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A Decisive Guide to Shopify Affiliate Marketing for 2022

With the rise of eCommerce comes a spike in the volume of online customers. Successful eCommerce retailers understand that there is always scope for change and growth in their business. Affiliate marketing is one viable route for entrepreneurs looking to take their business to the next level. And with Shopify leading the eCommerce charge, shop owners naturally look for new ways to expand and extend their revenue sources. That’s where Shopify affiliate marketing comes into the picture.

The Basics of Affiliate Marketing

In its basic form, affiliate marketing is the promotion of another company's product, brand, or service. Generally, an influencer or a reputable website promotes a product through a unique affiliate link. The affiliate receives a commission when a customer clicks on the link and purchases the product.


Affiliates act as advocates for the business, brand, or product they promote. They can be an influencer, a new or returning consumer, or a small marketing firm. They can market a product using a website, blog, social media, or email. Affiliating networks pay associates either a flat fee or a portion of each sale they generate. The result is usually a sale, while in other cases, programs may pay affiliates for leads or app downloads.
Affiliate marketing is beneficial to both retailers and affiliates. Affiliates receive a fair part of the money earned by the purchases, clicks, or leads they promote for low-risk sales and marketing activities that can scale quickly. 

The Upsides of Shopify Affiliate Marketing

Shopify is one of the most widely used eCommerce platforms today. It's versatile enough for small to medium-sized businesses and enterprises to set up and run online storefronts selling products, services, and everything in between. Let's look at some facts:

Clearly, it's a lucrative pie worth taking a slice of regardless of the type of shop you run. 


Here are some of the benefits of affiliate marketing on Shopify:

Low-cost, low-risk

Joining an affiliate program doesn’t necessitate an advertising team for visual ads or ad spaces. Your affiliate network will provide all promotional materials. Additionally, the financial risk is minimal whether you run your affiliate program or sell affiliate products.

Multi-channel marketing

Affiliates can use any channel that works for both of you. These include social media networks, email marketing, online reviews, and blogging. As a result, you're not dragged into overpriced and highly-produced digital campaigns.

New audiences

Your Shopify business will be promoted online by a network of affiliates. Instead of spending time and money to create a few hundred online followers, affiliate marketing allows you to reach the entire audience of each affiliate you partner with. As such, thousands of new customers are introduced to your Shopify store.

Targeted traffic

Because you chose your affiliates, you can be confident that the traffic to your page is from people who value your product or service. Associates who genuinely like your brand will highly recommend your business to others in their network.


Affiliate marketing provides flexible work hours. You can work it as a full-time career or as a freelancer. You can also cherry-pick who to work with and which products or niches to promote so you can pitch the products to your specific audience.

Easy to measure

Using Shopify affiliate marketing tools makes tracking and measuring your program a breeze. You can easily track sales and pay commissions using specific tracking numbers for each affiliate.

Passive income

When executed correctly, affiliate marketing can be a reliable source of passive revenue and financial accessibility.

The Basics of the Shopify Affiliate Program

The Shopify Affiliate Program comprises businesses, entrepreneurs, influencers, and content creators who inspire and teach their audiences about commerce using Shopify. The program is free to join and allows you to earn commissions on new Shopify business referrals.
Requirements to join include:

The Shopify team will review your application, which usually takes 15 business days. When your application is approved, you will receive an email with an affiliate link to promote Shopify and some resources to get started. In addition to the Shopify affiliate marketing tools, you will get your unique reference handle to help you keep track of all of your referrals. 
Shopify's tracking cookies are valid for 30 days. If someone clicks on your link and joins Shopify, you will be compensated with the referral as long as the visitor joins up for a 14-day free trial within 30 days. When the user's 14-day free trial expires, and they become a paying client, you will get a one-time commission.
The Shopify Affiliate Program solely accepts PayPal for affiliate payouts.

Shopify Affiliate Marketing Avenues

Shopify affiliate marketing is one of the simplest affiliate marketing mediums available today. There are two primary avenues available for Shopify store owners:
  • Create a Shopify affiliate marketing program
  • Sell affiliate items on your Shopify shop
Let's take a closer look at these possibilities.

Option 1: Create an Affiliate Marketing Program for Your Shopify Store

Before creating a program or enlisting affiliates, you must first determine the purpose of your affiliate endeavors.
Here are some questions to get you going. Addressing them will help you determine the best affiliate marketing plan for your store.

Demographics: Who are your program's target audiences and ideal customers?

Affiliates: What type of affiliate partners are you searching for?

Structure: Do you want to pay affiliates for every sale they make or share revenue with them?

Goals: What do you intend to gain with your affiliate marketing campaign? Do you want to boost brand recognition? Increase conversions? Improve traffic to your Shopify store?

Channels: Where can you find affiliates that fit your niche?

Objectives: What are your short- and long-term targets? What are the requirements for a successful Shopify affiliate network?
Your affiliate marketing program will begin to shape organically as you answer these questions.

Step 1: Determine which products to promote

The first step is to decide which items will be included in your program. While you can add all of your products, you should prioritize those with a high Average Order Value (AOV) to improve sales and affiliate revenue. AOV is a method of calculating how much money someone spends on a website or app. If you think about it, a 10% commission on a $65 product is more profitable than a 10% commission on a $6.50 item. You may also adjust the products in your program depending on how well it sells and how well it performs.

Step 2: Establish your commission rates

Generally, businesses reward customers for referring and selling their products with monetary compensation, arguably the best incentive. Some online businesses offer vouchers or freebies. 
For a cash-based commission, you can choose from one of the following options:

Fixed-rate: You specify a set dollar amount for each successful sale (ex. $2 per sale)

Percentage: You offer a portion of the product's price (ex. 8% per sale)
As per this report, percentage commissions are preferred by both sellers and affiliates, with usual commissions ranging from 5% to 30%. Shopify categorizes affiliate commissions as follows:


You can also add exclusive sales or complimentary items to your compensation package as a reward. Affiliate programs with generous rewards are more likely to attract top affiliates who can consistently sell products. It also builds trust with potential affiliates by proving your Shopify business's credibility.

Step 3: Pick the right affiliate marketing app

Several affiliate marketing tools are available to help you efficiently set up your affiliate program. Shopify affiliate marketing apps, in particular, can help you save resources since they are specifically designed for Shopify businesses. With so many options accessible, your primary task will be to assess their benefits and drawbacks against the demands of your shop.

Here are four of the best Shopify affiliate marketing apps you can look into:

Refersion: Refersion is a prominent player in affiliate marketing that can manage and track affiliate programs and partners. Their Shopify APIs allow you to quickly generate unique discount codes and track sales from any source. Plans start at $89 per month.

LeadDyno Affiliate Marketing: One of the most popular Shopify affiliate marketing apps, LeadDyno is favored by small businesses. Using LeadDyno gives you free access to their vast affiliate network as well as a terrific marketing tool. LeadDyno plan starts at $29 per month.

UpPromote: UpPromote is an automated, all-in-one influencer and affiliate marketing tool that allows you to effortlessly create a professional affiliate campaign. No technical expertise is necessary to use this app and a free plan is available. 

ReferralCandy: As a pioneer in the field, ReferralCandy is the Rolls Royce of affiliate marketing apps. Automated payouts, detailed statistics, and customizable incentives are available through the app. The ReferralCandy plan starts at $49 per month.

Step 4: Find affiliates to partner with

This is one of the more time-consuming tasks, but it is vital. You'd want to find affiliate partners who can credibly represent your brand or product. If you already have a list of brand advocates or influencers in mind, contact them directly about joining your affiliate program. Otherwise, market your program to your target audience. Regular Shopify visitors can become brand advocates too. 
Choosing the right affiliate partners is crucial to your marketing success. It would help if you aimed for a few exceptional affiliates well-aligned with your niche rather than many affiliates who may convert fewer sales per person. The Shopify affiliate app you pick can influence the expected size of your affiliate program too. Some apps have a cap on the number of affiliate partners. 
Use these channels to bring in new affiliates:

Social media sites: Notify your network about your affiliate program. You can also launch tailored ads about it.

Shopify store: Create an affiliate program landing page that converts target buyers with their own social media presences and sites into affiliate partners.

Website: Your site visitors are already familiar with your brand, making them good potential affiliate prospects. This is the space where you can provide in-depth information about your program. 

Affiliate networks: Look for new affiliate partners on sites that post partnership openings.

Email marketing. Use your email list to deliver targeted associate invites to existing customers.

Step 5: Establish a communication channel with your affiliates

After recruiting your associates, you'll want to monitor both their productivity and the overall performance of your program. Choose a line of contact with your affiliates, such as sending regular emails. Some emails can be sent automatically through your Shopify affiliate marketing app, but others will need to be more personalized (ex. customer support, payment queries)
Ensure that your affiliates understand the program's guidelines and are familiar with your brand. Create a catalog of material that your affiliates may use, such as tutorials, webinars, infographics, pre-scheduled social posts, and a list of relevant hashtags to help keep everyone on track.

Step 6: Assess the efficiency of your program

Long-term success requires understanding your affiliate program's performance. For instance, identifying your top affiliates can help you double down on what works.
Keeping track of your affiliates is easy with affiliate applications. Custom registration pages, onboarding, affiliate monitoring, and analytics are ways to identify and manage your affiliates swiftly. Using the app's stats and insights, you can further optimize your affiliate program. Some of the metrics to pay attention to are:
  • Total affiliate sales
  • Sales per affiliate
  • Total payout
  • Payout-to-sales ratio
  • Average order size
  • Gross margin
  • Total number of associates (new and those who left the program)

Option 2: Promote Affiliate Products on Your Shopify Store

If your store has a huge client base and could benefit from more product variety, reselling goods for a commission-based profit is viable. Here's how to go about it:

Step 1: Sign up for an affiliate program

You already have a devoted customer base and a specialized product selection as a Shopify business owner. Make sure your Shopify affiliate product offerings complement your existing Shopify items. It is critical to join a program compatible with your business strategy, so your products and affiliate items merge organically. Amazon Associates is the top affiliate network for Shopify business owners. You may earn up to 10% on purchases made via your website, and the product variety is enormous.

Step 2: Add the necessary affiliate links

Once you've been approved for an affiliate program, start directing clients there. The only difference between promoting your own items and displaying affiliate products is that you must handle the affiliate links. You will receive customized URLs to track your website's sales and you must put affiliate links on relevant products. 

Step 3: Optimize and promote 

When your diverse shop selection is ready, let the rest of the world know about it. Augment your store to load quicker, convert higher rates, and reach a broader market. Make great product descriptions. Visitors must see that you aren't just looking to make a profit but genuinely believe in the value of the affiliate products you're recommending. 
In addition, improve the loading times of the shop. When you have an extensive collection of items, loading can be a problem due to a large number of product images. Make sure that visuals are optimized to avoid deadweight. Lastly, employ proper SEO practices so search engines can easily find your Shopify store. 

The Takeaway

A diverse marketing strategy is always a wise idea. Incorporating Shopify affiliate marketing in your campaign is one relatively straightforward way to strengthen it. Because the eCommerce platform already offers a plethora of affiliate marketing tools on its App Store, developing your program is significantly easier. Prepare the groundwork and create a vision for your affiliate marketing campaign before you begin, and explore the various tools and apps. Most software provides a free trial period, which allows you to try them out before making any financial commitments.
Affiliate marketing takes time, effort, and dedication to achieve exceptional results. It's also a competitive industry, so distinguishing your affiliate program from competitors can be challenging. However, it offers numerous benefits and rewards to sweeten the deal.