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The Affiliate Element: Online Retail Sector

The Affiliate Element: Online Retail Sector


More and more fashion retailers are now launching their online presence with sites such as H&M; and Zara recently joining the online market place; competition is growing for site placements and features amongst the retailers.

Shifting Focus: Content Affiliates

For fashion affiliate programmes, reliance still falls largely on the "traditional" volume drivers in code and loyalty sites but increasingly and perhaps more so than in any other sector focus is shifting to the content offered by affiliates. Brands are constantly looking for sites to offer them something above and beyond a standard site listing and the retailers are keen for affiliate sites to support and highlight their offering.

Perhaps due to the nature of the products sold, the need to set the retailer apart from other fashion brands, to support the trends they display and work with their season’s stories is paramount – fashion retailers cannot just rely on being the cheapest in the market. This makes for an interesting and challenging affiliate mix, with a good groundwork in the main channels backed up by strong blog and content sites.

The fashion arena has allowed the growing trend of blog sites to flourish, offering opportunities to smaller and more niche sites. It also requires more from the code and loyalty sites, with these sites now beginning to run blog content and more involved email campaigns to help highlight the retailer’s message beyond the price.

Increasingly as well retailers are beginning to grow their product offering with some brands looking to add homeware to their portfolio. This shift demonstrates a move by the retailers to become lifestyle shops, becoming a one stop place for the home and self. Affiliates are key in working to help promote this development, again offering the content to drive awareness of the new product ranges to the consumers.

Fashion Sector Innovation

Fashion continues to be a sector of innovation and change online – retailers are always looking for that next key site and competition for presence on the correct sites is fierce, something that tenancies or non-CPA payments could secure Certainly as more and more higher end fashion brands enter the market affiliates may find there is more budget available from what would typically be labeled a ‘marketing’ budget and therefore is not necessarily ROI focused. It is a dynamic, challenging and ultimately rewarding sector to be working in and one that will continue to go from strength to strength in the affiliate world.

Affiliates need to be aware of the retailer’s needs and aims for the future – the key is to work with the retailer to develop the content and coverage they need both for their brand and their sales. Retailers need to set themselves apart from the competition and affiliate sites are perfectly placed to help work with them to achieve this.

Retailers in turn need to focus on motivating their affiliate base dependant on their types – whilst code sites require offers, content sites require good content and products that will appeal to them on a personal level – the average blog user wishes to maintain their blog integrity so often commission itself is not enough. A successful programme will recognise the differences in the affiliate mix and work with the individuals to ensure both affiliate and brand are catered for.

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Lucy Hutchings

Lucy Hutchings

Currently working across all areas of online marketing as part of the digital team at aka, promot

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