Over two years ago replying to a question of what percentage of sales an affiliate program can bring I wrote:
Much depends on (a) the size of the business at the point of starting the affiliate program, and (b) the niche in which the business operates. In reality, it is next to impossible to quote the exact percentage. If it’s a small business in a moderately crowded niche, 40-45% is a realistic growth to expect. If, on the other hand, it is a Fortune 500 business with a solid online presence and a good flow of Internet sales prior to starting the affiliate program, a 10-15% growth is a great result to achieve through the affiliate channel.
Yesterday, as I was listening to Ozon.ru, one of Russia’s top
if not the top online retailers or the Amazon of Russia, present at the Russian Internet Forum in St. Petersburg, I’ve heard them quote some impressive stats. Regardless of the fact that roughly 80% of their customers choose cash-to-courier as their payment method (the “beauty” of present-day Russian e-commerce), they’re growing and currently getting some 4 million UVs, carrying 1 million products, having 1k employees, and registering gross sales of some 4 billion RUB (which currently equals some 143 million USD)/year at a rate of ~6,200 orders/day. Answering the question of of what percentage of their sales come referred through affiliates, one of Ozon’s directors, Anna Matveeva, replied that between 10% and 13% of the e-tailer’s sales are affiliate-driven. That makes up a range of $14.5-$18.6 million/year which is impressive not only for Russia.
I’ve asked some major American online merchants the same question, but most of them sent me replies saying “sorry, we’re not able to share that information” or something along similar lines. DaySpring.com, a Hallmark subsidiary, whose affiliate program we manage, did agree to share their numbers though; and I’m happily linking to all of their online properties, in return. Jesse Lane, the company’s Internet marketing director, shared that Year To Date 2011 numbers have been 12% to 14% of all online store sales. This seems to roughly match the range that Ozon has quoted above.
If you’re reading this as a merchant (or an affiliate program manager), I could really use your help now. Here’s a 100% anonymous poll that I’m inviting you to participate in:
I hope the above poll will help us all understand what part of an e-tailer’s sales can be affiliate-driven a bit better. Many thanks in advance for your votes.