Knowing where people shop online nowadays can provide insights on how to promote your niche blog and to make the best out of your product reviews. In this post, we will explore some familiar names that are already in your bookmarks (or neighborhood) and see what opportunities these online stores can offer through their affiliate programs.
1 – AliExpress
AliExpress is a shopping platform used mostly by drop shippers based in China that target small business owners or users who are looking to purchase small lots for wholesale. The site operates in about 16 different languages and offers a wide range of personal to industry specific products.
Their in-house affiliate program offers a 8% commission for most product categories and comes with a 30 day cookie duration. There are also extended programs that you can sign up through affiliate networks such as Commission Junction and Admitad but they pay different commission levels.
- Product prices on Aliexpress is very cheap and that’s probably one of the reasons why it’s such a popular shopping site.
- Free shipping is included in the option for buyers and this applies to most destination worldwide.
- Joining as an affiliate is quite confusing due to the different ways and the need to set up an ad space. Basically, the method of choice for promoting is to create an affiliate store, stuffed it with a ton of product links, reviews and expect it to rank. But if you truly understand the current mechanism of keyword indexing and site ranking, you’ll know that this is not possible.
- The quality of customer reviews isn’t the most impressive. Most are brief, non-constructive and written in broken English. This will not help if you are targeting English-speaking audience or trying to gain more insights about the product.
- While the non-express free shipping option is available, most will usually take about 20 to 30 days to complete delivery to most part of the world from China. Your payout will also be affected because you have to wait longer.
2 – Amazon
The Amazon marketplace doesn’t need a lot of introduction here. They carry millions of products ranging from physical to digital to most parts of the US, Canada, UK as well as other countries. Their affiliate program is run in-house and the commission structure varies according to different product categories, as shown below.
- Unlike AliExpress, Amazon products yield more quality and reputable brands and they are evident through the massive customer reviews. Most product information is also very thorough as they come with different images and video demonstration.
- Amazon is well-known for fast shipping, secured payment and perks from their membership program, so there’s the trust factor there for potential customers to convert.
- Signing up as an Amazon Associate is pretty straightforward and you do get approved easily if you’ve everything in place.
- Amazon is notorious for their short cookie duration and if someone who follows your affiliate link doesn’t buy anything within 24 hours, you’ll not make any profit.
- Their commission fees isn’t one of the best in the market and for some product categories, you can actually make more through private affiliate offers or with other affiliate networks.
- The platform also has strict rules to abide and if you don’t follow them closely, your account and whatever money that you make, can easily be suspended without advance notice. You can find a lot of these complaints online.
3 – Best Buy
Best Buy is an online store and retailer that can be found in most major cities in the US and Canada. Electronic is their biggest product category, but they also have others like home living and baby products. Their affiliate program is available through Commission Junction for Canada (1% to 6% commission within 14 day referral) and Rakuten Linkshare for US (1% commission within 24 hour referral).
- It’s one outlet to consider, especially if you are in the electronic niche and looking to make the most out of Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
- Since there are many physical stores around, customers can actually choose to read your review online and then purchase in-store for whatever reasons. So this may cause you to lose a few referral customers.
4 – Etsy
Etsy is a well-known marketplace for handmade arts and crafts. Hence, it’s only specific for marketers who are in this niche. Most of the sellers are independent business owners based in the US, Canada and some parts of the European regions. Their affiliate program (Canada) is available through the AWIN affiliate network and it comes with a 30 day cookie. For new buyers, you’ll earn 8% commission and 5% for existing ones.
- There are a lot of unique and high quality handcrafted items on the platform. Thus they attract a specific group of audience and also higher selling prices.
- The product information is very thorough and one can easily contact the sellers for more questions.
- One of the main competitions would be coming from the Amazon Handmade department so visitors are likely to compare between the two when buying these products.
- Free shipping option isn’t common and can be very expensive depending on where the seller is from, so that may deter some people from buying through Etsy.
5 – Jet
Jet is a new eCommerce site that just started in 2014 and it only serves within the US region. It offers a lot of stuff ranging from groceries to electronics and their affiliate program is available through Rakuten Linkshare with a referral period of 7 days.
- For the same brand and quality, Jet is known to offer cheaper prices than Amazon and has a saving mechanism in place to attract more online purchases.
- Customers have raved about their excellent customer service as well as their good packaging system.
- Like most new sites, they are just picking up and many people are still not familiar with the brand. Hence it will take awhile for them to convert.
- They don’t carry as much item as compared to Amazon so there is less selection for customers to buy.
- They don’t provide speedy shipping as what you would get on Amazon.
6 – Petco
As the name suggests, Petco is an eCommerce and retail chain that sells pet products and supplies. The company is based in the US and distributes a lot of common brands that you’d see in the market. Their affiliate program is managed by Commission Junction and the commission earnings are between 5% – 8% within 7 day referral period.
- The company has a high network earning score, which means that they convert quite well online and also have sufficient funds to pay affiliates. This is important to know before you partner with any merchant otherwise, all your marketing effort will go to waste.
- Free shipping is available for the customers even if they aren’t signing up for memberships so there’s no pressure to commit into anything long term.
- The main competition would be from again, Amazon as well as PetSmart, which is another big retailer in the same industry (but PetSmart’s affiliate program is temporarily unavailable, so you may as well go with Petco).
7 – Walmart
Walmart is also another superstore that we are all familiar with and it has got affiliate programs in Canada, US and Mexico – all of which offer between 2% to 10% and they can be found through Rakuten Linkshare.
- The company is well-known for grocery shopping and discounted prices so it’s good to work with if you are promoting coupons through a blog.
- They can be found everywhere in big cities, so most people might just prefer to shop in-store than having to wait for their package to arrive.
- The company has also made headlines for their anti-employee policies, poor health care and abusive system so some people may not be happy about that and thus will not support them as customers.
8 – Wayfair
Wayfair is a popular online place for home living products and supplies. They don’t operate a physical store and all their products are shipped directly from the warehouses. Their affiliate program is managed by ShareASale (US) and AWIN network (UK).
- Home products are mostly big ticket items so you can earn pretty lucrative commissions promoting them, especially during the change of seasons or festive occasions. Most people refurnish or decorate their homes during these times and they are constantly checking online for ideas or reviews.
- The information on their website for each product page is very professionally laid out with beautiful images and virtual tours to enhance the visitor’s experience. I think it’s a great way to help people making better buying choices online too.
- Both US and Canada offer free shipping over a minimum amount so that will entice more people to order online because no one really like carrying heavy stuff in their cars anyway.
- You are basically in competition with Ikea and Home Depot who are both big retailers (with stores) that offer competitive pricing when it comes to shopping seasons.
Which Stores Best Suit Your Niche?
These are all very interesting companies to be part of, but that doesn’t mean you should sign up for every one of them. It’s a better idea to choose an outlet that you’ve experience as a customer and more importantly, promote products that are useful and relevant to your niche.
Amazon, Jet and Walmart can be used for most general items, but for the others, you’ll need to be very specific. If you are still stuck with niche selection, going through these online stores can point you towards an appropriate affiliate program to join too.
Would you be interested to learn more about becoming a successful niche marketer? Feel free to look around my recommended training platform or leave your comments below and I’ll try my best to help out.
You may also be interested in;
How to Find a Profitable Niche Business
Although I haven’t tried it out yet, Ebay is another big name that has an affiliate program. It might be worth considering for people who are unhappy with Amazon’s affiliate program. There are Ebay sellers who are selling just about anything that you can find on Amazon, and often for a lower price.
I’m now an Amazon affiliate, but I’m not earning yet and have second thoughts about changing merchant. Based on your review, it seems not wise to get involve with Amazon. So, which one would be the best when it comes to affiliating with online stores?
Hi Eli, that will depend on what type of niche that you are in. Amazon, Jet and Walmart are mostly all rounders – meaning that they supply a lot of variety under one roof. As for Petco and Wayfair, those are very niche specific.
What exactly is your niche? Maybe I could look up for you.
James Underwood says
I’ve been using Amazon affiliate links for a few months now, and although I get a lot clicks, I don’t get a lot of sales. I think it is due to their 24 hour cookie. I know personally, if I’m researching a big ticket item, I might put it on a wish list while I do research. But when I go to buy, which is often after 24 hours, I don’t go through a blog that I might have learned about the product, I go straight to Amazon.
So if my readers are doing the same thing, which I am sure they are, I would lose the sale.
I’ve been looking for some new programs. I actually have an account at AWIN, but I didn’t realize Etsy was there. I’ll check that one out. Walmart would be a good one too, I think. I also have a Target affiliate account and have had some success there. I think their cookie is 7 days.
This is such a great resource article for bloggers who are just starting to monetize from their blogs. I personally don’t like Amazon due to its short cookie period and low commissions, but it has got a vast array of products for every imaginable niche. I like the Etsy option too, but since my readers are mainly from South Africa, the shipping costs will deter them from buying. It’s a pity because I think their products are really good quality.
My choice is definitely Amazon followed by Walmart. I have been with them for so many years and I can say that they are one of the best e-commerce sites out there. I must say that the low commissions can be quite unattractive, but they are trusted and legit, so more people are likely to buy from them over other places.
I was actually an Amazon Affiliate for several years and one morning I woke up to find an email stating that I was banned from the US version of the platform. I’m still a member of the other versions (including the UK).
I pointed out that I had worked with them for a long time, and made them A LOT of money – so why the sudden ban? They wouldn’t give me any sort of specifics and I still have no idea what I suddenly did wrong to this day!
Are you an Amazon Affiliate and have you ever had any problems with your account?
I am sorry to hear that Chris. I’ve yet to join the Amazon Associate program so I can’t say for sure what could possibly go wrong. It can be very frustrating to not have your US account reinstated. I hope you are doing better on the UK side or maybe join private affiliate programs that can offer more support (and perhaps higher commissions).