Competitive Exploration: Incentives
Three best-in-class examples of incentive programs of e-commerce companies, specifically those that have a low velocity, high ticket e-commerce experience similar to Airbnb's include Dropbox's referral program, EverNote's referral program and Hotels.com's rewards program.
We started our research by looking for e-commerce companies that have a high level of customer service tickets compared to a low number of overall transactions. We were able to identify three companies: Dropbox, Hotels.com and EverNote, which also had thriving incentive programs that have been talked about by multiple sources such as Forbes, CNBC, and Viral Loops, among others. Next, we looked through the official websites of the companies, where we were able to obtain relevant information regarding their incentive programs, goals and mission.
We then searched for additional information on credible business-related and media sites such as Forbes, Business Insider, and Market Reports, as well the social media pages of these companies. We were able to obtain additional information that showed how the incentive programs of these companies are among the best. These companies have been able to successfully expand their customer base within a short period through the implementation of the incentive programs, eventually leading to growth in revenue.
DROPBOX REFERRAL PROGRAM
Dropbox's mission is to "unleash the world’s creative energy by designing a more enlightened way of working." In 2017, the e-commerce company generated $1.1 billion in annual revenues. Dropbox has a referral program whereby the referrer and the referee both get to earn free cloud storage space of 500 MBs on the website's cloud storage platform. They also have a referral program that enables users to subscribe to the company's social media platforms and share their social activities while standing to get free cloud storage services that are limited to specified storage spaces. The company has detailed a step- by-step procedure of how to refer a friend in their Help Center. The referral program enabled Dropbox to experience a 3900% growth in just 15 months, between 2008 and 2010. Dropbox has attributed 9.76% of its monthly growth to its referral program.
HOTELS.COM REWARDS PROGRAM
Hotels.com's goal is to "give travelers one of the widest selections of accommodation on the net" by including all kinds of hotels worldwide. Their annual revenue is $124.1 million. Hotels.com has a rewards program where they offer a free one-night stay after a user completes 10 hotel bookings. This free night can be claimed across 213,000 properties around the world. In addition, Silver and Gold members can get complimentary room upgrades, airport transfers, spa vouchers, complimentary breakfast and wine and a curated list of hotels, among others. The Hotels.com rewards program has 43 million members who have saved more than $1 billion in free nights.
EVERNOTE REFERRAL PROGRAM
Evernote's goal is to "give people the time and freedom to focus on what matters by helping them to live more organized lives." The company earns an estimated annual revenue of $109.82 million. EverNote's referral program offers users points when they refer friends through email or social media. For each referee, the referrer gets 5 or 10 points which can redeemed in form of storage space for notes. Evernote gains 19,000 new users daily. It has 225 million users currently, and 13 million of its users were referred by other users.