How To Use a Referral Program For Your Woocommerce Store

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Let’s be blunt: Building your WooCommerce store is just the first step.

Once you’ve learned the nitty-gritty of WordPress and WooCommerce, you must optimize your website for conversion and generate sales. Unfortunately, getting new customers through the sales funnel can be painstakingly challenging.

…but what if you could speed up sales and lead generation with minimal effort?

With a referral program, your customers can recommend their friends and family to your WooCommerce store. In exchange, successful referrers receive exclusive products, freebies, and cash.

Now, how do referral programs work? In this guide, we’ll cover tips for launching your WooCommerce referral program.

What is referral marketing? 

Recall the first time you bought from an online brand.

You probably discovered the shop through referrals from the people you trust the most—friends and family. They shared it in a conversation so it incited your curiosity. Their words were more convincing than the brand’s sponsored ads and promotional content.

In the same way, you’ve passionately recommended brands you loved. These businesses had such a great product so you gave rave reviews and persuaded your loved ones to give it a shot.

This is referral marketing in a nutshell.

Why do you need a referral program?

While referrals can happen organically, brands can replicate the process through a referral program which will make their users return regularly on the website, and encourage them to invite new people to join them

For starters, referral programs incentivize brand advocates through exclusive products, discounts, or cash rewards in order to make a successful referral. They are a key driver in organic growth.

For example, Driftaway – a WooCommerce store – launched a refer-a-friend program. Users can earn 200 Driftaway points worth $20 for every successful referral. And their friends receive a free kit upon making their first purchase.

woocommerce 1

Interestingly, Driftaway’s referral program has two-way incentives. Both brand advocates and friends receive a stimulus to complete the process.

How to launch your referral program?

Looking to set up a referral program for your WooCommerce store? Here are some tips to help you get started.

Step 1: Choose an incentive

Incentives are the key to success in any loyalty program.

After all, It relies on people motivated by the possibility of snagging rewards.

That’s precisely why you should brainstorm rewards like freebies, cash, discounts, or exclusive products that brand advocates will love.

A reward doesn’t have to be expensive to be valuable. A good tip is to have incentives worth around 10% to 20% of your product’s value so you don’t overspend.

If you have a small budget, you can start small and gradually scale rewards as your business grows. Whether big or small, you can brainstorm perks that will make the process worthwhile for consumers.

For example, Branch Basic’s referral program rewards customers with a $10 off their next order. This small incentive may encourage loyal customers to promote their business.

branch basics

Step 2: Create a marketing strategy

Next up, create a marketing strategy to promote your program.

Most ecommerce stores have a catchy slogan that encapsulates their referral incentives.

Let’s take a look at some of these high-quality headlines:

  • Give $10, Get $10
  • Give $50, Get $100 for yourself
  • Give some, get some
  • Refer a friend, get a free box

You can also create emails, landing pages, and social media posts and videos to boost awareness among your customers. Make a website banner or launch sponsored ads to boost membership.  

Keep in mind that on some social networks, such as YouTube, you can create content to market products from your WooCommerce store that could potentially generate additional revenue for your business in other ways. These types of opportunities will help you diversify and grow additional revenue sources, which is always a positive.  

Regardless of the medium, the promotional materials you create should have eye-catching images of your products to entice customers to purchase. Colors and fonts should also match with your brand’s visual aesthetic.

Vital Plan’s Woocomerce store has a refer-a-friend program with a straightforward message, “Give $20, Get $20”. At a glance, consumers can easily understand the benefits of participating. Plus, they have a clear product photo, as well as visible text input fields and sign-up buttons.


Also, their landing page has clear instructions for giving referrals and getting rewards. Thanks to the in-depth guide, they enjoy a fast and no-hassle referral process.

refer a friend

Another way to promote your referral program is by using pop-ups or chatbots to inform your site visitors about this opportunity the moment they land on your page. You can design your chatbot in a way that it answers FAQ questions related to your referral program or connect the interested participant with a person responsible for handling it.

Step 3: Monitor your referral program success

How many new customers are you getting through your referral program? How is it contributing to your online sales? Just like any campaign, you have to create a marketing strategy to monitor the success of your program.

Here are a list of metrics to consider:

  • Participation rate – refers to the number of people that have signed-up and joined your referral program
  • Share rate – refers to the number of referral links that consumers shared through social media or email
  • Clickthrough rate – refers to the % of referral links that were clicked and brought people to your online store
  • Conversions – refers to the number of purchases made via the referral link

Check out your referral program analytics to determine your referral program’s impact on your business.

If you have a high participation rate but a low conversion rate, consider changing up your referral program rewards. Meanwhile, referral programs that have a low participation rate may need more promotions to boost sign-ups.

How to set up a referral program for your WooCommerce store

There’s no need to build a referral program from the ground-up.

The ReferralCandy for WooCommerce plugin can help you build and launch a referral program within minutes.

Here is a three-step process to help you  get started:

  1. Sign up for ReferralCandy (or get the free trial)
  2. Install the ReferralCandy for WooCommerce plugin to your WooCommerce store
  3. Set-up referral landing pages, emails, rewards, and widgets within your ReferralCandy account

When you’re done, your brand advocates will sign-up and new customers may pour in at your WooCommerce store.

WooCommerce referral program

Now that you’ve learned how to build and launch a referral program, make one for your site.

Incentives will play a major role in motivating your brand advocates and referred friends to sign-up and participate. Then you need to market and promote your referral program to increase sign-ups and participation.

Don’t forget to monitor your results every few months so you can scale and improve your results.

If you’ve got any questions, let us know in the comments below. You can also share these nuggets of wisdom with entrepreneurs and marketers looking to boost sales on their WooCommerce stores.

Thanks for reading!

Raul Galera
Raul Galera
Raul Galera is the Partner Manager at ReferralCandy and Candybar, two tools helping small and medium businesses run customer referral and loyalty programs. He’s been working in the tech sector for the past seven years and regularly writes about marketing, eCommerce, and tech.