by Deanna Ting | January 05, 2015
When Paul Sansone Jr., president of PMB Group, was looking for ways to incentivize customers at his Neptune, NJ-based Sansone Jr's 66 Auto Mall, he turned to a cloud-based technology provider - Gold Mobile - for a solution.  That solution became the EZ Referral Network.

The EZ Referral Network is an incentive platform that enables dealerships to increase their sales while rewarding loyal customers.  Customers who successfully refer friends to a dealership are given the choice of two incentives when their friends make a purchase: one being a traditional prepaid card for a fixed amount, such as $150, and the other being a digital gift card for use at the same dealership, but for an increased amount, such as $200. So, a customer has the choice of receiving a prepaid gift card for a certain amount, or receiving a digital gift card to the same dealership with an increased amount. 

Since its launch in October 2014, the EZ Referral Network has grown to include more than 20 automobile dealerships within the Tri-State area. Sansone Jr. says that approximately 10 percent of his customers are opting for the EZ Referral Network option versus a traditional prepaid gift card and he sees more dealerships expressing interest in the incentive platform. "Dealers love the option of incentivizing customers, but they also wanted to do it in a way that keeps the money internally," he says. "As a dealer, it gives me the flexibility that I don't have with the prepaid gift cards."

Bob Gold, CEO of Gold Mobile, says that the EZ Referral Network is unique in that it utilizes both open- and closed-loop gift cards. "When you get the digital gift card, it's an incentive that's paid on your mobile device - in your mobile wallet. You can use it for anything that you want at that dealership. It's a referral-based system that has both a traditional card option and a mobile wallet."

Gold adds, "What dealers really wanted was a way to incent the customer for referring people, but also have those dollars come back to them. The idea is that dealers are willing to give more money on the mobile wallet than on the prepaid gift cards." He adds that the mobile wallet option also cuts down on administrative and handling costs. "It uses our cloud-based Gold Mobile rewards product so there's no physical mailing or cards needed and it doesn't have to be run through any payment process or network. It's more immediate for the consumer, too."

Sansone Jr. hopes to eventually take the EZ Referral Network and apply it to other industries as well. "Many industries are motivated by referrals," he notes. "Customer retention and loyalty is very important; this gives you another tool to keep your customer within your product portfolio. I just wanted to make it easy to refer people to me, and for customers to be incentivized the ways they want to be incentivized."