In a recent InternetRetailing webinar, How fashion retailer Coast uses the power of referral to drive new customer acquisition, we were joined by Emma Bonar, head of digital at Coast , and Lizzie Lee, global cheerleader at Mention Me, for a look at the secrets and success of referral marketing and how Coast uses it to encourage word-of-mouth recommendations. Here’s a bulletpoint overview of the session.

• Lizzie Lee, global cheerleader at Mention Me, started by introducing referral marketing – what it is, how it works, how it’s measured

Referral secret #1: To be referred you need to be remarkable

• Consumer research: Mention Me asked more than 2,000 shoppers what made a retailer remarkable. Trustworthiness, product quality and value topped the list. Discounts seemed less important, while green issues appeared to be rising in importance.

• What areas are likely to be recommended through word of mouth (key to referral)? Experiences. But also retail, with fashion, children’s clothes and homewares are all categories that are likely to be recommended to friends.

• Emma Bonar, head of digital at Coast, then introduced the company and explained some of the reasons behind its decision to opt for referral marketing. The retailer has good customer loyalty, she said, but “to be honest most people only shop for occasions once or twice a year. We wanted to see how we could use our existing customers to find new ones in between these occasions”. “Referral not only helps us to acquire new customers but gives an incentive to existing customers to come back.”

Referral secret #2: When to ask

• When shoppers are online, not in the middle of doing something else – and when they’re happy. Post-purchase typically where start working with clients. Also when waiting for delivery, or at the…