Over the past couple months Shareasale has released or updated a couple tools that I think are awesome for affiliates: The Product Showcase and the Make A Page tool. Both these tools are great ways for affiliates to add products to their site and go beyond a simple banner or text link. But when should they be used? Good question and hopefully I can answer it here.
First off, both of these tools are based on the merchant datafeeds which are basically a spreadsheet of all the products on a merchant’s site. Some feeds have 10 products, some have hundreds of thousands. The largest feed in Shareasale has over 3.8 million products! Since these tools as well as a number of other tools are based on the datafeed I think EVERY merchant should at least have something loaded up as far as a feed is concerned, even if it is 5 products.
The biggest difference I see in these tools is the Product Showcase is dynamic and the Make A Page is static. In some ways they can be used somewhat interchangeably but there are also some specific instances where one tool will be a better option than the other. Let me break them down for you.
Since the product showcase is more dynamic than the Make A Page I think it performs better when you want to include a group of products based on a keyword search or a category and you don’t need to link to a specific product. I kind of see the Product Showcase as a great replacement for a banner. They work to get some products into a post but they will also work great in the sidebar of a blog.
Here’s an example for you: Let’s say I wanted to write an article about bringing the SuperSonics back to Seattle and I wanted to include some Sonics gear in it. I could go to the Product Showcase tool (on the Get Links page of the merchant), drill down through the categories and select “Seattle SuperSonics” under the “Hardwood Classics Teams”. I can then select my layout, change some colors and settings, and then save and get my code which would look like this:
You can see it pulls in all the products in the SuperSonics category. If I just wanted to pull in products based on a search term I could do that as well so if I only wanted to products related to a keyword like “SuperSonics Jersey” I could do that as well:
Also, since this tool is more dynamic if a product goes out of stock and comes out of the datafeed it will be removed from the display and if more products get added to the feed they will go up in my Showcases. Since these Showcases are dynamic they can be a bit more evergreen than the Make A Page and will be a great option for some more general ad placements to use in place of a static banner.
Make A Page
Unlike the Product Showcase on the Make A Page tool you get to pick the specific products. You can add as many products as you want, add products from multiple merchants, and pretty much have more control over what is displayed.
Example: If I have an article about the Ugly Christmas Sweaters we have at Fanatics and I wanted to show what I thought were the ugliest I could build a Make A Page like this:
Keep in mind that if a product goes out of stock or a merchant removes it from the datafeed it will still be in your Make a Page displays. They are more hard coded than the Product Showcases so if a merchant sells out of something or changes a price you will want to update your Make A Page.
The Gallery feature is something brand new that I really like as well. In the Make A Page you can also create some galleries like this:
I can see these being very cool if you want to put together a Top 10 list of your favorite products or something along those lines.
Ultimately these are two awesome tools that will really help affiliates put the products they want to showcase in front of their readers. Bloggers and affiliates should see increased conversions and increased sales if they can integrate some of these tools into their sites. Check them out today.