Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

Student Referral Program Examples: Perkla

Today, we’re featuring Perkla: an interesting startup that provides a one-stop online shopping platform exclusively for students.

Students who sign up are able to enjoy discounts from an array of online stores, including: Bonobo, Converse, Reebok and Apple.

Here are a couple of things we really like about Perkla:

1. They relate to their customers.

The founders of Perkla are students themselves (Columbia Business School students, to be exact). It’s pretty obvious that they created their product as a solution to the problem they were personally experiencing. This allows them to empathize with their users, and earn their trust.

Additionally, only students can sign up to use Perkla, which creates a coveted sense of exclusivity.

Main login/signup window for Perkla
“Finally, something only we can enjoy and call our own! No pesky adults!”

Apple is one of the most notable brands for creating a sphere of exclusivity, and talking to any Apple fan would give you an idea of how powerful brand loyalty can be.

However, merely creating a platform for a niche demographic isn’t enough; it needs to be reinforced and supported.

This is where their referral program comes in:

2. The FashionTech Challenge 2013

Perkla recently concluded their online contest, the FashionTech Challenge 2013, in which participants raced against each other to refer the most customers.

FashionTech Challenge 2013

Participants are rewarded incrementally from having 10 referrals to 50, and those who refer more than 50 stand to win even sweeter prizes.

The top three referrers are awarded the Grand Prize: an all-expenses-paid week of internship in NYC, with some of the biggest players in the fashion industry!

The FTC 2013 was strategically held during the holiday season, from November 22nd till December 20th. Everyone would be buying presents for friends and family, giving contest participants one more reason to send out referrals, and one more reason for their referred friends to sign up for an account. Talk about a win-win!

Having a temporary event-based referral program introduces a scarcity element, which subtly pressures customers to act quickly.

Take the effort to understand your customers, and show them that you do.

  • There isn’t a magic formula to customer satisfaction. When you take the time and effort to understand your target demographic group, you will learn what motivates them, what their concerns are, and what they would like to have. Your customers will trust you when they’re convinced that you’re willing to appreciate their point of view.
  • Contests are great for everyone. A well-planned referral contest benefits everyone: you get publicity for your business, your customers get rewards for referral efforts, and their friends get benefits for signing up!

Here’s an overview of Perkla’s FashionTech Challenge:

Overview of Referral Program

Product / service typeShopping Discounts (students)
Referral methodUnique referral URL
Referral RewardWhen referred friend signs up:

– Different tiered rewards according to number of sign-ups, e.g. 10, 25, 50, top 10, top 3 (Grand Winners)

Referred Friend OfferAfter sign-up:

– Discounts for various fashion brands

Well, their FashionTech Challenge 2013 may be over, but their awesome deals are not. If you’re a student, head on over to their site to pick up some of those deals today.

And as always, stay tuned for more Bad-ass Referral Programs!

Read next: How to set up a referral program

Samuel Hum

Samuel Hum

As a finalist in Esquire's Best Dressed Real Man contest, Samuel is ReferralCandy's fashion eCommerce expert and resident sartorialist. He is obsessed with human behavior, social psychology, and handstands. He is also the lead calisthenics trainer at Weightless.

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