Amazon Rolls Out A Referral Program To Encourage More Customers To Shop On Mobile

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Amazon already has the number one Shopping app in the App Store, but the company believes it still has room to grow. Now, to incentivize more customers to install its app and shop from their phones, the online retailer is pushing out a mobile referral program that’s paying up to $10 for each new mobile app user. That is, Amazon is offering current app users $5 to share the Amazon App with friends, and it will give your friends who install the app $5 to spend on the site. Both are in the form of an Amazon coupon, not cash, and you can only redeem your funds after your friend makes their first mobile purchase.

The promotion is currently running only in the U.S., but is available to all Amazon customers. The referral program itself launched earlier this year, but it’s been buried in the settings. Now Amazon is pushing it to users in the form of a fullscreen takeover ad at times.

You may have spotted this promo when you launched the Amazon app installed on your phone. There, the ad appears, prompting you to “give your friends $5 to spend at Amazon.” You can either click “Get started” or “No, thanks” to opt out. A checkbox “Don’t show me this again,” will keep the ad from appearing at other times in the future.

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The incentive itself is just your standard referral program. If you opt in, you can either choose to invite friends from your phone’s contacts list, or your can share your personalized referral code on social media, through texting, or elsewhere.

Amazon tells us it introduced the program as way to encourage people to share its app with friends.

“Amazon has an award-winning shopping app that our customers love. We wanted to help give them a way to share it with an added incentive,” a company rep explains. “So, we introduced a program that provides a $5 incentive for customers to refer a friend or family member to shop with the app.”

Amazon already runs a similar program for Amazon Student, its lower-cost version of Amazon Prime aimed at college kids, as well as one for Amazon Prime. In boths case, friends who refer new customers to Amazon Student or Prime get $5 in the form of Amazon credit. On Amazon Student, new customers also receive $5 to spend.

However, these programs generally involve sending out emails or posting to Facebook. The mobile app referral program is actually able to tap into the contact list you have on your phone. The app also offers you the option of storing your contacts on Amazon, the company says. And it will periodically update that contact list on its site by looking for changes made the entries on your phone.

You can choose to either email or text your referral link to friends after selecting this option.

It’s not surprising that Amazon is capitalizing on the busy holiday shopping season to push this incentive program. More U.S. consumers than ever are shopping online, including on mobile devices. Over the Thanksgiving through Black Friday sales period, online sales hit $4.5 billion and 34 percent of those purchases were made on mobile devices. As mobile commerce is generally said to account for 30 percent of all U.S. e-commerce, these figures indicate how quickly the landscape is changing.