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Educate Yourself on These Back-to-School Affiliate Programs

Posted on 8.14.2012

As the summer draws to an unfortunate close, merchants are scrambling to bring in the rest of the back-to-school shoppers out there preparing for the upcoming academic year. Here at Website Magazine, we’ve already looked at some of the best online marketing practices of e-commerce merchants for this school shopping season, but that leaves out one crucial element of the Internet advertising landscape – affiliates.

A Commission Junction study from earlier this year looked at how back-to-school shoppers use the Web to make their purchasing decisions and determined that affiliate marketing channels are “well-suited” to help marketers reach these consumers. With the school shopping period’s sales peak coming up in the fourth week of August, it’s now or never for affiliate marketers to partner up with one (or more) of these hip affiliate programs to bring in some of that back-to-school cash.


Walmart is unquestionably the leader in the retail industry, and it is bound to be the go-to destination for many consumers looking to purchase school supplies, clothing, electronics, dorm room furniture, food, cosmetics, vitamins, chewing gum and a multitude of other goods needed to start the school year off right. The retail giant runs its own affiliate program and offers partners banners and text links, data feeds, RSS feeds, a link generator and more.

Urban Outfitters

This chic clothing retailer offers fashions (as well as fun books and knickknacks) for young men and women from high school through college. Boasting hip apparel that appeals to such a wide range of back-to-school shoppers makes Urban Outfitters an ideal merchant partner. Plus, it will even provide you with reports that track your traffic and earnings, so you can keep up with the performance of your campaign.

Best Buy

Yeah, yeah, I know, Best Buy isn’t exactly doing great right now, but the faltering electronics retailer has at least one more big back-to-school shopping season left in it, and that means that students will inevitably flock to it to purchase new laptops, iPods, home theatre appliances and other accessories. The Best Buy affiliate program pays its affiliate partners based on how much the visitors they direct buy from the site, and helps them out by offering text links, banner ads, widgets and its Best Buy BBY Open API that provides access to the entire Best Buy product catalog. They’ll even throw in weekly newsletters and special announcements highlighting special products, promotions and services.


If there’s one segment you really want to reach during the back-to-school shopping season, it’s “tween” girls. Justice is an apparel and accessories retailer that does just that, selling products that are unique to the interests of this particular consumer segment. This program offers up to a seven percent commission payout, and Justice has teamed with the renowned Commission Junction affiliate network to offer publishers third-party tracking, real-time reporting and monthly commission checks.

Barnes & Noble

Okay, so this one may not be as immediately obvious as the others, but if you’ve ever had to buy college text books from a university bookstore, you’ll know why looking for the best book deals online is about the smartest decision you can make. Target these eager (and often broke) young scholars by partnering with one of the world’s premier book retailers. Barnes & Noble gives affiliates a variety of marketing tools, including a datafeed and API, provides personal account support and pays out as much as a six percent commission on their books, music, movies, electronics and NOOK products. And, of course, the company is sure to offer a slew of enticing back-to-school textbook promotions.

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