India’s e-commerce industry has witnessed a major breakthrough in the last few years. Increasing Internet penetration, safe and secure payment modes along with aggressive marketing strategies have all played a significant role in the booming e-commerce sector. With digitization came the large homegrown e-commerce players who have a large presence like Flipkart and Snapdeal, seeing the economic friendly spends that Indians were accustomed, not long before foreign competition began to enter the markets – such as Amazon and eBay. The success of such magnitude and increasing focus on profitability, led to affiliate marketing programs becoming popular.
The advantage became a win-win bet for both the e-commerce platforms and affiliate marketers, the customer gained and their business grew. Today, affiliates drive a healthy share of business to the e-commerce site, thus creating a constant stream of traffic and strategically planned rewards are given back to the customer.
Apart from conventional marketing channels, affiliate marketing programs have emerged as a valuable and key channel, driving traffic to the e-commerce sites. Today, almost every top Indian e-commerce store has an affiliate program. Some e-commerce players run in-house affiliate campaigns, while others prefer to run their campaigns through affiliate networks.
E-commerce has grown by leaps and bounds driving Indian buyers to shop for all the things that their heart desires. E-commerce giant, Amazon in 1996 was one of the first to use affiliate marketing – Amazon Associates. Its program became widely known and attracted widespread, global interest and was widely perceived as a model for retailers. The company expanded globally basis their initial phases of bringing the most exciting glossary of products. This global foray of e-commerce websites bringing the best of products to one home has become a gigantic business where companies like Alibaba from China and Flipkart from India followed suit, thus bringing great brand value to customers, partner’s brands and revenue.
Indians love to save and they negotiate for almost every transaction. They browse for the next bargain, discount, offer or best deal which will add more points earned to their money spent. Thus, making online shopping the most popular, on-demand and convenient activity for the millions of people spread across the Indian subcontinent. This is become a convenient and more lucrative shopping platform as compared to the brick-and-mortar model, where discounts, bargains, and deals are restricted to selected time span and products; whereas, e-commerce has many new offerings, delivery options – which means one does not have to step out of their homes and of course for those who are ready to spend immediately. India has COD (Cash on Delivery), one of the most ingenious payment models adopted in the country. With so many options, e-commerce emerged as the most attractive shopping platform.
Affiliate marketing is a model which offers a great way to acquire quality traffic while keeping the acquisition fee performance based. Through this model business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. A retailer or the merchant brings in products from the e-commerce sites, which is then introduced into the network of a site they are tied up with, thus allowing the affiliate to put forward offers and deals on purchase of items and of course, the most important and core player is the customer. Affiliates are one of the best programs that have come up after the e-commerce boom, they add value to the customer’s pockets with offers, coupons, reward points, great bargains, and rewards. Hence, generating valuable revenue, while passing back earning to the customer. On an average, if we look at the generation of business brought into e-commerce by affiliate marketers, it is a rather significant share, of 15 per cent – 20 per cent. Affiliates work best with conversions, while customer acquisition at lower cost. Thus, resulting in return customers who want to shop and earn more rewards points. In a world where the cost of a transacting customer is increasing every single day, the performance driven nature of affiliate marketing sets it apart.
Online shopping boom has led to a gateway to heaven for brands. Affiliates are already geared up for cultivating and retaining customers due to the sheer nature of their business. Given the large customer base and umpteen offers that they bring to the table, most brands and online marketplaces have begun to tie up with more and more affiliates to increase their bandwidth in the business of gaining more customers.