If Target sells your brand, affiliate marketing may be better for your margins

Holiday sales are competitive. Every brand wants a piece of the sales-spike seen on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

If your brand sells to any large, big-box or online retailers like Target and Amazon, then you should definitely leverage your affiliate marketing channel to compete with your wholesale relationships.

Affiliate marketing is a unique digital marketing channel where a brand can truly utilize their resources to attract customers to buy directly from their site. There are thousands of affiliates out there who would be happy to promote your brand including loyalty/reward programs, coupon sites, influencers, and deal sites. All of these make small commissions from their sales performance. Think of them as your online sales representatives.

While Target and Amazon may offer low prices and free shipping (usually with no order minimum), your brand can give loyalty affiliate shoppers double cash back offers, exclusive coupons, and/or deals that are exclusive to your site. Often the margins with wholesale or resell partners are 30 to 50% or more. However, commissions paid to affiliates are at least half that.

The affiliate marketing channel is extraordinarily flexible, and gives your brand a prime opportunity for awareness and increased traffic/revenue.

Loyalty/Reward Programs:

Target and Amazon are most likely already on Loyalty/Reward sites. That doesn’t mean you can’t compete.

Target and Amazon typically only have cash back of around 1-3% which is pennies (thanks, guys). Your brand can make an impact by offering higher commission incentives (whether it be cash back, charitable donation, frequent flyer miles, etc.).

Coupon Sites:

Creating exclusive coupons for your ecommerce site will get you valuable brand exposure, and will have holiday shoppers buying directly from your site. Additionally, your brand can make a coupon code that is given exclusively to one coupon site (instead of many), which typically comes with a nice placement on the affiliate’s homepage or sidebar (as a thank you).


Influence marketing (also known as Content Marketing) is also a great way to compete with the big-box stores. Influencers or bloggers are less likely to feature a larger retailer like Target or Amazon, and are more likely to feature specific products or brands. Many are looking to the affiliate channel as a way to monetize the content they are creating and sharing. And again, brands (unlike retailers) can often offer a more competitive commission rate.

Deal Sites:

Everybody wants a great deal and typically people don’t care where it comes from. If your brand is struggling with brand awareness, deal sites can help you get exposed to a large demographic of shoppers who may have never heard of you before. Shoppers in the affiliate channel, especially deal affiliate shoppers, are generally brand agnostic – meaning they are just looking for a great deal and are willing to buy from new brands.

Create exclusive deals for your site that Target and Amazon simply cannot compete with, and deal affiliates will do the promotional work for you.

If you’re still not convinced that the affiliate channel could work for your brand this holiday season, consider this data from Think with Google’s 5 Holiday Shopping Trends to Watch in 2015:


Want to learn more about what affiliate marketing can do for your brand? Contact us today to get in touch with one of our affiliate managers: