Home » Future of Retail and E-Commerce » How affiliate marketing yields excellent return on investment for retailers

Joelle Mullin

Senior Retail Client Partner, Awin

In a time of uncertainty, affiliate marketing provides retailers with the stability they need. Introducing new audiences to products and services, while yielding impressive results.

According to e-retail community IMRG, ecommerce growth was down 10% in 2022. Unsurprising in a cost-of-living crisis. However, affiliate marketing is bucking this downward trend.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing allows retailers to strike up relationships with a diverse range of ‘publishers’ that help them reach new audiences. These ‘publishers’ or ‘affiliates’ can be website owners, bloggers, social influencers, technology partners, and even other brands. They promote the retailer’s products and services on their platforms to drive traffic to the retailer’s channels. If this results in a purchase, the affiliate receives a commission fee on the sale.

Joelle Mullin is Senior Client Partner at Awin, an affiliate marketing platform helping brands and partners find each other. At the last count, it was working with 2,493 UK retail brands and over 270,000 publishers. Mullin knows affiliate marketing works. While UK retail growth declined in 2022, the company’s UK retail growth surged by 12.4%. High performers include health and beauty (up 21% annually), fast-moving consumer goods (up 53%) and sportswear (up 31%).

Unlike other channels, we offer brands and partners full control, choice and transparency.

Affiliate marketing benefits

“Brands like the affiliate channel because it provides stability in a time of uncertainty — and at a lower cost than pay-per-click,” says Mullin. “Unlike other marketing channels where prices are rising, this offers a high return on investment; partners only receive payment on sales made.”

Then there’s market reach, as retailers gain exposure to previously untapped audiences. Naturally, the diverse range of affiliates working with Awin also benefit. “First, they’re paid for the sales they make,” says Mullin.

“Second, it’s relatively easy to enter the affiliate marketing space. All someone needs to start with is a live website or social media channel. With everything from partner discovery through to tracking, performance, and payments, Awin gives retailers the tools to help monetise partnerships with brands.”

Don’t underestimate affiliate marketing

While it’s a growing area for influencers, Mullin admits brands still overlook affiliate marketing. “Unlike other channels, we offer brands and partners full control, choice and transparency. But still, retailers equate it with discount/promotional codes or the last click on a marketing funnel” she says. “It’s much more than that. It’s an innovative channel; always growing and diversifying. Making it the marketing solution of the future.”

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