The Grapevine

Using Referrals to Grow Your Wine Shop Business

July 31st, 2013

Referrals are sometimes thought as the sole domain of B2B firms and professional services like doctors, lawyers, accountants and financial advisers, but retailers can use them, too. [level-members]

There are two tricks in retail:

  1. Create ravings fans
  2. Provide opportunities and inducements

We’ve discussed the importance of creating raving fans of your best customers, and we’ll keep talking about it. It boils down to great customer service, listening to what they want, and providing it in a way that benefits you both. As I said, we’ll keep coming back to those ideas in the future.

The second part – providing opportunities and inducements for referrals – is much more specific to your referral program. Think of DirecTV’s promotion where you (as an existing customer) get up to $100 in account credits for referring friends. And your friends get the same offer. Inducement and opportunity.

Perhaps this translates to referral cards that when redeemed, score points on an account toward future discounts (check legality in your locality … ) for both the new and existing customer. Or provide both customers with a one-time offer unavailable to others. The points idea can really build –  more referrals gets better rewards – and gets you more business.

I won’t ignore the “tacky factor.” It’s real and it can feel “cheap” to do promotions like these. But if you construct them in a way that matches your shop’s personality – and creates more raving fans – the cheese factor disappears, you increase your customer base, and you grow your bottom line.