Uber: lagging behind in the rearview mirror

Uber became a global behemoth on the back of its referral programme, where riders were rewarded for bringing in new customers. But what was once quite revolutionary now appears woefully behind the times and unfit for purpose. Let's take a look at the cab-calling app’s programme and assesses where they may have gone wrong... and where you could go right.

Uber's dramatic rise via referral

Back in 2012, if you’d walked up to a Londoner and said the word ‘Uber’, they probably would’ve started looking for neck tattoos and a copy of the UKIP manifesto sticking out of your pocket. Today, everyone knows you’re talking about the £50 billion cab company - and, what’s more, they probably know why you’re talking to them about Uber in the first place. You’re shilling your referral code in the hope of earning a free ride.

Referrals are one of the main reasons why Uber grew from tiny startup to dominant upstart. Back in 2011, Uber Co-Founder and CEO Travis Kalanick wrote that "95% of all our riders have heard about Uber from other Uber riders”; but that word of mouth wasn’t organic, it was proactively


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My Soho Home is your Soho Home

We're delighted to announce that Soho Home - the interiors and lifestyle brand extension of Soho House - has joined forces with Buyapowa to launch its first ever refer-a-friend programme.

For the past 22 years, Soho House has been synonymous with comfort, style and a certain intangible warmth that its competitors invariably fail to emulate. It's there the moment you enter any of the group's 19 clubs or hotels around the world, visit any of their cinemas, dine in any of their restaurants or indulge yourself at any of their spas and beauty parlours.

And now anyone can bring a taste of that warmth and luxury into their home, via a meticulously curated selection of furniture, homewares and accessories created for, tested in, and inspired by, their Houses.

Peer-to-peer marketing has always played a huge part in Soho House's success. Back in 1995, anyone who was anyone in the creative industries first experienced the brand via a personal invite from someone in their network. To this day, House memberships are still only attainable once applicants are proposed by existing members.

Now, thanks to the latest referral marketing technology, that sense of tastemakers tipping their friends off to something spectacular has


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Referral marketing: it's in the bag

Tesco | marked.no | Ocado | Billa

Click and collect, mobile apps, loyalty schemes, delivery subscriptions, referral programmes. When it comes to grocery, these things aren't luxuries anymore; they're essentials.

Of these, referral is quickly becoming one of the most important, with up to 8% of all online grocery transactions taking place after customers refer their friends.

That's a significant proportion, and it's why Billa - the number one supermarket chain in Austria, which also operates hundreds more stores across Europe - have partnered with Buyapowa to make sure that their customers are incentivised and equipped to get their friends shopping, too.

"Our objective with the referral scheme is to add a powerful tool as part of our CRM strategy while, at the same time, acquiring new customers using our loyal customer base. For us it’s a win-win-win situation for all involved."

Pascal Storer, eCommerce Digital Marketing Manager, Billa

Just like Tesco, Ocado and Norway's marked.no (all of whom chose our award-winning platform to power their referrals), Billa recognise that 80% of customers now expect their favourite brands to operate a referral programme. And, if they don't find one, there's a risk that a) those customers will shop elsewhere, and b) their friends may never


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How to create a referral perfect storm like Virgin

Coke and Mentos. Potassium and water. Samsung phones and electricity. When you put some things together, they just go BANG. Now, in the plaid-suited, kipper-tied world of meteorology and / or George Clooney movies, they call a confluence of phenomena resulting in dramatic conditions a 'perfect storm'. In the world of referral marketing, we just call it super-cool.

Referral marketing is all about getting people to share their love of a brand or a product with their friends. So, for referral marketing to work - and boy can it work - two things tend to make big difference: a brand people adore, or a product they love to talk about. When you get both of those together - beloved brands and passion products - that’s a referral perfect storm, such as the one we’ve just launched with Virgin Wines: an absolutely iconic brand and wine, a product which gets more Google results than ‘doughnuts’, ‘cuddles’ and ‘Jesus’ combined.

We’ll come back to Virgin Wines later but, first, let’s take a look at what we mean by those two terms: beloved brands and passion products.

BELOVED BRANDS

Every year, Superbrands (UK) Ltd publish their list of Britain’s


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Is this L'Oréal's Uber moment?

It's a big month for us, as L'Oréal - the world's largest cosmetics company - launches a new customer acquisition programme using the Buyapowa platform. We'll be helping some of their best-loved brands to bring peer-to-peer selling - a cosmetics industry tactic ever since Victorian times - beautifully up to date.

It couldn't come at a better time, with the challenge of acquiring new customers growing more and more difficult for the skincare and beauty industry every day. Shoppers are blinded by the flood of pharma-jargon spewing out of billboards and tv adverts ("five times more prettiness particles than other brands!"). Meanwhile, new players and hipster indies come to market every day, creating such an avalanche of choice that it's easier to find a botox needle in a haystack than it is to settle on a new moisturiser.

And the people we used to turn to for help - the celebrities, YouTubers and bloggers collectively known as 'influencers' - are so utterly in the thrall of paid promotions and playing the PR game that, every time you take their advice and purchase today's 'holy grail' product, you can't help but feel that it's your gullability which is paying for the


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