A couple of weeks ago, one of my best friends did something that scared me a lot.

She asked for a professional favor – to help her choose a referral marketing software vendor for her growing ecommerce business.

So which platform did I recommend?

Having worked with different referral marketing programs and platforms for my clients, I knew that there was no simple answer to that question. Your best option depends on the size of your business and your priorities.

I know that she’s the kind of person who won’t just stop at one online business and is always eager to grow. So, I decided to show her which customer referral programs are available in the market, which things to pay attention to, and which features in the referral process she can really use to acquire customers instead of just sounding good on paper.

I gathered as much information as I could and narrowed it down to 12 of the best referral marketing solutions.

By the time I was done, I realized that I should share this information and process with the rest of you. Mostly, because it was so much work, I’d hate for someone else to have to do it again themselves.

Moreover, I wasn’t able to find a comprehensive guide to referral program providers that includes transparent comparison categories.

Some referral program software lists focused on their pricing and the industry served, while some focused on business size and level of customer support. But there was little to no information on their referral marketing programs capabilities, customization options, or design features.

Thus, I included as much product-related information about each referral marketing solution as I could, based on public information and some insider insights from my colleagues and me.

So here it is. Check out my list of referral marketing software platforms narrowed down to the 12 best options for ecommerce.

Before We Begin with the List

Disclaimer: As you can see from the length of this post, there is a ton of information to process. Bad news for all of the lazy folks – I won’t be naming a single best referral marketing platform in this post. As I’ve said, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

However, the good news for all those who still aren’t sure which vendor to choose by the end of this post is that I’ve also created categorized comparison tables so you can focus on what your business needs. These referral marketing software comparison tables can help you wrap your mind around all of the information we’ve collected and decide on the best referral process for you.

Disclosure: This content has a few affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I will get a commission (without any extra cost to you).

Top 12 Referral Marketing Platforms to Boost Your Ecommerce Sales

Here’s a quick overview of each of these referral marketing software platforms and their pros and cons.

1. Talkable

Talkable Referral Marketing Software

According to their website and the reviews I read, Talkable has a lot of power. It can handle multiple campaigns, testing, segmentation, and also customization. Making it great for social media management tasks and a highly useful referral program software.

Talkable’s platform is versatile. After the initial integration, which can be set up by their team in a matter of days, you will have a fully-functional customer referral program ready to help in your business needs.

Also, you will get an independent marketing team through Talkable that can launch, run, optimize, and A/B test referral campaigns for you without any help from developers or designers, thanks to their customization tools.

From your admin panel, you can manage, track, and adjust all of your referral marketing campaigns. The dashboard has literally hundreds of customization options and analytics tools. It can be a bit overwhelming at first, but a colleague who worked with Talkable says that once you get the hang of it, the process is intuitive.

Another advantage of Talkable is the help you get with analyzing data. Their team will help you to leverage your existing customer base with this data and build the best campaigns for your customers. They refer to themselves as a referral marketing partner, not just as referral program software or a platform.

Before you even launch your first campaign, you are able to work with one of their strategists, who analyzes your customer data, finds the most promising customer demographics, and shows you how to design a referral strategy that will get you the best results.

Can you integrate Talkable with any third-party apps?

It’s easy to integrate with any of the popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify. Or they can integrate with custom-built websites. However, the initial set-up is a bit more complicated and getting this referral program software running how you want it can take up a few weeks of your time.

They have two more features that were very important to me: advanced fraud prevention and product-sharing.

Fraudulent referrals are detected easily so you don’t have to worry about them. Then, product sharing lets your customers send their friends referral links for a specific product or category. So they have a lot more control over what they send. This feature can significantly boost conversion rates, and I definitely recommend trying it out.

So, is this referral software the best choice for all ecommerce businesses?

Nope, Talkable is not for everyone. First of all, because of the advanced tech, they are pricey. Their prices are customized based on sales volumes, AOV, and monthly number of orders.

Their company focuses on getting results with bigger customer bases. That’s why they work with ecommerce businesses that have at least $4M in annual online revenue.


  • Advanced fraud prevention
  • Great customization options
  • Self-service editor to quickly make changes to campaigns
  • Advanced A/B test optimization
  • Comprehensive reports and customer segmentation options
  • Third-party integrations
  • Dedicated experts to help you launch and manage campaigns


  • Expensive
  • Works for bigger companies
  • High-commitment
  • No trial

Best for:

Enterprise-level and ecommerce businesses with $4 million+ online annual revenue.

2. Post Affiliate Pro

Post Affiliate Pro Referral Marketing Software1

Post Affiliate Pro is a powerful referrral program software solution that enables you to create your own customer referral programs. The referral program software supports multiple types of campaigns and tracking methods in addition to providing robust reporting and analytics features that can streamline your social media management operations.

How can it help you?

You can create your affiliate program and commission structures from scratch, customize the interface of the referral agent and merchant panels, and create a multitude of campaigns.

The merchant panel enables you to create promotional materials such as banners, which affiliates can download from the affiliate panel and use on their websites. It also allows you to manage your affiliates, create commission payouts, and view affiliate reports generated from tracked metrics all based on what your business needs.

Post Affiliate Pro allows integration with over 200 CMS systems and payment processors such as Braintree, PayPal, and Shopify, making affiliate payouts hassle-free.

Because the referral program software is very robust and powerful, it does have a slight learning curve and therefore it might take you some time to get used to it. However, their customer service representatives are available to help you 24/7.

In addition to a steep learning curve, another major con is that it doesn’t provide you with any affiliates network. You’ll have to find affiliates yourself.

Over 30,000 businesses worldwide trust Post Affiliate Pro, making it one of the best affiliate software solutions in 2020.

The Pro plan starts at $97/month. You can also try it for free for 14 days. Cancel anytime.


  • Advanced fraud prevention
  • Powerful tracking, reporting, and segmentation options
  • Third-party integrations
  • Fully-customizable commission structure and merchant panels
  • High price to value ratio
  • Supports multiple promotional methods such as banners, flash banners, and discount coupons
  • Supports multiple language translations
  • Free trial available
  • 24/7 online support
  • Offers ready-to-use Android and iOS apps


  • Steep learning curve
  • Does not provide affiliate publishers

Best for:

Small to medium-sized businesses and ecommerce platforms.

3. Buyapowa

Buyapowa Referral Marketing Software

Honestly, Buyapowa made this list because their support team is just outstanding and you can tell how hard they work every time you reach out to them.

Their platform is fairly easy to integrate with, the interface is simple, and their pricing is reasonable. They’ve also got all of the features you need unless you’re a little weird with your growth and marketing experiments and just want something more.

What industries do they serve the most?

Buyapowa has a history of being the top referral program software provider for telecom companies in the UK. Then they acquired a company called RewardStream, which was the leader in the same niche in the US.

They have a history of aiming for telecom clients and their success in that field is backed up by a client roster which includes giants like Vodafone, Sprint, and Virgin Mobile. Sounds cool, right?

Well, when considering a solution for ecommerce, I’d say you should ensure that they have all of the features you need.

Buyapowa will cost you at least $17,000 a year, and if you want a worry-free, reliable partner with helpful support for their team, that’s money well-spent.


  • Well-built referral program software
  • A/B tests
  • Great support
  • Branding
  • Multiple campaigns
  • Segmentation
  • Easy integration
  • Fraud-prevention


  • Ecommerce is not their primary niche
  • Expensive
  • Templates are not too versatile

Best for:

Enterprise telecom companies and those who prefer reliability over versatility.

4. Referral Factory


Referral Factory makes it easy for any business to build their own referral program – no developers or referral marketing experience required. The platform was designed by marketers and growth hackers who have been in the business for ages.

It’s best suited for small-to-medium-sized businesses looking for a customer referral program that they can brand as their own.

With a wide array of pre-built templates, you can be sure to find one for your business’ unique needs. Once you find it, use the platform’s powerful customization tools to give your pages an on-brand look and feel.

You can register for one of their great plans – Starter ($95/month), Basic ($200/month), Pro ($300/month), or Enterprise (price available on request).

In addition, you can get a taste of the tool during a 15-day trial. During this period, a referral marketing expert will review your campaign and provide concrete improvement suggestions.

Note: Use the coupon ”SHANEBARKER” to get 20% off your subscription for the next three months.

Key Features

  • 1000+ customizable program templates created by marketing pros
  • Drag-and-drop program builder
  • Flexible rewards, including cash, coupons, goodies, and more
  • Refer-to-Win competitions
  • Employee referral programs
  • Multiple onboarding channels (via links, QR codes, onsite program, etc.)
  • Real-time referrer tracking
  • Automatic redemption via API
  • Welcome emails to new referrals
  • Referral verification by synching account with CRM system


  • Support for 16+ languages
  • Easy to use, no developers or coding required
  • 100% customizable and on-brand
  • Intuitive dashboard
  • Built-in notifications and email triggers
  • Exportable data
  • Full-featured trial
  • Advanced features in starter plan
  • Free expert consultation


  • Support isn’t 24 hours for all plans
  • Have to upgrade to remove the Referral Factory branding
  • Have to upgrade to access fraud alerts
  • Have to upgrade to deactivate the standard email notifications

Best for:

Small-and-medium-sized businesses that want a white-labeled referral marketing program to call their own.

5. Friendbuy

Friendbuy Referral Marketing Software

If you take a closer look, you’ll see that Friendbuy has two different products for two entirely different types of clients.

Their first product is a self-help option for mid-size businesses that have up to $1.4M annual revenue, while their second product is a customized enterprise package that includes a dedicated manager who helps you with your campaigns.

How much are their monthly plans?

Their basic DIY-package starts at $249/month for businesses with up to $50K in monthly revenue. Another option costs $749/month. And, according to the information on their pricing page, the only additional benefit is customer support over phone calls.

Friendbuy Pricing Referral Marketing Software

If you’re working with the Enterprise package, you’re going to get a completely different experience. With this package, you’re not only paying for the referral software as it is, but also for the customer success manager who comes with it.

Their software and their software with a concierge service are two completely different experiences.

The pricing for their Enterprise package will vary depending on how big your business is and how involved you want your customer success manager to be.

Friendbuy integrates with all of the major ecommerce platforms and third-party services.

Judging from their application form, these are the platforms most popular among their customers:

Friendbuy also offers customizable referral templates. But you may feel like the template options are a bit limited when it comes to design.

So what are the most important pros and cons of using Friendbuy?


  • Free trial
  • Integrates with major ecommerce platforms and services
  • Basic design customizations
  • A/B tests (limited)
  • Basic analytics & reports
  • Trigger campaigns


  • Fraud-prevention doesn’t seem strong
  • Problems with customer support for DIY-plans
  • Limited customization options
  • Loyalty programs not supported

Best for:

In my opinion, Friendbuy is worth the money if you are either small enough to work with their Starter plan or big enough for the Enterprise package.

Their referral program software is not as customizable and shiny as some other options on this list, but if you want a very straightforward customer referral program, they may be the right choice.

6. Extole

Extole Referral Marketing Software

This is another referral software solution that’s not made for you unless you’re choosing a referral partner for an enterprise company. They run nose to nose with Talkable, and it’s a tough call to say which one offers a better referral marketing software solution.

Both Extole and Talkable are designed with enterprise scale in mind. Costs for Extole will vary, but it’s going to be several thousand dollars a month anyway. For medium-sized businesses, you’re looking at around $5,000 monthly.

The clear conclusion is that the real competition between the two really comes down to their customer support – their expertise and skills with both data science and strategic planning.

Naturally, with this price level, you expect top-level referral software from both vendors. They’ve got everything:

  • Reliable reward engines
  • Endless possibilities for design customizations and placements
  • Customer base segmentation
  • Burst campaigns
  • Advocate dashboards

The two biggest differences I see include:

  1. Extole has a built-in capability for users to share a specific product instead of just recommending the entire website. This can bring a significant boost in conversions (but again, everything should be tested).
  2. On the other hand, Extole seems not to have the flexibility that Talkable offers when it comes to data analytics and reporting.

At the end of the day, I’d say that if you are choosing between the two, you should not solely base your decision on the referral program software itself, but also on the teams that are going to work with you along the way.

Tell them your real story and set specific goals that you want to accomplish by launching a referral program. See what they have to offer and decide which strategy sounds most appealing to you.

And, of course, remember it’s never a bad idea to check the customer reviews on trusted resources like G2, Clutch, Trustpilot, and Capterra, or ask your fellow marketers for some genuine feedback.


  • A/B tests
  • Customer team support
  • Customizable templates
  • Burst campaigns
  • Product referrals
  • A ton of features and options in the product


  • Expensive
  • Analytics and reports are not as versatile as competitors’
  • Not enough customer reviews and feedback available

Best for:


7. Ambassador

Ambassador Referral Marketing Software

The most important thing to know about Ambassador is that their referral marketing software not only lets you launch and run referral marketing campaigns, but also enables you to manage your affiliate marketing activities and programs for your loyal customers.

Isn’t that amazing?

And, even if you’re not investing in affiliate offers, those features will come in handy with influencer campaigns.

Other things they like to emphasize are their design customization tools, multi-campaign capabilities, audience segmentation, customizable share-messages, and many different incentive options.

They also claim these features as their advantages when competing with other referral program vendors. And they claim that their referral marketing software is easier to use and is more intuitive compared to the products by their competitors.

What about pricing plans?

Ambassador offers three different plans depending on the volume of your business and the features you want to use. The cheapest plan starts at $9,600 billed annually, but if you want to have access to the whole shabang, you’ll have to be looking at the Enterprise package.

With their Enterprise package, besides the referral program software itself, you’ll have their customer success manager to go through your campaigns once a month suggesting new optimization tactics. Sounds nice, if going through the campaigns with their experts once a month is enough for you.

They also have great reviews from their verified customers who seem to be in love with Ambassador’s support team.


  • Multi-channel campaigns
  • Audience segmentation
  • Loyalty programs
  • Rich incentive options
  • Affiliate marketing support
  • Multi-currency
  • Flat rate


  • Customer service team isn’t too involved
  • You’ll be billed for the whole year at once
  • The software may be difficult to integrate without an in-house dev team
  • Limited design customization options

Best for:

Mid-size companies which are looking for referral program software to manage both referral and affiliate marketing activities at the same time.

Are you looking for more options?

Keep reading.

8. Mention Me

Mention Me Referral Marketing Software

Compared to the options we’ve mentioned above, Mention Me has a completely different pricing model. Instead of paying a flat fee or signing up for a monthly plan, you will be paying them for every purchaser that comes through your referral channel.

On average, they’ll take between 10-20% of the first purchase by a new client. The exact percentage will depend on their forecasts based on your sales volumes and average order value (AOV).

On top of that, you have to pay a one-time setup fee for integrating and launching the referral program. Also, they seem to have minimum sales volume requirements.

The second thing to know about them is that, unlike the rest of the referral marketing software vendors, Mention Me doesn’t let you launch or edit your campaigns yourself. You will still be able to see the running campaigns, tests, and major KPIs, and they will, of course, take into account all of your wishes and wants, but everything else will happen on their side.

What if you want to customize your referral campaigns?

They say that everything, including design templates, target audience segments, tests, and messages are completely customizable, and you can decide on your own how involved you want to be with the process.

Personally, I get the point of such a model. They assign you a manager who takes care of your referral marketing and they have the motivation to do their best because they only get a share of the first order of your new customers. Makes sense.

However, you need to ensure that you convert your first-time buyers into loyal customers who bring you long-term value.

Mention Me also offers another awesome advantage that makes them very tempting – name sharing.

This feature lets your customers share their names as referral codes, instead of just sharing a referral code or link. That way, when they refer your brand to their friends, they can just tell them to mention their name at the checkout to get a discount.

No way to know how this mechanism would work for your business without A/B tests, but to me, it sounds like a great way to minimize friction and create a seamless user experience. And let’s face it: it’s just badass, right?


  • Name sharing feature
  • Revenue-based payment model
  • Easy integration
  • You don’t have to be too involved
  • Low technical commitment
  • Assigned account managers


  • Minimum sales volume requirements
  • Limited analytics
  • Limited control over referral campaigns
  • Everything has to go through their managers
  • They optimize for audiences which are most likely to make a first purchase

Best for:

Mid-size and enterprise companies with limited human or time resources. I’d say choose Mention Me if you don’t have resources to dedicate to your referral marketing channel and learn how to make those new customers stick with you.

9. Swell Rewards

Swell Rewards Referral Marketing Software

In August 2018 Swell Rewards was acquired by Yotpo, an Israeli company that provides ecommerce marketing solutions.

It looks like Yotpo’s ultimate goal is to become a one-stop shop for all things digital marketers want for their online stores. From product reviews and complicated reward and loyalty systems to in-depth analytics of customers’ behavior, they have it all.

So, what you pay for when you choose Swell Rewards is not only a referral marketing program itself, but rather an ecommerce marketing suite that’s centered around social proof.

They help you showcase your customers’ reviews and product ratings, the content produced by your customers on different social media platforms, referral offer widgets, and so on. That’s a sweet deal for anyone who does marketing for stores that have millenials as their core target audience.

What are the advantages of having Swell Rewards and Yotpo combined in one suite?

The way Swell Rewards designs their referral marketing campaigns screams “millennials” too. Their main strategy is not to think of referral marketing as a standalone channel, but rather incorporate it within a greater reward-based strategy that makes the entire user experience revolve around gamification.

With Swell Rewards and Yotpo combined in one suite, you’ll be able to reward pretty much any interaction your customers make with bonus points they can later use for discounts on their purchases.

Here’s an example of what their reward system dashboard looks like for one of their clients:

Swell Rewards working Referral Marketing Software

I don’t know about you, but I feel like going on a quest to save a princess just from looking at that screenshot!

Another tactic Swell Rewards and Yotpo have borrowed from the gaming industry is what they call the “VIP-tiers” Translated into better-recognized gaming definitions, tiers are your customers’ levels, and the higher they are in hierarchy, the more bonuses they get.

You can set up your system based on which engagements are most valuable for your business targets. This can include the number of friends the customer has referred, how many reviews they’ve written, or how much money they’ve spent on your products.

Another advantage Swell Rewards offers is automatically calculated ROI for all of the referral marketing campaigns you run through their platform. For smaller teams that don’t have any in-house data scientists but are still eager for some numbers, this may be a great way to review their performance.

Swell Rewards offers easy integration with most of the popular ecommerce platforms. However, some of their features may not work well with ecommerce platforms other than the popular ones.

The price for their Premium plan depends on the monthly sales volume.


  • Gamification tactics
  • Integrates with major ecommerce platforms
  • Low-hassle integration process
  • Comes with an ecommerce marketing suite
  • Offers great strategies for marketing to millennials
  • VIP-tiers
  • Automatically calculated ROI


  • May not work perfectly with custom platforms
  • No design customization tools
  • Everything’s done by humans
  • Set-up period is quite long
  • May be too complicated for older audiences

Best for:

Small and mid-size online stores that run on Shopify and aim to engage their millennial customers

10. ReferralCandy

Referral Candy Referral Marketing Software

When it comes to ReferralCandy, the standards I set for them are not as strict as the ones I’ve set for others.

And here’s why:

Referral Candy Pricing Referral Marketing Software

When it comes to overpromising landing pages, I’m always the first one to call out false prophets.

But with ReferralCandy’s pricing, everything comes as advertised. Their referral program software is available to nearly anyone. As for the commission that’s part of their Premium plan, don’t worry, it doesn’t go higher than 5% of your referral sales volume.

This factor makes ReferralCandy a go-to option for anyone who wants to roll out an MVP to see if referral marketing might work for their business, without putting in too much effort or money.

But what are you really getting for that price?

In short, an off-the-shelf solution that does the job.

ReferralCandy integrates quite easily, especially if you’re running on Shopify or BigCommerce. They support custom platforms, as well, though the developer doing the set up may sprout a few grey hairs in the few days they spend on the integration.

Popular third-party apps for ecommerce can be integrated too. Simple reports, basic fraud-prevention, pre-designed templates, very intuitive UI, and standard referral campaign settings to try out are all included.

What doesn’t come in the package are A/B tests, the ability to run multiple campaigns at once, customer segmentation, actually appealing designs, and pretty much any advanced settings to go the extra mile with your brand advocates.


  • Fast integration
  • Supports major ecommerce platforms
  • Integrates with third-party apps
  • Very simple to use, no learning curve
  • Does the job
  • Cheap
  • Free 30-day trial


  • No advanced settings
  • Design templates could have been better
  • Only one campaign at a time
  • No A/B testing

Best for:

Small companies that want to test a referral channel and are looking for an MVP-like solution.

11. Annex Cloud

Annex Cloud Referral Marketing Software

Annex Cloud combines solutions that everyone in the ecommerce industry wants to have: loyalty, referrals, and UGC-management software. In other words, they sell an all-inclusive customer engagement and retention suite that can boost your social media engagement to sky-high levels.

They don’t have a self-service platform. Instead, their dedicated designers, developers, and campaign managers do the job for you on their side. The only part of the referral marketing software you get to see is the analytics dashboard. In other words, they don’t sell referral program software, but provide marketing services.

Is that something you’re looking for?

The list of features they have looks amazing, and it’s totally up to you which products you want them to include in your plan.

Some of the most useful features of this referral program include A/B tests, segmentation, fraud prevention, branding capabilities, customizable funnels, leaderboard campaigns, and third-party integrations.

On top of that, they have a product sharing feature which can be a powerful tool for ecommerce, especially when there’s a share button on post-purchase screens.


  • Features sound great on paper


  • You have to rely on their team for most parts of the campaign.

Best for:

People who are not looking for a self-service platform.

What if you want a self-service platform?

Check out more options on this list.

12. Smile.io

Smile.io Referral Marketing Software

Smile.io is another out-of-the-box solution for launching a referral program that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Similar to ReferralCandy, prices start at $49/month, and their Pro plan costs $599/month.

The difference between those plans are the number of features available, rather than your projected sales volumes.

What’s interesting about Smile.io is that they only work with ecommerce businesses. Most importantly, they only integrate with Shopify, Shopify Plus, and BigCommerce.

Another option is to integrate via API,  but this is only available for Enterprise customers, whose package starts at $1000 a month.

Smile.io works as an extension, allowing you to reward your customers for sharing referral links using different incentive options (money or percentage discounts, free products, or free delivery).

For Shopify or BigCommerce users, Smile.io is incredibly easy to install, and you can get your referral marketing campaign up and running in no time. Their process is self-explanatory, so even if you’ve just heard about a referral software program for the first time, you’ll know what to do without any trouble.

What else does this platform offer?

Referral marketing campaigns are not the only thing Smile.io can help you with They also support some basic loyalty and rewards programs, which is a great advantage.

With their more expensive plans, you can also engage your VIP clients with additional bonuses and separate campaigns.

What you’re not getting with Smile.io is A/B testing, multiple campaign capabilities, and customization of your on-site design templates. You can customize the color of the standard buttons to make them match your branding.


  • Super-easy set-up for Shopify and BigCommerce
  • Inexpensive
  • Different incentives available
  • Loyalty and reward system
  • VIP customers
  • Intuitive interface
  • Fixed price plans, no additional commission


  • Only works with Shopify and BigCommerce
  • Limited reporting
  • No testing for A/B
  • Can’t run multiple campaigns
  • Widget and pop-ups are confusing
  • No real design customization

Best for:

Small Shopify and BigCommerce users who want to try out referrals and don’t have in-house developers.

Bonus Tool #1: Viral Loops

Viral loops Referral Marketing Software

This list wouldn’t be complete without Viral Loops. They are best known for their milestone campaigns, which are designed to raise your advocate share rate and overall brand awareness.

Share rate is a metric that shows how many times, on average, your customer shares their referral link.

Rewards milestones help you engage your users by offering them different rewards depending on how many new customers they bring you.

Viral Loops may not be able to detect self-referrals, which means fraud-prevention may be something they lack.

So why should you consider using it?

What features make it a good referral software program?

I love the awesome features they have like milestone campaigns and landing page templates as well as their reasonable prices.

Another thing I like about Viral Loops is that they have a selection of pre-designed campaign templates that include not only the classic refer-a-friend frameworks, but also burst campaigns, leaderboard competitions, and pre-launch programs.

You may feel like they lack testing for A/B or that their analytics dashboard is not very informative. But I think the trick is that their core customers are startups in the pre-launch and rapid post-launch growth phases.


  • Inexpensive
  • Different campaign templates
  • Nice design
  • Pre-launch campaigns
  • Milestone campaigns
  • Burst & leaderboard referrals
  • Landing pages


  • Confusing prices/inaccurate billing
  • Poor customer support
  • Weak fraud prevention
  • Crashes frequently
  • Bad documentation
  • Very basic dashboard
  • No A/B tests

Best for:

Non-ecommerce startups that are either getting ready to launch or have just launched  some kind of referral process and are rapidly growing their brand awareness.

Comparison Tables: Top Referral Marketing Software Providers

When I was first starting to write this article, I thought that I would sum my reviews up by creating a huge comprehensive comparison table with all 12 options for the best referral marketing software providers.

I soon realized, however, that this would only make things more complicated. Comparing Talkable to ReferralCandy is comparing apples to oranges.

Instead, I decided to divide my list into smaller and more appropriate categories. To make things fair, I used the same criteria for every referral marketing software vendor.

Top Referral Marketing Software for Enterprises

Talkable Extole Buyapowa
Fraud prevention advanced You can set rules for low-quality referral detection. advanced
A/B testing advanced advanced supported
Price $2500-$4000 monthly around $5,000/month for a medium-sized business $17,000/year
Free trial no no no
Platforms supported all all all
Design customization advanced customization tools pre-built customizable templates somewhat customizable templates
Loyalty programs supported based on referrals based on referrals
Name sharing no no no
Product sharing supported yes no
Packages custom custom custom
Burst campaigns supported supported no
Leaderboard campaigns supported supported supported
Reports & analytics most versatile among competition above average average
Multiple campaigns yes yes yes
Audience segmentation yes yes yes
Affiliate programs no no no
Integration requires high technical commitment requires high technical commitment easy
Customer service team dedicated customer success concierge: data-scientist, account manager, strategist dedicated customer success concierge great support team, notconcierge
Distinguishing features most versatile referral program software with advanced optimization options

Marketing team becomes completely independent from designers and developers after integration, and all campaigns and trials can be launched, managed, and analyzed within the admin panel.

Support team is highly professional, experienced, and involved.

Product sharing enables your customers to recommend specific products, not just your brand in general. reliable and well-built referral prgram software that covers all basic needs for ecommerce referral marketing
Sales volume requirements $4M annual revenue undisclosed, you'll have to discuss your number of orders and AOV with their sales representative actual numbers undisclosed, but they mostly work with enterprise-level companies

Top Referral Marketing Software for Mid-Size Businesses

Friendbuy Ambassador Referral Factory
Fraud prevention poor for influencer marketing available with high-tier plans
A/B testing supported copy-only not mentioned
Price starts at $249/month starts at $800/month starts at $95/month
Free trial yes no yes
Platforms supported all major ecommerce platforms all most CRM software
Design customization limited options supported supported
Loyalty programs not supported supported supported
Name sharing not supported not supported not supported
Product sharing not supported not supported not supported
Packages 2 self-management monthly plans and a custom plan that features a dedicated customer success manager Starter, Professional, and Enterprise Starter, Basic, Pro, Enterprise
Burst campaigns trigger campaigns not mentioned not mentioned
Leaderboard campaigns not supported not mentioned not mentioned
Reports & analytics limited options below average comprehensive
Multiple campaigns yes yes yes
Audience segmentation not supported yes Not mentioned
Affiliate programs not supported supported supported
Integration simple simple simple
Customer service team Friendbuy's customers complain about their customer support. proactive support, especially in early campaign stages
Distinguishing features poor customer support, limited customization tools, but overall straightforward referral program software for businesses that run on popular ecommerce platforms great option for those who want to combine referral and affiliate marketing management within one software solution great option to replicate the look and feel of your website with customizable templates.
Sales volumes requirements none not disclosed directly but they will evaluate what budget you're going to invest into their software none

Top Referral Marketing Software for MVPs and Startups

ReferralCandy Viral Loops
Fraud prevention available available
A/B testing not supported not supported
Price starting at $49/month + commission on referral revenue starting at $34/month
Free trial yes yes
Platforms supported Shopify, WooCommerce, Bigcommerce, Magento, custom all, but integration may be complicated thanks to poor tech documentation
Design customization Templates could have been better. limited but has nice options
Loyalty programs not supported within ReferralCandy not supported
Name sharing not supported not supported
Product sharing not supported not supported
Packages Premium ($49/month), Enterprise ($3,900/year) Start-Up ($34/month), Growing ($69/month), Power ($208/month)
Burst campaigns not supported supported
Leaderboard campaigns not supported supported
Reports & analytics basic basic
Multiple campaigns not supported not supported
Audience segmentation not supported not supported
Affiliate programs not supported not supported
Integration simple sometimes tricky, especially with custom platforms
Customer service team the best answer here is “yes” hit-or-miss
Distinguishing features inexpensive solution, great for companies that want to roll out an MVP-version of their referral program to test the idea milestone campaigns and VIP-tiers that allow you to give your advocates different rewards based on how many new customers they've brought you
Sales volumes requirements none none

Top Non-Self-Service Referral Marketing Platforms

Mention Me Annex Cloud
Fraud prevention supported supported
A/B testing supported supported
Price a set-up fee + 10-20% of the first order of new customers custom
Free trial no no
Platforms supported all all
Design customization Their designers will produce all of the templates according to your brand guidelines and requirements. Their designers will produce all of the templates according to your brand guidelines and requirements.
Loyalty programs not supported supported
Name sharing supported not supported
Product sharing not supported supported
Packages custom custom
Burst campaigns not supported supported
Leaderboard campaigns not supported supported
Reports & analytics average above average
Multiple campaigns supported supported
Audience segmentation supported supported
Affiliate programs not supported supported
Integration very simple high technical commitment, but their developers will take care of most of the process
Customer service team professional and involved, they're results-oriented since they charge on a CPA model quite involved and professional
Distinguishing features They are not a referral program software provider. Instead, they’re a partner you can outsource your entire referral campaign to.

They have a unique payment model.

Annex Cloud offers not only referral marketing solutions, but many other social-proof tools for ecommerce marketers.
Sales volumes requirements undisclosed directly, evaluation based on your sales volumes undisclosed directly, evaluation based on your sales volumes

Top Referral Marketing Software Programs for Shopify

Swell Rewards Smile.io
Fraud prevention supported supported
A/B testing not supported not supported
Price depends on sales volumes starting at $49/month
Free trial yes yes
Platforms supported works best with Shopify, but can be integrated with other platforms as well Shopify, Shopify Plus, BigCommerce
Design customization done by their designers, no customization tools very limited
Loyalty programs supported supported
Name sharing not supported not supported
Product sharing not supported not supported
Packages Self-Service, Premium Starter ($49/month), Growth ($199/month), Pro ($599/month)
Burst campaigns supported not supported
Leaderboard campaigns supported not supported
Reports & analytics basic, awesome ROI-calculation feature basic
Multiple campaigns not supported not supported
Audience segmentation supported not supported
Affiliate programs not supported not supported
Integration simple for Shopify simple for supported platforms
Customer service team average average
Distinguishing features Swell Rewards is all about customization, gamification, and engaging customers.

They can do great work for ecommerce businesses that target millennials.

Swell Rewards is also a part of the ecommerce marketing platform, Yotpo

simple and inexpensive referral program software, great for referral-MVP but can only be used with Shopify or BigCommerce
Sales volumes requirements not specified none

Check out the full referral marketing software comparison table here.


Q1. What is a referral marketing strategy?

A. A referral marketing strategy lays down any business’s plans for their referral marketing campaign. This should include the campaign goals, marketing tactics to be used, information about the target audience, schedule, and more.

Q2. What is referral marketing software tool?

A. Referral marketing software refers to the tools that you can use to manage your referral marketing campaigns as well as loyalty and reward programs. These tools make it easier to track performance, make payments, and gather insights into the campaign’s performance.

Q3. How do I promote my referral link?

A. You can either collaborate with industry influencers or leverage your existing customers to become your brand ambassadors and share your referral link. You will need to provide a unique link to each partner so that you can track their performance and give appropriate rewards.

Q4. What are the best referral marketing tools?

A. This post lists 12 of the best referral marketing tools for you to choose from.

The top five referral marketing software tools are:

  • Talkable
  • Post Affiliate Pro
  • Buyapowa
  • Friendbuy
  • Extole

Q5. What are the best referral programs?

A. The best referral programs are the ones that are extremely engaging and provide the most lucrative incentives to partners. For the first part, you can use gamification to create a highly-engaging referral program that motivates people to always strive for more. The second part totally depends on how well you reward your referrers.

Q6. How do you market a referral program?

A. You can promote it on social media and even leverage influencers to spread the word about your referral program. You can use email marketing to reach out to your existing customers and ask them to join the program.

Q7. How do you reward clients for referrals?

A. The best kinds of rewards are experiential rewards that provide your partners with some kind of experience like an invitation to exclusive events. These kinds of rewards make them feel special and cultivate brand loyalty.

However, your referral program should have a good mix of incentives that increase with each level. You should create a tiered reward system where the rewards increase as your partners cross each stage or perform a certain task.

Q8. How do you create an effective referral program?

A. You can use a referral marketing tool to design a successful referral program. Such tools usually help with all aspects of creating and managing a referral program end-to-end.

Q9. What are the benefits of referral marketing software tools?

A. Referral marketing software makes it easier for you to create and run referral programs. It can track each partner’s performance, payments, and other aspects. You can completely rely on these tools to manage your programs with little intervention required from your side.

Q10. Are there any free referral marketing software tools?

A. There are several free referral marketing software tools available online. However, it is better to use a trusted paid tool that will ensure the security and privacy of your data. Moreover, most of the good paid tools are not that expensive and you can easily opt for any of these tools.

Q11. Why do you need software to manage your referral marketing?

A. Referral marketing software tools can automate a lot of tedious tasks like managing payments/rewards and tracking performance. These can help you manage your programs without any hassle and definitely increase your program’s effectiveness.

Ready to Launch Your Referral Marketing Program?

I hope that by now, we all understand that there is no one-size-fits-all referral software program in the market.

So, how should you choose a referral program software vendor for your business?

It’s best to choose the referral vendor that suits you the best in your particular business circumstances. You can always upgrade when you need to since your business goals will constantly change.

Also, if you have something to add or want to share your experience with any of these referral marketing platforms, feel free to do so in the comment section. Every opinion is welcome.

In the end, I just sincerely hope that all of the effort we’ve put into creating this referral software guide will help you make the best decision for your business needs and enhance your ability to acquire customers.

Do you have any questions related to choosing a referral marketing platform? Feel free to ask me in the comments below.

Disclosure: This content has a few affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I will get a commission (without any extra cost to you).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *