Discover curated products from our exclusive brands

Shopify marketing

/ 4 mins

How OpenStore Supercharged Its Affiliate Program

Ross Yader, Partnerships Lead profile picture

Ross Yader, Partnerships Lead

Mar 20, 2024

Opening Up: Affiliates

One of the shortcomings of e-commerce is that shoppers don’t get to try out the product they’re buying until it arrives in the mail.

That’s why affiliate marketing plays such an important role in driving sales for e-commerce brands. Affiliate marketing is a paid marketing channel where third-party partners like online publishers or media outlets review your e-commerce brand’s products or write about your promotions. Through these reviews, affiliates can help increase your company’s credibility and make it more likely for shoppers to trust you and make a purchase. At OpenStore, we’ve developed an extensive affiliate marketing program across our portfolio of brands.

Because we own and operate nearly 50 brands built on Shopify, we’re able to leverage the affiliate partnerships we’ve established with one brand across one or more other brands in the portfolio. Currently, we’re running affiliate programs for about 30 brands, allowing us to get high-level insights and make adjustments on what’s working and what’s not.

Affiliate marketing is a cost-effective way to increase credibility

One of the benefits of affiliate marketing is that it’s a performance-based marketing channel, meaning that you only have to pay for successful transactions driven by your affiliates. An affiliate will drive their audience to your Shopify business and you’ll only pay them a commission when someone from their audience makes a purchase. 

Affiliates can include major media publications like the New York Times’ Wirecutter or GQ, niche content sites and blogs like CNET, Gear Patrol, and Sleepoplis, shopping marketplaces like Klarna and Bing Shopping, product discovery platforms, cashback and rewards sites, and even tech plugin partners. Affiliate marketing is also often part of a multi-touch marketing strategy, meaning that a shopper might see an ad for a product on Instagram and then look up reviews for the product, where they’d find an article from an affiliate endorsing the item, all of which helps convert people to purchase. 

OpenStore offers a unique approach to affiliate marketing

My first objective when I started at OpenStore was to expand our existing affiliate marketing efforts to some of our larger brands, such as Jack Archer, Exo Drones, and Sensory Joy. Leveraging my 15-year career in affiliate marketing, I built out a network of publishers for our brands and contacted different outlets to see if they had an interest in running affiliate campaigns. 

It was also important to create efficiencies within our existing program. We consolidated the programs into our primary platform partner (Shareasale) so that we could improve and streamline our reporting. We also started partnering directly with affiliates and commerce writers, eliminating the need for the outside agency we had been working with and bringing everything in-house. 

Some of our brands had affiliate programs in place before OpenStore acquired their business. Frozen food brand FarmFoods had 600 affiliate partners when we acquired them in 2021. This extensive network has become valuable as our portfolio of brands has grown. For instance, with every new brand we acquire, we become more useful to the affiliates in our network. One affiliate might review multiple brands from our portfolio. Sleep health outlet Sleeopoplis, for example, has published reviews for two of our brands, Spindle and Sol Organics

Contribution profit from affiliates has skyrocketed

In just a few months, investing in our affiliate marketing program has proven worthwhile. Between February 2023 and October 2023, monthly net sales from affiliate marketing increased by over 100%. We’ve partnered with the online product discovery platform The Grommet to feature six of our brands.

We’ve launched entirely new affiliate programs for four of our brands—HistoreeTees, Jack Archer, Sensory Joy, and TheSTEMKids—that have generated nearly $400K in net sales in four months. Sales from affiliates already account for roughly 5% of total sales from these brands, on average.

During BFCM (Black Friday Cyber Monday), we ramped up our affiliate marketing efforts. Over six days, we ran affiliate campaigns for 27 of our brands. In November and December, we executed over 100 campaigns and 1,400 partnerships, including features in holiday gift-giving guides. 

Looking forward, we’re using artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate some of our affiliate work. We’re also creating a singular platform where prospective affiliates can access all of our brands and products for potential activations.

OpenStore employs experts across channels 

When you sell your business to OpenStore, we apply our experience from running nearly 50 brands to your business — ensuring it’s in good hands and thrives. Your business will be managed by experts in affiliate marketing, social media marketing, customer service, supply chain, and more. We take pride in the portfolio we’ve built and the millions of shoppers who shop from our brands.

Ready to sell? Get an acquisition offer from our experts.

OpenStore buys great businesses built on Shopify. Our simple acquisition process helps you maximize your exit without the hassle.