SC Conjured Referrals
Digital Commerce

5 inspiring referral marketing programs to learn from

Word-of-mouth marketing works wonders. Here are 5 inspiring industry examples to learn from as you craft the ideal referral marketing program for your store.

5 Minutes 19 Seconds

There’s a reason word-of-mouth, or referral marketing works and is one of the fastest growing channels for ecommerce. People trust their friends, families, co-workers, even social media communities more than advertisements and marketing. Just look at the numbers: 

  • Customers are 4X more likely to buy something referred by a friend.
  • 92% of people trust referrals made.
  • Friends' social media posts influence 83% of U.S. online shopping.

Still not convinced? Here are 80+ more referral marketing stats that show how and why it works. 

But in order to be successful, referral marketing should always come from a place of authenticity, promoting true brand loyalty and deepening customer relationships. When done right it should feel like a win-win for both customer and brand. 

Here are five referral marketing examples that get it right, with key takeaways for each you can apply to your own referral marketing program. 

The Sill

The Sill is a modern plant brand for those who desire a deeper connection with nature in their home or workspace. Customers can buy individual plants and earthenware planters or sign up for a subscription box where they will receive a new plant and pot each month. They also offer giftable subscriptions, making it the perfect “gift that grows” for any plant or nature lover. 

They also have a referral program called Spread the love and earn $ where anyone looking to refer to a friend can submit an email for a personalized referral link. The customer who sent the referral then gets rewarded if their friend uses the link to make a purchase. 

The Sill created their perfect, simple, and effective referral program with the help of Shop Circle’s Conjured Referrals app, which also included a landing page and post-purchase pop-up.

Key takeaways:

  • Brand your referral program with a catchy name and imagery. 
  • Requiring an email to get a referral link is a great way to build your marketing list.
  • Offer rewards that must be used at your store to encourage repeat purchasing. 

Read: Conjured Referrals vs. Rivo


Are you looking for a Budweiser Christmas sweater, colorful “ball-hammock” boxer shorts, or an American flag bikini? Shinesty's outlandish and amusing clothing line is like no other. They sell single purchase men’s and women’s clothing products and a variety of subscription memberships, including a boxer- or thong-of-the-month club. 

Their referral program also allows you to give a friend $20 while earning $20 for your own purchases. Once you fill out your name and email they send you a link to share with a friend--or anyone looking for matching flannel onesies. 

Originally Shinesty was using an expensive platform to manage their simple referral program. Shop Circle built out the Conjured Referrals app to simplify and streamline the process. 

Key takeaways:

  • Offer both a reward to the referring user and their friend for a win-win experience.
  • Use viral-worthy copy and imagery to make your program as fun to share with friends as it is to shop. 
  • “Make it rain” with the perfect call to action. 

Morning Brew

Morning Brew is a daily newsletter that provides business tips and industry insights for career-savvy millennials looking to kickstart their day. The company has 2.5 million subscribers, a milestone they’ve achieved by doing nothing other than publishing amazing content. 

Their newsletter became so popular that subscribers began referring it en-masse to their friends even before Morning Brew had a referral program in place. Once they launched their program in 2017, their audience grew from 100,000 to 1.5 million in 18 months.

So what’s the secret sauce to their wildly successful referral program? Not giving away any cash or discounts. Yes, you read that correctly. Instead they use a tiered reward system where subscribers earn bigger and better rewards each time they rack up a new referral. 

This gamified referral model makes it extra fun to share Morning Brew content with friends while earning exclusive rewards and ecommerce uber-nerd cred. Anchored by this referral program, Morning Brew is well positioned for continued growth and expanding readership in 2022.  

Key takeaways:

  • Consider offering exclusive experiences and social statuses instead of discounts and cash. 
  • Create a sense of community that customers want to belong to. 
  • Gamify your referral program to get people hooked on sharing your brand.

Learn how to create customer-centric emails that stand out.


Ned is a full-spectrum hemp oil brand designed with the intent of making people feel better through natural remedies. They’ve embraced a subscription model that allows customers to easily replenish oils and remedies before they run out, with an emphasis on user experience and personalization.

They also have a Spread the Ned! referral program that lets you give friends $15 and earn $15 on your next purchase. Referring users only need to fill out their name and email and they will receive a shareable link to pass along to a friend. 

Ned created and customized their simple yet effective referral program using Shop Circle’s Conjured Referrals app, which enabled them to leverage customer referrals to increase sales and grow their brand. 

Key takeaways:

  • Add a “subscribe to newsletter” box on your referral program page to grow your marketing list. 
  • Come up with a catchy name and call-to-action for your referral program for a sense of brand exclusivity. 
  • Funnel customers to your program’s landing page with a snappy header like “Get $15”. 


Otherland sells scented candles that every home needs to create the perfect aroma and ambience. Candle-obsessed shoppers can buy individual products, bundle for a discount, or build their own candle box for the most savings. They also offer flexible gifting options like gift sets, build-a-gift, or personalized gift cards. 

Candle collecting is contagious. Which is why their referral program works so well. Not only do referring users get $10 towards their next purchase, but they give a friend a discount as well. If the friend isn’t sure which candles are for them, they can always start by taking a “scent quiz” designed to help choose the right vibe for your space. 

Otherland uses Shop Circle’s Conjured Referrals app to create their refer-a-friend initiative. With a solid referral program in place, they no longer need to “burn the midnight oil” to achieve their customer acquisition goals. 

Boost sales and reward your customers.

Feeling inspired?

Ready to build your perfect referral program that will put your revenue and growth on autopilot? Almost all of the brands showcased above used Shop Circle’s Conjured Referrals to customize, build, and launch their successful referral program. 

Conjured Referrals enables:

  • Increased sales.
  • Mailing list growth.
  • Free styling and customization. 

Get a free 14-day trial now and launch your winning referral program.

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