Affiliate Program for eCommerce: The Ultimate Guide 2022

Passive income or ways to “make money while sleeping” may be a term any business owner wants to fully understand so that they can earn extra income in a more effortless way. For most people, affiliate marketing is how they get started to make it come true. 


Among many different digital marketing tactics out there, it might be a little confusing to actually get the concept of affiliate marketing, not to mention apply it to your business success. This is why this article is for you, we are going to introduce a complete guide you need to know about affiliate programs and how it can bring a great deal of money to your company. 

affiliate marketing
Affiliate Program is an irreplaceable part of marketing nowadays
open shopify store

What exactly is an Affiliate Program?

To put it simply, an affiliate program (or associate program) is an agreement in which affiliate websites get paid when they send traffic to an online merchant website (this amount of money is called a commission).


In the affiliate process, an affiliate will earn a commission by promoting products from other people or companies. The affiliate simply finds products they enjoy, promotes them to others, and finally earns a piece of the profit for every sale they create. 


Now, we are going to go deeper at how an affiliate program works?

How Does an Affiliate Program Work?

The affiliate program works by spreading the responsibilities across parties in terms of spreading product creation and product marketing. In this process, each party involved will receive a share of the total revenue according to their contribution. 


Generally, the affiliate program will need 3 parties to make it work. Let’s take a look at the relationships of these parties to understand what a successful affiliate system is like.

affiliate program life cycle
The life cycle of a successful affiliate program

1. Seller (or product creator)

The seller, whether a large enterprise or a solo entrepreneur, is a merchant or a retailer with products to sell. The products can be either physical objects (like domestic goods) or services (like learning tutorials).


There’s no need for the seller to be actively involved in the marketing tactics, but they can also do the advertising and get profit from the revenue sharing related to affiliate marketing. For instance, the seller may be an eCommerce merchant using a dropshipping business and wants to reach out to more audiences by hiring affiliate websites to have their products promoted. 

2. The affiliate (or the publisher)

A publisher can either be an individual or a company that will help the seller market their products in an appealing way to attract as many potential consumers as possible. In other words, The affiliate has the responsibility to persuade consumers that the product is valuable or beneficial to them so they will make a buying decision. When the consumer ends up paying money for the product they buy, the affiliate will be given a portion of the revenue they made. 


Normally affiliates would have a specific audience group to market and their way of marketing will match that audience’s interests. This defined niche market will help the affiliate attract customers who are most likely to act on the promotion messages or good deals advertised. 

affiliate program structure
The basic structure of an affiliate program

3. The consumer

Whether the consumer knows it or not, it’s them who the affiliate marketing aims at. Affiliates will try to reach consumers in many ways: on social media, blogs, or websites.


If the consumer makes their purchase via those channels, the seller and the affiliate will share the profits that they earn. Sometimes the affiliate will choose to be upfront with the consumer that they can get a commission for the sales of the products. Other times even if they don’t disclose to people that way, consumers will still find it obvious that there’s affiliate marketing infrastructure behind their purchase. 


Either way, the good news is that consumers will not feel that they have to pay more for the product they bought through the affiliate program because the affiliate’s share of the profit is already included in the retail price. It’s normal that they are willing to complete the purchase process for the product and will be unaffected by the affiliate marketing system, even though they do play a significant part in them. 

What are some popular types of Affiliate Program?

Most affiliates want to ensure that their audience is engaged and reacts to the products they promote, but not all products are advertised by affiliates in the same ways. In fact, there are several typical ways that affiliates would choose for their marketing, like some effective methods below:

1. Search affiliates

In this program, entrepreneurs or freelancers will invest money to promote your offer actively on search results or other social platforms such as Facebook.


To ensure they follow your marketing guidelines properly, try to look for partners who have sufficient SEO knowledge to work with. You can either do an A/B test to see what advertisements will suit your business best before deciding. 

2. Coupon sites

If your store is offering a new product or service that is not popular on the market yet, you can try to have an affiliate partnership with a coupon site for a limited period of time.


Coupon sites are great at promoting your deals and boosting special offers. Some of the most well-known ones are Slickdeals and Groupon.

Slickdeals affiliate program
Slickdeals has become an economical mean of affiliate marketing for S&M business

3. Review sites

This is a place where affiliates will test and review products and services that they are interested in and compare them to others. 


If your store sells products or services that are somehow niche or expensive, then most of your buyers may want to look for more information about that subject before buying. And in that case, it will be a good idea to research the top review sites regarding your products or services and reach out to the writer who wrote the piece, asking whether they want to cooperate and provide an affiliate link to your products on their websites.


4. Influencers

Influencers are those who would have a big impact on the purchasing decisions of a large audience. This type of people often is very significant in the affiliate program. Since they already have a great number of followers, it becomes very easy for them to direct consumers or their fans to the seller’s products through social networks, blogs, and create interactions between their followers and the seller. The influencers then, of course, will receive a share of the profits for helping the brand market their products.



influencer affiliate program
Famous influencers and affiliate programs are inseparable things now


Marketing programs with influencers are a typical way to go on Instagram where big brands would partner with famous people to take advantage of their fame and following numbers. Many different marketing methods will be used, from a series of product reviews with photos, video posts, or live streams, etc.

 5. Bloggers

Another common channel used in an affiliate program is via bloggers with affiliate links included on their site. Bloggers can help increase a seller’s conversions thanks to their ability to rank organically in the search engine. The way bloggers sample the item or service and then write a compelling review could promote the brand image and gain more recognition, thus driving more traffic to the seller’s site. 


Like other methods, the bloggers will be awarded for their contribution to help the sellers improve their sales by spreading to the audience worldwide about the product value. 

6. Email lists

Although the method of using emails has been existing for a long time, it’s still considered a feasible source of affiliate marketing income. Some affiliates collect lists of emails that can be used to promote the seller’s products. Others may make good use of email newsletters by attaching hyperlinks to products and earning commissions when the consumer makes their purchases.


The affiliate can also build an email list over time by using their various campaigns to collect emails and then send out email messages related to the products they are advertising.

What are Affiliate Program examples to join in 2021?

1. Amazon Associates

The first example of the most popular affiliate program lists is Amazon Affiliates. Making up for nearly 40% of all the online sales over America, Amazon is a great marketplace for those affiliates out there to sell products and earn commissions. Since people already get familiar with shopping on Amazon, there will be no need for any customer education on part of the affiliate.


Bloggers, publishers, and most other content creators can register for the Amazon Affiliate program and begin posting affiliate links to make money. For social media influencers, Amazon has their Amazon Influencer Program that allows people to join without having any website or blog account. For influencers, they can create their own Amazon storefront and add their recommended items posted with unique affiliate links. The commission rate for this program is 1-10% depending on the category of the product.


Amazon affiliate program
Amazon affiliate program

 2. eBay Affiliate Program

eBay is another active online platform with more than 200 million regular buyers, making it a lucrative affiliate program for both bloggers and influencers.


The commission rate is somewhere between 50 or 70% of the auction fees depending on the product category. 


With eBay’s reporting tools, you can easily see all the statistics related to affiliate sales in one place and quickly find out ways to optimize them. It can be said that eBay is a great affiliate program to consider signing up because of its global inventory of over a billion listings. 

eBay affiliate program
eBay affiliate program


3. Shopify

Shopify has more than 500,000 active stores on its platform and is one of the most important players in the eCommerce industry. Shopify provides easy setup and it also has everything website builders need to easily analyze and process payments. 


Shopify affiliates could earn up to $58 on average for each new user who registers for a paid plan via their affiliate link, $2000 for each Shopify Plus referral. For anyone interested in eCommerce selling, the Shopify affiliate program is a good start thanks to the availability of training videos and blog posts to help you understand their affiliate program effortlessly. In case you want to know more about its affiliate policy, the commission rate for Shopify affiliates is 200%.

Shopify affiliate program

4. Wix

This is a common website builder with around 400,000 websites powered by its platform. Wix offers a $100 commission rate and no limitation on the number of people you can refer to. 


When you start using your affiliate link on your website or blog, you can take advantage of a bunch of ad banners and landing pages in all languages that Wix provides and sell products to your readers.


Although Wix is an amazing affiliate program for you to join, one thing you should know is that it requires affiliates to earn a minimum of $300 each month to get paid.

Wix affiliate program
Wix affiliate program

What are must-know tips before starting your affiliate program?

1. Never recommend products you haven’t used before or they are not a good fit for your audience: In other words, you should only recommend those you are extremely familiar with. This way you can build trust with your audience and make them feel like your reviews and product introductions are reliable to believe in. 


2. Promote products from multiple merchants: We all know that it’s not good to put all the eggs in one basket so a good strategy is to work with many different merchants in your niche in order not to get stuck with the commission from just one brand.


3. Carefully analyze your affiliate traffic sources: Knowing where your traffic is coming from and the audience’s demographics will allow you to customize your messages in a way that attracts people to your affiliate links the most. Analytics data is vital to making informed decisions, boosting your conversion rates and generating more affiliate sales.


4. Adopt useful extensions: you should know that by using an extension you can save up a lot of time and resources on an affiliate program and spend more time on other essential tasks. Building an effective affiliate business with different extensions has made multi-level marketing easier than ever!



Joining an Affiliate Program is an ideal solution for those who are looking for gaining control of their own monthly profit. We hope that the ultimate guide above can help you have a better understanding of how to build the best affiliate program to boost your passive income. Since there are no limits to how many affiliate programs you can join, why don’t start earning money right away and tell us your successful affiliate story later?

eCommerce Lead Marketer at | Posts

I am quite passionate about Ecommerce and Technology, love sharing helpful information about Marketing, SEO, and business management for global readers. I feel like traveling to new destinations for the cultural experience and beautiful sightseeings.

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