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What E-Commerce Businesses Need to Know About Affiliate Marketing

Imagine being able to reach new customers, increase revenue and grow your e-commerce business with minimal work or risk. Welcome to the magical and popular world of affiliate marketing.

You’ve probably heard of it, but did you know how large the industry really is? The affiliate marketing industry will hit $8.2 billion this year. Yes – billion.

In this article, we’ll discuss how affiliate marketing works, how it can help boost your bottom line and how to get started.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the practice of promoting the products of other brands. As an affiliate partner (also referred to as affiliate publisher), you earn commission when a visitor you send to another online retailer makes a purchase.

To break it down further:

  • You share a link for Retailer A in your blog or on Instagram, for example.
  • Customer B clicks on the unique link.
  • Customer B loves the product and buys it from Retailer A.
  • An affiliate network records the sale.
  • Retailer A confirms it.
  • You earn commission.

Commission rates typically start around 5% of a sale and can go all the way up to 50%. Some programs pay a flat rate per sale instead of a percentage. And that brings us to how…

Affiliate Marketing Can Boost Your Bottom Line

As an e-commerce retailer, it might seem odd to promote products from other e-commerce shops, but this is not the case. Your customers already trust you, and they’ll trust genuine recommendations to products that are aligned with your brand and customer needs (more on this below).

That trust generates real dollars. In the U.S. and Canada, affiliate marketing accounts for 16% of all e-commerce orders. Research shows consumers spend more cash when following a recommendation for a purchase:

  • The average online order is 31% higher.
  • The average order value is 21% higher.
  • The average affiliate marketing customer revenue is 58% higher.

How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing

Choose an affiliate marketplace. 

When considering your options, be sure the marketplace includes products that align with your brand’s niche and area of expertise. For example, a skincare e-commerce retailer could promote hair products, but it wouldn’t make sense to promote a line of sneakers. Sure, you might love those sneakers, but your customers come to you for all things skincare, not all things footwear.

The top seven affiliate marketplaces are:

Once you find the right marketplace, don’t skip over the terms of service. Take the time to read the fine print. Your unique link might only work during a specified timeframe, or you might find restrictions on where you can promote the product or use the company’s name.

You could also throw some love to the brands you use and would happily promote for free. Head over to their websites and see if they have their own affiliate program. If you don’t see anything, reach out to the owner. They might be happy to partner with you and send you a special coupon code to share with your customers.

Create a content strategy.

Like any marketing campaign, good content is the key to a successful affiliate marketing experience. Start by creating a relevant and useful blog post that’s related to the affiliate product. If possible, include a product review.

When you mention and link to the affiliate product, let your readers know that you may earn a commission on their purchase. This transparency can create more trust between you and your customers. Plus, if they love your brand, they’ll want you to earn that commission.

Once your blog post is published, share it on your top social media channels. Pull quotes and tips out of the blog for additional shares.

Depending on the product, you could also create a tutorial. Do a quick Google search to see what “how-to advice” consumers are searching for related to the product. Create a tutorial based on what you find (video is great, but photos with text work, too). By showcasing the value of the product, your recommendation of it makes more sense, and your customers will be more likely to buy it.

With anything, iterate as you go to see what sticks with customers.

E-Commerce Fulfillment with GLF

With 20 years of experience in e-commerce fulfillment, GLF takes pride in making its customers’ lives easier and finding solutions that grow their business. Our team takes the time upfront to learn your goals and work with you as a proactive partner. For more information about our services, contact us today.

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