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How To Create A Referral Program In Your Shopify Store

How To Create A Referral Program In Your Shopify Store

Posted by Joel Platini on 16 October 2020 in Shopify

If you want to attract more customers to your store then a customer referral program is the right way to do it.

Both the merchants and the customers love customer referral programs because it increases the sales of the store and users get their rewards for every successful Referral.

Running a Referral program in your Shopify store is the best way to retain your customers and increase your brand awareness.

All being said, let us take you through a guide on how to set up a customer referral program for your Shopify store using a Shopify Referral plugin.

What is a Customer Referral program?

Customer Referral program is a process of turning your loyal customers into brand advocates and rewarding them with discounts or offers when they refer your Shopify store to their friends.

An interesting aspect of a Referral program is that everyone involved in it can get benefitted.

The loyal customer gets a reward for referring his friend, the friend who got referred get a reward for his first purchase, all of this contributes to more sales and customers which benefits the store owner.

Acquiring new customers is costly, with the Customer Referral program you can retain your customers and get a new customer through Referrals.

How can your Shopify store benefit from a Referral program?

A referral program offers many benefits to an eCommerce store and one such important benefit is it minimizes the need to acquire new customers by retaining existing customers.

Let’s look at some other benefits of the Customer Referral program,

  • Customers trust Referrals, so it increases the credibility and brand awareness of your Shopify store.
  • The referral program boosts your customer retention rate and stabilizes your revenue.
  • You can increase your reach and expose your store to a new audience using your customers as brand advocates.
  • The customer referral program has the highest ROI.
  • Increase your engagement with existing customers.
  • Helps you avoid the costly process of customer acquisition.
  • Increases your WOM marketing.
  • The referral program fosters customer loyalty.

How to set up a Customer Referral Program for your Shopify store?

There many plugins in Shopify that allow you to run a Referral program in your Shopify store. Retainful is one such app that offers you excellent sales-boosting features along with a super-intuitive Referral program.

Creating a Referral program only takes a few minutes in Retainful compared to any other apps. Let’s look at the process on how to set up a Referral program,

1. Installation

  1. Go to the Shopify Appstore, login to your store, and search ‘Retainful’
  1. Click the "Add app" button on the Retainful section.

3.  You’ll be redirected to your store, click install app to install Retainful.

4.  After clicking the ‘Install app’, you’ll be prompted with a Retainful dialog box asking you to enter a password to create an account.

Once you’ve entered your password, your account will be created and you’ll be redirected to the Retainful dashboard.

2. Creating a Referral Program in Retainful

Once you are logged in to Retainful, follow these steps to create a Referral program.

1. In the Retainful dashboard, click ‘Referral’.

2. The Referrals section will be prompted,

3. Here you must specify the rewards you want to offer,

Advocate - Your loyal customer who is going to refer to his friend.

Friend - The referral who visits your store for the first time.

4. Click ‘Add Reward’ to specify the rewards, the process is the same for both the Advocate and Friend.

5. A popup will be prompted where you can select the type of reward you want to offer.

6. For this instance, we are offering ‘Percentage off discount’,  click on it and you’ll be directed to the percentage discount section.

In this section, you can select the percentage you want to offer(5%,10%,15%), as your wish. But there are a few more things that you can specify here,

Minimum spending required - You can select a spending threshold, the Referral will be rewarded only if he spends more than the limit.

Prefix for Discount code - You can add a prefix to your discount code.

Reward validity - Set an expiry date for the rewards.

Once you’ve defined all this click ‘Create’, your advocate reward will be created.

7. Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 to create the Friend reward. Once both the rewards are created, click ‘Enable Program.

8. Your referral program will be active and you’ll be directed to the Referrals dashboard. You can also change the rewards once again if you wish on the dashboard.

3. Referral Dashboard and Referral emails

The referral dashboard will have all the details you need regarding the referrals.

  1. Your Referral statistics will be you first section when you can track your Referral issued, Referral revenue and Referral members in real-time.

2. Next comes the Referral rewards menu, if you want to change your Referral rewards again then you can do it here.

3.  Next is the Email notifications section, you can send these emails to your customer once they complete a Referral sales. Click 'Manage emails' to view the templates.

There will be two email templates that you can send, one to your Advocate and one to the Referral. To edit it click ‘edit’.

Once your click ‘Edit’, a new template page will be opened where you can ‘customize’ your email and edit your subject lines and personalize it using Shortcodes.

If you click 'Customize' a new page with the Referral email layout will be displayed and on the right side you can see the customization options.

This is your Referral email layout, customization options will be on the right side.

'Blocks' section will allow you to add images, logos, columns, social hsaring buttons, unsubscribe button and more.

'Styles' section will allow you to change the dimensions, fonts, spacing, background color, border dimension and more.

Once you are done with customizing, click ‘Save & Set live’ to activate the email notifications.

4. Lastly comes the Activity section, here you can view the emails of advocates and the referrals, Referral code, status and date.

Your Activity section will look like the one below once the Referral sales starts coming. You can use the filtering options to view the completed, pending and fraudulent referrals.

That's all in the dashboard, this is how you can create a Referral program.

Now your customer referral program is up and running, your customers can start referring their friends to your store and earn existing rewards. You can foster loyalty and increase your customer retention rate.

How does the Referral Program work?

Like we said before, Retainful’s referral program is very intuitive and user-friendly. We showed you how you can set up a customer referral program within minutes and now let’s see how the customer referral program works.

1. Your customers get a unique link with a Referral code that they can share it with their friends.

2. The friend/referral visits your Shopify store using the Referral link.

3. The Referral gets his Referral code with a discount of 5%(as offered in the process before) and completes his first successful purchase.

4. As the Referral completed his purchase, your loyal customer also gets rewarded with a percentage discount of 5%( as offered in the process above) for their next purchase.

5. Both the advocate and the Referral gets rewarded. Thus you acquired a new customer and retained your existing one with spending much.

Now, this is how a customer referral program works.


Why spend so much on acquiring new customers when you can simply run a customer referral program in your Shopify store. You can turn your customers into brand advocates and expose your store to many potential customers and increase your sales.

That’s why we wanted to show you how to set up a customer referral program in your Shopify store and boost your customer retention rate.

Hope you found out how a customer referral program works. Now, It’s time for you to run a Referral program and stabilize your revenue.

Author Bio

Joel Platini is a Content Writer and Graphic Designer with an immaculate experience in writing keyword enriched content for eCommerce websites. Familiar with WooCommerce plugins he has written how-to guides with elegance and finesse.