Shopify Affiliate Program Review
Unlike a lot of affiliate programs, one big advantage of Shopify is that it is a product that people will find useful. They can potentially build a job replacing income if they manage to build a successful store.
What is Shopify?
Shopify is arguably the largest all-in-one e-commerce platform. You can use it to quickly and easily build a store to sell physical or digital products. It provides you with everything you need if you are looking to get into online retailing. Hosting, a store designer to help you build a professional-looking store, payment functionality etc.
Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Ottawa. There are now in excess of 1 million active Shopify stores.
What is the Shopify affiliate program?
You can earn commissions by directing people to sign up with one of the paid Shopify plans.
The Shopify affiliate program is self-hosted so you will need to make your application directly to them.
For your application to be successful you will need some form of website. They also ask about your internet marketing experience.
If you are approved you will then be able to promote Shopify using the provided affiliate link. They also have a number of banners of various sizes that you could place strategically on your website. You can see some of the banners on this page.
Shopify also offers a number of resources for its affiliates. Such as training tutorials including an affiliate marketing fundamentals course.
By default, the affiliate link will take users to the 14-day free trial landing page. You can link to another page within Shopify as they allow deep linking. The program currently has a 30 day cookie.
How much does Shopify pay affiliates?
As of November 2020 the current commission structure pays out 200% of the referred customer monthly plan (except for the plus plan).
‘plus’ from $2,000 per month commission is $2000
‘advanced’ $299 per month gives you a commission of $598
‘shopify’ $79 per month gives you a commission of $158
‘basic’ $29 per month gives you a commission of $58
These commissions are paid out over the first 2 months of the customers subscription. If the person that used your link only stays with Shopify for the first month you will only receive half of the commission stated.
Obviously, there are pluses and minuses to this commission structure. Some might favour a recurring monthly commission. It is the equivalent of getting 10% for almost 2 years which, while not brilliant, is certainly not to be sniffed at. Cynics would argue that this must be better (cheaper) for Shopify. It is impossible as an affiliate to know whether your audience would continue with Shopify for years. The one thing it would do is give you more of a smooth income rather than the potential for lots of peaks and troughs.
Your referral commissions are paid in US Dollars to your PayPal account.
Let’s assume your customers stayed with Shopify for at least 2 months and only took out the $29/month plan. You would only need 9 new referrals per month to generate a monthly income of $520.
To a lot of experienced internet marketers that doesn’t sound like a lot but for a beginner I have no doubt they would be ecstatic.
Now if you were able to get a conversion rate of 1% you would need to be getting approximately 1000 visitors per month to read your Shopify content.
A successful affiliate marketer will probably look at those numbers as being quite achievable. If you are new, you are probably thinking that 1000 visitors per month might as well be 1,000,000!
Produce educational content on setting up Shopify stores either as blog content or YouTube videos. You could even promote this content via the use of social media or forums to drive extra traffic. Remember that some people learn best from written content while others are better with visual content. In an ideal world, you should be producing both.
With YouTube now being the second largest search engine you could produce tutorial videos. Add links in the description back to your blog which features the affiliate links.
Comparison with other e-commerce products.
Write (or film) comparative reviews where you look at some of the competition such as Woocommerce and Ecwid. Show the pluses and minuses of each product.
The biggest problem is likely to be the level of competition. Shopify is a very popular solution and as such the related keywords can be on the competitive side.
Ahrefs, one of the most popular SEO tools, rates ‘Shopify’ as a 73 keyword difficulty (the closer to 100 the harder it will be to rank in search).
There are 1.5 million searches per month on average so if you can get a piece of this pie it’s definitely going to be worth the effort.
Unfortunately, you will likely need a highly rated site to make a dent just trying to target ‘Shopify’ though.
Looking at some of the search terms including the word ‘Shopify’ you can see that they are hardly any easier. The majority being in the 40 to 70 range so requiring quite a lot of time, effort and most likely money to be able to rank for them.
Just to show all is not lost, however, it is possible to find some keywords with a lower difficulty.
There are over 2900 with a keyword difficulty of 10 or below.
You will need to dig a little deeper though as I find keyword difficulty isn’t necessarily a great indicator of how easy it will be for you to actually rank. (assuming you don’t already have a high ‘Domain Authority’ – DA).
If you have a relatively new site, then there is no point looking at a keyword with a difficulty of 5 where most, or all, of the top 10 have DA’s of 60, 70, 80 or more.
When you look at low keyword difficulty phrases take note of the top 10 Google search results. If you can see several sites with a DA below 20 then a well-written, SEO optimised article might be able to rank in the top 10.
One tactic might be to create a website about a particular niche within dropshipping, maybe the furniture niche. Have a number of articles about setting up a store and sourcing products etc and then include links to the Shopify signup.
As well as just referring new customers you could also earn money by selling themes to existing Shopify users. If you have the skills you could also develop and selling apps on the Shopify app store.
Some of the major competitors to Shopify are Woocommerce, Ecwid, BigCommerce, Wix and Weebly.
Woocommerce is a plugin for WordPress sites to give ecommerce functionality. This allows much more flexibility but requires much more effort on the part of the store owner.
It also offers an affiliate program paying 20% commission. I’m not sure what you will be earning commission on since the basic plug-in is actually free.
Ecwid offers a free for life plan but is limited to only 10 products. In order to sell more than 10 products, they would have to move up to one of the paid plans which start at £15 per month. You can become an affiliate of Ecwid and earn 20% recurring commissions for the life of the customer.
BigCommerce is a significant competitor due to its large number of features. It offers a very generous 200% commission although I couldn’t find any information on their website about pricing.
Wix offers an e-commerce option that you can actually try for free although it will cost you £13 per month for the basic version. Wix offers a generous $100 for every new sign up via their affiliate program.
Weebly. A website and e-commerce site builder. Another that also offers an affiliate program. Paying 30% commissions with the lowest priced e-commerce store plans starting at £18 a month.
Wholesale Ted: Sarah Chrisp has had a great deal of success promoting Shopify. In fact, she is listed as one of the Shopify recommend partners.
Christoph Filgertshofer: A serial entrepreneur, even as a teenager, he developed a Shopify store and eventually became a Shopify affiliate. He created courses showing other people to build successful stores in Germany.
Shopify affiliate program review: Conclusion
So ultimately is this worth your time and effort.
Do you have or can you find an audience that might be interested in Shopify? If so then given the relatively generous nature of the commissions it’s a no-brainer. You should have no concerns over the quality of the product since it is a market leader. The biggest problem you are likely to find is actually being able to rank your content in search. It is unlikely that you would get the necessary traffic/conversion rates to make paid traffic viable.
Related: Dropshipping, Free Traffic, SEO, Cost Per Click Affiliate Offers