7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting an Affiliate Program on Shopify

Shopify affiliate program

Mediakix statistics show that more than 80% of brands have an affiliate program. It’s understandable why affiliate marketing is becoming increasingly common as the market becomes more competitive. 

Affiliate marketing refers to a reward-based system in which your partners or affiliates promote your products to their audiences. They get a commission for every sale they facilitate. 

In this way, bloggers, website owners, and even your customers can become affiliates and facilitate sales and conversions. Affiliate marketing spending is projected to reach $8.2 billion in 2022, which is a considerable rise from $5.4 billion in 2017. 

If done correctly, setting up an affiliate program can be a great way to increase your web presence by generating targeted traffic. 

For first-timers, affiliate marketing involves some degree of trial and error. As someone who has launched and successfully run an affiliate program, here are some things I wish I knew before starting an affiliate program on Shopify

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How to Set Up an Affiliate Program on Shopify

Nowadays, it’s straightforward to set up your affiliate program on Shopify. You can use a readily available app, such as LeadDyno, to launch your affiliate program and increase your e-commerce store’s revenue. 

Shopify affiliate apps also let you automate your marketing. For instance, you can send automated emails to your customers and affiliates. Plus, most apps come with affiliate tracking capabilities. 

They let you track your affiliates’ performance and reward them accordingly

What to Expect When Starting an Affiliate Program on Shopify

Starting an affiliate program can be a bit daunting, especially if it’s your first time. Don’t let the initial period put you off from affiliate marketing — the approach has helped generate billions in revenue for businesses. 

Here are a few tips I wish I’d received before starting my Shopify affiliate program. 

Don’t Expect Instant Returns 

When you first start a Shopify affiliate program, don’t expect huge returns, because you have to first build up your Shopify store’s traffic. It will take some time to get good affiliates on board

Even after that, you’ll have to wait for the affiliates to create content for their blogs, websites, or YouTube accounts. Once this content is out in the world and consumed by a large audience, only then can you start expecting more significant returns. 

Reward Your Affiliates 

No, this does not mean you should give half of your profit from a sale to an affiliate. But if you’re not rewarding affiliates substantially, you’ll be stuck with subpar affiliates who don’t do much for your brand. 

Affiliate marketing entails mutual benefit, but you still have to incentivize people with large followings to join your affiliate program. This happens only if you offer strong incentives in the form of high commissions

Affiliate programs with generous rewards attract quality affiliates who can help garner lasting leads and loyal customers. 

Choose the Right Affiliate Marketing App

When choosing the best affiliate app, there are many things to consider, including user interface, ease of use, and support.

Does the app allow customization for branding? Does it send automated welcome emails to affiliates? Does it have tracking features? You must check for all these features before you select an app to launch your affiliate program with. 

If you have the right app by your side, everything from launching the program to tracking affiliate links will become easy. A Shopify affiliate marketing app will also help you recruit affiliates by providing detailed analytics. 

This is especially useful for monitoring the performance of your affiliate marketers to ensure they are bringing traffic and customers regularly. 

Expect a Learning Curve 

Regardless of how simple or easy to use the affiliate marketing app is, there will still be a learning curve for tracking affiliate links. You can expect to spend some time understanding the metrics and how they affect your profits.

The affiliate app dashboard is not always self-explanatory or intuitive, so you may be spending more time than expected trying to figure out what everything means. But this will all be worth it in the end. 

Once you get the hang of everything, you’ll be able to track affiliate links better. Plus, you’ll understand how metrics tracking can help you identify high-performing affiliates.

Promote Your Affiliate Program 

So you’ve set up your affiliate program. Now what? Unfortunately, affiliates won’t be entering your program right and left without having a clue about your store’s existence. You need to promote your affiliate program on social media and other channels.

To be successful at this, consider the kind of affiliates you want to attract. Do you want to work with bloggers? Would you prefer YouTubers as affiliates? The decision also depends on who your target customers are. 

Are they more likely to watch videos or read blogs? Suppose you have a Shopify store for tech products. Many people head over to YouTube to learn about the specifications of tech products such as smartwatches, modems, and more.

You should reach out to YouTubers with sizable audiences and invite them to your affiliate program. Alternatively, you can promote your affiliate program in social media groups created and followed by tech enthusiasts. 

Start Your Affiliate Program Today

Everything to launch, manage, and grow your affiliate program

Easy tools to setup your affiliate program. Start your free trial today!

Spend Time on Onboarding 

When affiliates join your program, you can’t expect them to be familiar with every pointer on your terms and conditions page. Instead, you need to present a rundown of your brand and affiliate program. 

Are there any rules for developing promotional content? If yes, what are they? What percentage will the affiliates get in commissions for each sale? How will they be paid? 

For instance, you could choose to offer monthly payments to affiliates. If you have any brand values that you want your affiliates to adopt, you should make them clear during the onboarding process. You could strictly instruct all affiliates to put a disclaimer in their videos or blog posts telling the reader or viewer that the affiliates get a commission for each sale. 

In some cases, you may want to give pre approved content to your affiliates that they will need to promote to their followers. This may include prewritten posts for social media or visuals such as short videos and infographics. 

Similarly, you may want all of your affiliates to use specific hashtags for posts containing your Shopify store’s products. Make sure you discuss all these things during the onboarding process. 

It will help keep everyone on the same page and cut down the time you’d otherwise have to spend on content revisions. 

Track Your Strategy 

If you think your affiliate marketing strategy has picked up some pace, that’s excellent news. But a never-changing approach will take you only so far. The market trends and competitiveness keep changing with time. 

It’s crucial for you to tweak your affiliate program accordingly. Track your affiliate links and measure the effectiveness of your campaign. Doing so will help you identify your highest-performing affiliates. 

It will also give you insight into the problematic areas and things you need to upgrade or change. Here are some parameters for determining the success of your marketing efforts: 

  • Number of affiliates in your program
  • Best-performing affiliates 
  • Order size generated by affiliates 
  • Total revenue generated through the affiliate marketing campaign 
  • Number of sales made by each affiliate 
  • Number of affiliates who have abandoned the program 

One of the main things I wish I knew before starting an affiliate program on Shopify is the importance of making changes along the way. For example, if you notice that a significant number of affiliates have left your program, ask yourself why that happened. 

Maybe they’re not satisfied with the commissions. Perhaps your product quality has declined, which has led to the audience’s mistrust of the affiliate. Fix the problem to ensure affiliate retention.


It’s undeniably essential to know how to set up an affiliate program on Shopify in today’s market, where a significant number of companies have affiliate programs. But it’s even more essential to know how to keep a program running smoothly and lucratively. 



Essentially, you should onboard your affiliates properly, choose the right affiliate marketing app, offer reasonable commissions, and tweak your strategy as required.

Start Your Affiliate Program Today

Everything to launch, manage, and grow your affiliate program

Easy tools to setup your affiliate program. Start your free trial today!

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