Discussion: Best advice for Founders trying to building customer loyalty

Hey all,

The content team just published a guide to building customer loyalty for startup founders in our Bubble blog.

However, I feel like this is the kind of topic where it would be great to hear from all of you since we have so many entrepreneurs and founders in this community.

So my question for you is…

What are your tips for founders who are trying to build customer loyalty? What has worked? What hasn’t?


Topic is actually to discuss approaches so more so hoping you can drop some of your own ideas :+1:

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Definitely, the main one, listen to loyal users, customers and people who make the community great (for instance George, Matt, Rico, Jici, Sudsy, Adam, Boston etc.) and involve them when developing new features.


One thing I encourage founders to put in in apps that I work on is a release notes popup. We have a Release data type and create a new release every time a user-facing update is pushed. That means that when the user visits, they will get the Release popup if they haven’t seen it. As a result:

  • They see the daily iteration - if in the release bullet point they can see their bug report is fixed, they like you more
  • They know the app is being maintained and improve fairly rapidly so are willing to stick around
  • They’re more likely to submit feedback/improvements as they know it will be actioned upon
  • Seeing updates popup every other day isn’t something that other traditional dev websites can do, so it shows the customer that you’re accelerating faster than your competition.

One thing that I think really works is to encourage the development/engineering team of the startup to consider the user input when they highlight features/functions not working as they should from the user point of view, and use that feedback to improve the product. Most of the time the team building the product do not really know how the users are going to use the product, so making changes to things that were based on assumptions by the development team, when real users provide the feedback that the feature does not do what it should from their perspective.

Always be honest and transparent in the way you charge them.

Keep tabs on your competitors to see what they are doing better than you, and try to emulate them.

ALWAYS keep on top of mind, that it is CHEAPER to retain a client, than it is to onboard a new client.


Customers are loyal to a brand that recognizes their loyalty. Yes, that sounds like a cliche answer but…

a customer has friends. Their friends usually think like they do. If the customer likes your brand their friends probably will too.

Get your customers to recommend your brand to their friends. Friends listen to friends.

I’ve worked on several apps for startups over the last 10 years and the main thing they all did was referral programs.

Refer a friend and you both get xx whatever. A friend will buy based on a friend’s recommendation before they trust an ad…

if you do the math, referrals, even though you pay out well, are cheaper in the long run than running ads…every single time.

When a user has friends who are members, they stay around.

Also, added ways…

‘Hey Sarah, we see you’ve visited for 10 days straight…here’s a gift card to show our appreciation’

Spending your money on the customers you already have and using them to build your brand is ALWAYS less expensive than spending money on ads.

Just a ton of ways to build customer loyalty.


The percentage of people who listen to and trust the recommendations of friends is very very high.

Incentivizing interactions with the platform is great…and if you can gamify it, even better.


Dollar Shave Club, Uber, and Casper all built mega businesses just off customer referrals (to name a few). Even though Casper self-destructed because of poor management decisions.

Incentivizing is a great way to build loyalty. I agree.

Do you have any tips on the logic for setting up a referral program? Like having a user be able to send a custom referral link

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You can build the logic easily in Bubble with an Affiliate and Referral data type (affiliate slug is their affiliate link, when page is loaded if Get affiliate from page URL isn’t empty, Create a new Referral and set the User to Current User + Affiliate to Get affiliate from page URL, saving any other relevant info.

Alternatively to integrate with something like Stripe you could use Rewardful which I’ve used in the past.


What do you do if the referred user loads the home page and the url contains the referral info, but then browses other pages before going back to home and signing up(and the url info is lost)? Or signs up on a different day than the first visit, but visits without the referral link?

The referral is saved to the User even if they’re not logged in so it will work as long as they don’t clear their cookies.


I had no idea you could save info to current user before they sign up, good to know! Learn something new here all the time

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I just finished up a referral program for a long term client with integrations into Stripe. There was a need to allow a user to utilize their referral earnings for one-off purchases or for subscription payments. We also needed this to work in relation to a promotional code discount as well.

Have a data field on the User that is referral code…that field could be the users slug or another field, and in my case, it was another field to match the client wishes for these to use capital letters only. To generate those I used the calculate random string expression.

For the link part, the app has a booking page, so just created the link for the booking page and added a URL parameter that is named ref, and the value of the parameter is the referral code.

For this we definitely can not rely on Bubble 72 hours cookies for various reasons, most importantly is that no referrer is going to refer users if the referral cookies only lasts 72 hours. In my client app I used local storage to store the referrer code and set the expiration date value to the number of days my client wants referral codes to be valid. Some businesses will use 30 days, some 90, but that is up to the business. To make all of this work well, I also needed to anticipate changes to business strategy, so the number of days is tied to an option set that the client can make a quick change to, as are the percentages or dollar values associated with the referrer earnings the the discount for the referred friend.

If we just relied on the User data type, that would not only cause problems that Bubble cookies are not long enough, but also would be an issue because the app has a feature to allow people to pay for a booking without signing up or being logged in, so needed to account for the fact that some users may try to abuse the system and reuse the referral code to get the discount more than once.

Also, need to consider how people attempt to abuse the system, and incorporate that into the database and the UI/UX of the payment page. In database, I created a data type that is ‘referrer-earnings’ where all necessary details are saved. On the User data type, there is a field called ‘referrer-user’ which is related to User data type that the referral code belongs to.

In terms of providing the referrer credits on subscriptions, use the Stripe API and webhooks to update the invoice item tied to the subscription current invoice. In Stripe invoices are ‘previewed’ until made into a draft before turned finalized, and it is only during draft status, that there is a 1 hour window before it is charged and made finalized that you can use the API to update the amount of the invoice items, so as to reduce the subscription fee by the refer credits available. Need webhook for when an invoice is created so to trigger API to update the invoice item.

For one off payments that have referral codes in use, using Stripe API and metadata we can track all of that information.

Definitely not an overly complicated feature, but to get it right there is a need to really think through all aspects of it, and to really do right by a client, you need to consider their businesses bottom line and reputation, so no abuse and good practices need to be in place.


Awesome, thanks @boston85719 !

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