In the world of affiliate marketing the name of the game is sales. If an affiliate brings sales to the company that likely would not have happened without their involvement, then on a whole this is seen to be a net positive for the company. Of course there are other considerations, such as marketing and promotion techniques and conversion rates – but overall more sales are better. But determining which sales your company would have otherwise made, without the affiliate, is very important and can lead to some interesting conclusions.
As can be read in this article, sometimes affiliate marketers simply send customers to purchase a product that they were going to purchase anyways, collecting a commission in the process. In extreme cases, customers actually stop the buying process, and then go through an affiliate link to continue it. Here is how it happens:
- Customer arrives to your website through your blog, PPC, or some other non-affiliate manner.
- Customer finds a product or service on your site, adds it to their cart, and proceeds to the check out.
- On the checkout page the customer sees the “Add Discount Code” field and instead of continuing the purchase without a discount code, decides to open another browser and search for one.
- When the customer searches “[Your company name] discount code” the top results take them to your affiliate’s websites, where the customer is presented a discount code, which may or may not be valid.
- The affiliate site puts a cookie in your customer’s computer, and redirects them back to your site, where they finish the purchase.
- Affiliate collects commission for the sale.
This whole process may happen by accident or on purpose. The big take away here is that retailers should take note and make necessary changes to prevent this from happening.
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