Starting an affiliate eCommerce store is one of the easiest ways to make money online without have to worry about sourcing products, managing orders, shipping products, and keep track of inventory etc. The way these stores make money is by adding an affiliate links to someone else’s product, promoting on their website and earning a commission.
As per the research, affiliate marketing accounts for 15% of all digital media revenue, and well-crafted affiliate marketing programs can boost revenue by 30%. It is also one of the largest and easiest sources of online income, so you can be sure that you will be able to make a profit from an affiliate eCommerce store.
With an affiliate eCommerce store, you don’t need any big investment and no need to worry about product development, shipping, customer care or other operational tasks. All you need to do is to increase your store traffic and make sure that your website visitors convert to paying customers.
In other words, setting up an affiliate eCommerce store can be a great idea for your online business! In this post we will learn what affiliate marketing is, types of affiliate you can work with, what an affiliate eCommerce store is, how to set one up and more!
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a performance based marketing where an affiliates refers someone to buy a retailer’s product and when that person buys the product based on affiliates recommendation, affiliates receive a commission.
In simple words, affiliate marketing is referring a product or service to someone by sharing it on blog, social media platforms, or website. The affiliate earns a commission each time when someone purchase the product or service through the unique link associated with their recommendation.
Basically affiliate marketing is a partnership between a publisher who produces content and a retailer who has an affiliate program hosted by an affiliate tracking platform. After approval to the affiliate program, affiliates can log in to the retailer’s affiliate platform and get unique tracking links, commonly known as affiliate links.
Any time a visitor clicks on one of those affiliate links and makes a purchase at the retailer’s site, the publisher is entitled to a commission from the retailer for helping them generate a sale. Any time a visitor clicks a link, a tracking cookie is stored on the visitor’s web browser that informs the retailer which publisher sent the visitor to their site.
Now, let’s see on how affiliate marketing works. It is a four-step cycle in the same sequence as listed:
- The affiliate attracts visitors by promoting retailer’s product on blog, social media or eCommerce store
- Visitors click on the link and navigated to the retailer’s store
- Visitors buys the product on the retailer’s store
- The affiliate gets paid a commission for the product as decided.
What is an Affiliate eCommerce Store?
An affiliate online store is a store that doesn’t sell its own products, instead it redirects to other retail stores through affiliate links.
In an affiliate store, the publisher’s content is product listings in a store just like a real eCommerce store. You can make an affiliate store which will display the retailer’s products and when a visitor at your store clicks on any product, they’ll be redirected to the retailer’s store. When visitors complete their purchase, the retailer pays affiliates a predefined commission and handles product fulfillment directly with that visitor.
Advantages of Affiliate eCommerce Stores
- More Affordable: Compared to the investment needed to build, launch and grow a regular eCommerce store, you’ll spend next to nothing to create your affiliate store since affiliate programs are free to join and there’s no product inventory to invest in.
- Less Customer Service: The affiliate merchants you partner with will handle customer facing issues – such as shipping, returns or general inquiries – so you’ll spend little to no time dealing with customer service.
- Brand Recognition: By curating affiliate products from well-known brands in your store, you’ll increase trust and have a better chance of turning visitors into buyers.
- More Offerings: If you have an existing eCommerce store, adding affiliate products into the mix will allow you to increase product offerings and revenue without the investment of expanding your product line.
Disadvantages of Affiliate eCommerce Stores
- Lower Margins: The commission rates offered by the majority of physical product affiliate programs won’t blow you away in terms of generosity, so you’ll earn less on each sale than you would by selling your own products.
- Disjointed Experience: If you curate products from more than one merchant on your site, you’ll have to send visitors to multiple sites when they try to check out with different products. The disjointed experience may leave them frustrated and severely hurt your conversion rate.
- No Guarantees: On the flip side, if your affiliate store doesn’t diversify the number of brands it promotes, your income could take a drastic hit if your main merchant chooses to close down their affiliate program.
- Product Upkeep: Even with all the tools out there, there’s still manual work required to keep your product links, descriptions and images accurate and up to date.
How to Create Your Affiliate Store
Creating an affiliate store can be accomplished in a few easy steps:
- Select a domain name and register it
- Pick a niche of products you want to sell
- Join the affiliate programs that are suitable for you
- Create your store in Shopify
- Promote your eCommerce Store
#1. Select a domain name and register it
You need to choose the name for you affiliate business and register the domain name for it, before creating your affiliate store. A domain name is the name of your affiliate eCommerce business where your customers can access your store and click on any product to navigate to retailer’s web store.
The name of your store should reflect the business you are doing as it makes your customers easy to find you. I recommend adding ‘store’ or ‘shop’ in your business name because you will need to find an available domain name, and it’s easier to find an available one when there are several words in the name.
A domain name are often any combination of letters and numbers, and it is often used in combination of the several domain name extensions, such as .com, .net and more. The domain name must be registered before you’ll use it. Every domain name is unique. No two websites can have identical domain name.
The steps to purchase a domain name are:
- Choose a reliable domain registrar (like NameCheap, GoDaddy).
- Search for the desired domain on domain availability checker tool.
- Choose the best available option.
- Finalize your order and complete the domain registration.
- Verify the ownership of your new domain.
How to choose a domain name for Affiliate eCommerce Stores
- Use the name of your brand or product – If you already have a brand name for your eCommerce business, I advise you to stick to that brand name for your website.
- Pick a short name – A short and memorable name goes a long way in building a brand as it is catchy and easy to remember.
- Pick a keyword-rich domain name for long-term SEO benefit – A keyword-rich domain name helps in getting backlinks on anchor text that matches the website content and can in-turn help a website to rank higher.
- Pick a word that is easy to understand – A name that is free of any lingual or grammatical errors will help your store to be remembered by people and thus help it to transform into a stellar online brand.
- Stick with .com if you can – It is best to have .com domain for an affiliates eCommerce store.Even after now that so many new extensions has come up, .com remain the undisputed king.The reason for this is that your visitors expect and have more comfort with .com domain.
- Don’t buy trademarked domains – You may face some legal problems by buying trademarked domain name. You can search for U.S. trademarks at www.uspto.gov and make sure no one owns a trademark before buying a domain name.
- Avoid numbers and hyphens – People often forget hyphens while typing domain names. Avoid having numbers and hyphens while buying your domain name.Numbers can mislead people about whether the numbers is a digit (3) or a word (three).
- Check availability on social media sites – When you have selected desired domain name, check if that is available on social media sites like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ etc
Choosing your domain name is a long-term investment. Try to purchase your domain for at least five years if possible. This is the ranking factor that helps search engines and see you as a more reputable and trustworthy business.
#2. Pick a niche of products you want to sell
When you start an online store, one of the first steps you’ll need to take is to choose a niche. Having a focused niche allows you to more easily connect to more customers, sponsors and advertisers, and concentrate your marketing and content creation efforts.
A niche Product is a segment of a larger product that can be defined by its own unique needs, preferences, or identity that serve a specific customer base and product category.
For example women’s shoes is a Commoditized products and there can be several niche market under it like shoes for plus-sized women, shoes for nurses, shoes for school girls etc. Nearly all products can be further divided into several niche products.
Choosing a niche product in starting phase of creating online store is a wise business decision to serve a certain customer base better than competitors who target the larger market.
To find the best product to sell online you can read my article How To Choose A Perfect Product To Sell Online.
#3. Join the affiliate programs
Anyone who has ever done online shopping must have bought something from Amazon, the largest and most popular eCommerce store in the world at least once.
As per the survey, it is one of the most trusted brand in world and 89% of buyers agree that they are more likely to purchase products from Amazon than any other website. That’s why i recommend you to join Amazon affiliate program, and include their affiliate link to build your affiliate eCommerce store.
Open Amazon Affiliate program website in your favorite internet browser and click on the button ‘Join now for free’ at the top of page.
Clicking that button will take you to the login screen of amazon.com, where you will be asked to log in to your existing Amazon account
If you don’t have an account you can create one by clicking on the button Create your Amazon account.
Once you are logged in, you’ll be asked to provide payee information and answer some questions regarding your store website. Follow the easy to understand on-screen instructions to complete your profile.
After completion, your application will be reviewed by Amazon and will be approved after that.
#4. Create your store in Shopify
Let’s learn how to create an affiliate eCommerce store using Shopify.
Sign up for a free trial
Go to shopify.com, and on the main page you’ll see an option to sign up for a free trial. Enter your email address and hit the button Start free trail.
Shopify will ask you a few questions to setup your store like whether you have an existing store and then have you enter your name and address—you should add your business address if you have one.
Shopify will automatically create a new store for you like
yourname.myshopify.com and you’ll be redirected to your dashboard.
Choose a template/theme
In your admin dashboard click on Customize theme button, it will take you to the Themes page. On themes page, scroll down again, and click on Explore free themes.
There will be around 8 free themes to choose from. If you don’t like them you can visit Shopify Store to purchase any premium theme.
Imports Amazon products on Shopify
Now that you have created Shopify store and installed the theme, now its time to imports the selected products from Amazon to your Shopify store.
There are several apps available on Shopify apps store, using which you can import Amazon products to Shopify store. The one we will be using is Linkify ‑ Amazon Importer
Using this app you can easily import best-selling products from Amazon to your Shopify store. You can also monetize your store with Amazon Affiliate when customers visit your website. This app will convert “Add to cart” button to “View on Amazon” on product page, affiliate redirection will be done automatically.
Step 1: Install Linkify
To save the time that you spend on manual migration of the your affiliated products on Shopify, download the application that will do it for you in just 5 minutes. It is called Linkify ‑ Amazon Importer. This is paid product and pricing starts from $5 per for basic plan and $10 per month for pro plan.
Step 2: Import products with Linkify
To import products from Amazon to your Shopify store, the first step is to login to Amazon.com, choose any product Just copy the Amazon product Link
The next step is to open your Shopify admin panel and paste the copied amazon product list into the linkify Dashboard
That’s it. It will automatically search the product and it will be added to your shopify store. You can view, edit and delete the product on linkify dashboard.
Don’t forget to enter Amazon affiliate id on Linkify settings page.
Do this process for all the products you want to import.
Step 3: Fill in your other pages
After you have imported all your products, you should create other pages for your store like about us and contact us page.
To create pages on the left side menu, click on Online Store, which will open up a secondary menu of options then click on Pages, and when the page with a list of current pages loads click on the button Add page.
Enter the details for your pages on the add page form and click on button Save to create the page.
You can create legal pages for your shopify store in few clicks only. To do so, click on Settings in the left side menu and when the page appears click on Legal and it will take you to the legal pages. To create legal pages from template just click on the button Create from template.
Step 4: Check rest of your settings
The final step before publishing you eCommerce store is to check over your settings and make sure everything’s accurate.
On your Checkout page, you can specify whether you want your customers to check out as guests or if they’ll need to create an account before checking out.On your Payment Providers page, you can enable different payment methods like PayPal or Credit Cards.On your Shipping page, you can set shipping rates for different zones.
You can do all these changes from the Settings page in your Shopify dashboard.
#5. Grow Your Affiliate Store
After you have created you Amazon affiliate store, the next step is to promote your store o attract visitors to buy products from your store. For this i would recommend you to read How To Attract More Customers To Your Store.
You need to keep track of your website traffic to find your best selling Amazon affiliate products as well as products that are not doing well. You can use this using Google Analytics.
Also don’t forget to install bog on your shopify store and keep posting useful products, helpful reviews, and targeted content to your website. Also make sure to setup social profiles and make use of social media platform to attract visitors to your store.
Success Tips for Your Affiliate Store
Now that you have created your affiliate eCommerce store, here are few tips to take it to the next level:
1. Know Your Audience
The most important task is to know who your website visitors or audience are, their likes and buying habits. You should only promote products, services, and offers that match the needs and interests of your audience.
Most of the audience to your store comes from the blog posts you write, so keep your products and topics of blogs in same line. Don’t ever do that you sell sports products and write about digital camera.
This will help you getting targeted audience that are interested in buying your products and you will get better sales following this. If you have not yet decided your products to sell then see this article How To Choose A Perfect Product To Sell Online.
2. Learn to be Patience
Affiliate eCommerce store is not a get-rich-quick method, it takes time and hard-work to make money. If you want to earn $5000 in very first month on starting an affiliate store, I will advise you to try something else but not this.
To earn a $5000 you will have to earn $1 first and then $1 to $10, I mean to say that its takes time and you need to be patience while learning this.
3. Learn About the Product You’re selling
Never sell a product that you have no idea about. Always research about the advantages and disadvantages of the products before selling on your store.
You should be sure why this products is better than competitors and what problem of the buyer it will solve before selling on your store.
4. Be Transparent about Affiliate Relationships
Always mention your affiliations on your web store. Your customers will appreciate your honesty and will feel better to contribute to your earnings.
If they sense that you are not being honest about your affiliations, they can even bypass your link and go directly to the vendor just to avoid giving you referral credit and affiliate commision.
Honesty and disclosure is not only necessary to build loyal customers but its also a law to mention it on your affiliates web store.
5. Design a Professional Website
The design of your store matters a lot in attracting customers to your store, as it is the representation of your store. Your website design must be clean, good and organized to attract your visitors to click more, view products and make a purchase.
Your store design is the first impression to your visitors so you must create an eye-caching, good, modern and professional looking store. You must hire a good designer, if you can afford, to create your online store.
Hopefully, by now you feel you’ve learned the basics and know what it takes to start an affiliate eCommerce store. Not to forget that affiliate eCommerce store can be a good source to earn online, but it takes time and hard work.
Do you have any tips for affiliate eCommerce store? I’d love to hear from you. Do share them in the comments below.