Affiliate marketing involves making money by promoting a product’s business, driving traffic (and sales!) to a particular target website, and earning a commission for successful sales.
Sounds familiar? It should – it’s an early version of influencer marketing. It’s also a form of word-of-mouth or referral marketing, except only a certain number are selected to be affiliates, for higher better results.
Affiliate marketing is a powerful driver of revenue. Affiliate marketing makes up 15% of all digital ad spend, according to Business Insider. SimilarWeb estimates that 6.5% of traffic to Amazon comes from referral traffic – that means Amazon affiliates drive up to 150 million views per month to Amazon.com.
Let’s dive into how eCommerce brands can benefit from affiliate marketing programs.
What is an eCommerce affiliate program?
An affiliate program typically involves two parties: an eCommerce store owner (advertiser) and an affiliate (publisher). The affiliate marketer promotes the eCommerce store owner’s website in exchange for a commission. The commission paid is based on the amount of traffic that they generate on the website. Some of the personalized codes or discount links you see in modern influencer marketing come from affiliate marketing.
This business model lets eCommerce brands leverage the affiliate’s following and expertise to boost sales for their online store.
The value of the affiliate comes from the audience & traffic they’ve cultivated. For example, blogs that review books are a perfect audience for publishers, just as nutrition & fitness blogs might be perfect for supplement companies.
Affiliate programs generate 15% to 30% of sales for advertisers. Merchants also observe an average of 23% of revenue from affiliate marketing, a similar revenue contribution to that from PPC and SEO marketing.
Why do enterprise brands need affiliate marketing?
Affiliate programs are perfect for larger stores: enterprise eCommerce brands, stores at scales and even big tech companies have affiliate programs too.
Top brands have dedicated affiliate program managers to recruit influencers and affiliate marketers. Influencers usually have hundreds or thousands of followers in a specific industry. Getting a niche or expert or influencer to join the program can lead to a commission per sale generated in exchange.
Benefits of Ecommerce Affiliate Programs
Launching an affiliate program has a lot of benefits to your eCommerce site. Affiliate marketers have an established visitor base so they are effective at growing your audience and traffic. Here are some benefits that may convince you to join the bandwagon for affiliate marketing:
Grow your audience (by tapping into your affiliate’s reach)
Affiliate marketers have an established set of followers and visitors (i.e. social media influencers, niche bloggers). This gives you the opportunity to broaden your audience and tap into new communities that you don’t have access to.
Tripadvisor follows an affiliate model to grow their business. They form affiliations with third-party websites like attractions, hotels, and airlines such as Booking, Zuji, Expedia and HotelClub to earn commissions. Getting a page on the site will help you get discovered by thousands of travelers.
Through the TripAdvisorTravel Affiliate Program businesses can promote their brand and get 50% of the gross revenue, which is akin to a click per cost model.
Build credibility (with bloggers and influencers your customers trust)
Partnering with reputable bloggers, experts or influencers can boost your businesses’ reputation, new visitors will have more confidence in your brand.
Jason Stone, also known as the Millionaire Mentor, has 5.5 million followers on Instagram. As a result, he generated $7 million in retail sales because of his loyal fanbase. Businesses in the financial industry love to reach out to him because they want to tap into his audience.
Great ROI for minimal effort (since your affiliates get paid for purchases)
Affiliate marketing is a hands-off way of boosting sales. Affiliate marketers who join the program figure out how to make more sales through their own means. The prospect of earning more commissions motivates them to keep advertising big brand enterprise eCommerce businesses.
Boost SEO (as your affiliates link to you)
The backlinks from affiliate marketers may help boost your website’s SEO.
We’ve known that backlinks are crucial to improving your web performance and page rankings. However, Ahrefs studied a billion pages and found that an astounding 91% of content on the internet got no traffic from Google. No visitor in millions of websites!
The good news is affiliate marketing involves linking back to the products in your store. Hence, affiliates can get a good amount of high-quality backlinks with minimal effort on your part. The more links you have, the higher your site’s rankings on Google’s search results.
Affiliates will also be driving traffic to your site from their media accounts.
Examples of Enterprise Retailers with Successful Affiliate Programs
Now that you’re convinced to set up your own eCommerce affiliate program, how can you jump on the bandwagon? How can you boost your business to affiliate marketers?
In this section, we’ll list down some big brand enterprise eCommerce affiliate programs that can serve as your inspiration.
1. Amazon – Amazon Associates Program
Amazon is a multinational company that sells millions of items from across the world.
The brand’s website is filled with personalized product recommendations that encourage people to keep browsing.
Their Amazon Associates program is easy and free to join for anyone. Affiliates can choose from a million products to advertise and earn up to 10% in advertising fees. You can earn advertising fees from qualifying purchases.
2. Skillshare – Online Learning Platform
Skillshare is a learning platform filled with online courses.
Most of their skilled teachers and mentors have garnered an online fanbase. As a result, they use their social media to promote their content and creations.
The Skillshare Affiliate program has become popular among Youtube influencers. They recruit like-minded ambassadors who can help them earn $10 for every customer that they refer to the platform.
Their catalog has over 24,000+ online classes in a variety of subjects. So, affiliates can easily find classes and video lessons that match the interests of their fanbase.
If you’ve watched a YouTube channel or listened to a popular podcast recently, you must have come across Skillshare sponsoring content creators, who direct you to their affiliate link. That’s the reach that a powerful affiliate program can achieve.
3. Missguided – Affiliate Program and customer referral program
Missguided offers swimwear, tops, denim, shoes, and dresses for women.
The brand is confident that its loyal fanbase would promote their brand to their friends. This led to a refer a friend program where customers can refer their BFFs to get 30% off and enjoy the same discount too.
To complement its referral program, Missguided also launched its own affiliate program. Joining the program lets members earn a 6% commission per sale generated, and exclusive partnership opportunities with the brand.
For everyday folks, the referral program offers a delicious reward. For those with a following, an affiliate program enables them to monetize their audience (and promote the brand).
4. Saucony – Athletic Shoes
Saucony offers high-quality athletic shoes and clothes for men and women. The Saucony Affiliates program lets partners earn a generous baseline commission fee on all orders.
We’d normally put an image here, but their affiliates sign-up page is devoid of images and just has terms and conditions. What we’ve discovered is that Saucony offers its affiliates marketing materials, including recommendations on types of shoes and style options.
An example of some of the content on Saucony’s Runners blog
5. BH Cosmetics – Beauty Products
BH Cosmetics offers high-quality and affordable makeup.
They run a Youtube channel featuring makeup tutorials and influencer collaborations to promote their products.
In their affiliate program, members can earn an 8% commission each time they direct a visitor that makes a purchase within 60 days to their website.
6. Petco – Pet Store
Petco offers health and wellness essentials for your furry friends.
Their Instagram page has garnered more than 567,000 followers thanks to user-generated content. They post pictures of their customers’ pets and add a brand-related caption to promote their business.
Meanwhile, the Petco affiliate program lets members earn a commission for valid sales. You can easily join by checking out more information on their website.
7. Wayfair – Furniture
Wayfair offers furniture and home goods, with 14 million items from over 11,000 global suppliers.
The Wayfair affiliate program is open to websites and blogs that can promote their products. Joining can help affiliates get 7% commissions over a 7-day referral period.
8. Miao Miao – Smart Blood Glucose Reader
Miao Miao offers smart readers for people who need to check their glucose levels.
Brand ambassadors and their friends can both earn a 10% discount via a successful referral.
After the success of their referral program, they started a Global Ambassador Program. This lets the brand recruit influencers from across the globe to get privileges and rewards. Ambassadors even get their own personal affiliate link with a 10% reward rate.
MiaoMiao happens to be a ReferralCandy customer – click here to read about MiaoMiao’s successful Affiliate Program.
Affiliate marketing is a cost-effective method of growing your traffic, increasing your customers and promoting your business.
P.S. You can easily score these benefits by leveraging ReferralCandy for your eCommerce store.