Shopify is one of the most popular software-as-a-service (SaaS) ecommerce platforms and is used by more than 1.75 million merchants worldwide to sell their products and 20 percent of all ecommerce websites. It is a robust all-in-one solution with plenty of valuable ecommerce features, click-and-drop store themes, and unrivaled customer support. Setting up an online store on Shopify is as easy as following a few simple steps. However, driving traffic to your online store after its launch isn’t as easy.
Traffic is the lifeblood of all ecommerce websites and Shopify stores. Driving traffic to an ecommerce website or Shopify store and then converting it to paying customers represents the daily struggles of all ecommerce brands. With more ecommerce businesses popping up with each passing minute, the ecommerce industry is highly competitive. So, what can Shopify ecommerce brands do to stay competitive in the ever-growing industry? The simple answer is affiliate marketing.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective and popular marketing strategies that today’s brands implement to drive brand awareness, encourage customer engagement, and increase sales. Since the early 2000s, affiliate marketing has been steadily growing as more and more businesses turn to digital marketing to reach their target audiences. As a result, affiliate marketing has experienced tremendous growth in recent years as affiliate spending in the U.S. has grown from $2.5 billion in 2012 to $8.2 billion in 2022.
Affiliate marketing is a marketing strategy and tool that consists of brands partnering with affiliates (publications, influencers, etc.) in a rewards-based system that incentivizes affiliates to promote brands and their products to their audiences in exchange for a commission from every sale made. Affiliates usually promote products by writing a blog about the product, making a video about the brand and its products, or making social media posts that promote the brand and its products and sharing their unique affiliate link for their audience to purchase the products.
When a member of the affiliate’s audience visits the affiliate link and takes action, usually by buying the product, the brand pays the affiliate a commission percentage they previously agreed on. Brands can easily track the success of affiliate referrals by tracking the visits and sales of each affiliate through the unique affiliate link they use to promote the brand and its products. Payments to affiliates are most often based on sales generated, but they can be based on the number of clicks to an affiliate link or the leads generated.
Why is Affiliate Marketing Great for Shopify Ecommerce Brands?
Affiliate marketing has grown exponentially because it is a low-budget and low-risk marketing method to increase brand awareness, website traffic, and revenue. Affiliate marketing is a win-win scenario for commerce brands, especially those on Shopify and their affiliate partners.
This is because affiliates usually promote the products they truly enjoy while earning a passive income in the process. Additionally, ecommerce brands can drive traffic to their websites and Shopify stores at no upfront cost with only a small commission to pay once an actual sale is made.
Moreover, by partnering with multiple affiliates that align with their brand image, ecommerce brands on Shopify can increase their audience reach across various niches, websites, and social media platforms they previously had no presence on. Additionally, affiliate marketing contributes to establishing credibility and trust among online consumers, as 93% of consumers make purchasing decisions based on reviews. Therefore, when affiliates promote and review a brand’s products, this contributes to more social clout for the brand and its products among consumers and fosters more trust and loyalty.
How to Set Up a Successful Affiliate Program on Shopify
Affiliate programs can be approached internally, where brands manage all aspects of the affiliate marketing process manually and in-house or through affiliate marketing platforms. While many ecommerce brands initially start their affiliate program in-house, it’s not long before they migrate to an affiliate platform.
This is because affiliate platforms offer ecommerce brands all the tools and resources they need to manage and grow their affiliate programs quickly. From onboarding new affiliates to tracking sales and providing robust reports that allow brands to make data-driven decisions when growing their affiliate programs, affiliate platforms simplify the entire affiliate marketing process for ecommerce brands.
Shopify facilitates affiliate marketing through affiliate platforms by offering third-party affiliate platform app integration within its dashboard. The best affiliate marketing platforms have their apps on Shopify, making it easy for Shopify brands to integrate the affiliate marketing platform in their Shopify store.
If you’re planning to use Amazon affiliate marketing in your Shopify store, remember to enter your Amazon Associates ID under the “Online Store” tab in your “Preferences” section before you start linking to Amazon products. This follows Shopify’s guidelines, allowing you to avoid any issues with Shopify potentially taking down your store.