How To Sell Affiliate Products On Shopify (All Explained!)

Most people only have one source of income, that too as an employee. Some people know that this makes them vulnerable and try to find solutions in saving and investing.

Very few people figure out how they can succeed at becoming financially independent.

Well, that’s exactly why you are here. We can find great opportunities by understanding the logic behind things using simple language. So let’s take a look at one great way to make money, and see how we can utilize it.

There are many different ways to do successful affiliate marketing. Shopify can be one of them, depending on product, niche, audience, and competition.

Want quick answer? Here you go:

You can sell affiliate products on Shopify using apps on the Shopify App Store.

But first, let’s clarify some basic things.

What are Affiliate Products?

If you’re on this website, I’m sure you know what affiliate marketing is. If not, no worries! Simply put: Affiliate marketing is using the power of word-of-mouth in the digital world.

Companies that want to increase their sales reward people for promoting their products. We call these people affiliates.

We all have our online social circles and networks. If you sign-up for an affiliate program, the company will give you a unique link to post online.

If anyone from your circle clicks on one of these links, the company will know that you directed the sale, and you will earn a commission.

So, the products that are being promoted and sold by you are called affiliate products.

I thought it was good to summarize these basics because you need to understand them for selling affiliate products on Shopify. The affiliate links for these products have to be manually added to the store and managed individually.

Can You Sell Affiliate Products on Shopify? 

Yes, you can sell affiliate products on Shopify.

Shopify is an e-commerce platform where anyone can set up an online store to sell things. No matter who you may be and what your business is, having a store of your own can have many benefits, such as:

  • You have an additional stream of income from selling products or services.
  • It makes your operation more legitimate, and your company more trustworthy.
  • You can make more sales by reaching more customers through an online store.
  • A large part of the process is automated, saving you time and energy.

But running your own store is demanding work. You have to handle manufacturing, shipping, inventory management, and more. This can be tough to take care of by yourself.

The Shopify App Store has tons of apps that can help you connect and collaborate with many different companies.

By selling affiliate products on Shopify, your operation can become even more convenient than dropshipping. It comes with its own set of pros and cons. Before covering those nuances, let me tell you about the process.

How to Sell Affiliate Products on Shopify

Now that you know the basics of affiliate marketing and how Shopify works, this is what you have to do to set up your affiliate product store:

1. Choose Your Products

First, you must consider your brand, the audience, and what you want to sell in your store. The best thing is to do a little study of some kind. Research other people that sell something similar and talk to people about it.

There’s no use setting up a store and investing so much into something that nobody wants or needs. So make sure to clarify this during research.

The best way is to write down exactly what problems you want to solve for which group of people. Then elaborate on how your products can solve this problem better than your competition. 

2. Build A Store

Now that you’ve done your research, time to sign-up on Shopify and set up your store. Look at the different plans, choose the right one, and gain access to your dashboard.

You can also do a free trial at first during the research process.  

3. Join Affiliate Programs

Then you have to search for companies that are both making those products and are offering an affiliate program. It helps to get accepted easily if you already have an online presence and following.

You can sign up for bigger programs like Amazon Associates to find a big product range with smaller margins. Or you can sign up for individual companies and do things that way.

There are many things to consider while choosing the right program, which I will discuss in a later section.

You can check out our blog to find great affiliate programs, by the way.

4. Add the Products to Your Catalog

Once you’ve been accepted into an affiliate program, you are ready to start selling affiliate products on your store. But first, you need to add the products to your catalog.

To do this, you need to collect the images and descriptions from the sellers’ websites. Then you can just upload all the information to your own catalog through your store’s dashboard on Shopify.

As you fill in each product individually, mention all the important information, including barcodes and item numbers, as applicable. Just make sure not to leave out any data and double-check everything.

If you decide to change the titles or descriptions, go through Shopify’s guide for e-commerce SEO to do it in the best way possible.

5. Install an Outlinking App from Shopify App Store

Now all you have to do is to go to the Shopify App Store and search “affiliate products”, “add links”, or something like that.

Outlink will work great for our needs, but you can also choose Agora for Amazon links. 

6. Add Affiliate Links

As you can see in the images, this app makes it easy for you. You can customize how your buttons look as well.

7. Focus On Promotion

All done! Time to focus on promoting the products by implementing your marketing strategy.

I encourage you to use multiple channels like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, etc., to increase your chances of success.

With a well-planned sales tunnel and some fine-tuning, you can start earning commissions on the sales generated by your traffic.

So focus on high-quality content and promotions that work because all your results will depend on this final step.

Things to Keep in Mind

As you begin your mission to start selling affiliate products on Shopify, there are a few things I want you to keep in mind.

1. About The Traffic

It should be clear by now that promotion is the biggest factor determining the success of selling affiliate products on Shopify. If you are planning to start a store of your own, understand this very well.

You should have a robust and well-developed promotion strategy that will effectively drive the sales of your affiliate products. 

Consider the specific types of people who want your products and make your target groups. Figure out where those people are and how you can reach them in the best way.

I suggest figuring out a way to bring them value right where they are. Providing value to your clients gives them a reason to keep coming to you and visiting your website.

Once you determine the value you are providing,  it is much easier to sell it. 

2. Stay On Brand

As you figure out the people you want to focus on, keep in mind how they will see you. Branding is your most powerful weapon here.

Make sure to define right from the start who your brand is and what it stands for. If everything you do is aligned with that brand, it makes it easier for people to trust the products.

That’s why the website, the design and layout of your store, and things like the tone of your advertisements must all have a shared direction. This way, you sell people on your brand’s culture instead of just the products.

This will be especially important when choosing your products and affiliate programs. You can test the products and promote them creatively through various platforms.

So make it your own because authenticity and providing real value are necessary for cultivating real long-term traffic on your online presence. Try to keep this in mind as you build your own brand.

3. Keep Things Manageable 

Affiliate marketing is often seen as a great way to passive income. The idea is that you can just post a link, and it’ll keep earning you money. Keep singing on to new programs and posting forever, and you’ll have that many income streams!

The truth is that affiliate marketing can be a lot of work too. Just singing-up for one program, learning about its policies, and setting it up can take a lot of work.

If you go for a big company like Amazon, you will have smaller profit margins. Latching on to their name might also hurt your brand recognition. Not to mention that product listings might change.

If you have listed a generic product for sale, and the link to the product says it’s out of stock, that reflects badly on your own website. That’s why it’s essential to keep track of all your links to see if everything is up and running.

I suggest starting small, around 20 products, and keeping things manageable.

4. Have a Long-Term Strategy

You can definitely do all this and develop a decent side income with time and effort. But ultimately, you are depending a lot on other companies. This puts you in a vulnerable position.

It’s not a big deal if you already have a solid online following already. But developing brand recognition from scratch can take a lot of time. If tomorrow, God forbid, Amazon might decide to shut down its Associate’s program, you will be left hanging.

That’s why, you should have two things:

  • Contingency Plans:

Other channels and platforms you can rely on for backup. Even in this case, you don’t have to rely solely on Shopify. 

Sure, the platform has some cool uses, but WordPress websites are much better for generating organic traffic on online blogs through Google rankings. WordPress also has its own e-commerce options, so be sure to do your research.

  • A Well-Defined Objective

A long-term business strategy to help you gain exactly what you want. To generate a full-time income, you must expand and scale the operation. 

If you want to sell the website, you can do that too after a certain number of regular viewers.

Knowing what you want from this project and having a procedure to regularly check your progress is important.

5. Be Patient And Consistent

With a long-term strategy comes long-term commitment. New things can take a while to get off the ground and it’s best to go in with that expectation. 

A few things might go wrong as well and there will always be a process of trial and error.

So if you are open to failure and less than exciting results, you are more likely to learn from your experience. 

Try things out but give them some time. Even a typical blog article takes about 8 months to reach its potential on Google rankings. 

That said, you need to have a system that consistently promotes promotion. Ads have to be run regularly to give results. 

Figure out creative ways to consistently craft outstanding content to ensure your success. You can do it if your product or service is good enough; just give it a shot! 

If you can’t you can always hire someone else. The point is: to get returns, you need an active marketing campaign.

Should You Sell Affiliate Products On Shopify?

Who Is It For?

By now, you might have an idea for your store with a range of products. Or you might be thinking of doing research to find some products. Where does selling affiliate products fit into your marketing strategy?

Why not just add links and banners to blogs and YouTube videos to promote your affiliate products? Well, this strategy might work for you in a number of ways:

1. More Options

Having your own store with your products is a great source of income for your online business. Using affiliate products can allow you to give more options to your clients. 

If you can manage those products and their programs make it worth your while, then you should try it out.

2. Testing The Waters

Getting the audience is the hard part of the process. It’s common to worry about monetization early on, but the truth is, first, we have to build trust with our audience. 

That’s why you might not see many sales early on. You might burn out if you put a lot of effort into earning without getting results. 

Adding affiliate products like this can give you at least some returns with less effort, so you can develop your audience further. You can also see what your audience likes or dislikes buying without risk to yourself.

3. Curated Products

On saturated and competitive marketplaces like Etsy and Amazon, many popular niches have hundreds of products. 

If you have the expertise or maybe a unique understanding or taste, you can create a good-looking curated selection of products and earn commissions off your brand. 

You might want to make this work for you in many other creative ways, but for now, let’s move on to some quick Pros and Cons.

Pros Of Affiliate Marketing On Shopify

Here we go with some pros:

1. Inexpensive

Setting up such a store will cost you little – but I still think it’s expensive considering other options, but again, you don’t get that many features as well.

2. Saves You Time And Energy

Most of the processes are automated. You just need a procedure to check if everything is working correctly. Then you can focus on promotion.

3. Additional Income

If you already have a following, this can be a good way to capitalize on it. Starting with a couple of products doesn’t take a lot of effort, and this can allow you to get a little extra earnings on the side.

4. Can Add Value For Your Audience

If you are selling great products, that’s a good way for your audience to find something that adds value to their life. The company that deserves more recognition makes more sales, and you earn as well; it’s a win-win.

Cons Of Affiliate Marketing On Shopify

Obviously, let’s go through some cons.

1. Less Authority

If you have your own products, if you are pushy or less than transparent, the affiliate products aren’t that great, or maybe they’re better than yours. 

You might also be selling products unrelated to your brand because they are lucrative. These are just some ways that selling affiliate products might hurt your brand’s trustworthiness.

2. Dependency

Outsourcing most of your operation might save time, but it also comes with risks. Depending on other companies for your income means you are only as good as them; choose your affiliate products carefully.

3. Lack Of Control

So you go out to find the best products possible for a good price for your audience. What if you can’t find any that makes sense for your audience? Well, unfortunately, you will have to adjust.

Unless you source and develop your own products, the options you can find on these sites are your only options. Not every company allows this kind of marketing either, so you have less control over your catalog.

4. Limited Earning Potential

Ultimately, you will, on average, earn more through dropshipping or selling your own products than through selling affiliate products. Commissions are always smaller than profit margins.

My Advice

We have seen what Shopify is, the many ways people use it, one way you can use it for affiliate marketing, with things to remember, and some pros and cons.

I tried to give you a whole picture to answer all your queries. I advise using this strategy a little bit as an excellent way to do some market research. I think this works great as a proof of concept.

You can build a website and a store, target a real audience with a fully-fledged marketing strategy, and get real-time sales data over time at little to no risk to yourself.

Using this as proof, you can scale it even bigger. You want to do that because if you already have a working marketing model that can make you a side income by selling affiliate products, you should consider increasing your margins to earn full-time from it!

Anirudh Gitai.- SB Digital Writer/Affiliate Marketing Coordinator

Anirudh Gitai

Writer from the heart – whether it is affiliate marketing or fiction – and a proud member of Shivansh’s team! Big fan of combat sports, reading non-fiction, and watching the best of everything from anime and movies to TV and video games.

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