In a retail setting, customers will generally only buy one or two quantities of an item at one time. It’s like buying milk at a grocery store. You get what you need, but most people won’t buy five gallons at once.
So, is it possible for an affiliate marketer to make decent commissions off a retail website?
The answer is yes if you find the right partners. The best retail affiliate programs have plenty of products to sell. Online stores that have a lot to offer could keep shoppers browsing longer, which means they might add more to their shopping carts and bump up the amount that affiliates make in the process.
That doesn’t mean that a retail store can’t fit in with a niche market program, though. Even large retailers like Walmart and Target have departments that can be targeted with a niche approach. Other retail stores like BestBuy, Hobby Lobby and Home Depot already cater to a niche crowd while still carrying a nice selection for shoppers to browse through.
Interested? Read on to find out more about the top 10 retail affiliate programs, and how you can put them to use in your affiliate marketing endeavors. You'll also find more topics to explore in these shopping affiliate program lists.
Retail Affiliate Programs
- Hobby Lobby
- Home Depot
- URL: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/
- Commission: up to 10%
- Cookie: Unknown
Amazon.com is one of the largest and most well-known online retailers, with more than a million products and around 45 categories to browse through. The Amazon Associates program provides native ads that associates can place on their pages, and they can link directly to the product pages they want to promote on Amazon.
The commission rate varies depending on the type of goods you’re promoting. For fashion, shoes, jewelry, Echo and Fire TV devices, and Kinde and Fire tablets, the commission rate is 4%. Amazon Associates earn 5% commission for digital music and videos, 8% commission for home, garden, and furniture purchases, and 10% on luxury beauty products.
Why You Should Promote Amazon: Amazon carries a lot of different types of products that can keep shoppers browsing longer (and adding to their shopping carts), while giving affiliates the flexibility to promote products that will fit within organic content on their niche market websites.
- URL: http://affiliate.target.com/
- Commission: up to 8%
- Cookie: 7 days
Target’s online presence works a lot like Amazon, with over a million products that shoppers can choose from.
There’s a tiered commission structure, wit 3-5% commission on baby gear and furniture. Affiliates can make 5-8% commission on home and outdoor living products, apparel, and accessories, and 1% commission on health and beauty products. However, there is no commission for groceries, household items, baby care products like wipes and diapers, pet care products, electronics, toys, sporting goods, movies, and video games or consoles.
Affiliates are accepted from anywhere in the world as long as they have a family-friendly website that targets US-based viewers. The country affiliates live in must also support Impact Radius, which runs the Target affiliate program.
Why You Should Promote Target: Target hosts promotions, contests, and sales opportunities, and sends a weekly newsletter to affiliates to keep them updated about these activities.
- URL: https://pages.ebay.com/affiliate/referral.html
- Commission: Unlisted
- Cookie: Unknown
E-Bay is another large online retailer that spans across the world. Globally, there are 13 different eBay websites, with 1.2 billion listings. Affiliates can link to products in categories such as fashion, electronics, collectibles, home goods, and more. There are different buying options for customers to choose from, such as ‘Buy it now’ or daily deals, and that can help convert shoppers, too.
The amount an affiliate can earn per sale depends on the category the purchased item falls under (such as electronics or fashion). E-bay commissions range from 40-80%. Affiliates can earn up to 200% commission when their links reactivate former eBay customers and they make a purchase.
Why You Should Promote Target: This company has seasonal and category-specific bonuses and promotions, and the 200% reactivation bonus for former eBay customers is a definite plus.
- URL: https://affiliates.walmart.com/#!/
- Commission: up to 4%
- Cookie: Unknown
Like Target, Walmart.com is the online version of the brick-and-mortar stores. There are several categories of products to choose from. Eligible sales can bring in up to 4% commission for affiliate marketers.
For sales on books, electronics, movies, and music, affiliates get a 1% commission. The 4% commission is standard for beauty, clothing, gifts and registry, health, home jewelry, and patio and garden products. Walmart uses Impact Radius to administer its affiliate program.
Why You Should Promote Walmart: Walmart has a large selection of goods for customers to browse through, which might result in a higher shopping cart value, and the company is well-known, which could help convert more skittish online shoppers.
- URL: https://www.etsy.com/affiliates
- Commission: 2-4%
- Cookie: 30 days
Etsy is an online retail platform where individuals and businesses can sell homemade goods, unique collectibles, and vintage items. This marketplace is global, with support in English, French, Italian, Spanish, and German, but the culture is one of human connection.
With the affiliate program, marketers can list links to items they’ve found on Etsy that they particularly like. The categories include weddings, DIY, and handmade items, as well as clothing, jewelry, home, arts, crafts, vintage, and décor. The standard commission is 4%.
Etsy offers two feed sources for banners and other promotional items for affiliates. One is through AWIN Create-a-feed, and the other is through FusePump Feed Creator.
Why You Should Promote Etsy: the unique nature of the items, the wide range of offerings and the small-shop feel can all be converting factors for shoppers. It’s also easy to fold Etsy items into niche marketing websites.
- URL: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/partnerships/best-buy-affiliate-program/pcmcat198500050002.c?id=pcmcat198500050002
- Commission: 1-7% on selected products
- Cookie: Unknown
BestBuy is a large electronics store with both brick-and-mortar stores and a strong online presence. The website allows customers to shop by product types, brands, deals, and services, and shipping is free for orders of $35 or more.
The commission structure for affiliate marketers is a little bit complicated. Some items, including laptops, tablets, video game hardware, and Apple-branded watches, are excluded from commissions. Most of the other products, including Geek Squad services, have a commission rate of 1%.
However, there’s a 7% commission rate on fitness equipment and accessories and on baby gear and furniture. There’s also a $5 bounty for some mobile phones with service activations.
Why You Should Promote BestBuy: BestBuy is a leading name for retail electronics, so shoppers will be likely to trust the name.
7. Hobby Lobby
- URL: https://www.flexoffers.com/affiliate-programs/hobby-lobby-affiliate-program/
- Commission: 4%
- Cookie: Unknown
Hobby Lobby is a retail store chain with a strong online presence, where shoppers can find more than 80,000 items. The product categories include arts, crafts, hobbies, home décor, fabric, picture frames, and holidays and seasonal products, and more.
This store often has sales on specific items and offers regular coupons, which could encourage shopping from some customers. The affiliate program is hosted by FlexOffers.
Why You Should Promote Hobby Lobby: This is another well-known brand with a good reputation, which could help promote sales. This company also lists top themes, such as animals, movies, or fishing and hunting under its ‘departments' section, which can give clues about which products to use in niche marketing.
8. Home Depot
- URL: https://www.homedepot.com/c/SF_MS_The_Home_Depot_Affiliate_Program
- Commission: 2-8%
- Cookie: 1 day
Home Depot is a retail store that focuses on DIY projects and has 500,000 items to choose from that can be shipped for free to local stores or customer’s homes.
As with other online retail stores, not all products are qualified for earning commissions. Gift cards, installation services, custom products, special orders, and in-store purchases are exempt. For appliances, affiliates get a 2% commission. Select home décor items can provide an 8% commission, and there’s a 3% commission on most other products, including items that customers buy online and pick up in the store.
Why You Should Promote Home Depot: This store is one of the go-to stores for do-it-yourself home repair, so it has a strong reputation that can draw in shoppers. The cookie is short, but there’s a new data feed with promotional materials every day.
- URL: https://portals.aliexpress.com/
- Commission: varies by product; up to 50%
- Cookie: Unknown
AliExpress feels a bit like a combination of Amazon and Etsy. This company is based in China and provides over a million goods from more than 130,000 different sellers. Products are shipped to over 200 countries and regions, and there are AliExpress websites in five different languages.
The commission rate varies depending on the product you’re promoting. Some commissions are as high as 50%. Some of AliExpress’s top sellers earn up to $20,000 each month.
Why You Should Promote AliExpress: The products themselves are relatively inexpensive, so they can give other online retail stores a run for their money. However, lower prices also could also mean lower shopping cart totals, and that could impact affiliate earnings.
- URL: https://www.avantlink.com/programs/10248/rei.com-affiliate-program
- Commission: 5%
- Cookie: 30 days
REI Coop is one of the largest outdoor stores on the internet. The company has been around since 1938, so it’s built a strong reputation as an outdoor equipment retailer. It’s also got a streak of green in its work practices. Besides setting sustainability standards for all the products and brands it carries, in 2018, REI spent around $500,000 re-wilding areas in and around five major U.S. cities.
REI provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee, free shipping on orders over $50, and free shipping to any REI store for customer pick-up. The average order value is $120.
One of the most distinctive features about REI is that it completely shuts down all its operations on Black Friday, pays its employees anyway, and encourages them to get outside on that day.
REI runs its affiliate program through Avantlink.
Why you Should Promote REI: The excellent reputation and wide variety of outdoor products could be converting factors for some shoppers. REI could also fit nicely into some niche marketing efforts.
Affiliate Website Ideas
This list of the top 10 retail affiliate programs is just one place to start. There are other online retailers to choose from, as well, but do you know how you’re going to use them in your niche marketing efforts? Here are some ideas to get you started.
You could try a niche website that targets cooking and baking. A website like this one could promote products like utensils, mixers, bowls, and insta-pots from kitchen departments with a variety of different retailers, including the ones listed above. You could also promote larger-ticket items, such as kitchen appliances, and you might feature subscription-based services for holidays, themed recipes, or nutrition trackers.
What about a website that targets auto mechanics? Retail products for car care would be easy to promote on a website like this one. You could also feature insurance companies, towing services, installable stereos, and auto accessories, and music streaming services.
Another idea is to create a website zeroing in on green consumerism. Companies such as REI that have strong eco-friendly working environments could be featured here. You could also promote organic baby clothing, organic essential oils, and solar energy companies.
Boost Your Affiliate Earnings
These 10 affiliate programs are just the beginning of what's possible. There are hundreds of ways to earn affiliate commissions with your website, including product reviews, top 10 lists, how-to guides, and more.
But what about traffic and conversions? How do you make sure your affiliate links get clicked?
I used the affiliate training here to turn my brand new website into a six-figure income generator in less than two years. Build a business, not just a pocket-money side project!