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  1. #1
    Newbie selahjewelry's Avatar
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    Commission on Phone Orders -- Tips?
    Hi, we've recently instituted the promo code on our contact pages of our site so that we can offer affiliates a commission on phone orders.

    I would love advice on a few things pertaining to this:

    (1) We offer 12% commissions -- is it a sin to offer phone order commissions a slightly smaller rate of 10%? The reason is that we offer our sales staff a commission on phone orders too, and we've already maxed out our commission structure.

    (2) I have the promo code listed right next to the phone # on top of the page. Design-wise, I'd much rather hide this code somewhere near the bottom of the page, and train our staff to alert customers to it when needed -- but I am afraid that affiliates won't see it and will only see the # and think we have a leak. Any suggestions?

    (3) How important is commissions on phone orders to affiliates? Please be honest. Would you not sign up for a merchant if they did not offer phone order commissions?

    Here is a sample of what we did. Any suggestions would be very appreciated!

    http:// selahjewelry.com/customer_service.html

    (I hope the link isn't a violation of the rules. If so, I apologize. Just want to show sample).

    Thank you,
    Afshin
    Selah Jewelry
    Last edited by Haiko de Poel, Jr.; January 23rd, 2007 at 08:46 PM.

  2. #2
    Affiliate Manager Allen Nance's Avatar
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    Ashfin,

    Welcome to ABW. You may be in violation but I am not a mod.

    So let me ask you question:

    When someone comes to your site through Google or other advertising channels and then phones in their order, do you say to Google " Look I would like to pay the amount I said I would but you have to give us a credit on that pay per click because we are paying a commission to a phone rep? "

    What your asking for I believe will open a can of worms, ticked off affiliates and lots of your time posting here to clean up the worms.

    Good luck on your program.

    Allen
    Signup Now for our KiteandWind affiliate program exclusivly at Shareasale.
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  3. #3
    Newbie selahjewelry's Avatar
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    Commissions on Phone Orders
    Hi, Allen,

    I appreciate your response. I noticed someone else had done a similar thing on shareasale. I haven't set the commission rate yet for phone orders, so I'm kind of gathering info and feedback from you guys at this point. It's currently at 12%, like our regular commission.

    Any feedback on the positioning of the "Promo Code"?

    Thanks,
    Afshin
    Selah Jewelry
    Last edited by Haiko de Poel, Jr.; January 23rd, 2007 at 08:46 PM.

  4. #4
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Afshin, why would you want to offer a lower commission on phone orders? No, I hear your argument about paying your phone operators, but the big question is: does the fact that your phone people come into play diminish the value of the work done for you by the affiliate that sent the sale?

    Geno

  5. #5
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    I think Geno's right.

    As an affiliate, if I send someone to your web site, I'm sending you a nice lead -- but you need to do some good work at your web site to convert that person into a paying customer. And oddly enough, I only get paid if YOU do your job well, regardless of how well I do my job as an affiliate.

    If a customer then picks up the phone to call you, it's because they aren't getting "the information or comfort they need" from your web site. That's not a failure by the affiliate, and the affiliate shouldn't be penalized. (I'm not saying it's your failure, either -- a lot of people just aren't comfortable ordering jewelry online without any human contact, so it's just one more element of your business that you have to deal with.)

    Another issue: if you offer a differential commission based on whether the customer places a phone order, it seems logical that some affiliates may try to discourage customers from placing orders by phone. The most likely result is that the customer simply won't place the order at all. Is that the outcome you'd like?

  6. #6
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    I've participated in one program that offered reduced commissions on phone orders. In that case it didn't bother me, but only because it was a white label program, where I controled the branding and interface, the placement of the phone number, if it was displayed, etc. I ended up pushing the number pretty hard and phone orders hit 10-20% of total orders.

    In a program where the merchant controls how likely it is for the customer to call, I might not like it so much, but there would be a couple other factors that could mitigate that.

    1. If the product line allowed for it, and the reps were trained for an upsell as part of the call, I might see overall commissions increase because of the trained phone staff, and that certainly wouldn't bother me.

    2. You'd have to do some coding to get this one to work, but if your staff followed up on lost orders, those that hit your cart, filled out their information, but did not finish for whatever reason, and closed those sales, I would be very happy to get a partial commission. You'd have to capture the ID and store it with customer details, but it could be done. I'm hoping to do something similar when we start to see more volume and more incompletes.

    BTW, are you able to edit the display of the code in any way? I've never liked the word "Promo" in association with asking a customer for the number. I'd just expect them to ask if the "promo" gave them a discount or something... I'd rather put something like "Ref #" and populate it with a default for when no affiliate ID existed (to train phone staff to always ask).

    Best of luck!
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  7. #7
    Newbie selahjewelry's Avatar
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    Geno, I believe you are right, you make a strong point.

    With your input and that of others, I have made up my mind regarding this situation.

    However, my only concern is the placement of the "Promo Code" text. It just doesn't look great with the website and it may leave customers wondering what it's for. Any suggestions there?

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador danay's Avatar
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    Selah, I tested out a similar program a while back with a travel merchant and the promo codes just did not work. I would suggest implementing either an extension number, which I have also tested and works or a separate phone number per affiliate, which gets costly but can be done. Most people will not give you the promo code or close the window or any number of other issues.

    My 2 pennies is: whatever system you do choose, make sure you test it even if it means doing some small media buys to make sure it works and converts before you ask your affiliates to send their traffic.

    good luck!
    Danay @ LunaSolMedia.com
    Global Perfomance Marketing. Global Niche Markets = Opportunity!
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  9. #9
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    The best strategy to get people to use the "code" is to offer them something as a reward (appeal to greed). Often, that's a discount (extra 10% off, or free shipping), but perhaps the better thing would be an "extra" -- something that costs you little or nothing but is perceived as a bonus by the customer. For jewelry, that might be as simple as "a nicer box and a gift card" or it might even be something like an advertising-specialty item (pen, t-shirt, stress-ball, coffee mug, or whatever). It can even be something that you normally include with every order (e.g. the nice gift box), but that you don't usually mention.

    I've often thought that a great "promo" for us (QuoteProducts) would be that when someone purchases a larger poster, they could use a "promo code" to also get a smaller 11x17 poster of the same image. It's not an offer that I think would bring us any new customers or make someone more likely to order, but once they are ordering the larger poster, they won't want to turn down the opportunity to get the freebie. (However, we absolutely do NOT want to encourage phone orders because our price point is too low to justify a lot of staff time taking phone orders.)

  10. #10
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    The best strategy to get people to use the "code" is to offer them something as a reward (appeal to greed). Often, that's a discount (extra 10% off, or free shipping), but perhaps the better thing would be an "extra" -- something that costs you little or nothing but is perceived as a bonus by the customer. For jewelry, that might be as simple as "a nicer box and a gift card" or it might even be something like an advertising-specialty item (pen, t-shirt, stress-ball, coffee mug, or whatever). It can even be something that you normally include with every order (e.g. the nice gift box), but that you don't usually mention.
    Great idea Mark. Value adds are often excellent kickers, even if the cost is negligible.

    My Saturn dealer once botched a repair job, and I had to bring it back in. Without mentioning it or having me ask for it, they detailed the whole vehicle. I never knew til I drove away, but that's the kind of value add that gets people to do things for you.
    Kevin Webster
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  11. #11
    Full Member deepestblue's Avatar
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    Tracking phone orders often makes the difference between choosing to work with a program as an affiliate, or not. It shows a respect for, and acknowledgement of, affiliates.

    That said, the best case scenario for me as an affiliate is for the merchant to have no phone number listed on their site whatsoever - or at least on the site that I'm sending traffic to.


    "The best strategy to get people to use the "code" is to offer them something as a reward (appeal to greed)."

    I disagree with this. The phone number should not be incentivized; from the perspective of an affiliate, we should want to dissuade a phone call. I would actually prefer the wording to say "10% INCREASE in price if you order via phone."

  12. #12
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    I disagree with this. The phone number should not be incentivized; from the perspective of an affiliate, we should want to dissuade a phone call. I would actually prefer the wording to say "10% INCREASE in price if you order via phone."
    Realistically, that's not going to happen. Merchant's have affiliate programs to build sales, not hurt them. I see what you are saying, but it's just not going to happen.
    Kevin Webster
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  13. #13
    Affiliate Manager harrymond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geno Prussakov
    Afshin, why would you want to offer a lower commission on phone orders? No, I hear your argument about paying your phone operators, but the big question is: does the fact that your phone people come into play diminish the value of the work done for you by the affiliate that sent the sale?
    Geno
    I Second What Geno said...
    Cheers,

    Harry.
    Mondera Affiliate Manager
    http://www.mondera.com/affiliate_support/
    Winner of the LinkShare 2004 Golden Link Awards "Affiliate's Choice Award"
    Winner of the 2002 Abestweb.com "Best Affiliate Program Award"

  14. #14
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    Sorry, to clarify: any offer tied to an affiliate "promo code" should be offered for web orders as well as for phone orders. I agree that the goal is always to discourage the more expensive phone order in favor of the online order.

  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    I'd say you don't have to make that promo code really visible, as long as you train your staff really well to ask for it every time. Put it in the footer or something where people can easily find it but it won't be distracting.

    However, you need to specifically address this on your affiliate page. So when affiliates are scoping out your site you can tell them specifically that agents are very highly trained and they will ask for that promo code 100% of the time, so commissions will be credited.
    Jason Rosenbaum
    Affiliate Manager
    MINDsprinting

  16. #16
    Newbie selahjewelry's Avatar
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    markwelch,

    It was my understanding that we should simply ask the customer on the phone for the promo code and that they would give it. It's posted on a lot of our pages, such as contact page, about us page, and anywhere that shows the phone #, so it would be easy to direct them to it.

    By "Promo Codes" - I don't mean like a coupon code -- but ShareaSale has the phone promo code implementation.

    Am I missing something? Someone else had mentioned that promo codes didn't always work -- but I thought it's as simple as asking them for it and directing them to the right place on our website that shows it when taking phone orders.

    Thanks for the ideas and input!

    Afshin
    Selah Jewelry
    http://selahjewelry.com

  17. #17
    Newbie selahjewelry's Avatar
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    deepest blue,

    I agree with you that giving commissions on orders shows a respect for affiliates -- I have learned that from this thread.

    However, it works two ways. Publishing a phone # often gives customers the confidence to order from us -- especially when purchasing a higher end product, like the ones we are selling. By not publishing phone #s, I would be losing out on sales on a site and company that I have worked very hard to create.

    I think the fair compromise is to offer the phone # where appropriate and necessary, but to offer a way to track phone orders and to be honest about those orders. We certainly will be.

    Afshin
    Selah Jewelry
    http://selahjewelry.com

  18. #18
    Newbie selahjewelry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MINDsprinter
    I'd say you don't have to make that promo code really visible, as long as you train your staff really well to ask for it every time. Put it in the footer or something where people can easily find it but it won't be distracting.

    However, you need to specifically address this on your affiliate page. So when affiliates are scoping out your site you can tell them specifically that agents are very highly trained and they will ask for that promo code 100% of the time, so commissions will be credited.
    Excellent Advice. That's exactly the compromise between web design and being fair to affiliates that I was looking for.

    Thank you!

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