Q: Any ecommerce store whose checkout includes a coupon prompt will have the issue of paying out affiliate commissions for sales that were already in their shopping carts.
Many merchants consider affiliates who focus on offering coupons poachers because it is the merchant’s coupon prompt that caused their buyers who came in through ppc or organic listings to click on an affiliate link.
Merchants are reluctant to remove the coupon prompt because they use it to generate repeat sales from their in-house mailing lists.
What is the best solution for removing the coupon prompt from the shopping cart while still being able to offer discounts to newsletter subscribers?
We hate to decline all affiliates who offer coupons because many quality affiliates do generate sales AND offer coupons? What should a merchant do who already has affiliates whose sales are all coupon related? Should we lower the commission – maybe cut it in half – or eliminate that affiliate?
There is some concern that taking either action might cause those affiliates to retaliate with negative reviews or publicity for the merchant. We look forward to your expert advice on this serious issue for merchants and affiliates alike.
To clarify for those who don’t know why this is a huge issue: if a merchant is buying traffic and then ends up taking both a discount off the retail price and paying affiliate commissions on the same sale those sales my cease to be profitable. They could even end up losing money on them.
A: I think one problem here is that you’re looking at your affiliates as some sort of adversaries, rather than partners.
It’s you’re own setup that is causing the conflict… not the affiliates.
The simple answer is that any affiliate that doesn’t provide a net gain for you in your transactions shouldn’t be in your affiliate program.
In this case, I don’t think you should assign blame to these coupon affiliates, as they’re performing as they are supposed to by delivering targeted leads.
I would sugggest either revising your payout structure immediately or reaching out to these particular affiliates and explaining the situation.
Then, you may be able to come up with a creative solution.
I don’t think any affiliates will be particularly excited about slashing their commissions, but it comes down to the EPCs they can generate, and if those numbers are working for them, they’ll continue working with you.
In the end, if it doesn’t work out for either you or the affiliates, just end the relationship and move on.