Five Ways To Get Cupid Busy This Valentine’s


Your Valentine’s Day offers that are likely to resonate with your target audience can bring in more customers, if you point the cupid’s arrow at your audiences with referral programs, that are going to win their love for your brand.

Here are Five Ways Brands can get Cupid to work for them this Valentine:

Target The Right Audience Segment
Loyalty and Referral programs that target younger audiences require a social and mobile first approach. Rewards and referral marketing program that segments the younger audience and rewards them in unique ways, requires a referral program marketing approach that targets the audience on the right channels.

Promoting your Refer-A-Friend program on the right channel can get your offer discovered by the target audience.

Rewards and Offer Design 

Design your Refer-A-Friend program to engage your audiences so that your program delivers the right impact. The Referral program sign up offer and experience requires to be designed so that it makes your product seem relevant in your customers’ lives.

Amazon Student Sign-up Offer

Segmenting your audience can help you create a unique customer value proposition that is likely to resonate with the target audience. With a six-month free trial for college students, Amazon has created a Customized Value proposition, that resonates with the target group. Amazon Student offers a six month free trial for the Amazon Prime service as opposed to a one month free trial window offered for the other Amazon Prime subscribers.

Amazon Student Referral Program

With a seamless referral process that allows students to sign up and invite the other students on social media sites, Amazon has designed the referral program that abets the existing behavior of connecting with friends on social media channels.

All Amazon customers can invite friends to join Amazon Student via Facebook posts, sharing a personal invitation link on social media sites, or by using the e-mail form on Amazon site. If a student refers a friend and the friend signs up for the Amazon Student free trial, the student and the friend each receive USD 5.

Amazon Rewards 

Amazon Student has designed offers for all stages of customer journey including upfront offers and discounts by way of Gift Cards.

Live Mas Taco Bell

LivemasIn another example of rewards design, Taco Bell offers rewards to customers for LiveMasing, implying that audiences are rewarded for anything that connects them to the brand. “We’re not rewarding people for talking about Taco Bell, tweeting Taco Bell (or) using #livemas. We are actually just rewarding people for living their lives,” said Tressie Lieberman, Taco Bell’s VP-Digital Innovation and On Demand. She calls Explore a game, “not a loyalty program.” Taco Bell has seen an increase of 20 percent in order value from the Taco Bell app game users. In contrast to other loyalty programs Live Mas rewards customers for sharing experiences and for additional social media actions the fans are rewarded with bonuses that help them unlock the puzzle with a reward of a free freeze drink adding to a free USD 100 gift card and other rewards that could lead to a free trip to Taco Bell’s California headquarters.





Marriott Rewards

Marriott Rewards recently ran a contest for fans to recruit a team of fifty friends to win a draw for an all expenses paid trip. This is an interesting refer-a-friend program design that encourages sign-ups while engaging a larger audience.


Content and Engagement

As important as it is to create awareness with targeting and segmentation, it is equally important to get your target audience enthused with your content to generate organic viral traffic for your offers.


Promoting the Program

Email marketing has proven to be an effective marketing channel during the holiday season and promoting your offers with email can bring in the best conversions.


Promote your refer-a-friend with an omnipresent campaign that is likely to generate maximum conversions. Product pages are inescable in the digital buyer journey and placing your refer-a-friend as an overlay display for every customer who is converting can bring in higher referrals. Include social networks and links wherever possible.



Redesign Your Existing Rewards Program

If you want to make Refer A Friend a Loyalty or Rewards program feature you can look at changing your rewards program, for a limited time by rewarding customers with reward points for each successful friend sign up. Valentine’s Day is the right time for members to Refer-A-Friend by giving them an opportunity for something that they may be looking forward to.



For a list of Do’s and Don’ts on Referral Marketing, Click here.

Amazon Launches Newer Prime Perks


Amazon Prime according to a research survey by Cowen, penetrated nearly 40 percent of the U.S. market, with some 41 million members, according to a survey of 2,500 U.S. shoppers. An earlier research by NPD group indicated that over 24 percent of US Households had at least one Amazon Prime account.


For a limited time Amazon Prime is available at a discount according to a CNet Update. Amazon Prime membership is on sale until Sunday, for USD 73. Amazon Prime packs a host of free services including Instant Videos, video Game Discounts. For a detailed list of Amazon Perks, Click here.

Mobile Makes For 18 Percent Of Holiday Season Online Sales


comScore has reported an increase of 13 percent with total online sales for the holiday season, reaching USD 69.1 billion, compared to USD 61.3 billion spent online during 2014 holiday season. USD 56.4 billion was spent online on desktop computers, marking a 6-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year, while online sales from mobile devices increased to USD 12.6 billion, marking an increase of 59 percent. According to comScore report, the Online Sales were highest for the Week starting December 6, the sixth week of Holiday Season.


Cyber Monday was the leading Sales day, sixth year in a row, with more than USD 2.2 Billion spent on Desktop Computers alone.  Mobile commerce is estimated to have accounted for 18 percent of total digital commerce in November-December 2015, an increase from 13 percent in the previous season. Sales for the week of Thanksgiving, on average from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday grew at 10 percent.


Mobile and Desktop Share of Online Sales



According to comScore chairman emeritus Gian Fulgoni. “Fairly early on it became clear that desktop e-commerce would likely underperform our expectations while mobile commerce was  poised to over perform, but for the most part signs continued to point to hitting that 14-percent overall growth estimate. Where the season ultimately fell short was in the last two weeks of the year, and in particular the week before Christmas. We had anticipated heavy desktop spending through Free Shipping Day on December 18th that unfortunately did not materialize, and spending began to soften more than expected by the Wednesday of that week.”

The shortfall of projected Sales Growth for Free Shipping Day could be on account of launch of services like Click and Collect, as reported by The Washington Post, Forrester Research has found this year that some 42 percent of online shoppers have used click-and-collect. Retailers need to prepare themselves for challenges of Click and Collect services, by adequately staffing for key sales events and opening convenience stores or pick-up locations and increasing distribution points. According to Slice Intelligence, Click and carry has accounted for 6.7 percent of online sales for 12 retailers.


Equally important is the role of services like Amazon Prime that offer convenience of shopping and faster and free shipping. To combat Amazon’s success with Amazon Prime, Walmart unveiled a shipping pilot called ShippingPass in May. According to  Millward Brown Digital, Amazon Prime Members  bring in big revenue, with 63 percent of Amazon Prime members converting on the site in the same shopping session, almost five times the conversion rate of non-Prime members.

According to a report, Amazon was seen as the retailer of choice early-on, with a majority of online shoppers -51 percent, planning to shop at Amazon: 

  • The pure-play e-retail giant captured 39.3 percent of e-commerce sales from Nov. 1 through Dec. 6, up from 37.9 percent year over year, according to data from e-mail receipts of 3.5 million shoppers Slice evaluated.
  • Meanwhile, sales on Amazon’s marketplace rose 19.5 percent in the second week of December, beating the e-commerce growth overall of 15 percent, according to ChannelAdvisor, which helps sellers on Amazon’s marketplace.

More than 3 million people joined Amazon Prime in the third week of December alone, 200 million items were shipped for free to Prime subscribers, and more than two times as many Amazon devices were sold than last year during 2015 holiday season, according to The Verge and Amazon’s Press Release.

comScore’s holiday season forecast had expected desktop e-commerce to grow 9 percent to USD 58.3 billion and mobile commerce to grow 47 percent to USD 11.7 billion. While desktop spending fell short by 3 percentage points and USD 1.9 billion, preliminary mobile estimates suggest it exceeded forecast by 12 percentage points and nearly USD 1 billion, making for the shortfall on desktop.

According to Marketing Land “Much has been made of online retail surging and traditional retail suffering. But that “either/or” analysis is simplistic. Among online-only players, it’s really only Amazon and a couple of others that saw significant sales growth. The rest of online shopping gains came largely from traditional retailers’ online divisions.

In other words, traditional retailers’ e-commerce operations (and Amazon) are cannibalizing in-store sales. Yet traditional retail brands and stores support e-commerce by giving consumers the confidence to buy online with the expectation that they can return items locally if they don’t work out.”

Though the Desktop Online Sales fell short of the estimate, the Mobile sales exceeded the Forecast by USD 1 billion, suggesting that the mobile shopping may be more popular for online purchases than expected. According to a report by Fierce Retail “Click-and-collect also proved popular with shoppers as nearly one-third opted for the service and a whopping 69 percent made additional purchases at the time of collection”.

Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren said in a statement that the department store broke its own record by filling 17 million online orders during November and December. Amazon, by contrast, filled 23 million on Cyber Monday (Nov. 30) alone. The unique visitors to retail sites shows that Amazon has a lion’s share of Online retail site visits.


Although the retail online sales are on the rise, the store visits are still key to holiday shopping with 91 percent holiday shoppers visiting physical stores. According to Fierce Retail, “Online and mobile commerce may have experienced big spikes this holiday season, but 91 percent of shoppers still chose to visit physical stores.The vast majority of shoppers—198 million—visited a brick and mortar location between Nov. 1 and Dec. 25, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). The traffic is largely buoyed by retailers’ omnichannel efforts, including those to make stores more personal.”

Omnichannel retail efforts can be boosted for online customers by providing easy interface at a physical location and faster shipping options. Amazon recently announced Amazon@Penn, a new staffed package pickup point to be opened on the University of Pennsylvania campus. The first such facility at an Ivy League university, Amazon@Penn offers the Penn campus community a convenient location for members of the Penn Community to pick up and return their Amazon orders.

Eight Ways  To Win At Omnichannel Retail.