I enabled anti-cart sniping amazingness, why would they even want to be in my program?

I’m going through a series of typical questions we receive during the evaluation process with new potential clients.  Last week we discussed the question of value and coupon sites.  Coupon sites and their performance, profitability and reach seem to be one of the most common items we help prospective clients understand.  The questions are many and detailed, but all tend to center around worth or value.  Today’s question does as well, in a way.

So here it is: “Why would the coupon site want to participate in our affiliate program if there is a way to prevent them from grabbing a sale last minute?”

That is a really good question, but like our first question last week, it has one major assumption in there that should be addressed.  That is “coupon sites only engage the customer after they have decided to shop at my site, picked their items, placed them in a cart and then gone out on the web to look for a coupon code.  There simply isn’t any other way they are involved in customers’ orders.”

The answer to the above question lies outside of the flawed assumption. So, to play devil’s advocate, if coupon sites only engage the customer after the purchasing decision has been made and the customer leaves the advertiser’s site to look for a coupon code, then yes, if that is 100% of the time, they wouldn’t want to participate in your program. Once you integrate technology to keep that sort of commissioning from happening, they wouldn’t be earning any money.

But, there is a huge problem with the assumption. Coupon affiliates do not ONLY engage the customer after the decision has been made, they create customers for you. They drive new and incremental sales through your program. They send customers to you that you would never have without them and they send you back customers who are making a decision to buy from you because of the marketing that coupon site has done on your behalf.  Some comments from last week’s blog post also apply here:

Many of the best coupon sites have unique audiences, drive an incredible amount of incremental revenue and new customer acquisition for our clients.  … If you want 25% new customers, and Coupon Site A is generating 90% new customers (real world example), why do you think all coupon sites suck?  We have had clients remove all coupon sites before they reviewed their individual performance and compared them to their goals and they lost millions doing so.  The assumption that they’d get those sales anyway was simply untrue in the case of good, solid affiliates that happen to feature coupon sites.

And that is the big, bad assumption you may have right now – “we’d get those sales anyway”. You’ll get some, from some of the coupon sites, but not all. Like I stated last week, review each one individually. Use more metrics than just revenue (new to file, incremental, profitability, repeat purchases) and measure down to the individual customer.  You need data.  Don’t get emotional about this, look at the data and see what it reveals.  You may be surprised.

So, the simply answer to the original question is this:  They want to be in your program because they know they drive incremental business that won’t fall into your anti-cart sniping parameters.  They are confident in the audience they have built and confident that they will be driving new customers your way.  They want to work with advertisers who are looking closely at their programs and making data-based decisions.  It shows sophistication in your analysis.  They want good, solid, long term partnerships and very much want to prove their value to their partners.  They don’t shy away from that.

So, test my ideas out.  Let me know below what you think.

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