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  1. #1
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    Astore versus direct links
    Hi,

    I'm wondering about the Astore effectiveness. My searching has shown most associates don't see them as being effective, and that straight links are better.

    If so, I'm wondering why that is. In theory, the 1 day cookie is a real limiter, and the aStore should moderate that. People shop in the aStore, put stuff in the cart, which then gives them 89 days to complete the order and you still get the referral fee. I would expect that a straight link would be less likely to result in an immediate order (within the 24hrs). An aStore on my site in an iFrame still appears as part of my site, and is accessed as such, so if they think about it for a few days, the place they should return to for purchasing is my site. That's where they found the product in the first place. With the aStore/iFrame, they don't connect it to Amazon until checkout.

    At least that's my theory. Has anyone tested this or have ideas on it?

    In addition, the aStore in the iFrame looks good on my site. The product categories are perfect, and the products, chosen through categories, are exactly grouped as desired.

    I have other pages where products are listed or mentioned, and I'm inclined to link them to the aStore page, instead of directly to the Amazon. (This has a tech problem, though, since I don't know how/if one can send an aStore product link to open in an iFrame of a different page).

    So I'm not sure if I should - assuming I can - link to the aStore product listing or go directly to Amazon.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by hazlcha View Post
    Hi,

    I'm wondering about the Astore effectiveness. My searching has shown most associates don't see them as being effective, and that straight links are better.

    If so, I'm wondering why that is. In theory, the 1 day cookie is a real limiter, and the aStore should moderate that. People shop in the aStore, put stuff in the cart, which then gives them 89 days to complete the order and you still get the referral fee. I would expect that a straight link would be less likely to result in an immediate order (within the 24hrs). An aStore on my site in an iFrame still appears as part of my site, and is accessed as such, so if they think about it for a few days, the place they should return to for purchasing is my site. That's where they found the product in the first place. With the aStore/iFrame, they don't connect it to Amazon until checkout.

    At least that's my theory. Has anyone tested this or have ideas on it?

    In addition, the aStore in the iFrame looks good on my site. The product categories are perfect, and the products, chosen through categories, are exactly grouped as desired.

    I have other pages where products are listed or mentioned, and I'm inclined to link them to the aStore page, instead of directly to the Amazon. (This has a tech problem, though, since I don't know how/if one can send an aStore product link to open in an iFrame of a different page).

    So I'm not sure if I should - assuming I can - link to the aStore product listing or go directly to Amazon.
    Get people to Amazon, period. Once there, they buy all sorts of stuff. That's the trick with Amazon, find something of interest that appeals to your visitors and which they'll be tempted to buy asap, then send them on their merry way. Amazon converts amazingly well.

    The Astores are ok, I guess. But they are a poor substitute for the "real thing," which is in this case Amazon's site.

  3. #3
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    Thanks. My niche, though, tends to be higher cost musical gear, which people shop more carefully for than they would for a book or toaster oven. For that, the conversion rates are lower, and often enough people click through on a link for a microphone and end up buying a kitty litter box.

    That actually happened. And if they got around to getting the microphone, it wasn't on my watch. That's why I was thinking an aStore was a stronger possibility, but theory and practice don't always agree.

  4. #4
    Member jkgourmet's Avatar
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    I shop amazon a lot as a consumer. I never put anything into my cart until I've decided to buy. If I'm considering purchasing an item, I add it to my wishlist.

    I'm not sure, but I don't think you get the 89 days for stuff added to wishlists.

    That said, I do have astores on a couple of sites. I do better from direct links from blog posts.

    I just accept that amazon only has that 24 hour cookie. I'll lose some because of that. I'll also gain because once a shoper is there, they buy other stuff. Especially with free shipping in the mix. And consumers trust amazon so it converts very well.

    Those that are more experienced or write better sales copy than I may be able to convert at those high rates with other, less "trusted" merchants. That allows the affiliate to benefit from the longer cookies and (usually) higher commisions. I'm still learning.
    Last edited by jkgourmet; December 20th, 2010 at 11:18 AM.

  5. #5
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    OK, thanks for your reply. The other sites almost all have longer cookies, but an 800 number in prime view. I'm sure two things happen, since my conversions with CJ/Shareasale sites have been as close to zero as you can get. 1 - they come back at a later time through another affiliate link, since people shop around before dropping a few hundred. 2 - They call the 800, deal goes offline, the merchant's phone people don't know what an affiliate code is, and the credit is lost.

    Amazon has none of that, only the 24 hr cookie. Buy.com also has none, has a longer cookie, but doesn't hold a candle to Amazon in site quality. Also, Amazon is often cheaper.

    That's my appraisal of the situation. I'm looking for the right formula to minimize that damage of the 1-day cookie on high ticket items. That's why I want the visitor to return through my site, with its aStore in the iFrame window. With their shopping cart there, which they then transfer to the main Amazon to process whenever they're ready, and I still get credit.

    So when you say blog links do better than aStores, how do you use the aStore? Do the aStores perform at all, or they do, but not as good as straight links? Do you have an explanation for why that might be so?

  6. #6
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    I use direct links and also have an aStore where products are well organized and where I include my own descriptions. Untll the middle of 2010, my aStores (4 different countries) represented maybe 15% of my sales. Now I get almost no sales from aStores at all. In my case, I think the reason is that Amazon no longer credits you for sales if your visitor came from a search engine; originally my aStores were not framed, and got good search engine placement because of my solid descriptions. Once the sales disappeared (and, as I say, I think I know why, but don't have time to care about it), I switched to inline presentation. It looks nicer, and I don't like sending customers to Amazon and getting nothing for it.

    So, my recommendation is: don't rely on aStores, period. If you want to keep yours, that's great, but use direct links to Amazon as your primary strategy.

    The main risk with aStores is the famous, "Are you really sure you want to transfer the items to your Amazon cart?" prompt. Normal people don't understand the concept of 2 carts (for which I don't blame them), and I suspect many people abandon their purchase at that point. That prompt is something they added along the way, supposedly at their lawyers' request - that was 2 or 3 years ago. Before that, my aStore was more effective.

    To clarify the technical questions, there is no time limit associated with items in your aStore cart. They will stay there as long as the user does not clear his cookies. But, should the user login from another browser (or computer, as in "from home" vs "from work'), the cart contents are not available. With direct links to Amazin, you get credit for the items they purchase if they reached Amazon via one of your links within that 24 hours window; if 24 hours have passed, then they must return to your site/aStore and be referred again (again, assuming the 24 hours have elapsed, or they have followed someone else's link or completed a sale). If it takes time to decide on an expensive purchase, then you would lose credit if they bought a small item immediately, and then returned even if within the 24 hours to buy the expensive item. The 24 hour cookie is not the only issue.

    The 89 (or 90) day window applies only to items that have been placed in Amazon's cart, not yours. Which means that you want to get people to Amazon to place the item in their Amazon cart while they are thinking about it, or to want to return to your site when they are ready to purchase. (An item in the Amazon cart remains tagged to you even if they complete other orders on Amazon before finally going ahead with the big purchase).

    How you play it, I don't know. Telling people to stand on their head so that you get credit usually don't work well in the long run. I'd try some combination of very good on site information so that people don't have to put the item in any cart, but are motivated to return to your site when they are ready to purchase. How you do that, and how well it works, depends on what you sell, who you sell to, how much you know, how well you write, and probably a bit of luck as well.
    ---
    Valerie Magee
    [URL=http://mageenet.net]MageeNET[/URL]

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Ahhh, one of those mysteries of life (or at least aff biz) cleared up!

    Thanks jimh009 & shuvee for clarifying aStore issues & hazlcha for asking.
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  8. #8
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    Well, I got a script to create a remote shopping cart, so they now come to my site for the products, and only transfer to Amazon when the cart is ready. I don't know how many abandon there, but there are a handful of click throughs, and the conversion rate is better. I used to get many more clicks, and less purchases.

    So for now, a script is the way to go, I believe. Astores were a flop, and straight links were OK. I like the fact that people can now access all of Amazaon's listings through my site, put it in the cart and purchase when they are ready. If they choose not to, they will remember to come back to my site later, rather than Amazon.

    That's the theory, and though it's been only a few weeks, things are moving better.

  9. #9
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    Astore didn't worked for me. I tried to link to it from wordpress nav menu and also as 125 banner image. In both cases i didn't found any good conversion, so currently switched to direct links.

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