How to Start an Affiliate Program for your eCommerce Store?

Updated on December 14, 2022 in Ecommerce by

How to Start an Affiliate Program for your eCommerce Store?

Do you know what effective marketing means? It means that your product is reaching out to your audience and they are engaging with it. The engagement can be, buying, sharing, adding to the wishlist, or maybe even selling.

In order to do that, you can start an affiliate program for your eCommerce store. It is a program in which people refer your product to other potential customers to earn a commission from you.

If you do it right, it is a win-win situation for your business, the person who is referring, and even your customer. And to make sure you do it right here is a complete guide for you to start an affiliate program for your eCommerce business. In this, you will be learning about…

  • What is affiliate marketing?
  • Benefits of Affiliate Marketing?
  • Things you must remember while starting an Affiliate program of your own
  • A step-by-step guide to starting an affiliate program ( with example )
  • 5 best platform to start an affiliate program

Let’s begin by understanding the basics and then scaling your eCommerce business.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing, where you as a business owner, reward one or more affiliates who brought you visitor, or customer (based on your business model) to you, through their own marketing efforts.

For eg: If you have an eCommerce store for shoes, and you are running an affiliate program, people associated with your program would try to bring customers to your site. Further, you would have to pay them to commission if any sale is made through them.

The best way to start an affiliate program for your eCommerce is to sign up with an affiliate platform and list your products on it. We will discuss more is but let’s first see what are the benefits of affiliate marketing.

Benefits of affiliate marketing for eCommerce business

benefits of an affiliate program

Affiliate marketing is a great way to grow your eCommerce business. And talking about benefits, there are mainly 6 benefits you get from affiliate marketing over other marketing efforts.

Faster Growth

According to IAB, affiliate marketing itself is a 12 billion industry all over the globe. Moreover, if you boost your affiliate program right, it can grow your eCommerce revenue by 30%. With such astonishing data backing up, you can believe that investing in affiliate marketing for your business can catch up with new eCommerce trends and help you reach a wider audience with lesser efforts.

Builds Trust

Affiliate is not only good for you but also for the people referring to your product, as they get commissioned for their work and effort. Moreover, integrating influencers in your affiliate marketing could also build trust with your audience and increase the conversion rate.

Easily trackable

When you start an affiliate program for your eCommerce, you also get to track each every flow of your customer. Starting from the source, engagement, impression, cart, and lastly the checkout. The easy tracking of all this allows you to learn more about the customer and draw your very own customer intelligence data of your eCommerce.

Pay as per Result

As you know, an affiliate is a performance-based marketing. Which means you would only and only have to pay out when the goal is accomplished. If the goal is to bring sales, you would have to pay when you get a sale through an affiliate. Hence you pay only when you get the results.

Scaling business

If you start an affiliate program for your eCommerce business, other people will start interacting with your store either to make a sale for a commission or to buy your product. Either way, you would be getting a wider reach along with trust and the opportunity to scale your business. Moreover, according to Mediakix, about 81% of brands rely on affiliate marketing making is among the most popular marketing for any eCommerce to grow.

Better SEO Results

When a search engine finds the authority/reference coming to your site from other various sources, your site would automatically get better search results. Moreover, better engagement with visitors coming from various sources would improve your SEO and authority to outrank your customers.

Things you must remember while starting an Affiliate program of your own

affiliate program for your eCommerce store

Seeing the benefits you can get, we hope you are all set to start an affiliate program for your eCommerce store. In order to help you, here are some things you must keep in mind when you start an affiliate program for your eCommerce business.

Know if your business needs an affiliate program or not

Affiliate marketing is a great tactic to grow your eCommerce business, but it’s not for everyone. If you have a lower profit margin, this tool won’t be a benefit for you. In affiliate marketing, you have to pay a portion of the payout, every time an affiliate brings you a sale.

If you are not having a sustainable profit margin, it would be very hard to give payout and maintain your profit. To determine, whether you can start an affiliate program of your own, you can either determine your margins and the cutout or see whether your industry uses it or not.

Do a thorough competitive research

It can be easy for industry leaders to share a part of their profit, but it might not be possible for you to do so. Here, you must do thorough research on your competitors. See if they are running an affiliate program of their own or not. If yes, you have a higher probability to succeed to grow your business using affiliate marketing.

If not see if there is a chance to increase your profit margin by changing your vendors or through other means. If you can somehow manage to increase your margins and then start an affiliate program, you can grow your overall revenue drastically.

Set up your goals from Affiliate marketing

Before you start an affiliate program for your eCommerce, you must have your goals set. Through affiliate marketing, you can achieve your goal but in order to get an effective result out of this, you must have your goals set in first hand, before signing up for this program.

Most commonly eCommerce has the following goals, see what is the one that resonates with your eCommerce.

  • Increase your Traffic
  • To increase your revenue
  • Increase your average order values
  • Grow your conversion rate

Once you set your goals you need a KPI (key performance indicator) to measure your goals. Some of the most common KPI’s are:

  • Click Traffic- number of clicks your affiliate partner brought to your site
  • Gross order-  Total sale through affiliate marketing
  • Commission- The commission paid to your affiliate partners
  • EPC- Earning per hundred clicks.
  • Conversion rate- Percentage of visitors how purchased from your site.

These are the most commonly used and can help you make sure that affiliate is helping you achieve your goal and hit your monthly or annual target.

Determine commission Strategy

Here’s where your technical skills will come in handy. You need to make sure that the commission strategy is on point as this would make sure that your investment brings you results and is profitable to you.

One of the best ways to determine your affiliate percentage is by calculating the cost that you paid to bring a customer and make a sale.

The simple formula for this is- Marketing Spend/Customers = Customer acquisition.

Now if the cost you would be paying go higher than the profit that you are making, you shall not go with affiliate marketing. Other than this formula factors such as customer retention and lifetime value, would play a vital role.

Choose the best platform for your eCommerce store

Lastly, you must choose the right platform to start an affiliate program for your eCommerce. This platform helps you manage your affiliate marketing by working as a bridge between your eCommerce and the people looking to earn commission fairly if you are just starting, or are an intermediate eCommerce, singing up with a platform is much more beneficial than making your program in the first hand.

In order to help you choose, we have listed out 5 best platforms to start an affiliate program for your eCommerce store.

5 best platforms to start an affiliate program for your eCommerce store

Affiliate Royal

start an affiliate program

Affiliate Royal is one of the easiest and transparent affiliate program that you can use. Moreover, if you are Worpress, it’s great as you just need to install the plug-in and you are all set to.

The reason why we added Affiliate Royal first in the list is due to the simplicity. You won’t have to pay a monthly or annual charge, nor a percentage of every transition. You just need to purchase the plugin at the beginning and nothing else.

 After installing, you would just need to fill in some information to start an affiliate program for your eCommerce store.



If you are an established eCommerce and want to start an affiliate program to grow your business, ShareASale is the platform that you can rely on. The startup fee might give you an alert, but ShareASale has made it all worth it.

The following platform is working since the year 2000 and has managed to build an audience from all niche. No matter what product you wish to list out for affiliates, you could easily find an audience of your own.

More people affiliating your product means higher sales. And if you are looking to achieve that goal, ShareASale is the best platform to start an affiliate program for your eCommerce store.



LeadDyno is another popular place to start an affiliate program for your eCommerce store. Especially if you are running a Shopify store, this can turn to be handy to you with just a few click integration.

Also after signing up users get a dashboard of their ow. Not just you but also to the affiliates whom you approve would get a dashboard of their own which would give you all the required information they require.

In addition to this, payment can be sent on a monthly basis automatically or just by “one-click” approval through Paypal, Dwolla, or Coinbase.


Source –

Next on this list of the best platform to start an affiliate program for your eCommerce store is Affiliatly. It is among the recent addition to the app store but has managed to be a fan favorite for some obvious reasons.

The clean interface allows to you manage all your affiliate partners and work along for better results. In the dashboard, you get can set up how will affiliate earn, manage the earring of the affiliate, see the stats and also upload banners to send them to the affiliate partners to promote your site.

Speaking about the pricing, it is based on the number of affiliates you have, making it a good option for intermediate eCommerce.

Impact Radius


Lastly, the best platform to start an affiliate program is the Impact Radius. It is among the biggest affiliate programs that connect global brands and agencies to work along.

The prices are more expensive, but you get an overall insight to track cross-channel marketing information. In addition, it also has an integrated dashboard for affiliate tracking,  email marketing, and some powerful analytics.

Overall making it the best platform to start an affiliate program for pre-established eCommerce looking to expand and grow.

A step-by-step guide to starting an affiliate program (with example)

As of now, we have already discussed the benefits, things to remember and the best platform to start an affiliate program for your eCommerce store. Now let us go through the setting up of the affiliate program step-by-step.

Here we are taking the example of the Affiliate Royal which as we said is the best platform to start an affiliate program for beginners.

Step1: Visit Affiliate and click on the Purchase.

Step2: Here you would be asked to fill out a form and next you would be asked to fill in credit card info. Once you fill the form carefully, click purchase.

Step3: Soon after making the purchase, you would get an email including a license key and steps to set up your account. Along with this, you would also get a link to download the Affiliate Royal plugin. Download it and open your WordPress dashboard.

Step4: Find the Plugin tab in your right-hand side column. Go to add new.

Step5: Next, on the top of the screen you will find the Upload plugin option. Click on it, choose the downloaded .zip file from the mail, you received from the Affiliate Royal.

Step6: After installing you would need to fill in the license key carefully and click on the Activate license.

Till here you have successfully installed The Affiliate Royal Plugin. Now let us set up this plugin to start an affiliate program for your eCommerce.

Step1: You will find the Affiliate royal tab in the right-hand column of your WordPress dashboard. Under this, you will find “options”. Click on it to set up your account.

Step2: Go to the pages and set up your dashboards according to the way you wish, or you can leave it on Auto-create new.

Step3: Next set up your commission. Go to the tab Commission set up as you wish to pay. Here you have two options. Paying a fixed price to your affiliate or paying a percentage to your affiliate.

Step4: Move to Integration and set up the payment method through which you will pay your affiliates. Finally, click on the Update.

After this, you will have a link that you can share with potential affiliates to allow them to sign up for your affiliate program. Whenever they shall sign-up, they will have a dashboard and links to start the affiliate marketing.

Final take away

We have finally cracked how you can start an affiliate program for your eCommerce and use it to grow your business successfully. Affiliate marketing is a great tool that you can use to spike up the sale and create a brand out of your business.

It motivates other people -be it affiliates or your customer- to join you and grow the business in one way or another. If you wish to learn more about how you can grow your business, eCommerce, photography, and photo editing service, subscribe to PixelPhant newsletters for free and keep yourself updated.

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