Product Showcase or Make A Page?

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.

Product Showcase:

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.

 

 

FansEdge.com Closing in CJ – Will be Exclusive to Shareasale

fe-moving-to-sas

At the end of June we will be closing the FansEdge.com affiliate program on CJ and moving exclusively to ShareASale.com. What does this mean for you?

1. If you are currently working with us in ShareASale.com now would be a good time to double check all your links and make sure they are switched over to ShareASale.com. As of June 30th when the FansEdge.com program closes in CJ your sales will no longer track there.

2. If you are not currently working with us in ShareASale.com please sign up here and we can get you approved and ready to go. The signup process is quick and easy so you should be approved and ready to go within a day or two.

Why, after many years of running this program on CJ are we shutting it down now? There are a number of reasons but mostly it comes down to the tools that are offered on a network level for our affiliates and for us on the merchant end and the flexibility that working with a more nimble network partner offers. Tools offered by ShareASale.com like the Product Showcases, the Make-a-Page tool, the baskets, the custom link builder, and some other goodies in the works are great tools for affiliates to use. They easily allow you to feature specific products, groups of products, deals and coupons, and all our 300,000+ items on your site. On our end the Advanced Commission Structures allow us to be much more creative and flexible with commissions, bonuses, promotions, and coupons. If you’re an advanced affiliate, ShareASale offers a great API as well that you can use for linking and reporting.

We’re also confident that in ShareASale.com you will see a higher conversion rate which will result in more commissions for you. There are a number of factors that play into this but in nearly every instance when we have moved an affiliate from CJ to ShareASale.com we see a higher conversion rate.

As a  former affiliate I know what a pain it can be to switch out links when programs move networks or close. We apologize for the inconvenience but are confident you will see much better performance and flexibility with Shareasale.com moving forward.

Sign up for the FansEdge.com affiliate program on Shareasale.com today if you haven’t already and please let us know if you have any questions or need any more clarification on this. We are happy to help in any way we can. Give me a call at 904-899-4117 or drop me an email at jsousa@fanatics.com.

Sign up for the FansEdge.com Affiliate Program on Shareasale

Product Specific Hot Markets

If you have been around the Fanatics.com affiliate program for any length of time you are no doubt familiar with the concept of “hot markets”. A hot market is basically an event that can drive a big bump in sales in a short period of time. Some of the obvious hot markets are the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup playoffs, March Madness, the World Series, etc. There are events like the Olympics, holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, wins by a popular NASCAR driver, and others that can provide a big spike in sales as well.

But have you ever thought about product specific hot markets? These are specific products that when released are very, very popular and get snapped up by consumers very quickly. In many cases the quantities are very limited so they require even quicker action and more planning than a standard hot market but the results can be great for you.

Here is a quick example: Thursday, Feb 13th Mitchell & Ness released a Michael Jordan 1988-1989 All-Star Hardwood Classics Authentic Vintage Jersey. When it comes to throwback jerseys and recreations of old jerseys Mitchell & Ness is the best in the business. Add in the fact that Michael Jordan is the best to ever play the game and the design of the jersey is a great, clean design and you had all the makings of a very popular item. To up the ante even more this was an item that was only available for sale by a couple merchants including NBAStore.com which we run. There was only a limited number of these jerseys available so you had the scarcity factor playing into everything. All in all this was a great opportunity for some affiliates to capitalize and make some good commissions. The price on the jersey was $249.95 so you are looking at a $25 commission per jersey which can add up very quickly.

Mitchell & Ness Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls 1988-89 All-Star Hardwood Classics Authentic Vintage Jersey
Mitchell & Ness Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls 1988-89 All-Star Hardwood Classics Authentic Vintage Jersey

Some other examples are the All Star collection shoes that were for sale on NBAStore.com which sold out within a few hours. We also had a Jordan Retro shoe which had very, very limited quantities and those sold out in a matter of minutes. After the Super Bowl we had some Pro-Line Authentic helmets autographed by Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson that sell for $750 which have been great sellers.

So how can you, as an affiliate, capitalize on these product specific hot markets?

1. Stay in touch with us – Sometimes we don’t have a lot of lead time on products like this so drop us an email every so often and see if we have any info we can pass on.

2. Find opportunities that are relevant – Not all these products will be good fits for your site. If you have a blog about hockey players from Finland and you see a new Jordan jersey hit the market it probably won’t be a good seller. But some autographed pucks from the victory over Russia? Those would do very well for you. And no, I don’t expect us to get any pucks like that. It was just an example.

3. Act quickly. Very quickly – For some of these products we have a very limited quantity. With some of those shoes I mentioned earlier we only had about 48 pairs to sell. There were a limited number of the Jordan jerseys. If you want to capitalize on these you need to be ready to act when they go live. Honestly you should have most of the work done ahead of time so all you have to do is publish a post or drop some links into existing content.

4. Push it HARD – Using a shoe launch for an example, if you have a sneaker site and the shoes go live blast it out to your Facebook page, drop a tweet, and send an email to your list. Let your readers know they need to act quickly as well. Many times there will only be a window of an hour or less to make sales for these products so don’t wait.

5. Prep your audience – If you know a specific product will be released at a specific time prep your audience ahead of time and let them know they need to come back to your site at 9:00 AM on March 10th or whatever to buy it. Tell them they need to act quickly because quantities are limited and if they wait they could miss out.

Take a look at your audience and traffic and come up with some ideas of hot market products that might resonate well with them. Each target audience will be different, each league and team will be different. There is no one-size fits all approach but if you take the time to plan there are some great opportunities to make some good commissions focusing on hot market products. If you have any questions please drop us an email or give us a call. We will do our best to pass on as much information as we can and help you plan to make the most out of these opportunities.

Fanatics.com Affiliate Program wins Exceptional Merchant Pinnacle Aaward

The Fanatics Affiliate Team (Joe Sousa, Erin Routzahn and Wade Tonkin) receive the Exceptional Merchant Pinnacle Award from Shawn Collins and Missy Ward at Affiliate Summit West 2014 in Las Vegas.

 

Fanatics.com was honored to receive the 2014 Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Award in the “Exceptional Merchant” category at Affiliate Summit West at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

When asked what helped the Fanatics affiliate program stand out, Missy Ward, Co-Founder of Affiliate Summit said “We are excited to give the 2014 Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Award for Exceptional Merchant to Fanatics.com for their creativity, responsiveness and consistency, as evidenced by the great feedback we’ve received from affiliates.”

Fanatics.com joins past winners Under Armour (2013), Tiny Prints (2012), Zappos (2011), eBay (2010), Celebrate Express (2009), CSN Stores (2008) and Amazon (2007).

The Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Awards are affiliate marketing’s most prestigious, competitive honor for the leaders in the space.

Award winners are recognized because they are innovative leaders with vision and influence.

The team here at Fanatics is humbled to join the 2014 class of Pinnacle Award winners including:

  • Affiliate of the Year: RetailMeNot
  • Affiliate Manager of the Year: Khushbaht Abdulloev
  • Affiliate Marketing Advocate: Brian Littleton
  • OPM/Agency of the Year: Greg Hoffman Consulting
  • Tool/Service of the Year: BrandVerity
Fanatics.com Affiliate Coordinator Joe Sousa was also a Finalist in the Affiliate Manager of the Year category.  Congratulations Joe!

 


Pinnacle Awards at Affiliate Summit West 2014 – YouTube

The 8th annual Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Awards, which recognize exemplary affiliate marketers, were held at Affiliate Summit West 2014, which took place Jan…

 

Congrats to the University of Louisville Cardinals!

Fanatics offers over 250 Louisville 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Champions items
“Cut the Net” Long Sleeve Louisville Cardinals National Champions T-shirt from Nike, one of hundreds of items available.

The team at Fanatics congratulates the University of Louisville Cardinals for their 82-76 win in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game last night.

We’re proud to offer a great selection of over 200 items of officially licensed merchandise celebrating the big win including hats, t-shirts, fleece and collectibles.  We also offer a variety of options for affiliates looking to promote University of Louisville merchandise including affiliate programs at Fanatics.com (AvantLinkSAS or CJ), Fans Edge (CJ) and The U of L Team Store (SAS)

 

Blog Overhaul Underway

I always hated it when people posted images like this on a website that I was evaluating to be an affiliate, but I thought it was appropriate.   It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here, mostly because we’ve just been swamped at integrating a few businesses into one cohesive unit.  It’s been a whirlwind last 2 years with Fanatics being acquired by GSI, GSI being acquired by eBay and picking up management responsibilities for the official stores of the NBA, NASCAR, NFL, NHL and ESPNShop, and then being quickly sold back to Michael Rubin to form Fanatics, Inc.  Since then, we’ve acquired Dreams, Inc. and their Fans Edge, ProSportsMemorabilia.com and Mounted Memories brands and more.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll be updating this site to really accurately describe all of the awesome opportunities available to Affiliates through Fanatics, Inc. and how you can work with us to maximize your earnings by working with the leader in licensed sports merchandise sales online.

Stay tuned!

Hot Seller – Alabama Crimson Tide Tidaltown T-shirt

Alabama Crimson Tide Tidaltown T-Shirt -  Crimson

This new Alabama Crimson Tide “Tidaltown” t-shirt has been a super hot seller for us here at Fanatics.   We went live with it yesterday and promptly sold through all the inventory we had within just 24 hours.   If you have a site with access to fans of the Alabama Crimson Tide this is a really “hot market” opportunity for you to cash in on.  Keep an eye on the product page to make sure it’s in stock and feel free to promote via email, site, Twitter or Facebook links.   We should have these back in stock on Saturday 7/14 and they’ll sell well once they are live again.   If you’d like an update, please follow us on Twitter.

Hot Seller – University of Kentucky 2012 Draft Day Was All Us T-shirt

Kentucky Wildcats 2012 Draft Day T-Shirt - Royal Blue

 

If you have Kentucky Wildcats fan traffic you need to post on this shirt on your blog, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter account and hit email.  It’s a hot seller for Kentucky fans who are celebrating a class that saw Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as the first teammates chosen 1-2 in an NBA draft and six players chosen overall.   This Royal Blue Kentucky Wildcats 2012 Draft Day T-Shirt is a must have for any Kentucky Wildcats hoops fan.

You can find links to this product in the Fanatics product feed – in ShareASale – use “The basket” and search for “Royal Blue Kentucky Wildcats 2012 Draft Day T-Shirt”   I’ll update on the process for linking to this product in AvantLink and CJ as soon as the feeds are updated in those networks.

Earn 10% Commission on Los Angeles Kings 2012 Stanley Cup Champions Merchandise

Stanley Cup Champions merchandise is now live at Fanatics
Los Angeles Kings 2012 Stanley Cup Champions Gear is Available at Fanatics

 

The Los Angeles Kings threw off any notion of a New Jersey Devils comeback yesterday with a 6-1 win  in game 6.   This win clinches the first Stanley Cup Championship for the Kings in their 41 years in the NHL.  Fanatics is offering a great selection of 2012 Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup Champ’s Merchandise with over 220 products available.   Products available include everything from the standard Locker Room T-shirts from Majestic, and hats from New Era and Reebok,  to custom jackets, sweatshirts and hoodies,   and Alyssa Milano Touch Collection designs for women.  In addition to apparel, there are a ton of collectibles and accessories including shot glasses, license plate holders, beer mugs, coffee cups, mouse pads, iPhone covers, Replica Stanley Cups, licensed commemorative books, photo’s, pucks, banners and wall hangings, stickers and more.

Affiliates at Fanatics earn 10% commissions sales driven through their affiliate links.  For more information on the affiliate program options available directly through Fanatics, as well as through our affiliate network partners AvantLink, Commission Junction and ShareASale,  please visit our affiliate program page.

London 2012 Olympic Pins are hot sellers for affiliates

London 2012 Collectible Pins and Buttons are top sellers at Fanatics
London 2012 Collectible Pins and Buttons are top sellers at Fanatics!

We’re starting to really ramp up the count of products in stock tied to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games being held in London from July 27th – August 12th.   One of the early top sellers has been our selection of collectible pins celebrating the London 2012 games and TeamUSA.   We have a landing page set up to feature these London 2012 and TeamUSA Collectible pins at http://www.fanatics.com/Olympics_Pins_And_Buttons and have set uploaded banner sets and some text links to promote them on Commission Junction, AvantLink and ShareASale.   All of our Olympic apparel and collectibles products are live in our product data feeds as well.  We’ll be adding a London 2012 tab soon to the Graphic Library in our Internal Affiliate Program as well.  I’ll be sure to post and email when that is set up.

Once the NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals wrap,  London 2012 Olympics merchandise is going to be the next big hot market opportunity for affiliates at Fanatics until College Football starts ramping in August, so you should definitely be looking at adding Olympics merchandise to your mix.   Please be sure to make note of the restrictions on trademarks involved – you can see the full rules on use of the brand from the London 2012 Organizing Committee at http://www.london2012.com/about-us/our-brand/using-the-brand/index.html and the United States Olympic Committee’s rules at http://www.inta.org/TrademarkBasics/FactSheets/Pages/ProtectionofOlympicTrademarks.aspx .

Please don’t use any trademarks in your domains – sales will be reversed and accounts will be terminated.   The London 2012 Committee and USOC will be out for blood when it comes to issues of infringement and as a licensee, we’re on their side.    If you have any questions on whether a marketing idea is a safe one, please ask.  That is what I am here for.

Let’s make some London 2012 money together!