3 ways to adapt your affiliate marketing strategy as consumer trends shift

By Virginia Rizzi manages the affiliate marketing team at digital marketing agency Glass Digital. In this article, she’ll share her insight into how you can tweak your affiliate marketing strategies as consumer trends shift, so you’re always ahead of the curve.

As a digital marketer or the owner of an ecommerce business, you’ll notice consumer behaviours shifting all of the time. And you should be aware that seasonality and current events can have a huge impact on how people shop and what they buy. But do you know how to adapt your affiliate marketing campaigns to account for all of this?

For example, it’s very likely your business will have seen some effects of the coronavirus pandemic, as it has affected people’s shopping habits in a number of ways. In April 2020, 30% of all shopping transactions were made online, which is the highest percentage we’ve ever seen (ONS). Plus, while people would typically be shopping for swimwear, package holidays, and pool floats at this time of year, it’s loungewear, home craft kits, and DIY supplies that have been especially popular.

Changes in consumer behaviour can be the result of a whole host of different factors, though, so you shouldn’t just be tweaking your affiliate marketing campaigns during a worldwide crisis: you need to be assessing and adapting your approach all of the time. Here, I’m going to outline some of my top tips that should make this as easy as possible.

Make sure you know your customers

Although your business and its competitors will be affected quite similarly by seasonality and peak shopping times like Black Friday and Boxing Day, it’s important that you also understand your specific customers. The more information you collect about them, the better you’ll be at predicting their needs and habits. Just make sure you’re always abiding by the necessary GDPR guidelines.

Information you can easily (and legally) collect by analysing your website’s stats includes what time of day people tend to shop on your site, which gives you an idea of when you should push your affiliate campaigns. You also need to know where most of your website traffic comes from, so you can target your affiliate campaigns as effectively as possible. For instance, do most of your customers come from a specific Instagram influencer’s profile, or do they shop through voucher sites?

Pay attention to the news, and plan your campaigns accordingly

Current events can have a massive impact on people’s shopping behaviours, and the coronavirus pandemic is the perfect example of this. Due to everyone adapting to the reality of spending most of their time at home, there’s been a huge surge in demand for the likes of loungewear, food delivery services, and even toilet roll. So, smart marketers have adapted their affiliate marketing strategies to suit.

With any area of online marketing, it’s incredibly important that you remain competitive by making changes to your campaigns proactively, rather than reactively. And this means you need to be keeping an eye on the news so you can anticipate big shifts in consumer behaviour well in advance. For example, when Italy was put under a coronavirus lockdown, it was a pretty safe bet that something similar was going to happen here, and UK affiliate marketing managers should have been thinking about what that would mean for their businesses, in terms of how people would be shopping while in lockdown and what they would be looking to buy.

Although most news stories won’t have quite as big of an impact as the Covid-19 crisis, different industries are being affected by current events all of the time. This means affiliate marketing managers should always keep one eye on the news so they can tweak their strategies quickly and effectively if it does look like some shifts in consumer behaviour are on the horizon.

Ensure you always know what stock you have available

It’s no good promoting a product if it won’t be available when someone goes to buy it, so you always need to ensure there’s enough stock to fulfil the demand when you’re working on a particular affiliate marketing campaign. As a result, you need to make sure that there’s clear communication between all relevant members of staff, so they can reassure you that a particular item can be restocked, or you can let them know they should be prepared for an influx of orders for a particular product.

It’s also incredibly important that your product feed is always up to date, as this will give you all of the information you need, from official product names and details, to how many of a particular item are in your warehouse. You should then use this to help advise your campaigns.

It’s usually a good idea to alert website or stock managers about any affiliate marketing campaigns you’re planning to run, just in case they think it’s worth buying extra stock or shuffling warehouse workers around. Demand for certain products can go through the roof with a successful affiliate marketing campaign, so it’s a good idea to let everyone involved know what you’re planning to ensure they’re prepared.

Consumer behaviours are shifting all of the time, but current events and seasonality can have a huge and sudden impact on how people shop. This means you need to be waiting to adapt your affiliate marketing campaigns at a moment’s notice, and these tips should help you do just that.