Amazon Prime’s tagline – One Membership, Many Benefits – says it all. From unlimited free deliveries, streaming movies and TV shows to exclusive discounts, it has an irresistible appeal for users across age groups. The Prime program was among the first of its kind in the e-commerce industry and contributed significantly to Amazon’s transformation from a humble start-up to one of the world’s most valuable brands today.
As of December 2020, it had more than 150 million members worldwide. What’s more, Prime members spend up to $1500 per year on average, which is more than double the $625 spent by regular shoppers. Turning customers into advocates helped the brand reach out to new customers in dozens of countries. Over the years, it has inspired many other brands to launch their own programs to attract and retain customers.
Judging by its phenomenal success over the last 15 years, there are many things that the Amazon Prime Referral Program does exceptionally well. For one, it has constantly been evolving with time, adding new benefits to keep with changing customer preferences. If you own an e-commerce store of your own or aspire to start one, there are several valuable lessons to learn from it.
How does the Amazon Prime Referral Program work?
Like any referral program, Amazon Prime incentivized shoppers to encourage their friends to sign up. The referring customer got a $5 credit when the person referred makes a purchase. The Amazon Prime Student program, a variant meant exclusively for students (as you may have guessed), gives you a $10 credit- again, not as cash but as a redeemable coupon. The credit would be applied to the referring customer’s account after about 7 days of the new customer signing up.
The best part was that the program was available for all Amazon users and not just Prime members. Customers did not even need a claim code as their credit balance would be automatically applied to their next purchase on Amazon. Besides, there were no restrictions on the number of referrals a single user could make.
Though the Amazon Prime Referral Program was shut down in 2017, it has been widely studied for its effectiveness by competitors and industry experts alike.
Let’s take a look at a closer look at some of the distinctive features that made it one of the most successful initiatives ever in the e-commerce industry:
1. Captivating header image:
The visual on the Amazon Prime Referral Program’s main landing page shows two friends huddled over a tablet, presumably signing up. It immediately evoked happy memories and influenced people to participate in the program. The theme of sharing something of value was apt for its message.
The first impression is the last impression when it comes to marketing your referral program. Visuals are likely to be the very first thing visitors will notice so make sure that you choose one that captures the emotional response you want to create.
2. Personalized Referral Invite:
Visitors were presented with four options to send invites to their friends, namely, email, Facebook, Twitter, and shareable links. The Amazon Prime referral message itself included the name of the person referring likely helped increase the average open rate. Why? Since the invite had the name of a person they knew and (probably) trust, recipients would have naturally wanted to click the click to find out what it was about.
A referral program is, by definition, designed around the familiarity principle. Ensure that the name of the referring customer is displayed prominently on all communications relating to your referral program. This will help recipients associate your program with a friend or colleague they know, triggering top-of-mind recall.
3. Engaging copy that drives conversion:
Crisp language and easy to follow instructions enabled readers to process the value proposition behind the Amazon Prime referral program faster. This cut short the crucial decision-making phase when the odds of a successful conversion are 50:50.
The result: Higher clickthroughs and conversion.
Create a compelling referral offer that is aligned with the expectations of your target audience. Make sure that the content and any links embedded in it are optimized for mobile. Keep the layout of the landing page simple to improve readability.
4. Open to all:
Another reason why the Amazon Prime referral program worked so well is that it did not restrict non-Prime users’ participation. This greatly increased the participation rate- one of the biggest factors in any referral program’s success. Secondly, users could opt to share invites by email, social media, or shareable links, giving them greater flexibility and improving user experience, something Amazon has always paid a lot of attention to.
The rule of thumb is to provide multiple sharing options across your website and referral emails. A one-click ‘share a link’ button usually works best. However, it is advisable also to include a ‘copy and send link’ option for users who may want to share it via email or post it to their blog.
5. Don’t be too pushy:
The Amazon Referral Plan landing page has a straightforward and user-friendly layout consistent with the brand. It seamlessly leads users from discovering about the offer to taking action without undue interruptions. All key information and navigation buttons are placed strategically throughout the page. This creates a conducive environment for the reader to take the desired action, i.e., sign-up for the program.
While it is important to spread the word about your referral program, ensure that you do not use too many pop-ups or multiple email reminders. It can distract customers while making a purchase or adding items to their cart.
To improve participation in your referral program, knowledgeable customer support agents are indispensable. However, if you have been struggling with high turnover rates, the impact on customer experience and referrals can be serious. An experienced customer support specialist like Helplama can provide you access to trained customer support experts that can drive consistent growth. What’s more, we have done away with restrictive contracts – maximum flexibility for our customers.
Contact us today for more information.