Season 03 / Episode 002
Can the affiliate channel help move overstocked and discounted inventory?
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In this episode Jamie answers a question received from a listener last season: “How can we further support our internal efforts to move overstocked products through affiliate?” Here’s a brief summary of what’s covered:
- The affiliate channel can definitely help move overstock inventory, in fact it is probably the best channel to do so
- Communicate with your partners about these items through text links, product links, banners, newsletters, FMTC, and more
- Create exclusives for top partners
- Use these to recruit partners
- Use these in an affiliate contest, and …
- Use these to recruit the important content publishers
Give it a listen and let us know what you think!
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[00:00:48] Hello and welcome to the Profitable Performance Marketing Podcast. My name is Jamie Birch. I am your host of the podcast. I’m also the founder of JEBCommerce. As we enter into our 19th year of doing this whole affiliate management thing and managing programs.
[00:01:07] So starting in season two, we started to solicit questions from clients our team here at JEB Commerce as well as you, our listeners and viewers on all things affiliate marketing, digital marketing. And today we’re going to do just that.
[00:01:22] So we’re going to dive right into a question from one of our listeners that they sent in at the end of last season, “how can we further support our internal efforts to move overstock products through affiliate.” So this is a really good question. A very timely especially as we’re looking at Q4 right now, seasons are changing.
[00:01:43] So how do we get rid of summer stuff before we we get our fall and Christmas items in but before I start. Why is this a problem? So a lot of our young people entering into the space why is it a problem that we have these? Can’t we just let them sit there and sell when they sell?
[00:02:01] These items have to be stored. So any manufacturer, any retailer, they’re paying for these items to be stored, right? So think of your storage unit. You probably have a storage unit. You’re really just paying for those things to sit there until you need them, and it’s the same thing for any retailer or manufacturer.
[00:02:17] So moving those is important. So your throughput, your movement of inventory is vital and you’re not earning money when something is just sitting on on a shelf somewhere, you’re just paying for it to be stored there. And that’s not really helping you out, right? That item is costing you every single month instead of earning.
[00:02:38] So it is very important to get those things moving to get them into the warehouses, out to customers. But sometimes you’re going to over order. You’re going to over anticipate overestimate the demand for a product or stuff happens. Seasons change the economy changes, anything like that, that will solicit a change in consumer behavior, and you are left with hundreds, thousands, maybe tens of thousands of products that aren’t going to be purchased and you need to get rid of them. So you have storage for the new items coming in, but you also, you got to get them off your books. You got to get some revenue in for them and you got to stop paying to just store them.
[00:03:16] So it is really important to move these things. With that being said, I took some notes, so I’m gonna I’m gonna be looking down here at my paper. You probably hear that moving around. And this is what some ideas that we have come up with. So can affiliates help with it? That’s a probably a good place to start with this question.
[00:03:32] And it’s 100 percent … 100 percent “Yes,” they can totally help you move your overstocked items your clearance items. So one, yes, they can totally help you move these. So here’s the first step: we’re going to start with fundamentals first.
[00:03:47] So one: share these items with your affiliates. A lot of people, when they’re working managing affiliate programs, they only communicate with their affiliates when something goes wrong or when they have a really big sale or possibly a new item, sometimes not even that they’re just not communicating. You have to communicate with your affiliate partners.
[00:04:09] Whenever you need to do anything. That’s where you should be starting. How are my fundamentals? Whenever you need to move items, whenever you need to launch a new product, whenever you need to attract new partners, you have to start at your fundamentals, and one of the biggest fundamentals in affiliate marketing is communication.
[00:04:26] This is a relationship based game. If you listen to the first two seasons of the podcast, we’ve had many guests on that say that exact thing. We’ve had several solo episodes I’ve done where we talk about that. This is a relationship business. How do you build strong relationships? You communicate clearly, you communicate often, and you communicate in the medium and the method and the way that your partners want to hear.
[00:04:51] So what’s the best way to communicate? That’s your newsletters to your affiliates. So you’ll have a newsletter that goes out to all your affiliates, letting them know, here’s what’s going on and so you can go within that within your affiliate network, whether you’re at Rakuten, or ShareASale, or LinkConnector, Commission Junction, Partnerize, Impact, AvantLink … any of those.
[00:05:16] In there, you’re going to be able to create a newsletter, send that out to everyone. So what are you going to want to say in there? You want to make sure you’re telling them which products that are available, that are overstock backing up a step. What you really want to make sure you have links. First, text links, another fundamental, get your text links with every single product. So one text link per product that’s overstock that you need to move. Make sure that’s in your affiliate platform. You can even create banners for those items too. So you can wrap all of these overstocks into an event, into a sale. An overstock sale, overstock event, and you can create banners and text links for those.
[00:06:01] So you’ll have banners for all of these overstock products into one event. You can have text links for the whole event, and you can have individual text links for every single product that you have overstocked. Then you can even create banners for each individual or category of products, depending on how many overstock stuff you have and what that looks like, you can create a bunch of different creative, you get all that stuff available in your affiliate network. And then when you, now we’re talking like, what do you communicate?
[00:06:35] In your newsletter, what you’re going to do is you’re going to include those text links and those banners. So you’ll have messaging “Hey affiliates we have some exciting stuff coming down the pipe. We have these overstocked items with special pricing. Sale pricing discounted pricing available for you. All of the links are below. Please let us know if you have any questions or you have any remnant inventory that we can showcase this on,” and then include your full contact info. I’m a little surprised I still have to say that, but the amount of newsletters I see and affiliate managers and teams managing programs that they just sign it, affiliate management team or Bill, include your contact info, again, relationships. I can’t build a relationship if I can’t talk to you, so make sure you have your contact info, phone number, put it out there.
[00:07:25] Make sure it’s very easy for anyone to get ahold of you. Now one of the things that we do at JEB is we do newsletters to everybody, but each program has their besties, their best, their top tier partners, the ones that they have good relationships with.
[00:07:41] And then we usually send an individual email to each of those and we outline what’s going on where they can find their links. What those products are and those will be individual emails or calls. Now I know that a lot of people don’t like getting on the phone and talking. Most of us deal with when family calls, but we don’t really like to call, but it’ll make you stand out.
[00:08:05] And again, relationships are built when we can communicate with each other and shared experiences. It’s hard to do that just over text. So reach out and call. You can also most of the networks allow you to upload these links as coupon links so you can categorize them as coupons.
[00:08:22] Another fundamental is FMTC or For Me To Coupon. You can go put those products in those discounts in FMTC. So if you are not signed up on FMTC, you need to be there. That is one place you definitely need to get to. So have it in there. So we got, your communication, your calls with affiliates. Now those are fundamentals. Those are easy to do. Get them out there.
[00:08:49] You may wanna also plan to communicate with these partners every week. Let ’em know, keep ’em updated on these products. One of the things you can do and you’ll want to communicate in the ways that I just outlined, but you most likely your overstocked items are going to have a discount, right?
[00:09:06] So you can create a higher commission tier. If you really need to move those products and you want the affiliates aligned their incentive with yours. Now, usually discounts, those are going to be aligned incentives because now they have a special pricing that they can communicate. Most of the affiliates, that’s one of the ways that they generate traffic and revenue is by sharing discounts and good prices and things like that.
[00:09:31] So that’ll be good, but you can also incentivize the affiliate to promote this by giving them a higher commission rate on those particular products or for a particular period of time, you can even give them cash bonuses. “Hey, if you sell 20 of these overstocked items, we’re going to give you a hundred dollars or a thousand dollars,” whatever that is, depending on your ticket item, so you can incentivize them with bonuses. You can incentivize them with higher commission rates for this particular product or the particular event and timeframe.
[00:10:02] Now, if you are not able to do product specific commissioning yet, you may need to spend some time integrating with your affiliate platform, but it’s super wise thing to do because in a case like this, you need to get that stuff out the door. Bump that commission rate up. Let them know that we have this product, it’s discounted and for this period of time if you sell any of these products we’re going to give you double commissions or maybe 20 percent more or another two points, whatever that is you always want to align the affiliate with you and with the consumer and a part of that alignment is commission rate.
[00:10:36] So if you want to move stuff you want to get it off your books, you want to get it out of the warehouse discount it for the consumer and pay the affiliate more to move that stuff. So those are two fundamentals.
[00:10:47] Are you enjoying the show so far? I sure hope so. You know, there’s been an awful lot of discussion over the last few years about the value of coupon affiliates. Maybe even you have doubted whether there’s value or not. Well, we at JEBCommerce wanted to find out, and the good news is, the data is out there.
[00:11:08] So we interviewed all the top networks, did our own research, and compiled all the data from many reports already done about these affiliates on whether they add value or not. You see, we wanted to know the truth, and that resulted in an ebook that is now available to you at jebcommerce.com/value.
[00:11:30] In this ebook, you’ll find the three categories of coupon affiliates, information from Rakuten’s marketing report on incrementality, data from Google and Comscore data from LinkConnector on commission, stealing funnel participation, and data on brand perception, and so much more. If you’re struggling with this debate and trying to determine your coupon strategy, you definitely want to download this free ebook. And I want you to have this 100% for free, simply for being a listener of our podcast.
[00:12:00] You can access this free ebook at jebcommerce.com/value, all for free. So thank you for listening. Now back to our show.
[00:12:14] Now let’s move on to a couple other things. You can give these as exclusives to your top performers. So looking in your reporting, who can move a lot of products?
[00:12:26] Who’s, who are your top that you have really good affiliate relationships with? If you look at that and you try to answer that question, who can move the product, and you don’t have an answer, now let’s take a step back. Let’s run some reports. Who is your top affiliate partner? Who are the ones producing it?
[00:12:46] That’s your top levels, like a sales and activity report. But now let’s back up and let’s go look at a product success report. So who is actually driving maybe that category of product? Who’s driving that specific product and selling that product? Who is selling discounted and overstocked items? In there, you may find an affiliate does really well moving overstocked items, but they’re just not big in your program.
[00:13:12] So you got to look through that data and find who are the partners I want to give an exclusive. So now you can maybe give a deeper discount than what consumers can get on your website right now for those overstocked items, and you can give them a special commission rate. So look at who can move product, but who can move clearance products as well.
[00:13:31] And you can use that exclusive for that affiliate, a group of affiliates. So you can give a discount. A lot of times what our clients do is they will move those products to a certain page, a certain category on the website that’s hidden. So no one else can see it unless they have the URL. And in that, we’ll give it to one or two affiliates and we’ll give them an exclusive coupon.
[00:13:53] So it’ll look like… It’s full price on the website, but the affiliate maybe has a 40%, 20%, 50% discount on those items. So that one affiliate can can we’ll have a really good discount. So this is great to move product, but it’s also really great, if there’s an affiliate you’ve been trying to get into, and maybe you can’t get placement budget or you just can’t get them to really respond, this is a great way to come at them and give them something of value that they’ll want to promote will be successful for them and successful for you.
[00:14:25] So that’s my second thing. And then moving beyond that, you can use it to recruit other partners. So use that discount on that one product, that category of products, or this event of overstock discounts to recruit some partners you’ve been trying to get to, but they just haven’t responded to you.
[00:14:43] So maybe you offer these overstocks as an exclusive, a special landing page for them, a special discount for the consumer and a special commission rate for them. So not only can you move the product, but you can actually use this to establish and build new relationships with partners you’ve been trying to get into.
[00:15:03] The other thing is you can do affiliate contests. So you can say, “Hey, we got these products to move. The top five movers of these products, top five sellers of these groups of products number one’s going to get a thousand bucks. Number two is going to get 500.” You can give away cruises and TVs and Xboxes and maybe Oculus all sorts of different things you can use to hype the affiliates and get them to to promote your overstocks.
[00:15:29] So the last and final thing I have to answer, how can we further support our internal efforts to move overstocked products to affiliate is your content affiliates. So you may have products that are very specific to a niche. So you can use this to go grab those those affiliates. Just like I said with the use it to recruit new affiliates. You can use it to recruit content partners, and then that is giving them something to talk about. These really great discounts on these products et cetera.
[00:16:00] So everyone wants content partners. Very few want to pay what those content partners are are getting right now but this sort of discount may be something that they really want to talk about to their consumers. Again, you’re going to have to provide creative. You may even have to provide that product.
[00:16:17] You can also think about grabbing some of these overstocked items and sending it to your top partners in order to expose them to this sale, to this event, to this opportunity for them. You can send it to recruiting partners to do the same.
[00:16:33] So generally, can you move overstocked items and support the rest of the company, the other channels through the affiliate channel? 100% yes. In fact, I would argue there’s no better method to do it. What have they done in the past? They’ve had clearance stores, so they’ve opened stores or they’ve boxed it up and shipped it to a retailer, but the stores cost money to, to run shipping them off to a discount retailer, now you’re you may be discounting the brand that way.
[00:17:03] If you see a high level brand at one of those places that can change the mind of the consumer and how they relate to you, how they interact with your brand. So there are downsides to that, but the affiliate doesn’t really experience that and they can move things very quickly.
[00:17:17] They can move rapidly. You can have this campaign out there, get those text links out there, send the newsletter out. And within an hour, affiliates are posting links and doing well for you. They’re updating their feeds through FMTC. So it can happen really rapidly and get those things moving. So anyway, that is, I had five things listed, but I think we talked about all of them and one big jumble.
[00:17:42] But that is how the affiliate channel can support your company moving over stocked products. So I hope this was beneficial to you. A quick 17 minutes. If you have a question that you’d like us to answer here on the podcast please just email us at email@example.com and we will we will answer that.
[00:18:03] We’ll use it as a podcast episode. We are always looking for questions. So no question is too, no question is dumb. It can be very simple. It can be very technical. Whatever question you have, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[00:18:18] And if you’d like to be a guest on the show, or, someone that should be a guest on our podcast, please again use that email address and let us know what you think. If you like this podcast, please send it to someone who you think would really benefit maybe they’re struggling with overstock right now. A lot of retailers are … shifting economy. Send this podcast over to them.
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