Refer a Friend Program: Quidsi & American Red Cross
E-commerce company Quidsi owns and operates Diapers.com (baby care), Soap.com (health, beauty and household essentials), BeautyBar.com (prestige beauty), Wag.com (pet products) and YoYo.com (toys).
Filling their first orders in 2005 from a suburban garage in New Jersey, Quidsi grew exponentially through word-of-mouth referrals that led to a formal incentivized referral program that rewarded referred friends with a discount. In 2011, with an established referral program in place, Quidsi wondered how customers would react to a charitable twist to the referral program.
Quidsi conducted a three-month trial referral program in coordination with the American Red Cross because of the charity’s broad reach and appeal. Every time an existing customer of recommended the site to a friend, the site donated $10 to the American Red Cross when the referral completed their first purchase. The referred friend still also received a discount off his or her first order as in the original program.
The Red Cross announced the program to its network of 32,000 employees and featured the program in the Corporate Support section of a quarterly newsletter sent to its listserve of two million supporters.
At the end of the first month, the program garnered 9,000 new customers for the family of sites, outperforming the prior incentive by about 2,000 referrals in the first month. By the end of the three-month trial period, the program resulted in 23,400 new customers for the Quidsi family of brands. Due to the tremendous success of the program, the “Summer of Giving” program with the Red Cross was extended through November and, eventually, extended indefinitely.
The Refer-a-Friend Program is now a concrete fixture to the Quidsi sites. The “Refer-a-Friend” program also added four new charities: KaBoom!, Best Friends Animal Society, the FEED Foundation, and the Make a Wish Foundation®. Customers now have the opportunity to select the charity that will benefit from their referral and can keep track of the donations in the referral manager section of their account.
Since the charity-based Refer-a-Friend Program launched in April of 2011 the Quidsi family of brands have gained 39,600 new customers through their relationship with the Red Cross and over 54,000 new referrals in total from all the charities’ involvement.
From the first day of the program in April of 2011 to January of 2012, Quidsi has generated approximately $400,000 for the Red Cross from the “Refer-a-Friend” program.
Judges were impressed with the power of this simple and clean campaign that took an existing business development opportunity and used a cause tie to create a bigger impact for both company and cause. From an execution standpoint, judges made particular mention of the fact that Quidsi provided customers with the tools to get involved in the promotion via a personalized “Referral Manager” section of the site where customers could personalize coupon codes, emails, fliers and online banners for use on personal websites and blogs to help refer friends and have Quidsi donate to charity.