In 2017, retail eCommerce sales amassed over £1.7 trillion and, by 2021, this number will almost double to £3.3 trillion worldwide. But with so much business happening online, it makes the digital space all the more competitive for businesses. From banner ads to email marketing strategies, and even social media curation, businesses owners now need to fight for user attention on all digital fronts. So, how does a business stand out in the crowd? The secret is through referral marketing.

What is Referral Marketing?

Referral marketing may seem like an old-school tactic, and in some ways it is, but it is still one of the most powerful digital marketing strategies used today. At its core, referral marketing is another way of saying word-of-mouth marketing. It’s when one of your friends goes to you and says, “Omg you HAVE to try the bangers and mash spot on Piccadilly,” or when your mom swears by a certain soap brand and insists you buy it for yourself. Referral marketing is as Richard Lazazzera of Shopify puts it; it’s the “purchasing of products based on someone else’s opinion or influence.”

When consumers receive referrals, they’re actually 4 times more likely to make a purchase because 92% of users trust recommendations from people they know. Referral marketing is very logical. If your friend enjoys it and recommends it, and you share similar views, there’s no real reason not to try whatever it is.

How to Use Referral Marketing for Your eCommerce Business

As the competition gets tougher, referral marketing is one way your business can ensure a steady flow of revenue. Happy customers create more happy customers! These following strategies are some referral marketing ideas you can use today to enhance your eCommerce website development and your eCommerce business as a whole.

Shoutouts on Social Media

Social media is one of the new ways referral marketing works its magic in the digital age. Thanks to social media, businesses can thrive off referrals in the form of likes, views and shares. But how do you get your eCommerce business this kind of traction? By giving your audience the tools they need to promote your company.

Jeffrey D. Epstein writes, “[y]ou need to make the referral process as simple as possible,” suggesting that business owners create hashtags consumers can use on social to refer to their business. You can also create text posts, imagery or videography that users can re-use and post on their pages to promote your eCommerce business.

For example, on Snapchat you can create a filter that customers can use while they’re in your shop. For Instagram, section off a particular part of your store and create an aesthetically pleasing environment customers can take pictures in. The options are endless! But the one thing you want to keep in mind for social media is to keep things simple and interactive.

Stars on Google or Yelp

Online reviews are an eCommerce business’ goldmine — if they’re positive, that is. In fact, 92% of internet users read online reviews to help inform their purchasing decisions. Not only do reviews influence their purchasing behavior, but star ratings also help users determine how they judge your business.

With that being said, it’s important to get your customers to leave reviews of your business on Google or Yelp because this is another way to drive referral marketing for your eCommerce business. After every engagement, prompt your users to leave a review by asking them if they were satisfied with their service and, if so, to please share it by leaving a review.

You can also let your audience know that you’re looking to boost your rating and that 5 stars would be a great compliment! Don’t bribe your users to leave good reviews, rather, you want to encourage them by providing excellent customer service. Integrate these prompts into your referral strategy marketing plan and watch as your business rises with the stars.

Introductions Through Your Network

One of the most powerful things a business owner has is their network. Well, it’s time to put those contacts to good use! Especially for referral marketing B2B, your network can be the stimulus that sparks your business’ success. Don’t limit yourself to just clients, use everyone you know. Let your friends, family, clients, and customers know that you’re looking for more business opportunities and provide them with some information on what it is you’re looking to do next. You can even consult with a digital agency and have them include verbiage that reflects your next business venture in your current ad copy.

Whatever your next moves are, don’t limit yourself by only speaking to a few people. Speak to everyone and let them know you’re looking to grow. When you’re speaking to your network, you want to be specific with what kind of introduction you’re looking for. Are you looking for a social media marketer to consult with on your digital strategy? Are you looking for an influencer to market your products to a larger audience? When you’re specific about the kind of person you’re looking to be introduced to, it helps your network determine whether or not they know someone of that stature. Let your network know that you’re looking for introductions and leverage your contacts to expand your business’ reach.

Tip Rewind

Referral marketing is the oldest trick in the book. It’s the old reliable that marketers and business owners can always fall back on because it’s so raw. Even in the digital age, it’s still one of the best tactics a business can use to gain traction and increase brand awareness. Hopefully, these referral strategy examples gave you some insights on how you can leverage referral marketing to enhance your business. Let’s take a look at them one more time:

  1. Create a simple and interactive way users can promote your business on social media
  2. Ask your happy customers to leave positive 5 star reviews of your business on Google or Yelp
  3. Let your network know that you’re seeking to grow your business and you’re looking for introductions to specific people

Good luck! If you enjoyed this blog post, don’t forget to refer us to a business you know that’s looking for eCommerce web development solutions!



  1. November 07, 2019

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