How To Create a Shopify Referral Program ?

Discover the Best Shopify Referral Apps and Boost Your Sales.


How To Create a Shopify Referral Program

A Shopify referral program is one of the best ways to acquire new customers cost-effectively. Additionally, customers acquired through referrals can generate 25% more revenue than others.

The referral has a higher loyalty is because people trust and value recommendations from their friends and peers. They believe in people’s word-of-mouth more than your advertisements.

A Shopify referral program will encourage your existing customers to do word-of-mouth marketing for you. Turn them into brand advocates and reward them for every new customer they bring. Customers get their rewards, and you get new referrals–a win-win for everyone.

Shopify doesn’t come with a customer referral program. Luckily, it has several refer-a-friend program apps to set up referral programs on Shopify.

In this article, we’ll discuss one of the best Shopify referral program apps that can acquire referrals for you, Retainful. And how to create a referral program in Shopify stores using it.

Create and run a referral program for your store in minutes. Acquire more customers and grow sales through referrals with Retainful.

What is a Customer Referral program?

A customer Referral Program is a word-of-mouth marketing tactic that encourages existing customers to refer your store to their friends. It is a process of turning customers into brand advocates to acquire new customers through referrals.

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

customer referral program

Both the referrer and referred customers earn exciting referral rewards. Shopify store owners get a referral(new customers) who are considered to be 18% more loyal to a store than others.

Why are referrals important to your business?

In a nutshell, acquiring new customers via traditional marketing and advertising techniques is expensive. Besides, you need significant manpower to do it successfully, and a Shopify referral program eliminates these difficulties.

Referral programs motivate your existing customers, giving them a reason to refer their friends by offering Referral rewards. Word of mouth is organic, and it will not break the bank. In fact, referrals can double your revenue, so don’t hold back on referral rewards.

Customers acquired through the Referral program are ‘Referrals,’ here are some interesting facts about them,

  • Customers are 4x times more likely to purchase when their friends refer them.
  • The lifetime value of referrals is 16% higher than customers acquired through other channels.
  • Referrals have an 18% lower churn rate than other customers. They’ll stay longer with your store.
  • Referrals can increase your revenue by 16%.

These are a few compelling reasons why referrals are important to your business and why you must run a Shopify referral program to acquire them.

Does Shopify have a Referral program?

No, Shopify doesn’t have a referral program, and it has an affiliate program unsuitable for eCommerce customers.

Fortunately, Shopify has several best referral program apps to help you encourage customers to advocate for your store.

So, what is the best Shopify referral app to build a customer referral program?

Before you set out to find the right Shopify referral app, consider these factors. An ideal refer-a-friend tool must check these boxes.

  • Choose a Shopify referral app with a user-friendly interface and simple to use without complex navigation.
  • You should be able to offer Referral rewards to both the Referrer and Referral.
  • The app must let you offer multiple Referral rewards.
  • An ideal referral app must have an insightful dashboard displaying real-time referral campaign data.
  • Referral email notifications with pre-built email templates.
  • Multiple branding options to showcase your referral program to customers visiting your store.
  • Cost-effective pricing plans.

Let us save your search. One of the best Shopify referral apps that checks these boxes is Retainful. It is an email marketing automation platform that can help you easily run a Shopify referral program. It has double-sided incentives, multiple referral rewards, straightforward pricing plans, and more.

Let’s see how to set up a Shopify referral program using Retainful.

How does the Shopify Referral Program work?

Now you know how to set up a Shopify Referral program using Retainful. Let’s see how this Shopify referral program works,

shopify referral program
  1. After purchasing or signing up, customers get a unique referral link.
  2. Customers can share the link via social media to invite their friends.
  3. The friend/referral visits your Shopify store using the Referral link. They will be asked to enter their email address to verify they are new to the store.
  4. The Referral gets his Referral code with a discount and completes his first successful purchase.
  5. Your referred customer will receive the advocate reward as the Referral completes his purchase.

How to create a referral program on Shopify?

To create a referral program on Shopify using Retainful, you can follow these steps:


  1. Go to Shopify Appstore
  2. Search ‘Retainful’ and click ‘Add App’
Abandoned cart recovery

3. Click ‘Install app’ on the next page to install Retainful.

install retainful app

4. Ensure you enter a password in the ‘Create your account box. This will help you log in to the Retainful dashboard directly.

create retainful account

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

retainful dashboard

How do I set up a referral program on Shopify in Retainful

Follow these steps to create a Shopify Referral program.

  1. Click ‘Referrals’ on your Retainful dashboard menu.
retainful referrals

2. The Referrals section will be displayed. You must configure two rewards,

Advocate reward – Your existing customer will be your brand advocate.

Friend reward – New customers who visit your store for the first time by clicking the referral link.

advocate reward

Click ‘Edit’ to configure the Advocate reward.

3. Select the type of reward you want to offer – Percentage discount, Flat discount, or Free shipping discount

fixed amount discount

Start a Shopify Referral program with Retainful today and get your existing customers to refer their friends.

Each reward has its own configuration section. Enter the required details.

Reward tile – Enter the name of the reward, and it will be used for branding.

Reward value – Mention the discount value you want to offer

Minimum spending required – Set a minimum purchase threshold to earn the reward.

Prefix for discount code – If you want your discount code to have a Prefix, you can mention it here.

Reward validity – Set the expiry dates for referral rewards.

Once configured, click ‘Save changes.

4. Similarly, do the same to create the Friend reward.
Once done, this is how the rewards will look.

advocate and friend reward

5. After configuring the Advocate and Friend reward, Click ‘Enable Program’ to set the program live.

enable the referral program

Referral Dashboard and Referral emails

Once your Shopify referral program is live and customers start referring their friends, – all necessary details of your campaign will be displayed on the referral dashboard in real time.

You can use the data to assess your referral campaign performance and enhance them to increase conversions,


Retainful lets you send Referral emails to notify customers about their Referral rewards. Configuring these Referral emails is a straightforward process.

  1. Referral emails are in the Referral dashboard under the ‘Referral email notifications’ section.
referral email notifications

Click ‘Edit’ to open the referral email template page. Write a compelling subject line and click ‘Customize’ to open the email editor.

referral template

3. Customize your referral emails using Drag and drop email editor by adding Content blocks, Name, Logo, Gifs, & more. Make your emails attractive using our visual editor and increase conversion rates.

multiple device preview

Click here to learn how to customize your emails.

You can send a test email to check how the email will look in your customer’s inbox.

After customizing your emails, close the editor and click ‘Save & Set live’ on the referral email page to set it live.

referral set live

Your emails will be set live and sent to customers at the right time. By default, Retainful has three referral emails, and the customization process is the same for all the emails.

Customize the referral emails and send them to customers to notify them when they earn a reward.


What use is a Shopify referral program if your customers cannot find it? Promote your Shopify referral program within your store using multiple branding options. Make it easier for your customer to discover your referral program and start referring their friends easily.

You can use a Chat widget, My account page, and display a popup on Thank you page to promote your Shopify referral program to customers.


You can add a social sharing button in the widgets to encourage customers to share referral links via Social media.

Turn your existing customers into brand advocates. Launch a Shopify Referral program and grow organic sales and acquire new customers.


Why spend so much on acquiring new customers when you can run a Shopify referral program and acquire them through Word-of-mouth? Reward both the referrer and referral to increase customer loyalty and retention rate.

Though Shopify doesn’t have a customer referral program – it has a number of referral apps in its store to build a customer referral program.

This article showed you how to create a Shopify referral program using Retainful. You can set up double-sided incentives and referral email notifications and promote your referral program to customers using Retainful.

If you’re new to the online business and looking to expand your customer base, Retainful is the right tool for you to acquire customers and double your revenue.

What are the types of Referral rewards I can offer?

You can offer a percentage discount, flat amount discount, or free shipping discount as Referral rewards.

What are the benefits of a referral program?

The major benefit of referral programs is that they can help you acquire new customers through word-of-mouth marketing. You can increase customer retention by rewarding existing customers and increasing customer loyalty.

Is Retainful free?

Yes, Retainful has a free version to help run a referral program in your store.

Should I promote my referral program?

Yes. If you don’t promote your referral program, it will be hard for your customers to participate. Use the branding options of Retainful to display a widget or a popup and let your customers know you’re running a referral program in your store.