After several years of working in affiliates, I still come across brands – especially luxury brands – that think affiliate is all about discounts and that it will give luxury brands a discount image. I want to clear up all these myths once and for all. You shouldn’t lose out on this channel as there are lots of ways to do affiliate with luxury brands while still maintaining their luxury image.

First of all, there are six simple rules and facts you have to keep in mind to make this channel work for you as a luxury brand.

  1. Don’t come into affiliate with an untested opinion about what won’t work
  2. Affiliate isn’t just vouchers and discounts
  3. Affiliate is delivering incremental sales
  4. Luxury affiliate marketing is happening…with or without your brand!
  5. Luxury consumers are impulsive; they want to save money and they’re switched on
  6. Be responsive and be quick with it

Let me now go into more details…

Test & Learn

Affiliate is a lot of testing and learning. If you exclude channels or publisher segments from the beginning, it will limit the success of your affiliate campaign before it even starts. Instead, choose carefully the TOP partners of every affiliate segment and go into a test cooperation with them. Affiliate is full of surprises. You will see that publisher segments that you never expected bring the best results. You don´t need to have thousands of publishers – but you need the ones that work for your brand and you can´t be sure without testing them first.

More Than Vouchers!

If you still think affiliate is all about discounts and vouchers, I can prove you wrong! Affiliate, especially for luxury brands, is moving more and more into content & technology – re- and pre-targeting, content technology, on-site remarketing, dynamic email. Affiliate combines a wide range of online marketing channels within one channel.

With affiliate, you cover a lot of touchpoints within the customer´s journey. Influencer marketing can make the first step to actually get in contact with your new customer. We´re working with a wide range of bloggers from all industries who are happy to promote your brand with an article, social media exposure, newsletters or a competition.

In addition, we use a wide range of technology affiliates. Some of them offer on-site remarketing to optimise the engagement with your customers on site; others offer remarketing solutions that will cost you nothing apart from the CPA when a sale takes place. We also have email partners with dynamic email marketing solutions, and we can generate new customers via product listing websites.

All in all, it´s important to establish a strong mix of affiliate segments alongside discount and vouchers!

It’s a full funnel channel

As mentioned above, affiliate is driving conversions across the funnel. This means a lot of opportunities for incremental sales. Most affiliates have their own closed user base and affiliates have access to a lot of data. They can precisely target their audience based on their demographics and shopping behaviour, as they know exactly which brand the user is looking for. Their audience might be also new to your brand, offering a great opportunity for new customers.

Affiliate Funnel Attribution
Source: Affiliate Window Blog

You’ll Be in good company

Here just a few examples of luxury brands with successful affiliate programs: NET-A-PORTER, Matchesfashion, Liberty, Burberry, Farfetch, WHISTLES, CLARINS. All of these brands have a good relationship with their affiliate and benefit from successful cooperation. They integrated affiliate very well in their online marketing mix without harming the brand.

Affiliate Marketing Spend Projections

Consumers Want Maximum Value

As a luxury brand, it´s completely normal to think that your customers are not looking for bargains. But, be aware consumers are getting more pennywise and are looking to maximise their purchase value – yes, even luxury consumers. Consumers are moving away from brand loyalty, instead buying from a re-seller or another brand if they find an added value with one of them.

It´s also a fact that the average user of a coupon or loyalty website makes between £50 – 100k a year and luxury buyers are four times more likely to look for discounts on Black Friday! Discount and loyalty websites also changed the environment, offering specific luxury categories for their luxury advertisers. They also send emails to target luxury customers or write relevant engaging articles on their blogs. It´s also not necessary to offer a permanent discount. Choose your push periods carefully and also work with generic offers like Sale & Free Delivery.

Common Myths & Facts

“Luxury brand shoppers aren’t present on loyalty or coupon sites.”

Not true! Luxury brand shoppers prefer to utilise coupon and loyalty sites in order to earn rewards for their purchases.

“Luxury brand shoppers only go to those sites looking for deals, which our brands don’t offer.”

Luxury brand shoppers are looking to maximise the value of their purchase, just like any other consumer. By partnering with a publisher that offers a reward for the purchase you can convert customers who might otherwise be “on the fence” about making the buying decision, or even sway the customer to making a purchase with your brand rather than another because of the added value you are offering them.

“Coupon and loyalty consumers tend to be more frugal or have a lower income, and therefore will be unwilling to spend as much on products.”

The average loyalty and coupon consumer site makes £100k a year. Numbers like that don’t come from the penny pinchers!

“Coupon and loyalty sites don’t offer the same design/appearance options as content sites, which diminishes the presentation of the brand.”

Definitely not true. Many coupon and loyalty sites are happy to create luxury-focused pages that will help to promote the brand’s identity in order to appeal to the consumers who shop those brands.

Management Is Key

Another really important factor (and not just for luxury brands) is the management process of your campaign. Affiliate is not a sure-fire success channel. Affiliate is a people business and you have to maintain the relationships with your affiliates. The closer you are with them and the more you support them, the more you will get out of your affiliate program. Reply to affiliate requests quickly, approve your affiliate applications within twenty four hours, and keep up the communication with your affiliate base. Make sure you supply them with the latest banners, links & updates to your product feed. Both you and your affiliates will reap the rewards from all of these activities.

Affiliate is an exciting opportunity to immerse users in a variety of websites, platforms and devices. It adds real value to your brand’s marketing mix and can in fact become one of your most lucrative channels if you’re approaching it in the right way! To find out more about affiliate marketing with 4Ps Marketing, part of the Netbooster Group, drop us a line or give us a call on  +44 (0)207 802 9500 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about data, marketing and technology across all inbound channels.