Shopping Affiliate Programs: The Top 3 Programs - affiliateprograms.comOver the past few days, I’ve pointed you to several profitable and trustworthy affiliate programs in Travel, Internet Marketing, and Health and Beauty. Now it’s time to have a look at a category that’s much broader – shopping and retail.

For some niches, it doesn’t make sense to use a broad shopping affiliate program. For instance, if your niche is Internet Marketing, you’ll likely make more by selling higher commission products geared toward your specialty.

However, if your category has broad consumer appeal (books, computers, cooking supplies) – or if your niche is dominated by affiliate programs with generally low commission rates (such as children’s toys) – you can do just as well selling products in your niche from a consumer site with broad appeal.

In fact, by promoting products in your niche from a broad consumer site, it’s likely you’ll pick up additional income. This happens when buyers click the link on your site, purchase the item you’re recommended, and then buy additional products during their checkout. (You’ll notice this quite a bit during the holiday shopping season.)

Now that we’ve talked about why you should participate in a shopping affiliate program, here are my choices for the top three programs you should add to your affiliate site.

Amazon – Amazon is the most recognized ecommerce brand in many regions around the world. And without a doubt, the Amazon Associates program is one of the most robust and trusted shopping affiliate programs you’ll find.

While there are many who will point to drawbacks of the Amazon program such as low commission rates and short cookie length (24 hours), there are many, many benefits. One of those is having millions of registered users, which makes it easy for buyers to click the link on your site, login to Amazon, and complete their purchase. Another is the wide selection of products and categories, which expands on a regular basis.

Affiliates who split test Amazon products with similar products from other sites find that because they sell a larger quantity of product on Amazon, the higher volume makes up for Amazon’s lower commission rate.

Many affiliates run multiple sites using the same Amazon Associates account. For example, they’ll have one site for computer hardware, another for acne treatments, and another for Kindle books and accessories.

Check out the Amazon Associates Program.

eBay – While eBay may be as recognizable of a brand as Amazon, it often doesn’t inspire the same sense of confidence in consumers who are scared of online auctions. But if your niche is about items that are often sold as antiques or collectibles – think about selling baseball cards on a sports site, or a link to retro lamps on a site about mid-century decorating – you can make a lot of money from eBay.

Check out the eBay partner network.

Buy.com – Amazon and Buy.com have many of the same products, and pricing is very similar. While Buy.com has a 3-10% commission structure (Amazon starts at 4%) and a longer cookie (14 days), Amazon has better name-brand recognition and more people have Amazon shopping accounts. That makes it easier for buyers to make a purchase from Amazon. While Buy.com offers a good program, I personally find it hard to choose Buy.com over Amazon – as a shopper and an affiliate.

Check out Buy.com on LinkShare.

As you continue in affiliate marketing, you’ll find that you get different results from every site you build, and every program you promote. As an affiliate marketer, your challenge is to keep moving. Try out new programs and niches. And make sure you’re continually fine tuning your site so they are as profitable as they can be.

Additional Resources

Warrior Forum – A healthy discussion about the Amazon Associates Program
WP ZonBuilder – One of the best Amazon Associates plugins for WordPress.

Action Items
These tasks will get you started as a shopping affiliate.

• Sign up for affiliate programs at Amazon, eBay and Buy.com.
• Add each program in a different area of your site.
• Review specific products and use your affiliate link at the end of the review.
• Monitor your progress and gradually move your focus toward the best-converting program.

Check back next week as we wrap up the Site-Building Challenge.

Do you have experience promoting shopping programs such as the ones discussed here? If so, leave your feedback in the comments below.