Across Europe, retail brands are having to adapt to an ever-changing business landscape and economy.
Retail Economics’ recent study called out; engagement of new customer segments online, innovation between in-store and online for new consumer experiences and new partnerships to enhance propositions and capabilities, as opportunities to own the digital retail space this year.
The affiliate channel is well-positioned to support retail brands in driving growth online. Many retail brands use their affiliate programme to reach new customers, achieve company KPI’s and support customer retention.
In this blog, I will share how retail brands can work with various affiliates to target customers across the sales funnel.
If you would like a more detailed overview, tune into my on-demand webinar where I talk about the power of affiliate partnerships for European retail brands.
The sales funnel
The sales funnel – also known as the purchasing funnel or customer funnel, refers to the buying process that companies lead customers through when purchasing products. The funnel comprises the following four stages:
- Awareness: When a customer first discovers a brand and curiosity is triggered.
- Interest: The customer is looking to find out more; they are now paying more interest in the brand and its offering.
- Decision: The customer is researching the brands’ price and offering before deciding whether to purchase.
- Action: The customer completes the action (usually a sale or form fill). At this point, the cycle then re-starts, with the focus now on customer retention.
As the types of affiliate partnerships available via the affiliate model evolve, retail brands can work with a diverse range of affiliates to reach and engage with customers across the sales funnel.
How can retail brands work with affiliates across the sales funnel?
Brand awareness is vital for all retailers. Whether you are new to market or well established there is always the opportunity to get in front of a customer who has never heard of your brand or seen a new product line you are launching before. Mass Media and Display partners have been an excellent way for our retail clients to raise brand awareness.
The creation of multi-touch attribution by many affiliate networks and SaaS platforms, makes it much easier to see the ‘value’ in monetary terms brand awareness has on the end sale. With that, brands can reward partners such as media publications who drive awareness, their fair cut of the revenue.
The flexibility in working with commercial models is opening up the door for new and innovative partnerships on the performance model.
At the interest stage of the journey, the potential customer is actively and independently seeking more information about your brand. How much does it cost? Can I get it for cheaper elsewhere? Is it worth buying?
This is where factual partnerships can have a real impact. Price Comparison, Product Review and CSS affiliates are a great way to build consumer trust in your product and ensure visibility amongst competitors.
The provision of product feeds, and API’s from a brand for these affiliates to integrate is vital to success. With the support of AP’s in-house Partner Development Team, our client Le Col saw the positive impact of creating product feeds on the types of affiliate partners they could work with.
Once the customer has reached the decision stage, they are looking for final confirmation around pricing and offering and why they should choose you. Often it comes down to very fine details such as why should I buy from brand A when brand B is very similar in price. Voucher and Conversion Optimisation partners are a great way for retail brands to encourage an interested consumer to decide.
By working with selected Voucher partners, you don’t have to discount everything all the time. You can partner with these affiliates to create KPI specific campaigns such as, driving new customers or increasing the basket value. They are also a great way to raise brand awareness amongst competitors.
Conversion Optimisation partners are a good option for retail brands looking to engage with consumers who have already shown an interest in their product or service. One of AP’s luxury retail clients worked with UpSellit – a technology company that designs, develops and optimises personalised conversion experiences – and realised a 10% increase in their overall affiliate programme revenue. You can find out more in our client case study.
Once the customer has made a purchase, it’s important to focus now on customer retention.
To retain a customer, it’s essential that they feel valued by your brand. Partnering with Cashback and Loyalty affiliates are just two ways in which you can ensure your customer feels engaged.
There is more to these relationships than just offering cashback or points to all customers. You can work with partners such as Honey, TopCashback, Quidco and Easyfundraising via targeted campaigns focusing on your key goals for customer retention. And through additional integrations, you can better understand where your customer is shopping, their frequency, what categories they shop in and tailor their journey by device type.
Affiliate partnerships play a key role within each stage of the retail sales funnel and help drive growth. Successful retail brands will have a diverse range of partnerships that engage with consumers at every stage of the sales funnel.
The AP team is experienced in supporting retail clients in taking steps into partnership areas they have yet to explore and reviewing and optimising current programmes and relationships with new thinking and working ways. Get in touch with our team to find out more.
Find out more about how our retail clients are working with different affiliate partners in our on-demand webinar.