Affiliate vs E-Commerce Sites
Online shops have two ways to provide access to products online: via e-commerce or affiliate sites. Each is a legitimate option with pros and cons. If you plan to market a product over the internet and you wonder which of these methods would suit you best, take note of the following information. There is no right or wrong way; just the one you feel most comfortable with.
The name says it all: “E” as in “electronic” and “commerce” as in “selling stuff.” Whenever you shop from a store’s online catalogue directly, this is what you are engaging in. When a jewelry company, clothing store, or gourmet food supplier sells the products they make or buy wholesale from a manufacturer their business is internet retail.
Business owners can arrange for drop shipping of products directly from the supplier. They can buy in goods then ship or deliver these to their clients personally. Money changes hands over the company’s website or can be handled through an offsite secure page such as PayPal, but there is no middle-man taking a commission. The company looks after clients who have questions, make complaints, or want to make special arrangements.
People have made a living out of promoting products without personally handling them; earning money for referring shoppers to a web page where they go on to make a purchase. When a sale goes through because a customer found this affiliate’s web page, a special identifier tells a company that sales came about as a result of this affiliate’s marketing efforts. This is a simple way to make money. Firms like Ebay and Amazon are giant affiliate marketers. They carry products from book stores, clothing chains, electronics companies, kitchen supply firms, and more. Brands supply promotional materials like banners which the associate posts on his blog, forum, etc.
Pros and Cons
Running one’s own e-commerce site takes work and involves risk. Customers might get so mad about a problem, whether it’s your fault or not, that they write articles on the internet to jeopardize your reputation. The BBB usually manages to identify unreasonable client complaints, but mud sticks. Establishing high rankings on the internet involves SEO work and marketing, requiring time and money. On the other hand, as the owner of a business, you do not share profits with an affiliate. If you have to do all the work, why not earn all the money too? This way, you have control over how your product is marketed.
An affiliate marketer can leave risk to others. Complaints and returns go through the company. Someone else handles shipping, stock, and much of the advertising. You don’t do warehouse or directly touch products and secure payments are handled at the retail site. If someone’s credit card details are stolen, the blame falls elsewhere. There is not as much profit involved, but affiliate marketing is risk-free if a company pays affiliates on time. When a brand is already well known, you don’t even have to go out and promote it all that hard. You might make a living or a bit of holiday cash.