Acquiring the connected consumer: the secret sauces for $0 marketing [#IRE 2014]

The buying mechanism of a consumer in online world is similar to that in the physical space, however with one difference. Because of being wired into the internet economy, the reach to information and possibility of sharing the experience post purchase will be much wider for a connected consumer than a probable normal shopper.

At iamWire’s Internet Retail Expo 2014, Swati Bhargava, CEO and Co-founder Cashkaro.com. revolved her discussion around the fact that how affiliate marketing can help retailers in customer acquisition.

In words of Swati, affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business (‘Advertiser’) rewards one or more affiliates (‘Publishers’) for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. “You cannot scam Google anymore. The updates just keep coming, so you might as well invest somewhere else,” she added.

Pointing out some stats, she said that affiliate marketing drove £14bn sales to UK retailers in 2013 and constitutes 16% of UK eCommerce market. Highlighting the returns one can get with affiliates, Swati reveals that advertisers spent £1bn on affiliates and in return got £14bn sales.

To make an affiliate program successful, essentially there are 4 different parties to look forward viz. Merchant or advertiser; Affiliate Network (e.g. Tyroo, OMG, VCommission etc.); Publisher and Customer or the Shopper. Since, it is performance driven one only pays if affiliates drive the sale. This also bring the benefits of affiliates doing extensive marketing & providing great brand exposure.

According to Swati, key elements of affiliate marketing are, having a programme and commission structure in place to attract affiliates, getting enough affiliates to join your programme, ability to track which affiliate generated a successful  sale or lead, easy to manage the programme and pay the affiliates and ability to reject sales or leads if they are fraudulent or payment is not received.

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Currently, there are various affiliate marketing options available such as loyalty programs, price comparison sites, cash back sites and many more. “Loyalty programs are a big part of affiliate marketing. They are popular and banks are looking into the domain as well,” said Swati.

For an overview of the social media discussions around this session, see this Storify. You can also watch this three-minute trailer or the full video.

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