The retail landscape is changing, and millennials and Gen Z now hold the spending power. A 2021 study found that young students and professionals commanded around $360 billion in disposable income, and as the world moves online so does that money.
That said, young people are more conservative with their spending. Growing up in repeated periods of economic uncertainty, coupled with a move towards more sustainable ways of living, mean businesses have to work harder to win over young spenders.
It’s therefore more important than ever before to optimise your eCommerce promotions to target this audience. As we enter into another recession, setting yourself apart from the competition as a trusted retailer for young audiences is key to succeeding.
The rise of affiliate marketing
In the current economic climate, traditional marketing methods can feel lavish and like an unnecessary cost, especially tactics like billboards and online advertising. To improve brand recognition and customer retention without spending quite as much on advertising, you can leverage affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is booming and the industry is worth roughly £10.9 billion in 2022 – up from £7.2 billion in 2017.1 Marketing statistics reveal that 80% of brands have an affiliate marketing program in place.2 If you’re not leveraging affiliate marketing, you’re missing out!
Why businesses use affiliate marketing
The biggest names in the eCommerce game already leverage affiliate marketing to promote their products and services. Amazon runs an influencer programme that enables individuals to recommend products on social media in exchange for commission.3 Affiliate promotions are booming because they’re a cost-effective way to reach a wider audience. Gen Z and millennials now hold increased spending power, and affiliate promotions are a way of targeting them without dealing with high commission and tenancy costs.
Affiliate promotions tend to take on one of two forms: social media promotions, and the more subtle but still-impactful promotions on affiliate networks, such as Student Beans. Both formats are extremely useful for targeting younger audiences, but operate slightly differently — which we’ll get into more later. The two aren’t mutually exclusive either: a promotion offered on an affiliate network can, with the right marketing, spread like wildfire on social media.
The goal of affiliate promotions is to build brand awareness, drive traffic to landing pages, and ultimately, increase sales and profits. Promotions featuring quality content can also boost your rankings on search engines and drive qualified leads.
In this article, we’ll discuss why your eCommerce business should prioritise affiliate promotions and how you can maximise your returns using a promotion experience platform.
Affiliate promotions target younger audiences
Did you know that the average person sees up to 10,000 ads every day?4 Standard approaches like email marketing and content marketing aren’t convincing enough to younger audiences who are used to seeing ads everywhere – you need to think outside the box!
Affiliate promotions on social media are one of the best ways to reach younger audiences as it uses influencers they know, which builds trust and entices them to make a purchase. After all, 77% of companies say social media marketing has been somewhat to very effective. This drives conversions, thus boosting sales and profits.
Suggested reading: If you want to optimise your promotions, download our guide — What Winning Your Promotional Strategy Looks Like.
What are the benefits of social media affiliate promotions?
You can target niche audiences and find affiliate marketers that specialise in the type of products or services you offer. For instance, a well-known beauty blogger could review your new makeup product and promote it via their social media platforms.
You can build trust by appealing to your audience’s pain points e.g. tight budgets or a desire to try new experiences.
An affiliate promotion might go viral which would lead to rapid lead generation and massive growth at very little cost.
Prospective customers will see positive reviews for products on social media or affiliate sites, boosting social proof and increasing sales.
TIP: To get the most out of an affiliate promotion, you must do your research and ensure you’re working with the most successful influencers in your industry.
Are there any drawbacks?
The major challenge of launching an affiliate promotion is that you run the risk of overdiscounting. For instance, an influencer sharing a promotional code in a YouTube video can result in it being leaked to people who don’t even follow or engage with that person.
This can harm your revenue stream as you will be forced to offer discounted products to far more people than you had planned for. You’ll also be required to pay your influencer for every sale made through their code, forcing you to pay far more than budgeted.
How can I avoid overdiscounting?
A promotion experience platform like Uniqodo ensures that your affiliate promotion is controlled by offering unique, single-use codes. In the near future, our platform will also have the capability to support affiliate promotions that aren’t code-based.
Uniqodo’s platform can also measure the success of your various promotions, and you can tap into our API integrations rather than creating your own — it’s safer, quicker, ISO 27001 accredited, and far more cost-effective.
As a result, you can run affiliate promotions that boost brand awareness, revenue and growth, all in a recession-proof way.
Controlled, code-based promotions aren’t limited to social media either. In fact, many affiliate networks now rely on single-use codes to ensure that promotions are secure and don’t leak to code databases. Uniqodo’s played a big hand in ensuring promotions run on affiliate networks — read on to learn more.
How Uniqodo helped Moonpig control student promotions
The challenge: Moonpig wanted to use promotions to drive engagement with a younger audience, but couldn’t run the risk of codes leaking.
The solution: We controlled offers by providing unique, single-use codes that were auto-filled at checkout. We used a simple API integration with Student Beans to seamlessly distribute the codes among students.
The results: Moonpig achieved an impressive conversion rate uplift from affiliate sales. Moonpig now had the capability to run affiliate promotions and widen its customer base without worrying about code leakage and over discounting. This proved how affiliate marketing drives growth without having to push the limits of a budget.
You’re able to reward your consumers
It can be really difficult to target a specific audience through a promotional strategy, especially since a lot of retailers don’t have the capability to track promotions closely. This makes it harder to provide promotions that drive conversions by reaching the relevant audience, and to reward particular customers.
That said, when done correctly, running affiliate promotions is a great way to reward customers who’ve stayed loyal to your business or who have made sacrifices to society as a whole. This engages them, boosts customer retention, and grows your business in a cost-effective way.
Pro tip: You can learn more about how to engage with your target audience in our blog 4 Ways to Boost eCommerce Customer Acquisition.
How can I reward specific groups?
Uniqodo’s innovative promotion experience platform has the ability to affiliate with groups like nurses through Blue Light cards. This means you can offer specific discounts for frontline workers that cannot be misused by other people.
Uniqodo runs promotions with affiliate networks all the time, and has nailed the best way of making them run smoothly. This includes ensuring there’s proper signposting at every stage of the journey using co-branded canvassing, so customers know they’re in the right place and can continue to make a purchase.
Uniqodo also measures the success of every promotion run so that you’re always learning more about how best to reach your valued customers, and so that you don’t have to worry about controlling your own promotional activity.
Are there any drawbacks?
Running promotions to target specific networks can be extremely difficult if you don’t have the technical capabilities needed. For example, if planning and executing an integration with a membership card is beyond your immediate capability, you’ll find yourself relying on generic codes that are easy to leak and will result in overdiscounting.
Our promotion experience platform will give you more control over your promotions and reward your customers for their hard work and sacrifices to society. This also enables you to retain customers in difficult economic conditions, as they’ll feel reassured that you have their best interests at heart and will continue to shop with you.
How Uniqodo helped Happy Beds reward frontline workers
The challenge: Happy Beds wanted to reward frontline workers with an exclusive offer, but needed to ensure that the promotion would be truly exclusive and could not be leaked onto generic code databases.
The solution: Uniqodo created a bespoke affiliate promotion that could only be accessed by key workers. This was achieved by:
Creating an API integration with Blue Light Cards to distribute codes.
Deploying unique, single-use codes to control the offer.
Integrating auto-filled codes in checkout.
Offering dynamic error messaging.
The results: The solution allows Happy Beds to secure their affiliate promotion and offer an exclusive, VIP purchase experience for key workers. No promotional codes were leaked to other sites, and frontline workers felt rewarded and cared for by Happy Beds. This improved the relationship between Happy Beds and the consumers, all in a way that was easy to implement and had low commission and tenancy rates.
You can boost customer loyalty
With the current economic climate making competition stronger and consumer spending less frequent, customer loyalty is more important than ever. After all, if customers are reducing how much they spend, you want to maximise those more limited opportunities.
77% of consumers say they’ve stayed loyal to a brand for 10 years or more.5 This statistic is very encouraging for eCommerce retailers: this means that if you can improve your customer loyalty now, you’ll have guaranteed revenue for the long term. Luckily, improving customer loyalty doesn’t have to be expensive if you leverage affiliate promotions.
How can affiliate promotions improve customer loyalty?
Affiliate marketing can improve customer loyalty by offering discounts or early access to specific demographics. As we said earlier, targeting younger audiences is key to succeeding in this competitive landscape, and affiliate marketing can improve customer loyalty amongst them, growing your business at little extra cost.
Uniqodo is able to administer promotions in collaboration with affiliate networks to target younger demographics while still ensuring codes are secure and don’t leak onto third-party sites. By offering customers exclusive rewards, they’ll feel cared for by you as a retailer and will be more likely to return.
Are there any drawbacks?
The biggest potential drawback of running promotions on affiliate networks is that they can be harder to monitor to see if you’re succeeding in targeting the right groups. Uniqodo’s promotion experience platform is able to track data across the promotional journey and make real-time adjustments to ensure your promotions continuously reach the right people and you aren’t risking over discounting.
There’s also the risk of promotions on affiliate networks not doing as well as promotions conducted on the company website, as they require customers to take more steps to redeem the discount. Uniqodo creates a better user experience to minimise this, for example by enabling codes and personal details to be autofilled. This improves customer retention as well and helps you to drive growth and revenue against an uncertain economic landscape.
How Uniqodo drove brand loyalty for a leading travel brand
The challenge: Travel Client X wanted to run discount voucher codes on affiliate networks, but these codes were easily leaked onto other affiliates and social media sites. This meant that Travel Client X was paying excess commission and losing revenue as a result of over discounting. They also couldn’t track results for specific campaigns as the data wasn’t linked between landing pages or customer reservations
The solution: Uniqodo’s system enabled Travel Client X to:
Track every code.
Work with preferred affiliate partners to create exclusive offers.
Offer promotions through unique, single-use codes that cannot leak.
The results: Travel Client X is now able to do a lot more with their campaigns, as they can tweak or test promotions instantly. They can also share offers with varying combinations of benefits for their customers, based on specific needs. This has helped drive customer loyalty by making them feel looked after and ensuring their needs are always met with Travel Client X.
Successful affiliate marketing made easy with Uniqodo
Affiliate marketing is a powerful tactic to drive conversions, improve customer loyalty, and boost brand awareness. However, if eCommerce businesses aren’t strategic about the way they implement affiliate promotions, they can potentially do more harm than good. Codes may be leaked, resulting in damage to your reputation, overdiscounting, and financial loss.
These risks can be eliminated by utilising a promotion experience platform. Our platform helps eCommerce businesses control affiliate promotions and maximise their return on investment. If there was ever a time to invest in an affiliate marketing program, it’s now: after all, affiliate marketing spending grows by 10.1% each year, showing just how valuable it’s become for the eCommerce sector.
If you want to start leveraging affiliate promotions to target consumers unlike ever before, get in touch to see how we can help.