Where consumers buy is an ever-increasing dilemma for brands and retailers alike. Many brands provide their customers an array of purchasing options that include Amazon, direct-to-consumer, 3rd party retailers and more. With a multitude of purchasing options available, customers are left wondering where to buy. Purchasing decisions hinge on a combination of factors that include competitive pricing, shipping costs, available inventory, social initiatives, return policies and other value propositions.
Under this landscape, affiliate marketers are left wondering if they should promote a brand/product through their direct-to-consumer, or 3rd party retailer affiliate program. Similar to customers making a purchasing decision, affiliates compare pricing, value propositions, promotional opportunities and commissions between the brand and retailers. Under some affiliate business models, it makes sense to partner with both the brand and retailer, while with others it does not.
The number one question we’re asked when recruiting new affiliates to join a direct-to-consumer affiliate program is:
Why should I join your direct affiliate program when I can promote the brand/products through XYZ retailer’s affiliate program?
This is a valid question as retailers tend to have competitive commission structures, strong conversion rates, and a variety of brands to choose from. With that said, I’ve compiled a list of 5 reasons an affiliate should join direct-to-consumer affiliate programs.
- Access to exclusive opportunities like product reviews, giveaways, gifts with purchase, coupons, commission increases and more. In addition, brands will often keep exclusive inventory on their website and will not make it available to retailers. For example, our client LuminAID just released a special edition of solar lights called the CamoLite Series, which is only available on their website.
- Brands tend to offer higher commissions than their retailers as they have the extra margin to do so.
- When it comes to product knowledge there’s no one more qualified than the brand itself. As an affiliate you want to feel comfortable knowing the customer you referred is taken care of and their most detailed questions are answered.
- Brands like LuminAID, LifeStraw and Patagonia offer their direct customers the opportunity to give back through social initiatives. LifeStraw’s Follow the Liters Program will donate 1 year of clean drinking water to a school child in Africa for every purchase on their website. This charity is not available to customers purchasing from a 3rd party retailer.
- It’s no secret, brands have higher margins on direct-to-consumer sales (in most cases.) If you’re a brand advocate, this is a chance to make a significant impact on their success.