Walmart affiliate program Review: is it worth it?
You may be surprised to learn that the retail goliath has an affiliate program. The question you are probably asking is “Can I make money with it?”.
In this article I will cover the program in enough detail so that you can make an informed decision on whether to use the Walmart affiliate program.
How do you become a Walmart affiliate?
Impact Radius runs the program on behalf of Walmart. You can sign up by following this link. Expect to hear back within 24 hours if you are approved for the program. If accepted, Impact Radius provides a number of banners to display on your website. You are able to deep link directly to specific products.
You will need to have an active website already, in order to join. As with most other affiliate programs your website must not breach any of the usual standards. Such as promoting racism, sexism, gambling, pornography, tobacco, firearms, alcohol et cetera. Their full terms and conditions are available here.
As I’m from the UK I do find it a little odd that they won’t allow a website talking about gambling/lottery, tobacco or alcohol to promote their products. Given that the stores in the UK that Walmart now own, following their takeover of Asda, will happily sell you all three. I suppose this is indicative of the fact that most affiliate programs are most heavily marketed to US consumers. Therefore prevailing conditions in US stores/jurisdictions would apply.
How does the Walmart affiliate program work?
The commission rates from Walmart are understandably quite low. This is because they are dealing with physical products. Unlike digital products which could see commissions of up to 60%, 70% or 80% the commissions here range from 1% or 4% depending upon the category.
Here are the categories that attract the higher rates of commission.
|Gifts and registry||4%|
|Patio and garden||2%|
|Sports and outdoors||2%|
A 4% commission rate may not sound particularly exciting. Walmart is a trusted brand and therefore the conversion rates would be that much higher than some generic store.
You should note that Walmart have recently reduced the commission rates on certain categories in a similar fashion to Amazon.
It is also possible to earn commission when customers sign up to other products such as the wedding register service.
Walmart offers you a 72 hour cookie but the last click gets credit. This means that if someone read a review on your site, clicked your link but didn’t buy. Two days later they read a review on another site and clicked their Walmart link, that site would get the commission.
Payment terms are net 60 days. This means a wait of up to 60 days following the end of the calendar month where the commission was earned before payment. This is certainly towards the slower end of payments in affiliate marketing programs.
Walmart offer you an SDK (software developers kit). It is possible to add a buy now button using the SDK which takes the visitor straight to the Walmart checkout screen. This is a nice bonus and may improve conversion rates slightly.
At first glance Walmart also offers a WordPress plug-in to their affiliates. Unfortunately this appears to have been abandoned around five years ago. Therefore it should be avoided as it is unlikely to work with current versions of WordPress. It is also likely that this would have security vulnerabilities as it hasn’t been updated since 2015.
Walmart will keep you up-to-date with their best performing products and new product lines via a data feed. This data feed is part of the Walmart affiliate API (application programmers interface). Other options include their products look up API which will allow you to check real-time price and availability.
How to promote
With the lower rates of commission, you will likely need a website that is generating a decent amount of traffic in order to make a reasonable income.
For example, if we assume you are selling products for around $100 where you earn a 4% commission. You would need to convert 125 customers per month to make $500. A reasonable conversion rate of 2%, would mean you would need to generate around 6250 visitors to your reviews every month!
While there are many sites on the Internet that can and do generate that sort of traffic, if you are just starting out that would seem to be a long, long way away.
You might think of promoting some of the higher-priced items, even though you were to receive a lower rate of commission. Looking in the electronics category you might feature products selling for around $1000. This will generate around $10 per sale so you would only need 50 sales per month to reach your mythical $500. However as the price of the item increases so the conversion rate generally drops. This would mean you probably need just as many visitors to your site to sell 50, $1000 items as you would to sell 125, $100 items.
Probably the best way to utilise the Walmart affiliate program would be to create a niche website. Focus on a particular category of items (one that pays 4% commission). The sweet spot is generally around the $100 to $200 mark. Review a number of items in a particular category in that price range. That gives you the best chance of making sales since you are covering a variety of manufacturers and their features and benefits. All of which should give you a greater chance of success with SEO.
Being successful is usually dependent upon you finding the correct keywords to target a less competitive niche. This is the same as with most other areas of affiliate marketing.
It would probably be best to try to focus on products that are not necessarily available in-store since Walmart is almost omnipresent. Many shoppers may decide to pop down to their local Walmart and pick up the item once they realise that’s where your affiliate link has taken them.
Amazon Associates (Amazon affiliate program)
While Walmart is undoubtedly the king of bricks and mortar retail, Amazon is the equivalent in the online world. There are still many people making a living or a side income from an Amazon affiliate website. This is despite a number of commission reductions over the last few years.
With any affiliate program you are always at the mercy of the company that runs it. Looking at reviews on the Internet would suggest that the Amazon program is a much slicker operation than Walmart’s. Since Walmart is still playing catch-up in the online world, that is hardly a surprise.
The same rules apply to Amazon affiliate sites as to Walmart. You need to identify one of the higher paying niches and then create content around products in that niche. It would appear that conversion rates are better for Amazon than Walmart. Unless the commission on offer at Walmart for a particular category is significantly better than Amazon. At the time of writing you are likely to achieve greater success using Amazon rather than Walmart.
Walmart Affiliate Program vs. Amazon Associates
Unfortunately when you compare the two programs you have to admit that overall the Amazon program is considerably better. In general you will receive higher commission rates with Amazon, the conversion rate is likely to be significantly higher as well.
Looking at some of the comments you can find online would suggest that the Walmart program is in need of some adjustments.
You should also remember that the Walmart program is going to be targeting U.S.-based consumers, with Amazon you can target many other countries.
The biggest criticism of the Amazon program is the speed with which Amazon will close your account for even the most trivial of reasons.
Target Affiliate program
The target affiliate program falls somewhere between Amazon and Walmart. It is more restrictive in the categories of products that you can earn commission on but it pays out higher commissions on certain products.
For example you could earn as much as 8% commission on apparel. You would need to drive over 10,000 orders to earn that though. More realistically you would probably earn between 5% and 7%. Home and outdoor living also offers a similar tiered approach between 5% and 8%. If you are targeting baby products or furniture you are looking between 3% and 5% and for health and beauty it is just a flat rate of 1%.
There are a large number of excluded products when using the target affiliate program. These include electronics, toys, sporting goods, music, books, baby care items and pets.
Costco affiliate program
Another very large retailer with an excellent range of products. Unfortunately their affiliate program is nothing to write home about. It’s not very well known and but can be found on commission junction (CJ.com). Looking at the details it would appear that you could earn either $3 or $6. That wouldn’t be so bad until you realise that payment is to get someone to sign up to either their gold or executive membership plans. So its one time only!
This is further complicated by the fact that the cookie duration appears to be only for the session. So basically someone clicks on the link and purchases the membership without leaving the site.
Hardly even worth the effort of applying on CJ to be honest.
Walmart affiliate program Review: is it worth it?
It will be difficult for a beginner to generate sufficient traffic to make this program worthwhile. Those with more experience of affiliate sites could make it work.
Considering the relatively low commission rates I would probably think twice. Do you want to commit time or money to creating a large amount of content based around the Walmart affiliate program? If you already have websites with content that could link to Walmart then it becomes a possibility. You could cherry pick some of the products in the highest commission tier to fill in gaps in your current product offering.
You could argue that it is worth having a different option to Amazon so you aren’t beholden to one retailer. Therefore the Walmart Affiliate program is worth pursuing for that reason alone. It is probably true that some shoppers may wish to avoid Amazon due to the damage being done to traditional shops. While Walmart is a bricks and mortar store it could be argued that it does just as much damage to independent stores. Wherever they decide to open a new outlet, existing stores are often driven out of business.
- Brand-name recognition
- Enormous range of products
- Affiliate newsletter
- Data feed
- Low commission rates (even for physical products)
- Affiliate program appears disjointed
- Conversion rates lower than competitors
In summary I would argue that this isn’t one of the best affiliate programs.
Related: Fulfilled By Amazon, Jungle Scout, Dropshipping Guide