Most people have heard of online affiliate stores but not many have considered partnering with affiliates for their own apparel decoration business.
Online affiliate stores are web stores ran under your own fulfillment center business, and are managed and promoted by your partnered affiliates.
Recently, DecoNetwork sat down with Meryl Kaitlin of Make A Tee Online and team member Roberto Renteria to discuss all the need-to-knows about adding online affiliate stores in the print & embroidery apparel decoration industry.
Meryl has been using DecoNetwork to manage her fulfillment center and online affiliate stores for several years now.
“Affiliate Stores were an opportunity that DecoNetwork allowed us to have, which gave us another ability to make sales that we didn’t have before,” Meryl commented.
Adding online affiliate stores is the perfect way to grow your business organically by increasing your clientele and revenue.
Why Add Online Affiliate Stores To Your Business?
Adding online affiliate stores creates a new stream of revenue for your apparel decoration business. Whether you’re an existing business looking to expand, or a new business just starting out, online affiliate stores shift marketing efforts to your partnered affiliates and allow you to focus on your core business of custom print & embroidery fulfillment.
“The one thing we all have in common is the need to be sought after by our customers,” said Meryl.
We all try our best to keep up with new marketing tactics on our own. Let’s face it, we all could use extra help with that.
Growing your apparel decoration business requires you to think about more than just the production of goods, but also how to best capture and streamline new inbound business.
Who Is A Good Fit For Your Online Affiliate Stores?
While having online affiliate stores is a great way to grow your business, you want to make sure you’re connecting with affiliates who share the same vision and enthusiasm that you do.
“The first step to growth with our online affiliate stores was to not give an online store to just anybody,” Meryl warned.
Before you start adding affiliates, there are some things you need to consider in order to make sure your future affiliates are the right fit for your business.
Take a look at your niche and identify the big influencers. Such as schools, personalities, organizations, artists, and others.
Online influencers build communities on social media. Many influencers earn income by promoting and selling their own custom branded merchandise to their audience. However, social media influencers typically need to outsource the production of their merchandise as they are usually not in the apparel decoration business.
Before reaching out to an influencer, do your research to see who would be the right fit for your business. Explore hashtags and popular social media account that line up with your own niche and business opportunities.
Follow influencers on social media to see how they go about branding. This is also a good way to learn more about them and get insights into mutually beneficial business opportunities.
“Try to understand what their message is, what their artwork means to them [and] what their store [would] mean for them,” Meryl highlights.
Look at your potential online affiliate store owners as partners. When communicating with affiliates, Meryl gives a great piece of advice.
“Treat them with respect as you would treat a business person,” she said. “Understand that they are not in the apparel printing fulfilling business, you are.”
There may be a learning curve in the beginning, but staying consistent and having great communication will help you both improve faster.
Both Educate And Learn From Your Online Affiliate Store Owners
If your online affiliates are not in the apparel decoration business, there will be things that they don’t know yet. Educate them on your order and production workflow. Make sure to stay consistent and set up a guide for your affiliate partners to follow.
Take the time to learn the vision your affiliate partners have and what goals they are looking to achieve by partnering with your business.
For example, maybe affiliates need help creating t-shirt designs that line up with the message they’re wanting to communicate to their audience
“Help them add events or campaigns to their store to boost recognition and of course sales,” Meryl suggests.
Remember that their success is ultimately your own success.
Support Your Online Affiliate Stores Owners
In the spirit of your affiliate store owner’s success ultimately also being your own success, we strongly encourage you to do all you can to support and even help promote your affiliate partners.
“We go above and beyond for our affiliates because we are able to do so,” said Meryl.
We couldn’t help but agree. You can go above and beyond for your affiliates to show your support in various ways.
Showcase online affiliate stores on your website and social media. Promoting their merchandise on your platforms is a great way to show support and generate extra sales.
If you’ve built a strong online presence on your website and through social media, advertising your online affiliates’ merchandise is a great marketable benefit.
Participate and support their hosted events. If one of your online affiliate store owners is going live on Instagram or Facebook, you can show support by viewing and commenting on their live feed.
Help them with marketing if that’s not their strength.
Meryl shares that Make A Tee Online offers custom branded labels for their shirts.
“My thought is that every time a customer washes their shirt, they will see the website,” said Meryl.
Whether it’s attending an event or helping build your affiliates’ marketing skills, showing support is essential to make your partnerships feel more like a community.
Offering online affiliate stores can serve as a way to increase your revenue by providing a much-needed service to your affiliate partners.
In addition to increasing revenue, adding online affiliate stores to your print and embroidery business also provides you with an opportunity to build a stronger connection with the community you serve.
You can grow your business, sales and community simultaneously while still being able to focus on what you do best, print and embroidery fulfilment.