooCommerce with Voucherify?

Note: Install the Voucherify plugin by downloading it from the WordPress plugins directory. Once connected, you will need to use your Voucherify API keys to authenticate the connection. For a detailed description of the WooCommerce integration and custom code snippets, go here.

Here is the overview of how your WooCommerce <> Voucherify referral campaign can be set up:

1. Create a referral campaign in Voucherify

In the Campaign Manager select the “referral codes” option to start building your referral campaign.

Referral campaign voucherify

2. Configure the campaign details

Provide a name and description for your campaign and set up redemption limits. You can also customize the code pattern which you want to use in your referral program.

Refer a friend program set up voucherify

Specify the start and end dates of the campaign, ensuring that the campaign runs within the desired timeframe. You can also keep the referral code active for a set period of time after it was assigned to a referrer, increasing the urgency to share it with family and friends.

3. Choose the referral workflow

You can select the single-sided campaign where only referrers get rewarded, or a double-sided campaign where both referrers and invited customers are rewarded for their participation in your program.

In this step, you will also choose the referral conversion event so the trigger for a successful referral – it can be a referral code redemption or a custom event.

Incentive workflow referral campaign voucherify

4. Define the referee reward and eligibility criteria

If you choose a double-sided campaign, you must specify the referee reward.  It may be: a discount (amount, percentage, unit, free shipping, fixed price), gift card credits or points in a loyalty program.

In the same step, you can define additional limits for referees – for instance segment membership, custom attributes (e.g., minimum age or location), or minimum order value.

Referral campaign validation rules for referees

5. Define referrer rewards and build optional tiers

A tier is a level of a referral campaign with its own criteria, incentives, and notifications for referrers.

Tiered referral program voucherify

Here are some examples of how tiers can be implemented in a referral campaign:

Bronze Tier:

  • Reward: When a referrer successfully refers one friend.
  • Example Reward: A 10% discount coupon for the referrer and the referred friend on orders of minimum 50$ order value.

Silver Tier:

  • Reward: When a referrer successfully refers three friends.
  • Example Reward: A 20% discount coupon for the referrer and the referred friends on orders of minimum 50$ order value.

Gold Tier:

  • Reward: When a referrer successfully refers five friends.
  • Example Reward: A 30 % discount plus free shipping for the referrer and the referred friends on orders of minimum 50$.

6. Define the notifications settings (optional)

Voucherify also allows you to schedule campaign notifications that are sent to referrers and referees. You can automatically share referral codes and inform referrers about successful referrals. You can use pre-built notification channels (email, SMS) or use external communication providers, such as Braze, MoEngage, MailChimp, or ActiveCampaign.

7. Launch and monitor your referral campaign

Once you're satisfied with the setup, you can activate your referral campaign and start growing your WooCommerce store with word of mouth. Voucherify allows you to continuously monitor and see the updates of your campaigns. Results may be tracked at several levels, including the effectiveness of the entire campaign as well as individual customer behavior.

8. Manage the program with Voucherify and WooCommerce

Once you activate the customer synchronization, you can share user information between Voucherify and your WooCommerce store. With the publication mechanism, a referral code can be assigned to individual customers who will be treated as code referrers.

Customer referral vouchers voucherify

Referral codes work as discount coupons and if you offer a discount to a referee, they will grant them an immediate discount.

Voucherify and woocommerce integration

Once the order is completed, Voucherify will log the referral event and trigger referral reward for the brand advocate.

Refer a fiend woocommerce voucherify
Voucherify and woocommerce referral program dashboard

Detailed referral analytics makes the referral program management in your WooCommerce store much easier, allowing you to make data-driven decisions about the future of your refer-a-friend strategy.


Creating a refer a friend program in WooCommerce with Voucherify is a few clicks process that will take your referral campaigns to the next level compared with off-the-shelf WordPress plugins. By integrating Voucherify with WooCommerce, you gain access to a comprehensive range of referral marketing functionalities that encourage your customers to share your brand with their loved ones.


Ready to take your WooCommerce referrals to the next level?

Connect Voucherify with WooCommerce


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