How Affiliate Marketing and Reward Programs Can Help Grow Your E-commerce Business

by | Dec 27, 2012 | E-commerce | 2 comments

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Updated on 1/11/2018

Loyal customers are the key to consistent sales and they’re your best ambassadors to the wider world. The likelihood of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a prospective customer is only 5-20%. This means that quite a bit of attention needs to be focused on retaining existing customers as a core part of any business strategy.

However, it’s also true that success in a competitive e-commerce landscape depends on attracting new customers. After all, there are only so many things a repeat customer will need to purchase. Balancing these competing marketing imperatives can be quite challenging for any business, no matter what stage of development they are in.

The good news is that the very nature of e-commerce provides plenty of easy and inexpensive ways to increase retention rates while simultaneously reaching out to new customers. Two of the best methods are through rewards programs and affiliate marketing. These types of programs are invaluable in maximizing the potential of your existing customers, while still reeling in new ones. Here’s what you need to know.


Reward With Little Risk

It typically costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. This means that any marketing plan must have a strong focus on keeping customers returning to make additional purchases.

An easy way to remain engaged with your current customer base is to establish a rewards program. Research indicates that as many as 87% of customers want your business to have one. You can choose to build your rewards program in many ways, including:

  • A Points System—Customers earn points that can be redeemed for merchandise
  • A Level System—Customers are rewarded with tiered benefits based on spending level
  • Partnership Program—Benefits that may be redeemed at several participating businesses
  • Paid Membership—A fee-based model that provides discounts and perks like free shipping

Whichever method is right for your business, your customers will thank you for implementing it.


Affiliates Attract Customers

To make sure that your business is attracting a steady stream of new customers, you’ll find it useful to engage in affiliate marketing.

Essentially, the idea behind affiliate marketing is that your products will be promoted by other people through an affiliate network, and they will receive financial incentives for sending sales your way. The easiest way to think of this type of program is to view it as a rewards program that encourages other sites to sell your product for you.

When you set up an affiliate marketing system, you achieve many of the same benefits as with online advertising. The main difference is that you only pay for sales, not for increased traffic.

If you choose to create an affiliate program, make sure to select members with care. Since these people will be selling your products, their tactics and content will reflect directly on your business.


Utilizing affiliate marketing and rewards programs are excellent ways to attract new customers to your e-commerce business—and keep them engaged once they arrive. Taking this approach to your digital marketing efforts can help to establish a customer ecosystem that is capable of building upon itself. With the right amount of care and attention, you can create a team of dedicated and motivated affiliates that consistently drive sales, and obtain loyal customers that will return time to your store time and time again.


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