For those of us who are affiliates, affiliate-partners or marketers, trying to make sales and get commissions is your primary goal right? And while trying to fulfill this goal, the ecommerce sites running the affiliate program are also profiting from that sales you are making for them.
To cut the long story short, this is how it works. As an affiliate, you’re doing three major things:
– Promoting the product/ brand
– Promoting the ecommerce site selling it
– Earning commission as reward for these two things you do.
A typical example of ecommerce sites I promote their products/services through their Affiliate Programs are mainly Konga & Jumia. I am also with Amazon & web hosting company – Arvixe. I also promote a few others.
Konga & Jumia are top notch online malls running Affiliate programs in my country of residence. Despite the fact that I kind of prefer Konga’s Affiliate Program and even talked about my success cashing my first commission from them in a previous article, I’m not here to praise or stand for any of these ecommerce sites. There seems to be a problem most of us are facing with the affiliate programs by these ecommerce sites which is the reason I created this post.
Average Affiliates & Their Big Challenges
An average affiliate, in my opinion, is one uses their website, word of mouth or which ever means to sell a product for a commission. An average affiliate may have only 50% knowledge about what is involved in affiliate marketing, however, he/she still makes sales.
Even with the proper knowledge on affiliate marketing, a lot of us still face some challenges especially with the most popular programs offered by ecommerce websites in Nigeria.
1. Broken affiliate links
This is probably the most common error. But wait, do I even call it an error?
After the affiliate refers their reader to the product page, they get a 404 page (not found) error on the ugly expired/broken link after the product might have been removed from the store. Okay, campaign links expire, right? But how about they go buy something else and the affiliate link remains active so the affiliate can still get a commission for it?
Showing related products instead of 404 page would be much preferable but I don’t know if these ecommerce sites really do it that way.
2. Bad tracking by ecommerce websites
I’ll give two Instances.
First, there have been cases where I ordered goods for people using my unique affiliate link and the sales were not recorded in my commissions. I knew because I was the one who ordered these products. But then, what about other people that I do not know who may have bought through my affiliate links without being recorded by the system?
Honestly, I am happy these ecommerce sites are quite Amazing at tracking sales when customers order products and makes sure the goods are tracked till they are delivered to the customer, but what happens to the Affiliate who referred that customer? Does this mean the Affiliate gets less priority?
Second, I have this friend of mine who had to exclaim and complain about this issue. He’d make a sale, it wouldn’t be recorded, and if it’s recorded, it’d take AGES to confirm the sale. Sometimes a sale could stay up to 2 months and remain unconfirmed until he takes it to Twitter and mentions the Ecommerce’s handle there.
After all the complaints, finally conly the smallest Commissions gets approved. The big ones are left unconfirmed.
You are smiling too, it’s quite funny. Although this has not happened to me once, I’ve had to complain too. Lucky for me, my big commissions got approved. But the question is this: what happened to my friend’s commissions and other similar cases I sometimes see on Social Media? Were the sales for those big commissions really canceled by the buyer?
We don’t know, we have no proof if it was delivered & paid for or not. We are only affiliates, we have no power…s so some people think.
WHAT MAY BE THE WAY OUT FOR BOTH AFFILIATES & THE AFFILIATE PROGRAMS:
We know that there are gurus who make up to 6-figure earnings from affiliate sales, and others who make make 4-figures and are still trying to climb, there’s really no way a successful affiliate campaign can be attainable if these challenges are not smoothed out. It all boils down to the ecommerce sites and affiliates to play their respective roles.
i.) ECOMMERCE SITES ROLE: Helping their Affiliates to earn more by improving their affiliate system software, especially in terms of accuracy in sales tracking and transparency in relation whether an order was actually delivered or not.
I can only assure you there are certain things you, the affiliate marketer, need to get doing.
a. Make buying process clear to the readers. A good example is what some professional bloggers do. They tell readers to please clear their browser cookies before using their links to buy stuffs. This guarantees the commission gets to them. Cookies can get errors, so the best way to minimize such error is by explaining things to readers how things work. I’m pretty sure they won’t find it difficult to do.
b. Tracking & updating unique affiliate links, You’ll definitely need to keep doing this. Manual editing to renew the expired links so that whatever sales made can be accurately recorded by the affiliate software can be frustrating especially when you have to go though your old articles. Although I somehow believe an automation can be applied by the ecommerce sites to correct such, this will definitely reduce stress on the affiliates while they still make their sales.
I don’t know who might be reading this, if it’s a Staff of any Ecommerce sites or any one related to them, these challenges need drastic action to be sorted out. This post is not just another marketing or tech-business article, it’s an Open Letter.
Amazon & Ebay are there for us to see how they are doing great in the business with their affiliates, it’s not a bad thing if any ecommerce sites gets to do better than them right?
You may share your Affiliate experiences you’ve had with the ecommerce sites below while we hope they fix things as soon as possible.