How Retailers Can Benefit from Affiliate-Only Private Sales

How Retailers Can Benefit from Affiliate-Only Private Sales


The world of affiliate marketing is a competitive space.  With so much competition, it’s more vital than ever to develop strategies that attract high-value users to your e-commerce site.

Private affiliate-only sales can be an opportunity for retailers to drive traffic and conversions by adding a sense of excitement and urgency to the consumer shopping experience.

How It Works

A brand runs a short time-frame sale that can only be accessed through an affiliate (i.e. not available through any other channel).

Select affiliates are invited to participate by invitation-only and provided with a special link to share with their audience.

The link offers the affiliates’ audience (readers, followers, etc.) the ability to access deeply discounted pricing on their favorite products.

We recently ran affiliate-only private sales for a few of our clients and the results exceeded their expectations. While we definitely incorporated some secret-sauce strategies, the overall concept of an affiliate-only private sale and the value that it can offer to both brands and affiliates are widely applicable.

Here are two examples of challenges that our client’s faced and how an affiliate-only private sale provided a profitable solution.

  1. Challenge: Excess broken stock inventory (low quantities of a specific size/color) – Broken stock inventory is typically difficult to move in a brand’s sale section on their site. Our team came up with the strategy to run an affiliate exclusive flash sale through a private sale section on their site. Select affiliate partners in their program were provided with an exclusive code to share with their audience that significantly discounted those sale items for a short window of time. Result: a 46% year-over-year increase in revenue for that week.

  2. Challenge: Liquidating inventory – To make room for their new styles, our client needed to liquidate some of their inventory. Our team suggested that the brand host an affiliate-only private sample sale on past collections that would run through a private sale website. The sale was not promoted publicly on the brand’s website or other channels. Only their affiliate partners were notified of the sale and given exclusive affiliate links and banners to share with their audience. In order to access the sale items, customers had to enter their email address and all items were final sale. This sale also ran for a very limited time. Result:  1,831% year-over-year increase in revenue and 37% of orders were new customers.

Benefits to Brands

Affiliate-only private sales can offer many benefits to brands, including:

  • Increased revenue. Brands are better able to sell items that have previously been difficult to move. They are also able to move inventory much faster than if they just held a traditional sale on those items.

  • New customers. Consumers who may not have been familiar with the brand or purchased from them before are more inclined to do so with a private sale.

  • Greater brand visibility. Holding an exclusive sale with significantly reduced pricing gives retailers a unique opportunity to introduce their brand to customers that they might not have reached otherwise.

  • High-yield, low-cost approach for reducing inventory. This type of sale positions the retailer to earn substantial revenue while quickly moving product. And since the retailer is leveraging an existing marketing channel (affiliate), there typically isn’t a significant amount of additional cost involved.

  • Strengthen relationships between the brand and their affiliates.  Affiliates love it when brands offer sales that only they can promote. Just as the affiliate’s audience feels special when they are given a private link to use to access the sale, the retailer makes their affiliates feel valued when they establish a sale that is just for them.

Benefits to Affiliates

Exclusive, private sales provide many advantages to affiliates as well, including:

  • Increased commission. Special access to a limited-time only sale is likely to rouse an affiliate’s readers to make a purchase – especially since they are getting products at a deeply discounted price.

  • Gives them unique content to post on their blog. The sense of urgency and exclusivity of private sales make them fun to write about and exciting to promote.

  • Strengthens their relationship with their audience. When an affiliate’s readers/followers/fan base are given access to a private sale, it makes them feel important and they often perceive the affiliate as doing them a special favor.

  • Often re-energizes their affiliate marketing efforts. If an affiliate hasn’t generated commission for a while, they are less likely to maintain their enthusiasm for promoting the brand. The uniqueness and exclusivity of the private sale often motivates them to revive their promotion activities; it will also likely result in sales.

An affiliate-only private sale can be a powerful way for retailers to drive new traffic to their site and increase sales. They can also provide a fun, exciting way for affiliates to earn commissions and promote their favorite brands.

For more strategic insights for how to maximize the effectiveness of your affiliate program, reach out to our team!