It also leaves you room to offer higher commissions in the form of bonuses or contests. (ie: For the month of December, we're offering a $100 bonus to all affiliates who reach $1000 in commissions.) That way you're not stuck offering a high commission all the time – but it's something you can offer as a bonus to really get your affiliate's attention and ramp up sales during certain times of the year.
*Yes: As you may have guessed, the link above is my two-tier affiliate link. There are a few of these links on this site to pay me a small commission and allow me to keep this site free instead of a monthly membership site. Using my two-tier affiliate link will not affect the amount of commission paid to you with this or any other program. My commissions are paid out of the vendor’s cut, not yours.
1) Gross Profit Margin – This is the first place I start. Clearly you can't offer 50% commissions on items that you only have a 20% profit margin or you'd be out of business fast (and probably in debt). So start by determining your minimum, median, and average gross profit margins on items in your store. You may also want to determine these numbers separately for each category or product type since it's possible to offer different commission rates for each product category, depending on how complex you'd like to make your program. In my experience, the simpler the better when it comes to commission structure, but technically anything's possible.
The “matchmaking” service–offering access to a pool of merchants–is the role of a network that likely comes to mind first. But the administrative workload handled by networks can’t be overlooked; they handle all the tracking, reporting, and payment processing that arises during the steps shown above. While that might not seem like much, it can add up to a significant amount of time each week.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.