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  1. #1
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    Noob question: re shopping carts with affiliate links
    What is the generally-accepted practice regarding the architecture of ecommerce sites implemented by an affiliate?

    Do most affiliates
    a) take the datafeed to simply create an index page of links to the vendor's website, (the shopper clicks on an item to leave your site) or
    b) do you create a shopping cart into which all of the shoppers selections are aggregated? The shopper is then handed off to the vendor at the check-out stage. Or,
    c) is the whole transaction done by the affiliate who collects the money and passes to the vendor as a drop-ship-to-the-customer solution?
    ... or something in between?

    It seems to me that the affiliate isn't adding very much value with a) and that c) it isn't really an "affiliate" relationship, since the affiliate collects the money and sends a check to the vendor for the wholesale price.

    Sorry for the noobishness. The learning curve is still pretty vertical.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    Of your choices there a) is the closest to what an affiliate does, but that description is for a not very bright and probably unsuccessful affiliate. When your traffic leaves your site to go to the merchant's site, they are going there to buy if you've done the job right. The idea isn't to show a page of products and hope someone comes along who might be looking for what's there. The idea is to present the products along with unique and useful content that help a shopper decide what they want and hopefully want - now! Maybe you offer product reviews or price comparisons or something useful to the visitor to make them want to visit your site and click your links rather than one of the other thousands of sites offering the same products.

    c) is called drop shipping, not affiliate marketing.
    b) would never work very well, it would cause customer confusion and liability questions for starters.
    Good luck

  3. #3
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    Thanks I need to rethink my understanding of value of the affiliate datafeed.

    So to oversimplify... typically, blue_widget.com takes the widgets inc. datafeed, queries out the blue ones, then integrates the query result into his content in a way that adds value to the vendor's product.

    I tend to grind gears on the paradigm shift.

    My main site is oriented toward individuals who are a good market for almost all of my preferred vendor's products. I had hoped to keep visitors on my site for the entire transaction, but that is apparently atypical.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
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    There are some programs that can make it appear that the cart is integrated with your site, you design the cart template which is on their secure site and your links go to that cart page. This is usually downloadable products, not physical inventory goods. Conceivably you could do the reverse and create your product pages to resemble the merchant's cart pages, but many merchants prohibit "lookalike" sites just because of the customer confusion issue (who did I buy that from??).

    Spend a little time Googling around and you're sure to land on some affiliate sites. That can help you get an idea of what's out there.

  5. #5
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    Of course you should keep in mind that if the visitor thinks they bought from you, they'll go to you for returns, support, etc.

  6. #6
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostdeviant
    Of course you should keep in mind that if the visitor thinks they bought from you, they'll go to you for returns, support, etc.
    Hey, then maybe you can get a toolbar
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  7. #7
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence
    Hey, then maybe you can get a toolbar
    As long as the light on the toolbar changes color, it is ok, right? :-)

  8. #8
    Newbie
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostdeviant
    Of course you should keep in mind that if the visitor thinks they bought from you, they'll go to you for returns, support, etc.
    ... and repeat purchases.

    With content, I can put first-time visitors in a buying frame of mind, but I'm trying to find a way to bring them back to the middleman (me) when they need more blue widgets (the product is a consumable).

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