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Compete Against Large Retailers: Choose the Right Affiliate Network

Posted on 3.01.2015

By Derek Schou, Associate Editor

Small and mid-sized retail businesses are at an inherent disadvantage in today’s marketplace.

Not only must these merchants compete against each other, but they also have to take on global enterprises with marketing and advertising budgets double, triple or perhaps even quadruple their total sales figures. To compete in the crowded and competitive world of e-commerce, many merchants are turning to affiliate networks. In fact, Forrester Consulting projected that affiliate spending would top $4.5 billion in 2016.

To help merchants figure out which network is for them, below are a few tips on what to look for in a network, as well as what merchants can do to make themselves more attractive to affiliate publishers.

How Far Do Their Arms Reach?

Along with limited advertising budgets, smaller e-commerce businesses don’t have the manpower that large retailers have at their disposal – a significant disadvantage when it comes to extending a brand’s reach.

Many smaller e-commerce businesses make do with what could be as small as a one-person team. For this reason it is imperative that they leverage an affiliate network that can provide them with the proper scale that they require to compete with big brands.

One such affiliate network that can help to even the playing field is Affiliate by Conversant, formerly known as Commission Junction.

Affiliate by Conversant works with a wide range of affiliate publishers that are separated into a tiered category system depending on their promotional methods. Affiliates on this network specialize in a variety of advertisement methods including search as well as coupons and deals.

Tools to Help Monitor Performance

While finding a network with an expansive list of affiliate publishers is important to improve merchants’ reach, it is also important that retailers can actively, as well as accurately, see how their publishers are performing.

In order to avoid deviant or false commission payments, merchants must ensure that they have access to analytic statistics on how each of their publishers is performing. One affiliate network that excels at delivering these tools to merchants is Affiliate Window. Affiliate Window provides merchants with real-time reports where they can see statistics on critical key performance indicators (KPIs) such as clicks, transactions as well as average order values (AOVs) and conversion rates. Also, for those merchants who are looking to increase their performance and engagement on mobile devices, Affiliate Window provides statistics on KPIs for both smartphones and tables.

How to Become More Attractive to Affiliates

After making the decision on which affiliate network to leverage, merchants must be careful to remember that their work is by no means complete.

While affiliate networks are excellent at connecting merchants with publishers, this does not mean that merchants will automatically be flooded with requests from publishers looking to advertise their products.

“Affiliates are attracted to products that they’re interested in and programs that have proven track records for success,” said Woo Song, director of product management for Cake, an SaaS-based platform that helps track digital marketing spend. “They’re looking for good conversion rates, payouts, and solid tracking and reporting so that they can monitor their performance. Additionally, they’re looking for an engaged merchant that’s responsive and provides fresh content and promotional materials (creatives).

“When you’re first starting your program, this can be difficult to show. So, one strategy is to recruit a subset of quality affiliates, run exclusives, perhaps even give higher payouts to help build your program’s reputation as you attract new affiliates.”

Don’t Be Hasty

Selecting the right affiliate network with the right publishers can have an enormous impact on a small or mid-sized retailer’s website traffic, product conversions and overall sales. See what other merchants have to say about their current affiliate network at wsm.co/myaffnet.

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