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Refersion: With affiliate marketing you only pay for performance

Alex Markov Refersion

Today we decided to interview Alex Markov, the founder of  Refersion, a referral and affiliate marketing solution for eCommerce with which have currently made an integration.

We wanted to ask him a few questions on the topic of referral and affiliate marketing and how eCommerce businesses can use it to grow their business.

This is what he answered:

First, can you tell us why you think affiliate marketing is a great way to generate new customers for ecommerce?

ALEX:

Affiliate marketing creates a new channel for the business. From there, it allows the ecommerce retailer to make their own relationships and cut advertising costs.

A big outcome is that they usually only pay on performance. Our clients will only pay our partners when they generate orders. Sometimes other companies, such as Paid Search, just throw money at an advertisement and hope that it converts and creates a positive ROI. With us, that’s not a challenge.

In addition, we’re a new channel. They can still use traditional advertising methods but, with us, there’s a wide open field to generate more sales.

When it comes to using affiliate marketing for subscription-based ecommerce businesses, what are the benefits?

ALEX:

We have seen some added benefits with subscription-based businesses.

Customers who buy a subscription are typically more loyal because they stay on for the entire subscription and have a stronger relationship with the merchant.

Our clients often set up their own referral programs where customers refer their friends and colleagues to join as well. It’s a little bit of a different dynamic, but it’s sort of a low-hanging fruit.

When you already have influencers or ambassadors of your product, it’s easy to ask them to connect you, the merchant, with their colleagues.

Can you tell us more about Refersion and how you help ecommerce stores get new customers with affiliate marketing?

ALEX:

Reversion, as a company, has been around for a little over three years.

We’ve started traditionally in the ecommerce space where we’ve integrated with a lot of different APIs to make an easier onboarding process for clients.

It’s a huge benefit to customers when they can use a platform that gets them going with minimal implementation or development work, if any at all. We’ve already done that work. ReCharge is an example.

I think our platform allows our merchants to easily onboard new affiliates. We provide a registration form for our customers so they can have a public-facing page where new partners or affiliates can register.

Right now, we’re also working on a marketplace that would help merchants find new partners in our database, or marketplace, of partnerships that we have available.

Can you tell us more about how you actually track affiliates? How does the software work?

ALEX:

It’s a little bit complicated. Essentially, we track the initial click when the user lands on the website.

If the customer purchases something, whether it’s a subscription or a stand-alone product, we capture their order information. We have mechanisms in place to look at all of the clicks and order information. We look at that order information and match the two up.

If our system is able to get a match with the order to the click, we have everything we need. We have the order information such as what was ordered, how much they purchased, what they paid, etc. Through the click, we know what affiliate drove that click.

In the click data that we already have, we know which affiliate that click belongs to. We know what the commission rate is. So we combine all of that data, the commission rate and order data, and we’re able to track effectively and give back the total commissions owed to the merchant.

So basically customers can use your platform to analyze and improve their affiliate marketing efforts?

ALEX:

Yes. Exactly. We give our customers a large dashboard that shows them which affiliates are driving sales, how much the sales are and where the clicks are coming from. That way, they can dive deep and ask, “Which order was a commission event, and which one wasn’t?” At the same time, we also give a similar dashboard to the affiliates for their clients, so affiliates can see their performance.

What are your best tips for creating an affiliate marketing program for ecommerce?

ALEX:

Some of our biggest clients have done a great job in creating a page on their site that explains the affiliate program. They’ve given examples of how their other affiliates have advertised their brand.

They’ve also used the registration page that we provided for them to embed into their site. Simply having a presence on your website that your existing visitors can see is a great way to move forward with your program.

In addition to that, I would suggest leveraging your existing customers. Advertise or mention your referral or affiliate program within your existing customer communications.

Customers can often be the best marketers of your product because they’ve purchased it and like it. I see things like that often.

We have something called “post-purchase” where we actually display a pop-up or in-window message after a customer makes purchase. The message invites them to become an affiliate. Other than that, we have blogs and a bi-weekly email digest where we send tips. You can find that at digest.reversion.com.

What are your tips for promoting your program and attracting new affiliate partners?

ALEX:

I think there are a lot of forums out there where merchants can display their program and where affiliates hang out. There are many bloggers that make money by reviewing businesses and products. For example, if you sell shoes and know of a blogger that reviews a lot of shoes, you might want to get in touch with them and say, “I have this new line of shoes. Would you be interested in writing a review for us?” A lot of our customers do that.

Outside of that, the social media realm is seen a lot. With Instagram and Pinterest for example, a lot of our customers use our coupon code tracking because they don’t support links in their system.

Many of our customers will get in touch with Instagram personalities and give them a trackable coupon code. You can often give them a certain image to send out to their followers. Then you can give them a discount in exchange for commission.

How much commission do you think eCommerce businesses should give their affiliates?

ALEX:

That’s a hard question to answer. It’s not the same across the board.

We have clients who do a couple of percentage points, but we also have clients who do close to 100% because they make money on recurring business. They may take a negative on month one, but then they have a positive on month two, three, etc. It depends.

For apparel businesses, just to give you an idea, I’ve seen commission rates between 10 and 20%.

We can provide you with a list of similar merchants that we work with and show you what rate they’re giving. You can use them as an example to come up with your own rate that fits your margins.

How are affiliates getting paid, and when do you pay them?

ALEX:

We don’t require a mandatory pay date. We’re a tracking platform, and we leave it up to the merchants to decide when and how they want to pay. We make it easy for the merchant.

For example, we have a unique integration with PayPal that enables merchants to connect their PayPal to our system and issue payments from Reversion to affiliates without logging in.

This creates a system where merchants can pay affiliates without much trouble.

Merchants appreciate that because it’s easy for them, and affiliates appreciate that because they get paid more often. On average, clients will pay once every two weeks or once monthly.

We also support other methods of payment. For example, some merchants pay with gift cards. Some even do checks through the mail, which we support and can track.

What kinds of eCommerce platforms do you support?

ALEX:

We have a direct integration with Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento and WooCommerce.  Those are our biggest ones.

In additional to that, we also have our own API. Our API is similar to eCommerce tracking through Google analytics.

You can copy and paste a script on your landing, thank you or confirmation pages, and then we can use that script to track the order. Minimal development work is involved on your end. If you’re not on any of those platforms and have your own shop, you can use our API.

What does the integration with ReCharge mean for your customers and for eCommerce clients in general?

ALEX:

I think it’s a great partnership. ReCharge is major app in Shopify, and we’re also pretty big in Shopify.

I think having two applications that flock to the same hub where all of the orders are being stored is a great thing. We speak the same language. We’re able to get the client going quickly. There’s no major back and forth because we’re all in the same system, and we live the same technology day by day.

Can you tell us more about your pricing plans?

ALEX:

We do offer a free plan. If you want to try us out on a lower-tier free plan without any credit card, we’re happy to set you up with that. Just let us know.

Other than that, our plans start at a flat rate of $27 a month. They go up from there.

The rate largely depends on your affiliate sales volume per month and the features you want.

For example, if you want to track orders with coupon codes for platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, it would cost you $89 a month.

Can you give us some good examples of eCommerce businesses that are using your platform to build affiliate marketing campaigns?

ALEX:

Sure. We have an interesting company that uses our services called Pure Vida Bracelets.

If you like fashion, you may have seen their products. They sell bracelets made with different colored threads and jewels. Their company is exploding and growing very quickly, and they use our platform for tracking social media personalities.

People on YouTube often review their products. Instagram personalities take pictures of themselves wearing Pure Vida Bracelets, post those pictures and offer their subscribers a discount with a coupon code that we track.

EmazingLights is another one of our clients that I like a lot. They were on Shark Tank and did well on the show. They use a similar tracking system where they track coupons on social media, but they also offer store credit or gift cards in return for customers referring their friends. “If you refer a friend that buys, you get credit in our store,” for example. They’re an interesting example to take a look at, and they do a lot of business with affiliates.

Other than that, we have three or four other Shark Tank companies that use our platform. I hope that gives you some good examples.

Why do you think ReCharge customers should try using Reversion?

ALEX:

Again, for 99 percent of customers, there’s no development work. We have a free plan available, so you don’t even need a credit card to try us out. The worst thing that can happen is that you have a new channel of sales, and you get incremental revenue for your business.

I’d say we have a proven track record. For example, we’re the #1 rated app for affiliates on Shopify. We’ve been around the longest. We have a really good track record and a great number of years of experience.

We’re a growing company, and we’d love to work with you. Our customer support is also top-notch. When you get started with us, we’ll have a direct contact for you. Our office is in New York, and we’ll have someone here in the U.S. that is able to help you and get on the phone with you if needed.