Competitive Exploration: Incentives Part 1

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Part
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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.

Methodology

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.

Sources
Sources

Quotes
  • "September 2008: 100K registered users December 2009: 4M registered users September 2017: 10B evaluation + 1B revenue."
Quotes
  • "Dropbox went from 100,000 registered users to four million in just four months, attributing 35% of its daily signups to its referral program. Taken together, this means that referrals alone accounted for 9.76% of the company's growth every month. "
  • "Dropbox offered referrers additional storage space for free. This type of reward gave users a perk they’d actually use (versus worthless ebooks or dime-a-dozen coupon codes), but it was also advantageous for the company"
Quotes
  • "We’re here to unleash the world’s creative energy by designing a more enlightened way of working. "
Quotes
  • "Dropbox Basic accounts get 500 MB per referral and can earn up to 16 GB Dropbox Plus and Professional accounts get 1 GB per referral and can earn up to 32 GB"
Quotes
  • "Revenue was $1.11 billion in 2017, up 31 percent from the prior year. "
Quotes
  • "Dropbox announced their famous referral program in 2013 and saw tremendous growth in user base. In fact, they pulled millions of users using their referral program."
  • "Dropbox offers 500MB if you refer your friend and h/she create an account on Dropbox and install their software. You can earn up to 1 GB per user if you are paid Dropbox Member."
Quotes
  • "The service now has hundreds of millions of users. In fact, thirteen millions of these were referred by some users."
  • "Evernote, a note-taking app, launched a referral program, which awards points to the customers each time they make referrals. Such points may be redeemed for free access to the premium features of the software."
Quotes
  • "Evernote was founded as an extension of the brain. Beginning with the mission of “Remember Everything,” Evernote has grown to address the three needs Pachikov identified. "
  • "With 8 billion notes created by 225 million people worldwide, it’s easy to see why Evernote’s products have become the default place for individuals and teams who want to remember everything, turn ideas into action, and work better together."
Quotes
  • "Earn points by inviting your friends to Evernote. You can send email invitations or post a link on your website"
  • "You will earn 10 points for each of the first 3 friends you successfully refer. See here for more details. You will earn 5 points each time a friend you referred, even beyond the first three, purchases Evernote Premium for the first time."
  • "You can earn Evernote points by redeeming Evernote gift subscriptions, Premium activation codes, and carrier promotions. "
  • "You can use Evernote Points at any time. Evernote Points may expire after 5 years of no points activity in your Evernote account. Evernote Points and rewards are non-transferable. For full details see the Evernote Commercial Terms."
Quotes
  • "It took Evernote 446 days to gain their first million users, but the next million took around half that time – 222 days to be exact. That number was almost halved again with their next million, which took 133 days, then 108, then 83, and then just 52 days to go from 5 to 6 million users. Over 19,000 new people sign up for Evernote every day."
Quotes
  • "You choose how you collect 10 nights. Whether it’s a single stay or multiple trips, 10 nights add up fast"
  • "Redeem your free nights at over 213,000 properties anytime, anywhere. "
Quotes
  • "We’re passionate about travel. Every day, we inspire and reach millions of travelers across 90 local websites in 41 languages. So when it comes to booking the perfect hotel, vacation rental, resort, apartment, guest house, or tree house, we’ve got you covered. With hundreds of thousands of properties in over 200 countries and territories, we provide incomparable choice with a Price Guarantee. Our site is fun and simple to use, and we offer innovative online tools and a top-rated mobile app."
Quotes
  • "Hotels.com Rewards now has over 43 million members who can earn 1 reward night for every 10 nights stayed."