Best E-commerce Affiliate Programs 2021
There are many different E-commerce Affiliate Programs. The big question, therefore, is which of these programs are actually worth it? As an affiliate marketer, underestimating the importance of affiliate marketing may be an unwise approach to doing your business. The IAB study, in 2017, reported over 5 billion affiliate link clicks. This alone proves how effective affiliate marketing can be to you as an internet marketer. However, not knowing the best eCommerce affiliate program to apply for is equivalent to wasting your time.
This article comprehensively explores the best eCommerce affiliate programs you should consider in 2021.
Let’s get straight into it!
What Is Ecommerce Affiliate Marketing?
eCommerce Affiliate Marketing is technically a “spiced” approach to traditional affiliate marketing. It’s as simple as helping another company promote their services, products, or website via your website.
Presently, eCommerce Affiliate Marketing is on a popularity rise, helping online merchants generate higher online revenues and added sales. Presently, over 81% of digital brands now leverage affiliate marketing to drive additional sales.
Benefits of Choosing Ecommerce Affiliate Programs
Ecommerce websites, such as eBay, Amazon, AliExpress, are touted to offer the best and largest Ecommerce affiliate programs worldwide, generating several millions of dollars as commission in the UK, USA, and other countries. Basically, there is no limit to how much you can earn as an eCommerce affiliate marketer. What matters is how much you know your onions.
Without, highly-paying Ecommerce affiliate programs offer numberless benefits, including:
- An Additional Revenue Stream
Affiliate programs are a fast and straightforward means of creating an additional stream of income. Such referral programs let you earn affiliate commissions whenever your contacts buy your affiliate program partners’ products. In essence, the more you market their services and products, the higher the income you generate.
- It helps you to differentiate yourself from other online retailers.
The competition in the eCommerce space is crazy! However, you can differentiate yourself from other competitors when you join an eCommerce affiliate program. The added value – products and services – you offer your customers grants you a competitive edge over others without burdening yourself with the costs, hassles, and efforts of providing such products or services yourself.
- Increase your fan base
Every product category or niche has at least one affiliate. Hence, regardless of the niche you want to venture into, there is a suitable program for you. Thankfully, these affiliate programs already have an established (and loyal) audience wherein you can exploit and explore. Affiliate Marketing lets you increase your fan base and get yourself noticed easily with lesser efforts and costs.
- Expand your business quickly and easily
Affiliate Marketing is an excellent way to increase your customer base, scale your revenue, and ultimately expand your business as quickly and efficiently as possible. Basically, an expanding business is a business with a rising cash flow. Commissions earned from such referral programs can help you improve your business, developing better ways to satisfy your customers.
Other benefits of Choosing an eCommerce affiliate program are:
- It allows you to belong to a community of like-minded business owners.
- It’s cost-effective.
- Most eCommerce affiliate programs allow you to monitor and analyze your progress using efficient metrics.
How Do Ecommerce Affiliate Programs Work?
The working principle of eCommerce affiliate programs is relative, depending on the company. Nonetheless, most programs offer their affiliated partners unique trackable and shareable codes. Such an affiliate partner earns a pre-agreed commission whenever a purchase is made via their code. Other marketing contents that some affiliate programs offer are discount coupons, landing pages, and banners.
What Does “Cookies Lifetime” Mean?
You might have stumbled upon the term “cookies Lifetime” while conducting your research on affiliate marketing. Well, here you are, seeing it again! This, therefore, reveals how essential and consequential Cookies Lifetime can be for affiliate marketers.
Cookies Lifetime is the duration tracking cookies remain active for potential online visitors who clicked an affiliate link. Whenever such a visitor purchases anything during this period, you are entitled to all commissions and rewards from such sales.
Cookies Lifetime is an essential factor to consider when choosing the best eCommerce affiliate program. While some affiliate programs have as low as 24 hours, some can be up to 30 days. For more of affiliate terms see our affiliate terms glossary page.
Top 4 E-commerce Affiliate Programs to Join in 2021
Now that you understand the basic ideas of eCommerce Affiliate Programs, including the various benefits they offer, let us take a detailed dive into the best eCommerce Affiliate program you should choose to get started with eCommerce marketing!
Of course, ensure you prioritize your needs and your customers’ needs and goals throughout your decision-making process. Otherwise, regardless of how excellent an affiliate program may be, you may not be able to optimally enjoy the benefits such a program offers.
Below are the top-performing eCommerce affiliate programs worldwide:
Amazon isn’t a new name in the affiliate business. It’s so popular that they have a category in brokerages such as Empire Flippers, Flippa, and others.
The Amazon Affiliates is an easy-to-use affiliate program that offers as many products as possible. Basically, if a product isn’t on Amazon, you might not find such a product anywhere else on the net! However, despite their extensive inventory and ease of use, their policies may be hard to understand and abide by.
With more than a million products across 30+ categories, you can’t find it hard to choose a suitable market to venture into! A few popular Amazon product categories include:
- Baby products: bathing, hair, and skincare products, cosmetics, and other accessories
- Media: software, videotapes, music CDs, and music
- Apparel: men and women clothes and accessories
- Sporting products
- Customer electronics: televisions, fans, remote controls, stereo systems, lights, etc.
Amazon Affiliates Commissions
With over one million available products, Amazon offers different commission rates to their affiliates and vendors. However, the commission you can earn on Amazon depends on the type of product you sell.
Amazon Affiliates products, depending on the product category, include:
- Amazon Fresh and toys: 3%
- Musical instruments, headphones, beauty, industrial suppliers, etc.: 6%
- Amazon Coins and Luxury Beauty: 10%
- Computer and computer components: 2.5%
- Pet products, home improvements, furniture, etc.: 8%
- Outdoor & tools: 5.5%
While these are just a few categories, the highest commission you can earn on Amazon is 10%. Comparatively, this is extremely low to other eCommerce affiliate programs.
Quality of Offers
The products offered on Amazon are touted to be of the best quality, proven by customers’ reviews and personal experiences. Original products are indicated on Amazon using various tags, such as Amazon’s Choice, Amazon-Fulfilled, 100% Original, Prime, Amazon-Verified Purchases, etc.
Also, Amazon sellers are typically in agreement with Amazon to offer only 100% genuine products while also offering money back and/or easy returns guarantee.
The excellent product quality enjoyable on Amazon makes it easy to drive sales and earn Commissions. This may somewhat translate as an approach explored by Amazon itself to cater to their low commission rates.
Similarly, the cookie lifetime of Amazon Affiliates is 24 hours. That is, whenever someone uses your affiliate link to buy any Amazon product, if such a customer continues to purchase other items, you earn Commissions on each of the other products such a customer buys within the next 24 hours.
Terms of Amazon Affiliate Payout
Amazon Affiliates pays their affiliates based on volume, employing the Cost-Per-Sale payout model. This lets affiliates earn a commission on every item they sell and on the volume of product Amazon ships to customers who purchased using the affiliate link. Technically, Amazon features different slabs; each slab sells different product volumes.
The Cost-Per-Sale payout model was introduced in 2017 after they scrapped the previous model that allows affiliates to earn Commissions proportional to their sales.
Besides, you can’t withdraw your earnings via Amazon Gift Card or Bank Deposit, except when you surpass Amazon’s $10 payment threshold. To receive Amazon Affiliates payment via check, you must meet the payment threshold, which is $100.
How to Apply for Amazon Affiliates Program
Amazon Affiliates features a straightforward 4-step application process for online merchants looking to be Amazon Affiliates.
Follow the steps below to apply for the Amazon Affiliates program:
- Build a product-promoting blog or website.
- Sign up as an Amazon Associate on www.affiliate-program.amazon.com.
- Create an impressive Amazon Associates profile
- Create affiliate links for Amazon products.
When building your profile, ensure you mention the methods you use to drive website traffic, whether via organic traffic, CPC, emails, social media, referral traffic, etc. Amazon gives you a personal Associate ID that lets you have unrestricted access to the Amazon Associate Central for the next 180 days after submitting your application. However, Amazon doesn’t review intending associates’ applications until such an associate has referred qualified sales within the next 180 days after submitting your application. If you do not make any sales during this period, Amazon will discard your application and withdraw your participation from the program.
Pros of Amazon Associates Program
- Amazon offers its Affiliates a vast product inventory. Inarguably, they offer the widest products range than other affiliate programs globally. This somewhat makes it easy and quicker to earn as an affiliate marketer.
- Amazon offers highly competitive commissions. Despite offering lower commission rates, the competitiveness of these rates is crazy! Without gainsaying, Amazon is king at converting and upselling.
- The Amazon Affiliates program is very easy to use. This affiliate program offers straightforward steps for link creation and performance tracking. The incorporated SiteStripe also makes it relatively easier to add your affiliate links.
- The Amazon Support team is extra nice. They’re always available and ready to help provide answers to your questions, requests, and complaints.
Cons of Amazon Associates Program
- Amazon Affiliates Program might not be an excellent option for “specific” niches.
- Shorter Cookies Lifetime.
- Amazon doesn’t offer international pay-out: If you promote Amazon.co.uk, but people buy on Amazon.it, you won’t earn any commission.
As an affiliate marketer, you can earn an income by referring the sales on eBay via the eBay Partner Network. eBay offers both commissions or flat fees, depending on the product you sell, revenue model, and the advertiser. Similarly, eBay allows their Affiliates to promote eBay listings and get paid whenever someone buys. Thankfully, there are over 1 million listings on eBay, cut across various categories, including home & garden, electronics, fashion, and others.
Although the eBay Partners Network doesn’t demand any requirement for becoming a part of the network, eBay can be very strict with how they allow people into the program.
While the program features an excellent affiliate landing page containing all the required information needed to get started, such information is often different across pages, making it somewhat confusing, especially for beginners. We think that eBay doesn’t correct the information on their pages whenever they update their program.
Another discouraging condition of the eBay Partners Network is the short referral period. While other top affiliate programs have a 90-day referral period, eBay’s affiliate program only lasts 30 days. Also, the eBay Partner’s Cookie Lifetime used to be 7 days. But now, the Cookies are only active for 24 hours.
How The eBay Partner Network Works?
Most importantly, you must understand that the eBay Partner Network is an in-house affiliate program. That is, you can only sign up for the program with an existing eBay account.
Like Amazon, eBay also features a straightforward sign-up process. Similarly, the affiliate approval process is also very fast – usually less than 24 hours!
The eBay Partners Network has a Cookie Lifetime of just 24 hours.
eBay Affiliate Tools
This is an aspect of interest for most online merchants seeking the best eCommerce affiliate program to apply for. And, arguably, eBay champions this category. The eBay Partner Network offers an extensive range of affiliate marketing tools that help their affiliates scale their business and earn as much as possible.
The Affiliate marketing tools offered by eBay include:
- Bookmarklet: this tool allows users to create links directly from their browser regardless of the eBay page they’re on.
- Smart Links: “Smart Links” lets you add a code snippet to your website. This enables the automatic monetization of all other eBay links on your website. This tool also aids maximum conversions by generating mobile-specific ads.
- Link Generator: this is a default tool you can use to create deep links to any item, page, or store on eBay.
- Smart Share: this is the chrome extension version of the Bookmarklet tool. Although, the links created with the Smart Share tool are usually ready to be shared on social media.
- Smart Placements: this tool creates banners that are similar to your visitors’ search history. In essence, it allows you to create personalized ad banners.
- Creative Gallery: this tool displays a list of all creatives available on the eBay Partner Network.
Terms of eBay Partner Network Payout
How does the eBay affiliate program pay affiliate earnings? The eBay Partner Network employs the net 30 basis. That is, it takes 30 days to get paid for each commission. In essence, you will get paid on April 10 for a product you sold on March 10.
Similarly, eBay operates relatively straightforward payout options. Affiliates can either choose PayPal or Electronic Funds Transfer (ETF), also called Direct Deposit, to withdraw their earnings. While the latter has $10 as its payment threshold, the former’s payment threshold is capped at $20. However, the direct deposit option is available in only 11 countries.
eBay’s affiliate program also features a few Application Programming Interfaces, APIs, particularly for advanced affiliate marketers to explore. These APIs include:
- Finding API
- Shopping API
- Trading API
- Merchandising API
- Buy API.
Check out the use of these APIs on the help document provided by eBay.
eBay Partners Network Commission
The commission earned on the eBay affiliate program depends on the product category. Albeit, the commission, calculated in percentages, ranges from 50% – 70%. “Fashion” and “Parts & Accessories” are the categories with the highest commission, offering up 70%.
eBay Affiliates also stand a chance to earn up to a 100% bonus when a purchase is made by a reactivated or new eBay buyer. Reactivated eBay buyers are persons who haven’t bought an item from eBay in 12 months.
Pros of the eBay Partner Network
- eBay has established an enjoyable loyal audience for their Affiliates.
- eBay offers their affiliates daily, trending, and seasonal discounts.
- eBay Affiliates enjoy unlimited access to several resources, guides, and webinars to improve their marketing skills.
- The eBay Affiliate program is straightforward to use, thanks to the tools and APIs provided by eBay, including the Smart Share, Bookmarklet, Shopping API, etc.
Cons of the eBay Partner Network
- Like the Amazon Affiliates Program, the eBay affiliate program also has a short Cookie Timeline.
- eBay sometimes returns affiliates’ earnings to advertisers without adequate reasons.
- eBay doesn’t have a dedicated customer support team. Your complaints or requests are either answered by random team members or by others advising you to explore eBay’s resources to find answers.
Launched in 2010, AliExpress is a China-based online retail service comprising several small businesses within and outside China, offering products to international online buyers.
Realistically, the AliExpress affiliate program is the least popular on our list of the best eCommerce affiliate programs. This may largely be because most online entrepreneurs and even bloggers have characterized the marketplace for dropshipping.
How Does the AliExpress Affiliate Program Work?
How the AliExpress affiliate program works is quite similar to that of Amazon Affiliates and eBay Partners Network. Technically, you do not need any special requirements to be accepted as an AliExpress affiliate apart from owning a blog or website.
AliExpress offers a Cookie Lifetime of 7 days. However, if a customer clicks your link but doesn’t complete the transaction within 3 days but later completes the transaction, AliExpress won’t pay you any commission.
How to Apply for AliExpress Affiliate Program
AliExpress also offers a simple sign-up process. Basically, it is essential to consider how straightforward it is to apply for an affiliate program before applying.
AliExpress demands information such as your name, email and website URL, product-promotion method, etc., to help you create your AliExpress affiliate account. While account opening takes approximately 5-10 minutes, AliExpress may take up to 2-10 working days to verify and approve your application.
Follow the steps below to sign up on AliExpress as an affiliate:
- Visit https://portals.aliexpress.com and click on “Register for a new account.”
- Fill in the required information: your first and last name, region, media type, website name and URL, product category, traffic distribution method, and a brief description.
- Also, fill in your contact details. You can use your email.
- Enter the verification code sent to your email address.
AliExpress Affiliates Commissions
AliExpress affiliates earn Commissions based on the product category they promote. This Affiliate program also employs a net 40-60 basis for payouts. That is, you can only receive your commission after 40-60 days of purchase. However, should the customer raise a dispute, AliExpress might not pay you but instead returns the money to the customer.
However, below is the latest commission offered by AliExpress in each category:
- Mobile Phone, Tablets, Desktops, Laptop, Computer Peripherals, etc.: 3%
- Mobile Phone Accessories: 9%
- Garden Supplies: 9%
- Women and Men clothing: 9%
- Other categories: 7%
Terms of AliExpress Affiliate Pay-outs
AliExpress doesn’t really excel in this aspect – they have just one payout option plus a relatively higher fee and payout threshold. Affiliates can only withdraw their earnings using the international bank transfer option with a $15 fee. Also, you must have a balance higher than $16 before you can be eligible to withdraw your earnings.
Pros of the AliExpress Affiliate Program
- AliExpress offers a simple sign-up process.
- Affiliate marketers enjoy high commission rates on AliExpress, which somewhat compensates for the high pay-out conditions.
- AliExpress also offers competitive product prices, relatively higher than what eBay and Amazon offer.
- AliExpress also offers a vast product inventory, although not as wide as Amazon’s.
- Worldwide shipping.
- Large loyal customer base.
Cons of the AliExpress Affiliate Program
- AliExpress takes time to ship international orders.
- Because the company is based in China, the quality of products offers is sometimes questioned.
- AliExpress isn’t as popular as other top eCommerce affiliate programs.
Like others, the Walmart Affiliate Program pays website owners a commission whenever people buy products on Walmart’s website using said owner’s unique link. The Walmart Affiliate Program service provider used to be Rakuten Linkshare until 2017. Presently, Walmart uses Impact Radius as their service provider.
How the Walmart Affiliate Program Works
The working principle of the Walmart Affiliate Program is simple and straightforward, somewhat similar to how other top-performing eCommerce affiliate programs work, too. Walmart gives you banners, creatives, links, and deep links, just like other affiliate networks.
However, specific rules guide the Walmart Affiliate Program, including:
- You must have a family-friendly website.
- You must have an active website when submitting your application.
- Your traffic must come mainly from North America.
Honestly, these rules are necessities every (intending) affiliate marketer must abide by to earn a stable income from Affiliate marketing. For instance, you wouldn’t want to register as a Walmart affiliate when your website’s traffic doesn’t even come from countries that use Walmart.
Walmart Affiliate Tools
Like eBay, Walmart also offers Affiliate marketing tools to help their affiliate scale their business, and of course, generate more sales. Below are a few of such affiliate tools:
- Walmart SDK
This tool lets Walmart affiliates incorporate a “Buy Now” button on their website, redirecting customers directly to Walmart’s website. This method has proven to increase conversion rates.
- WordPress Plugin
Walmart has also designed and developed a WordPress Plugin to provide their affiliates links and banners for their products. The Walmart WordPress Plugin tool allows you to customize links, ass links to your posts, etc. It is an excellent option for persons who include several products in their posts. However, Walmart hasn’t updated these plugins in years, which means they’re vulnerable to security attacks.
- Walmart Chrome Extension
This tool lets you generate banners and links without leaving Walmart’s website. It is a time-efficient tool for both website owners and their customers. However, this chrome extension tool can only be used by accounts opened before June 2019, using Walmart’s former service provider, Rakuten Linkshare.
- Walmart Deals Chrome Extension
The Walmart Deals Chrome Extension helps Walmart affiliates to preview top-selling items, special deals, rollback promotions, and clearance sales. Note that you cannot create links with this tool because it isn’t connected to your Walmart affiliate account, unlike the Walmart Chrome Extension tool.
How to Apply for The Walmart Affiliate Program
You need manual approval to get sign up as a Walmart Affiliate. Regardless, it is still a simple and straightforward process.
First, you need to complete Walmart’s application form. It takes approximately 24 hours for Walmart’s approval team to process and approve your application. However, you must have an active website before your application can be accepted.
Other conditions you need to fulfill before Walmart can approve your application as an affiliate include:
- Your website must not contain illegal activities or materials.
- Your website must not contain sexual materials.
- Generally, you must have a regular website.
You can visit the Walmart Affiliate Program terms and conditions page to know their entire enrollment process, rewards prohibitions, and other technical information you should know. But generally, the Walmart Affiliate program offers less strict conditions than other top affiliate programs outlined in this article.
After application approval, you will receive generated links and banners to use on your website. You can also use deep linking to direct your customers to specific products. However, you cannot use Walmart’s unique links for social media marketing, such as paid advertisements.
Walmart Affiliate Commissions
Like other best eCommerce Affiliate programs, Walmart also pays affiliates commissions based on product categories, ranging from 1-4%. Walmart offers the lowest commission rates among all the Affiliate programs discussed in this article. However, the competitive pricing offered and the popularity of Walmart somewhat caters to their low commission.
Walmart also offers an extensive range of products, cut across several categories. Basically, this marketplace provides almost everything possible.
The Cookies Lifetime of Walmart Affiliate program is 3 days. Also, Walmart employs a 60-day payout policy. This is relatively longer than most other affiliate programs.
While affiliates are allowed to promote almost all the products listed on Walmart, there are a few of them that you cannot promote. These are products where you will earn 0% commission. These items include:
- Food & household products
- Apple products
- Personal care products
- Gift cards
- Precious metals, and
- Impulse merchandise.
Pros of The Walmart Affiliate Program
- Walmart allows deep linking.
- They also offer an extensive range of products.
- Walmart is trusted to offer higher conversions.
- Great promotional materials.
Cons of The Walmart Affiliate Program
- Affiliates earn meager payouts.
- Low commission rates.
- The features are maybe somewhat overwhelming, especially for beginners.
- Walmart offers some outdated tools, such as the Walmart Chrome Extension.
Other Honourable Mentions:
The various ways to make money have become even more innovative as technology advances. A perfect instance is the eCommerce market that generates several trillions of dollars yearly. This article mainly explores various highly paying eCommerce affiliate programs you can apply for in 2021 to earn an extra revenue stream. Check out our list of the best eCommerce affiliate programs explored in this post to kickstart your journey to earning more as an online merchant!