The Toys "R" Us Affiliate Program, Going Bankrupt.

Last Update: September 19, 2017


Toys"R" Us is filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and as a result, the affiliate program and those leveraging it is going to need to eventually move and promote something else.

The big box stores continue to fall victim to the Internet and the e-commerce world. There've been many companies and big brands (such as Sears) that are following the same demise after many years of success in the offline marketplace. This is indicative of our new "world" Where much greater percentage of people purchase things online, leaving much higher costs with smaller returns for off-line businesses and shops.

One thing that you may find interesting about Toys R Us, is that yes, they did have an affiliate program. But it was one that most affiliate marketers wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole.

A Short Cookie Life, Attracts Fewer Affiliates

When I say this it isn't because their product or company weren't great. I have had great shopping experiences at Toys R Us over the years and I am really sad to see them close their doors. What I have never been keen on is the Toys R Us affiliate program and their "5-hour cookie" max affiliate links (see below).

It is actually quite insulting to an affiliate to have a cookie this short. You go to all the hard work to create content, to generate traffic, to implement marketing strategies, and to incorporate streamlined promotions for a particular company, only to realize that if someone doesn't buy the exact moment they leave your page, then you are not going to get any credit.

That is frustrating, but worse yet, you experience far lower commissions than you would have with a longer length. With a cookie length of 7 days vs. 5 hours, you could expect at least double the sales volumes as a result of your hard work as an affiliate marketer.

Why Amazon Associates Gets Away With a Short Cookie Length?

Amazon is notorious for their 24-hour cookies.

However, amazon has over 500 MILLION products on their storefront. You can go there to buy pretty much anything from groceries, to appliances, to clothing, to things for your animals. When people head over to Amazon, they are always engaged in a "buying state of mind" because they're shopping.

Sure, like the offline world you're going to have some window shoppers, but generally speaking it is far more efficient to purchase something online and you have a selection that is unparalleled anywhere in the offline world.

It is often times far more efficient to purchase stuff from home, versus getting your car, packing up your kids, and driving to the mall. These all incur time costs as well as actual costs (gas, parking, etc).

The Amazon affiliate program has a lot of benefits because of the purchase volume that people have on there and the overall familiarity & association with buying stuff through Amazon.

Sometimes when you're promoting one thing, you will get a bunch of sales for something completely different. Over the years I have had some of the strangest purchases as a result of my affiliate links pointing people to buy something else.

That is the benefit of having our platform like Amazon where you can buy a dog toy, men's underwear and a TV all in one spot (and sometimes people buy all of them all at once lol).

If Amazon didn't have so much PULL within the e-commerce world and their processes didn't convert as well as they do for affiliate, they surely wouldn't be able to get away with a 24-hour cookie.

When you consider such massive shopping platforms like Etsy.com have 30 days cookies, Amazon cookie life is still on the lower end and has always been one of the drawbacks using Amazon's affiliate program.

Companies That Are Not Investing in e-Com, Are Doomed.

I would have to say if a company is just starting to get into the Econ aspect of their business, they are potentially too late.

When you are competing with the likes of Amazon, eBay, Wayfair, Jet, Etsy and some of the other big players in the e-commerce space, you need to realize that if you is going to step into the e-commerce world you need to be prepared to compete on many fronts.

Some of these include:

  • Price
  • Shipping
  • Shopping UI/UI
  • Customer Support
  • Affiliate Program (incuding "cookie length")
  • Affiliate Management

These are all areas that the top online commerce companies have focused heavily on, and are succeeding as a result of their efforts in these areas.

In an industry where the "affiliate cookie" bar has been set pretty low by Amazon, any sane affiliate will take a 5-hour cookie as nothing short of insulting.

Would Toys"R" Us Still Be Doing Well if They Focus on their Affiliate Program

We can't blame the affiliate program and the short cookie length on everything. But I can tell you as an affiliate marketer, and someone's whose worked with literally over 1 million affiliates in the past 12 years, it can be hard to attract "whale affiliates" with a short cookie length.

In particular, when your e-commerce store isn't as competitive or converts as well as some competitors. Is someone going to buy a toy with shipping charges through Toys "R" Us at $15.00 if they cannot by the exact same thing with same day "Prime" shipping from Amazon for $13.95? I doubt it.

It only takes a few experiences like this before people start looking at Amazon or other shopping platforms, before they would no longer consider shopping at Toys"R" Us. Throw in a complicated shopping process, technical issues with a website, a checkout process that is frustrating, and slow and expensive shipping times, and you can see why a companies online presence is met with resistance.

All of this has adverse effects on affiliates as it becomes more difficult and expensive (in terms of time and actual costs) to promote a program that doesn't convert very well as well. A poor cookie life only further disincentives an affiliate program such as Toys "R" Us and it surely had some level of contribution to the companies overall demise.


I would love to hear your feedback on this. What are your thoughts of the e-commerce world and whatever are some of online versus offline experiences that you have had recently? Leave your comments below.

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DannyB1 Premium
This was quite eye opening. It is unfortunate that toys r us is having a bad day. I do now, though, have a better understanding of how the affiliate links work. I now have a bit of information to utilize in my search for affiliate programs to promote through my niche. Not being a computer guru, I had no idea how the cookie is used to determine sales for affiliates. Good Info!!!! Thanks!
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Kyle Premium
I am hoping they rebound, they are definitely going through a restructuring process now and I think they are going to hopefully get a solid footing on what it takes to turn their respective business around.

More competition out there in the toy industry and with MORE toy affiliate programs available, it is only of benefit to affiliates.
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AfqmBiz Premium
Great stuff that keeps me update, thanks! Bro, in my opinion, they might have some complacency issue that in the end, make Toys "R" Us paid the price of the short stay on e-Comm platform.

Might be, just a might be they think their spreading offline stores worldwide will be enough to cater their business for the foreseeable future. But by having steady and steadfast online store could have saved them more on operating cost and the upper hands reaching more potential customers in rural areas.

In my locality city of Kuala Lumpur itself, their offline store radius is very close and that mark on how many stores they have within this territory. If we take all, all over the world, the numbers are huge. But what I can see is they are losing bit by bit as more competitive pricing offer and cheaper option are available online.

Since everything you could find in today's market in any grade you desired mostly are "Made In China" tag, Since the birth of my son, the second kids, I am no longer shop toys there. Similar toys with cheaper deals easily founded online now. They also might be losing the opportunity to monetize from digital toys stuff.

Talk about my own experience feedback, some other time, hiccup mainly comes from people mentality, some stuff never really reach my doorsteps. The tracking is superb until it reaches the certain party that involves certain departments locally.

I love my football/soccer and intellect hard copy books stuff, Manchester United or Metallica and others merchandising. I had encounter stuff that seems lost in the thin air once arrive here.

I had my 4th package order from Manchester United Megastore that arrived in the same mail office being torn out when I came to claim the package. They give me the reason that shows their low mentality why they need to open it to see to avoid the suspicious stuff inside. I had to be in my harsh manner to warn that senior staff and give some talking-to about people with the brain at their knee is cancer to the community and now you are under my suspected list because my 3rd package order from the same online store went missing at your delivery office!

I had lame customs query that FedEx reported to me they can't release the stuff due to the difficulty to verify Metallica store previously.

In this case, I have to use my International Airport working exposure before by giving the warning through FedEx to the department to hold on while I contact the Metallica store.

If they can't hold, well, prepare for my arrival that could see some dishonest working integrity exposed as "I knew how their stuff works". Metallica store provides me the document needed within half an hour to defy your "for few days the store failed to respond". And special delivery jumping the queue I had that day.

And the most recent absurd and ridiculous dishonesty that consider huge integrity in question when my one gram gold bar reward went missing. I am part of that gaming app franchise investor for the iOS mobile app store.

Even though I could take it easy from my franchise gaming developer advice to lodge the missing and get the replacement, but the effort to involve play the game for promotion as I managed to pass the first milestone reward out of 25 milestones on offers (each one is rewarded with 1 gram value of real gold bar) went in vain.

What a terrific marketing opportunity if I could hold that gold bar and reward official certificate with the gold maker and first-party gaming industry players endorsement. But I said to myself, "what comes around, goes around, my life test one part done but you never know how big the testing time is coming your way".

Among the latest order, footballer autobiography "I Am Zlatan". From the tracking, I knew FedEx will deliver to me. In advance, I call them to remind the previous issue and ask them to convey the message to the airport cargo Customs about no second-time stupidity anymore or else I write the big time to Amazon dot com to reveal their foul-play. OMG, the book seems to fly itself arrived so soon! And soon I managed to read how an immigrant kid with torrid childhood and broken family always carry and pick himself up to become one of the best strikers the world ever known today.

That is my own thought and review from own mixed experience I have regarding this article. Thanks!
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A lot of Toys-r-Us demise comes from not adapting to the logistically driven retail model that most of the on-line companies and big retailers have gone to. Amazon and Wayfair own almost no inventory which impacts the bottom line of brick and mortar stores. Walmart, Home Depot and TJX (Homegoods, TJMaxx, Marshalls) even Michaels craft stores have moved to this model and that is what is giving them a competitive edge.
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Kyle Premium
Yeah, they are very proficient with their business models and the online world, which in many cases isn't about holding inventory at all.

Wayfair.ca is becoming the most popular shopping site (I would say) in Canada as they offer free shipping, a great online experience and their shipping is quick (much quicker than Amazon).

Amazon is still expensive to ship in Canada and with shipping times in the US starting to really drag because of dropping shipping and the FBA crew, I can see many other online merchants having the ability to really start stealing marketshare.

We are living in a new world online retail economy and either companies are going to adapt or they are going to get run over in the process.
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wealthyjames Premium
Even the mighty can fall-fail, to wit general motors. Amazon will do well to learn from Toysrus. Another online entity will come to challenge amazon as surely as pepsi did coca cola. The beauty, of this certainty for online affiliate marketers is that we will be there to promote for those who look out for our interests.
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rjkennedy Premium
Thank you Kyle for this info regarding Toys R Us & Amazon. it's sad that Toys R us is going out of business. In regards to Amazon, I've been an affiliate of theirs for at least eight months, but haven't made any sells. I promote good products relevant to my niche, but no takers! (well, must go back to the drawing board).
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Kyle Premium
Are you getting a decent amount of traffic to your website? If so, there are likely some refinements to your content that you are going to have to make to maximize conversions.

Drop me some details with some insights int your stats and I will be more than happy to help you out here. ;)
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JeannineC Premium
Perhaps you are getting hurt by their 1 day cookie, if your products are something that people must consider before purchasing. Have you considered finding an alternative source for those products and testing that affiliate program instead? One with a longer cookie could make a difference.
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rjkennedy Premium
Thank you for your offer of help Kyle, but I'm just a little confused on what you're asking for? Do comments from each site (I have two), count as the traffic you speak of? (..currently this is all the activity I get)!
One site I have 222 approved comments / 352 approved comments on the other. Is this the 'stats insight' you speak off?

I have a few Amazon products on each site. Please PM me. Thanks.
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How did you guys get approved for ToysRUs affiliate program? I’m having a hard time... what type of sites do you guys run? They told me they don’t like blogs
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JeannineC Premium
Right now I doubt they are accepting any new affiliates, but there are so many other companies selling toys out there, you've got lots of other options to move forward with.

If they don't like blogs, I know for a fact that TONS of other advertisers love blogs, so don't let that discourage you either.

That could be an insight into why they just declared bankruptcy!
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rjkennedy Premium
I'm in their regular Amazon Affiliate program. I'm not sure what type of affiliation the company have with Toys R us. I just followed their signup process
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JeannineC Premium
That makes sense - you are an Amazon affiliate, not a Toys R Us affiliate. That works too. But remember, Amazon only has a one-day cookie, while many of the other programs have 30 day cookies. That's a huge difference for bloggers. Our corporate research shows the huge number of sales bloggers make between days 14-30. You wouldn't get commissions on any of those with Amazon.
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rjkennedy Premium
Jeannine, I wish concerns with commissions were at the top of my 'worry list'. I haven't made one cent yet through Amazon. Still waiting to 'break the ice'.
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JeannineC Premium
Cookie length may be the reason why. If you are sending them customers but no one is buying, it may be because they need to think about it before they do so. And they may think longer than a day....

However if you haven't sold anything yet, and it's been a while, check some of your links to make sure they are right. Usually with enough traffic someone buys something on Amazon, whether your recommendation or something else.
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JeannineC Premium
This article on the Toys "R" Us situation appeared recently on Internet Retailer. Seems that want to adopt a marketplace strategy with individual sellers (Etsy.com is a marketplace, for example). https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2017/09/29/toys-r-us-plans-online-marketplace-2018/

They may have declared bankruptcy, but by no means are they down. This doesn't say anything about the future of an affiliate program, but then again, Etsy.com does have an affiliate program, so maybe Toys "R" Us will find a way as well.
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Kyle Premium
Yeah, they definitely are not down, but they have a ways to go in both the online shopping space, as well as the affiliate program space.

Being from Canada, I have "attempted" to use Toys R Us to buy things online and the experience has never been a good one. Perhaps their upcoming relationship will help, but there will be a process to regain customers underlying trust.

Within the offline stores, they have failed to innovate in terms of their store design and making it a "must see" for kids, but it certainly is not that way now.

I do hold out hope that they can turn things around. Thanks for sharing this article Jeannine.
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SantaFez Premium
Thanks Kyle for this post, I can see how Affiliate plans can really make it or break it for companies - no matter their reputation!

What surprised me was that you said that Amazon has a 24hour cookie life, when I was told that they hold for 60 days!!!! Or is it through programs such as Azon Authority? Do they do "something" so that the cookie life stays "on" for longer?

Would appreciate some clarification!
Thanks
SantaFez
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JeannineC Premium
Amazon has a 24 hour cookie. The only time things like Azon can kick in is if someone puts something in their cart.

FYI, I talked with some Amazon folks at a conference last year about Azon and I don't think they were thrilled about it. Honestly it wouldn't surprise me if one day they chose to block it, as a 60-day window is not their choice for sure. Amazon makes a ton of money from items bought after the 24-hour cookie has expired.
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SantaFez Premium
Thank you Jeannine for this information. I am now trying out Azon and from what I understand it is a win-win situation, both for Azon and Amazon! Hope that I am right! Never the less I am keeping my path here at WA!
Cheers
SF
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JeannineC Premium
Monitor your click conversion rate. If it seems like a poor conversion rate, test out another merchant instead of Amazon and see if your conversion rate increases. Then you'll know if a one-day cookie doesn't work with your readers.
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SantaFez Premium
Thanks for this Jeannine...I need to get into this more indepth cause I see that I have NO conversion at all from Amazon...its been 4 months ...
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JeannineC Premium
Often if you are promoting items which aren't impulse items, things people may need to think about for a day or two before purchasing, Amazon won't work well for you. Test this out with another merchant and see if sales don't start. If you need help identifying alternative merchants, please let me know. I'm really good at that!
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SantaFez Premium
Thank you Jeannine I will try this out and would love to keep in touch about this.
Appreciate your help.
Will let you know how I go =)
Cheers,
SF
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JeannineC Premium
I'll be here for you, whenever I can be of service.
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HC516 Premium
Good article. This is great feedback for Toys R Us. I hope they get a chance to read it, or one similar.
I don't think they are closing their doors and going out of business completely. There are too many huge toy manufacturers who make too much money from their relationships with them.
The type of bankruptcy they are filing will allow them to restructure their business. It will be more like consolidating their bills where they can lower their payments and take longer to pay their debts off without losing their business completely.
Hopefully they will update their website and online shopping experience and make use of the online advertising they could have with a more affiliate friendly program. It will be interesting to see what happens.
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Kyle Premium
I can't be so sure they will read this and if they do, I really hope it become a discussion for their digital/commerce division. They have a great, long standing brand and I think that if they put more emphasis and resources into not just their ecommerce side of things, but also their affiliate program, they would have a thriving business right now.

Not to late to dig themselves out of a hole here, but it will take some focus and some proper direction from their leadership.
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Smedlicott Premium
A great article. My niche is kids toys so I looked at Toys R Us affiliate program. I didn't like the Cookie clause but thought it would look good on my site. However, they have not answered my application in two weeks so this article was really good. Thank you.
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Kyle Premium
That would be another part of the issue here. The fact that you are getting a response for several weeks indicates that they probably don't have adequate resources in place (employees) to operate and manage their affiliate program.

You are one lost affiliate of likely many, that could have been a great deal of business over time that would have been driven to their company.
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frmcf Premium
Hi Kyle & Carson, I am new to affiliate marketing but it sure makes sense to me that Toys R US should of left the window open for a much longer time. I realize that Amazon is probably the biggest E-commerce site out there. I just wish that they would keep their political views to themselves and stick to selling merchandise. But you are right about what you are saying that, they are dominating the E-commerce world and should be considered. Really do appreciate your support and training.Thanks for being there for us. Frank
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Kyle Premium
Amazon is definitely one of the larger affiliate programs out there, And this is directly tied to their base of products and services that you can promote from one affiliate program.

There are many affiliate networks out there that are great as well and you have companies like Etsy, Aliexpress, ebay, Walmart, etc all with affiliate programs and millions of products that you can promote from ONE interface.
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jimmy1269 Premium
I must agree that prices at toys r us are way to high. I have been there ten or fifteen times and probly bought twice. Came home and did what i should have done in the first place. Went on Amazon and got the product i wanted and made sure it had prime shipping. Im sure everyone knows if your a prime member 2 day prime shipping is free. That sucks for toys r us but does not surprise me
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Kyle Premium
People will pay a little higher price, if there is an experience that is attractive. They don't have this. It doesn't feel "kid fun" to walk into one of these stores and I think because of this people would prefer to stay at home and just buy the same toy cheaper through Amazon, eBay, etc.
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GPRAssociate Premium
Very sad. Back in the day they let us ride the bikes and big wheels - now they're all chained up. Maybe because of liability, or maybe because of loss prevention strategy?
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EandMs Premium
I hate to see any business close their doors because of not lowering their prices to be competitive and having a short cookie life for their affiliate program. I just think about all those poor people out of a job because of poor management.

I remember years ago when Toys R Us first opened their doors, that was the most exciting thing when mom took us for the very first time just to see all those toys stacked on shelves higher than me! It's no wonder why we never went back be mom thought the prices were too high even back then.

Great post!
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Swangirl Premium
I must say I really never liked Toys-r-Us anyway. I found there prices to be high, selection not great and other issues. I am not surprised their affiliate program had problems as well.

I really like Amazon on the other hand, both as a shopper and as an affiliate. I wish they had a longer cookie length but I get quite a few sales of items unrelated to the products I review. I just sold a Christmas DVD and a pair of women's shoes at the same time as the pet products I review!

Jessica
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Kyle Premium
Well a 5 hour cookie certainly didn't help attract any affiliates at all...and their online shopping experience, expensive prices and cost heavy shipping fees surely didn't help customers convert.

If you are not good to affiliates and you are not good to customers in the online world, you have a broken business.

If they want to revive themselves they will make some quick changes to the affiliate program (longer cookies, more support/resources) and from the customer standpoint, they need to offer free shipping on bigger orders (and on all products) and offer a brilliant online shopping platform.
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sjkey111 Premium
It seems to me, as a new entrant in this business, that the the best way to shop online is either to avoid shipping charges altogether, or buy niche products that give a lot of value for the money, even with the shipping cost. Digital products only( no shipping cost) vs. digital products with the accompaniment of physical "backups" makes no sense. I can read better online than I can a book where I need lighting and a magnifying glass.
If I buy a kitchen sink from Amazon that has all the quality features I want at a great price (which I did) for half of what I would pay at a local plumbing store for a "name" brand product and still not get everything needed to make it work, Ian buying Amazon. It is easy and readily visible.
I once knowingly bumped an affiliate out of the loop by closing his website and going straight to his recommendation and it made no sense to me later. He ( or she) brought me there and that would have been my small thanks for doing so. More often than not, an affiliate draws your attention by addressing an issue and than sending you a solution.
These are my shopping, not marketing, experiences.
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Marsha2 Premium
Just yesterday I went to the mall to get some green tea. I was intending on going to Teavana but saw a small tea shop, so i went in. He had everything i needed. I went to Teavana and the salesperson said that they were going to be closed soon. That Starbucks owns them and they were not pulling enough $$$ in. Tea was half price ,so i bought some. All of the Teavana stores are going to close. I was angry. They do have online presence. Dont know about affiliates. Well thats my day at the mall. I also dont like pushy sales people. In a new jewelry store, the lady cornered me and told me all about her wares. Kept asking"are you ok?" I left.
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Kyle Premium
Why not buy jewelry online, where it is cheaper and they offer "non guilt" refunds if the person you buy it from doesn't like the piece. Unlike a jewelry store, where they will make you feel bad about returning anything because you lose the commissions.

BlueNile.com is one such and they have a very good affiliate program as well. The Internet is changing the way we should and our expectations as customers. If they can't adopt, then they are going to be in trouble.
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Mike613 Premium
All good information. No matter what kind of brick & mortar retail business you have/had. Its a "take no prisoners" environment. You have to be on your game everyday to stay one step ahead of the competition. Ive been in the retail furniture business most of my working life and see it first hand. Online shopping is here and now. If your not traveling that path then you will close your doors. Brick & mortar stores will not survive without utilizing both. Its not the wave of the future.....Its Now. Embrace it or be swallowed up. Toys"R"us chose the latter.........Mike
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LindaClark1 Premium
When I first started looking for an affiliate program for a special niche I wanted to do, I couldn't find anything. I finally found the one I'm with now for my horse site. Now as you are saying the store fronts will not last without an online program to back them up. For me it is sad to see them go. I think eventually we will be buying everything online. Of course it is also good for those of us who have online stores. Love that part and I love what I am learning through WA. Thank you Kyle.
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DaveSw Premium
The e-commerce world is full of pitfalls and danger zones. Having said that, it also represents the future and is here to stay/continues to evolve...All quite exciting from my perspective...

I am communicating with people on both ends of the spectrum of the size/sales on e-commerce - from newbie folks to those who are not as big as Amazon, but...are big.

Through the wonder of Facebook and groups there, and from other sources, I have found a wealth of information and experiences that have helped me get a clearer picture of the market segment in general and the potential/limitations it presents...

The old and the new are crossing paths and those that do not adapt will die on the vine, as it appears Toys R Us is...

Here are a few examples...

(1) A Friend...

One friend has taken the best of three worlds (online/offline/TV Sales Channels) and come up with a formula that works...For him.

He has been in TV sales of gadgets and products for a number of years. He started out selling products at fairs and events, then moved to promoting them on TV networks like HSN, QVC, etc.

From there, he built his own studio and started doing live streaming, created a website, a FB business page, and published regular podcasts.

Over the years, he has sold $ 2B USD in product...That is a pretty big number....

He also has marketed a stream of new products from inventers, from his business operation in China, and from others externally who were approaching him because of his success...

Right now he has operations in China, as mentioned, and in Florida. He has built a vertical organization and controls everything from product development, acquisition, shipping, sales, and even order fulfillment...

Regularly he also travels to Great Britain, Germany, and Italy to make TV presentations/sales of his products and other's products too.

He has become well known in that world and I would say with good reason. He is personable, knows how to smile, can speak eloquently, and has drive...

He is about my age (OK maybe a couple of years younger), and was approached a few months ago by eVine (I think that is the name of the company) who offered to buy him out.

My friend sold his operations to them, and is now working for them over the next 1- 2 years as a consultant as they absorb his operations into theirs...After that he walks away...

The selling price? A cool $10 million USD....In hand, done deal, that money is in his bank account!. He gets extra for the consult work over the next 2 years...

(2) Newbie Opps for Training

On the other end of the e-commerce spectrum, there are people just like what we have here, new to the market segment,and needing no BS training on how to get started...

As with this market segment (affiliate marketing), there are a number of scammers or those that tend to oversell and underdeliver...They teach you a piece of the program at a high price, and then come back for more money...

There are some good sites to refer to so you can get the training you need, as with Wealthy Affiliate, but there is still room for a platform like this to teach these people, and that can be leveraged in a number of ways (thinking while writing now of some of the ways hehe)....

This is not so much actual e-commerce sales, rather it is more teaching people how to develop their own e-commerce business. As with affiliate marketing, there are some concrete steps involved, and then it is up to you as to how far you take your business...

(3) Creating Affiliate Opportunities

The affiliate aspect of the e-commerce world is mainly tapped into by the big operations like the ones you mention. Most smaller operations are NOT tapping into nor advertising any affiliate program they may have...

In fact, many think it is in the "too hard to do" category so they just do not even consider the opportunities they are missing out on. They are more focused trying to sell stuff themselves...

This represents another opportunity from my perspective...

Not so much being an affiliate, rather more helping others add an affiliate program to their business. Big market for this service I think...

In my case, adding an affiliate program to our stores is another approach to the e-commerce thingy...

There is so much potential when you have others actively working to sell what you have, and they only get paid when they sell something!

How to let other people know you have such an affiliate program? There are some platforms that help such as Zaxaa (misspelled I think) or JVZoo, Share-A-Sale, or maybe ClickBank...

(4) Outside the box - e-Commerce and Affiliate Marketing

Another thing to think about is big-ticket items if you are going to work the e-commerce/affiliate angle outside of the big platforms. This is an area few people are working at the moment.

There are some excellent opportunities out there too...

I have an acquaintance (not a friend) that made almost $120K in sales over a 10 day period, and that on 30 sales only!

This was a niche product that was offered at a little under $4k a sale.

(a) He had a high commission (10%) for sales in place

(b) He did some research before selecting that product

(c) As part of that research he also found a highly targeted audience, and

(d) He created a simple sales funnel that focused the attention of traffic 100% on the products, and included upsells, cross sells, and downsells...

(e) He used a super simple checkout process where people could check out from one page, so no 3-4 or more steps to pay, and also this provided him the means to add in the other sells on that page...

(f) He used only Faceook Ads, at $100 a day (I think that was his spend, not 100%sure)

(g) He made an average $1,200 USD a day, $10.6 k USD net - in 10 days...But only 30 sales, so the sales were not as smooth as $1200 a day...They came in spurts...

Bottom Line...

These are all some examples of what the e-commerce world offers. It is a different approach to that of affiliate marketing often, but there are some (I would say a lot actually) overlaps...

There are some exciting ways to tap into the segment, and affiliate marketing know-how that you get right here will give you an edge as you start diving into the e-commerce world...

I think we have to approach the whole online marketing thing with an open mind, with a bit of curiosity, asking questions, and have a willingness to learn from others...

Good discussion, I can see that there is a lot of interest in the topic, and with reason!

Cheers!
Dave : )
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lonnie777 Premium
Most physical retail businesses like Toy's R Us, Sears, Macy's and all the others do not start using black ink until black Friday. From Black Friday until December 31st is when they make their profit. So you would think they would focus on their affliates a lot more then they do.

As a side note Sears was one of the original list builders with their catalogs especially the Christmas catalog. They wanted to mail the catalogs to their loyal customers.

The Sears funnel is todays online funnel get the customer name and address.

Today it is the name and email.
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Kyle Premium
Absolutely agree Lonnie. They could be using black ink year around as people are buying year round, they are just doing it more and more online. Why would they leverage the many millions of affiliates out there?
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Kickbacked Premium
I am still wondering if it is a true bankruptcy, or if it some type of business restructuring taking place because of the amount of debt incurred within the business. If the latter is the case they may be able to re-structure themselves to be competetive.

Interesting article, only time will tell!

~ Sir Timothy
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Kyle Premium
Could be restructuring, but I have my doubts. The last few times I have been in the local Toys R Us, they feel dated, they feel sloppy and of course, their online experience is not one to write home about.

They have a long ways to go if they want to revive their brand and make their company "fun"again.
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MorneOlivier Premium
in South Africa I think there will be many more if they dont have a plan now.
South Africa is still a bit behind in the affiliate marketing industry, which creates a perfect window for us new guys to climb in. It means that companies are also still behind in their online presence, maybe its our demographics that's different, luckily I keep on reminding myself that having a presence online is global, it is quite difficult at first to climb out of that box
M
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Kyle Premium
There are many affiliate marketers from SA though and many here within WA. I think that this alone will help push companies in your local country or those selling to products/services to South Africa to have a greater consideration of an affiliate program.

Plus if a company is not online these days and doesn't have a marketing presence (ideally an affiliate program), they are going to be chasing just to keep up.
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Pernilla Premium
Thanks Kyle for this very interesting post.

We are middle in the time of Big Changes. Many, many people are still not quite aware of this as well as many companies. To survive it's extremely important to be a step in advance, to be able to predict the future. That's rather hard as the changes happens in a high speed and it will speed up even more.

I find it sad if the offline stores disappears. I find it sad if the diversity disappears because of e-commerce-giants like Amazon. Anyhow I'm a person who finds it very comfortable and time-saving to shop online. But I'd love to find out a way how "small" shops can survive within the digital world.

:-)
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JeannineC Premium
I work with hundreds of small shops everyday that are surviving online. They do it by having great products which are most often not available on Amazon, fair prices, and great customer service. They build a loyal following who would rather spend the extra $1.50 with them than get the discount and no help from a mega-site. They pay a good commission to their affiliates and offer a long cookie. Their products solve problems or are nicer/better value than the others. Not all survive, but countless do.
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Pernilla Premium
Hello Jeannine!
Thank you so much for your comment. That sounds great. Then I'll look for those shops, it would be a real win-win to be able to support those by working together.
:-)
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NemiraB Premium
I prefer Amazon because when I overseas now and skipped adding some content here and there, I still got visitors and some of the earnings. Of course, it is no excuse to skip working on your business. I mean that Amazon stands out from other programs. All the best, be healthy and wealthy everybody:)
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abrosco Premium
Kyle
As markets change; demographics change; technologies change -; competitors change - the way people buy and sell changes. As no doubt we all aware the pace of change itself seems ever more rapid these days. But things like sincerity and integrity and awareness and respect for it rarely changes. For example as a lifelong international career background I would often ask others "Do you remember TWA; PANAM?"

They don't exist anymore principally because they jettisoned integrity towards their customers in the pursuit of bean counter driven efficiencies, and suchlike.

I think WA flourishes PRIMARILY not cos you attend to technology and technique improvements, important though this be - you flourish due to BASIC PRINCIPLES OF HONESTY & INTEGRITY towards your existing and prospective customers.

I was asked to comment the other day on what was the best thing about WA? Well I'm sure you know what my answer was!

So whenever I evaluate a potential affiliate opportunity I assess the integrity in their business. I personally don"t wanna make a dime with any enterprise lacking basic integrity! My choice and I feel good about it!
Kind regards
Richard
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GinaMor1 Premium
As sad as the demise of Toys r Us is, it should stand to remind us that we must continue to evolve and remain relevant, and by that I mean not only do we try to remain relevant to our end user customers, but also to our partners and wider stakeholders.

Being proactive, instead of reactive to stay ahead of the curve is the key for any business!

Cheers Gina
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Kyle Premium
Very well said!
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Surfdude123 Premium
I rarely shop at offline stores anymore because someone always comes up asking me what I'm looking for. I don't like that. If I need help I'll ask them. I must be getting old but its really annoying to have someone either follow you around the store or asking you what you need the second you get inside. I go through Amazon mostly but also have scaled way back like other baby boomers have. And that is hurting those big retail giants big time.
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You make a very interesting point. In Australia, there is a parallel between Boomers withdrawing funds for retirement and drops in the ASX index. Its a macro trend but its there.
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DaveSebring Premium
The older I get the more I realize that everything seems to come on go in cycles, Amazon is the big thing today, but you can count on the fact that it will not be forever. With the speed of change increasing every year I would not be surprised if it even has the lifespan of a Sears.
All of us need to remember to keep our eyes and options open so we can get ahead of or at least ride whatever the next wave is.

I think being here is a great head start on that.
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DEversley Premium
Hi Dave,

I believe Amazon will be around for a long time :). We need them badly in this business for one.
They have a fantastic business model which is serving them well.

They have pioneered retail by acting as a gateway for many businesses and they are pretty much the biggest retailer there is out there.
There kindle market is amazing as they have taken a simple e-reader and turned into a money machine for games, e-books, videos etc.

They have their AWS (Amazon Web Services) platform for cloud services & subscriptions etc.

Amazon Prime subscription service has more than 80 million paying users...

Amazon is going nowhere...I hope.

:)
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TomMarchido Premium
I worked as a technician for Sears for 10 years and during that time I saw some amazing changes. While their brick and mortar sales were drying up, they sat on their hands and waited, and watched, and waited some more. They, like many other former retail giants with their collective heads in the sand decided to join the online game, albeit too late to have a prayer to compete.

Now, these companies with names we'll not soon forget, are racing against time and spending millions to gain back some market share by going online, but until they decide to ditch their old ways, I think they're doomed. Just my two cents.
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DEversley Premium
Hi Tom,

Very interesting.
We must realize that Sears and these other brick and mortar companies were formed ages ago outside of the dot com bubble.

The principals were older guys with old mindsets who had set a strong culture of very traditional business...
and thinking that every new thing that challenged them would fall by the wayside.
Well, with the WWW they were obviously wrong.

The founder of Amazon took advantage of the dot com boom and was very proactive.

What they needed to do was to be proactive and listen to the advice they were getting.

the same thing happen to Blackberry (RIM). The CEO could not see past his nose and even objected to the BB having a camera initially.

Hmmm
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BellaBill Premium
Reading what you guys are saying and seems to me like you could cross out brick and mortar and replace it with the words cable companies and pretty much the same behind the times/hanging on by their fingernails logic would apply
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TammiP Premium
I am not all that great yet with these affiliate marketing programs, I am doing a lot of research into them now, But this is my opinion. It is only an opinion.

If you are in sales and 95% of your sales business is not done online, you are going to suffer the same fate as Toys R Us, Sears, and many others. The future is definitely in online marketing.

T
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Summers21977 Premium
Psychically touching items, like ... trying on clothes for size and making sure that the item/product isn't damage upfront is one of the things that I think is better with shopping offline than shopping online but other than that I feel shopping online saves time and money as far as what Kyle mention like gas, parking, weather and etc ...
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I shop online for all my clothes, because I try them on at home, chose what I like and try them on, return next day and the courier picks them up and then they are credited to my account! I RARELY GO SHOPPING IN A MALL! Carol-Grace5
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DKMade Premium
Remember Arnolds movie, "Jingle all the way" or the "Tickle Me Elmo" craze? I think that shows you what toy shopping was really like. Plus people want to ensure they get the toys their children want and with the prices that toys are costing nowadays, saving that 5-10% by shopping online, it's not even remotely surprising it was doomed from the get-go. Then you through a 5-hour cookie into the mix (Is that a pun?) I didn't even know that creature existed, must be a relative of the Jack-a-lope. Did they even have any affiliates?! 5 hours!!! Every cookie I enquire about has been 30-120 with the exception of Amazon. I will be paying a lot more attention to cookie time that's for sure. Thanks Pinkie for the great bathroom reader material, what would I do without my tablet.
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haha hilarious man you should be a copy writer!
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DKMade Premium
I wrote my first real blog yesterday and I have been getting comments like that all day so thank you for your kind words. If people keep this up, I'll have an ego bigger than my IQ..just not sure if that even means a lot but it sounded great in my head.
If you enjoyed it, check out my Blundering Noob Boob Blogger Blog, it will be listed as my most recent post on my profile on the right-hand side. Happy Affiliating!!
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WalterW1 Premium
This is just another example of how all areas effecting our life is continually under refinement because of the dollar and much more in the natural realm that appears to be going faster and faster with people being in such a rush that the most important is pushed aside.
We see the evidence of where our eyes have been taken off of Christ Jesus and the eternal guide of Almighty God"s Holy Word that we so desperately need seeing as how we are spiritual beings and this is the eternal part of our being given so little attention that accounts for most of what we are seeing and experiencing all across our nation plus around the world. Here are our "CONSTANTS" of LIGHT vs DARKNESS that are being ignored with a very great "ETERNAL PRICE".
Thus I ask WHERE IS OUR FOCUS?
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DEversley Premium
Hi Walter,

God is indeed our primary focus in everything for most of us, I believe.

What do you think is responsible for the Toys 'R Us demise?
How can we learn from their mistakes?

Thanks!
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WalterW1 Premium
I would suggest looking at man in the Industrial, Economic, and Technical patterns of our past history to see how we have come through each pattern to reach where we are now.
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Gordon3 Premium
I was just wondering how it all worked after someone goes to a site from yours. I was thinking that it would be impossible to make any money shoppers had to buy as soon as they clicked to the affiliate program. lol. Now it's making sense that there is a time period specified by various affiliate programs. This would allow shoppers time to go through the various decision-making stages. Now I'm wondering how long an affiliate program should give affiliates if the product is much larger or for big-ticket items.....too bad Amazon has such a short cookies....but all of this was much better than I was guessing as to how it worked. Really informative Kyle, Thanks for posting!
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webbsight Premium
Given the fact that toys r us has a 5hr cookie window. High priced shipping costs and that customers are continually moving towards the online retail market to purchase goods it seems that they have kind of hung their selves out to dry. Their marketing scheme is not viable nor competitive In Today's world. It was bound to happen sooner or later
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JamezMonroe Premium
Fred Lam, Anik's Singam's student has had a program developed for E-Commerce business. It's too promosing and too expensive.
Again the same thing, like you could become rich with the E-Commerce business within one month if you followed the mothodes of his product.

I had read something like what you're saying on here about it and I sent his staff an e-mail pretending I was interested in the offer and telling them that it couldn't work easily like it was claimed or so. I didn't even get a reply.

By the way, how can one promote something in a certain niche and then to point the traffic out to buy something else?
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Sftat Premium
Good to know, Thanks heaps for the heads up, Kyle.
Big box is SO obsolete, yet most folks seem oblivious. It's interesting that Sears and Montgomery Ward virtually invented the ancestor of online e-commerce with their catalogs over a century ago, then struggled to make the transition to big box when cars made catalog shopping less popular. Montgomery Ward eventually went belly up due to its' failure in the big-box realm, but Sears soldiered on.

When the shift to e-commerce hit, Sears should have jumped on it, and reached back to its' catalog roots. Instead they stumbled along, not really committed to anything we could spot as a serious strategy. Now as they slide into the abyss, it is clear that failure to seize on what created them generations ago was their undoing.

Walmart has shown some real effort at leveraging their brick and mortar sites for shipping/logistics cost advantage, so maybe they will survive. Time will tell - Amazon is the 600 lb. gorilla in the world of logistics competition and shipping value/cost, but they don't have a lot of physical sites other than Whole Foods and the Amazon lockers. I give them a 'C' for the lockers, but they may do great things with whole foods locations if they figure out how to leverage them for better low cost ship/pick-up options. It will be exciting to see how it rolls out!
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Fmarabate Premium
It's sad to see. What amazes me is Sears. They made their name with the Sears catalog and mail order. You would think that if anyone would have been able to get online selling it would have been them.

I think there will always be some brick and mortar, but online sales will be the way to get most things, if not everything.
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TTedesco1 Premium
Thanks....Personally I go to the mall mostly for socializing or only if i am not too sure about perhaps a size or color.
I believe saving time and money( getting ready to go to the mall and the gas ) is the new way to go just like obviously most people are feeling...
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DShensky Premium
Every year at Christmas when they show the number of people buying online on Cyber Monday has continually grown from year-to-year. This is a reflection that Millenials are the target market and they do most of their purchases online.

Another reason people do most of their purchases online is they rather had the product delivered to the door to prevent thefts or criminals following them home from stores.

Many companies have begun to close their big box stores and just concentrating and running their business online
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Kambas Premium
Bill Gates stated a few years back - "If your business is not on the internet, your business will be 'out of business'".

There is one problem with this however because in a way everything is being centralized! All it would take to close your business is to pull the plug or if the servers go down then you 'out of business'. So to put ourselves in this vulnerable position is also NOT ideal or the solution in my opinion.

In other words we are forced to adapt or die!

Personally I don't like this but understand it.
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judLie Premium
Well said, Kambas! As much as I like the digital world and the ease with which one can accomplish things online I find that it is also chipping away at human connections. We're turning into a robotic society. Airports, banks, grocery stores, etc ...everything's electronic and digital. No person to smile at and exchange a few words with just a cold, lifeless machine checking me in for a flight, or dealing with my banking needs, etc.

As with everything in life, this growing digital life comes with pros and cons.
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Kambas Premium
Definitely agree, I mean when you take your children to the store it's an EXPERIENCE, there are a lot of emotions and we use this moment to connect with our children.

When shopping for something tangible we want to touch it, see it from all angles, smell it potentially or try it on etc.
The digital world takes that experience away unfortunately.

There are definitely a lot of positive aspects to online shopping as well and I never intend to sound one sided :)

It is very convenient to buy certain things online and this can also save us a lot of time but when it starts killing off toy stores that create joy and bonds between parents and their children, it is a bit sad to watch this type of transition.
I am even guilty of doing this myself selling Lego, comics books and other similar merchandise online because for me personally it is much more convenient to work from home and it's cost effective.

This is probably another reason why a lot of us are doing business from home and at the same time we do the shopping online right? Maybe not your groceries just yet but some people even order their milk online (which is kinda cool), 20 years ago who would have thought this would be possible? :D

Last but not least it would be a great idea to have a physical store but then use digital marketing to reach a wider audience. A website is a must in this case and you should cater for both those who prefer online or offline shopping, if this is all feasible of course.
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Droseh Premium
Kyle, as a consumer, I find shopping online to be so convenient and find myself doing it more. But as an online business person it seems like earning an income through affiliate links will be very difficult. I didn't know about the cookie time out. So, you are saying that the time frame that one of my readers purchases would determine whether or not I receive a commission? I guess choosing the right affiliate and having lots of them is important...as well as a terrific website. Well, lots more training and learning to do.

Thanks for your updates,
Debbie
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CraigW315 Premium
Yeah, if someone is inspired by one of your reviews to make a purchase, but then they wait too long (more than 5 hours in the case of Toys R Us) before actually making the purchase, then you do not get the credit for it.
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ContentBySue Premium
Online and brick and mortar companies these days have to be diverse in their marketing and structure. I would much rather have several streams of potential revenue, than have just one...far too risky for me.

Toys "R" Us appears to have stayed in the dark ages, rather than looking toward the future in trends and market allure...they would have seen that the online market is hefty and worth putting more of their "eggs into that basket."
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stn67 Premium
Here in Denmark there are very few companies that use affiliate links to promote their products.
Some of those I've looked at do not use Cocio at all. I hope it will come on time because we have a solid flourishing business life. Then it's one of the countries where it's very easy to be entrepreneur.
Here are a wealth of support and help arrangements for startups.
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Kyle Premium
I think you will the adoption rate happen very quickly, it seems as though the EU is a bit behind in this space, not to say there are not lots of great European affiliate programs currently.

I think there will come a day where all companies either have a great affiliate program, or they simply don't survive online.
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stn67 Premium
I'm sure you're right. You're getting up to the fact that we're back at that point.
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Shaneo617 Premium
Kyle, as always great info you are dropping on us . as a parent i am sad to see this store close, i have had nothing but great experience shopping in the stores for my kids, and there return policy was great too. luckily i never got involved with their affiliate program, but e-com is awesome, and this is everything i fear as affiliate marketer, will the products i promote go out of business?? this fear dont stop me, but its always something im looking at and thinking about. thanks for the article
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Mdh46 Premium
I am glad they didn't let me in after hearing about their affiliate problems. I am in the GameStop affiliate program which they have only 1 day cookies but that can be good with them for somethings. For example certain games like madden 18 is being shopped for a lot. It gets alittle aggravating having to build a link each day but it can payoff pretty good.
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JeannineC Premium
Why are you building a link every day? It should stay in the same place on the GameStop site, so your link shouldn't change.
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Mdh46 Premium
I didn't know that since their cookies run out after a day so thanks for letting me know that will save me time have a great afternoon
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JeannineC Premium
The cookie is something triggered when the consumer clicks on your link to the merchant. It is done automatically by the tracking system, with timing built in so the system knows when it expires. Once you've built that link, you are one and done - nothing more for you to do than keep promoting that page to encourage people to click and drop that cookie!
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JeannineC Premium
A five-hour cookie is ridiculous, completely unfair to affiliates. It reflects a corporate policy that doesn't value its partners nor customers. Sadly that policy has now come home to roost.

Amazon's 24-hour cookie makes me crazy too. From our research we know that countless sales occur within the following 30 days; content publishers especially perform in days 14-30. So many other online department stores offer 30-day cookies and a huge selection too, including items not found on Amazon. Amazon just cut commissions as well, while also posting record profits. They are a powerful, popular merchant indeed, but not the only game in town.
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apache1 Premium
Makes you appreciate Wealthy Affiliate even more with their life time cookies.
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Kyle Premium
It is definitely something that has always driven us nuts and coming from the dark ages of affiliate marketing, it is something that is relatively new not to offer at least 30 day cookies.

I'm not sure what Amazon specific argument would be in respect to 24 hour cookie, but they probably would state because of the volume of affiliates that are referring people to their website, that one affiliate may refer for one thing, the customer not buy within the 24 hours and they want to clean the slate for new affiliates. Or they could simply say, their own branding is the reason for a conversion or a sale beyond the 24 hour mark.

The last affiliates get the sale though, so that argument should be a moot one. It could be manufactured "skimming", but ultimately people will continue to promote Amazon simply because their massive subset of products that you can promote within one environment and the fact that customers buy billions of dollars (sometimes in a single day, ie, prime day) from Amazon.

Wayfair and Etsy are both 30 days and I have to give them a lot of respect for that.

You have the likes of some other big players offering short cookie lengths.

Walmart = 3 days
Home Depot = 1 day
eBay = minimum 1 day
Target = 7 days
http://Jet.com = 7 days

When affiliate programs put affiliates interests first, it leads to much longer term and a reliable relationship with affiliates. Thanks for chiming in here, we absolutely share the same sentiments.
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JeannineC Premium
Agreed! Affiliates are just as important of partners as merchants are; any merchant or network who doesn’t respect that relationship will never achieve the full benefit of having an affiliate program.

For sure, Amazon will always be huge, always have a one-day cookie, always have low commissions. It’s their sandbox, so they get to make the rules. Luckily they aren’t the only sandbox in town! They also don’t offer technologies like Cross Device Tracking to ensure that affiliates are properly awarded their commission even if the consumer changes devices between initial click and purchase. That’s actually become a huge issue as mobile phones grow as the first click device, during the holiday gift-giving season. Again, their rules. FYI, AliExpress.com is another online department store, offers a 30-day cookie and sells almost as many different products as Amazon; they are a top performer on our network.

While last cookie usually gets the sale, some networks are finding ways to deal with attribution, recognizing that even if the content affiliate wasn’t ultimately the last click they did play a role in the sale. Some do it by splitting the commission based on activity along the click-to-purchase path; Awin uses a system to prevent cookies from being overwritten by a coupon or loyalty site. I’m thrilled that these technologies exist, so that content affiliates are properly rewarded for the work they do.
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Kyle Premium
Yeah, it is progressive technologies like this that keep both merchants and affiliates very much encouraged in the industry and it takes companies with the attitude that we must evolve with the times, that become the pioneers of the industries.

Tracking cookies, how cookies and conversions are actually tracked (leveraging IP, device, not just the cookie), and many of the mechanisms that can safeguard affiliates against "cookie attrition" are all for the better.

Great info in respect to AliExpress, it is good to see some of the larger marketplaces offering commissions with a longer tenure than 7 days (and surely a lot better than 5 hours or 24 hours).
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apache1 Premium
We have Toy R Is here in Australia and when my kids were young that was a great place to go.

They had wonderful toys and other equipment but I have noticed even here they have been making many changes and the one near where I live is much smaller than before.

They have been downsizing for a while here so make me wonder how long they will last here and indeed around the world.

As for the affiliate program didn't realize they had a 5-day cookie and I agree that is insulting.

I thought Amazon with their 24hr was rough glad I am not an affiliate with Toy R US
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Kyle Premium
I agree Andre, the in store experience is lack luster, disorganized and the displays all feel tired and uninteresting. If someone wants to take their place and create a good toy store, make it fun for kids.

I actually think Chapters (here in Canada) and Barnes & Noble have done a much better job in terms of creating an environment for kids and they both have great online shopping divisions as well that are easy to use, and have a large selection of interesting products. Plus free shipping.
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apache1 Premium
Not only did they downsized but they disappeared from the major shopping centre and now have only a Toy R Us with a second title Babies R Us in another area near me.

So now they are focusing mainly on baby goods like prams, bassinets, car seats etc, with some areas for kids under 10 but not as much as before.

Have shopped a couple of times buying presents for those friends or family that have an addition to this world.

Unfortunately, the service never has been that great and many times hard to find staff if you need to ask any queries.

What a pity they had so much potential guess corporation greed took hold and here they are now going bankrupt.
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Great information for me to consider when I am now setting up my niches and to consider the cookie life spans are all different which is something that I did not know , but this definitely reaffirms the fact that soon the whole world may be buying almost everything online and that nothing is sacred anymore to the online marketing and it just convinces me more and more that I've chosen wisely for once in my life as to the career path to take . Thanks Harold Wilson....
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Kyle Premium
Cookie life spans is definitely something that you should consider and look into when promoting anything. 30 days is typically more than adequate for shopping based site, You will find some programs like Wealthy Affiliate that simply offer lifetime cookies though.
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NatNiches Premium
Yes, I looked at the Toys R Us affiliate program with one of my sites - but didn't bother because of the conditions. Amazon, even with the 24 cookie, is still one of my favourites. However, Etsy is pretty good as well and provides something a bit different. Etsy also provides affiliate competitions, which is fun.
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Kyle Premium
Yes, Etsy offers an amazing affiliate program. I really like what they are doing over there! ;)
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Loes Premium
What Toys "r" Rus is offering, Bol.com offers better. And the conditions of Bol are the best ever. And although it's not permitted that I buy through my own link, my husband, children, family, neighbors, and friends are allowed to buy any product they want using my link. The only con is that Bol is only serving the Netherlands and Belgium.
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TopAchiever Premium
Thanks for sharing that Loes. Would a virtual IP address fix that problem that it only serves NL and Belgium? :-)
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TopAchiever Premium
Loes, I tried to open account just for fun on Bol.com and it worked! So I have an account with Bol.com now!
There are three options to select at the top:
Netherlands / Belgium / Other
Once Other is selected it gives you all the other countries in a drop down list.
Heel leuk! :-)
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terrycarroll Premium
Well I needed another reason to pop across to Amsterdam again (love that city!!) so this might be it.

Best wishes and tulips to you Loes xx

Terry
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Loes Premium
You can be affiliate from all over the world, but they only deliver in the Netherlands and Belgium
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Loes Premium
Thank you for the flowers, Terry, much appreciated!
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Kyle Premium
Never heard of Bol.com (for obvious reasons of availability), but I can see why they are much better than Toys R Us simply by visiting their website. Their site and brand has lost their "fun".
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Loes Premium
I think that every Dutchman and woman has ordered something from Bol, they are very popular here
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WHearn Premium
Didn't know TRU is filing Chapter 11, but it doesn't surprise me. Everything you wrote about the online experience is absolutely true. Even when I've made a purchase to pick up the product at the store to avoid the outrageous shipping charges, the check out has been a hassle. Even going to their store has become unpleasant. Why should I pay $1 - $5 more for the exact same item that I can purchase somewhere else?

More importantly, thank you for the info regarding time limits for cookies. This is one more thing that I didn't know. So much to learn . . . .
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Kyle Premium
That is exactly the thing. You should have to pay more elsewhere in particular when you're driving down to the store to pick something up.

And shipping costs that are absurd and don't follow industry patterns, will lead to the failure of any online business.
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WHearn Premium
I absolutely agree. There biggest mistake is in missing out on the online market. There costs are down without the brick and mortar stores, so they could lower prices on each item or keep their prices up while absorbing the shipping costs. They might lose a little from the loss of walk-in traffic, but they still have name brand recognition to drive online sales. Besides having hundreds of thousands of sales force affiliates selling their items. But, if they can't see it, we can't show it to them.
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MsMoneyHoney Premium
Hi - Well, Toys R Us is not going out of business - not yet anyway.

They have filed Chapter 11 - reorganization. So, yes, it would be wise to remove your affiliate links, but don't give up on them yet.

If you have many, many links, you may want to inquire first to see if they will honor them as they go through with their reorganization. But, no, they are not going "out of business" ...yet.

Hopefully, they will improve their offerings and compete better with e-commerce, but that remains to be seen through the Holidays and how this all plays out...
~MMH
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Kyle Premium
I agree that you should totally give up on them yet, but is going to take some serious leadership to pull them out of this one. Their online stores in the state in which many other failing big box stores are in.

They haven't invested the resources into their Internet side of thing In the same way that the other big box stores that are thriving have.
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MsMoneyHoney Premium
Oh, yes, I agree! I just meant that their demise is not happening "yet." That's all. But, yes, I agree. They haven't kept up, they haven't done much of anything that I'm aware of re: the internet. But, you know... all they have to do is use (as in partner up) with Amazon or Walmart and they "could" pull the wabbit out of the hat... magic trick and totally flip their business around... if they were smart, that is. We'll see... it'll be an interesting case study for sure.
~MMH
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ValerieJoy Premium
I have not had any dealings with Toys "R" Us, only because I wasn't aware of them. I do reasonably well with Amazon. Although I promote dog supplies, like you Kyle, I get commissions from some of those more expensive items which is great. And another thing I like about Amazon is that although they are extremely stringent with their policies, they clearly state them for all affiliates to read.

Unfortunately, some affiliates do not read the policies and they pay price when they are caught.

One program I have been unsuccessful with is CJ. CJ Commission when I joined them. Affiliate vendors who promote through CJ pay quite low commissions and I found the time spent trying to promote their products was totally unprofitable.

I don't have anything else on this subject to add. But, thank you Kyle for your post and highlighting the need to look at the maximum length of cookies. An important factor for new affiliates to be aware of.
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buildyournow Premium
Your information about Affiliates losing with Toys"R"is very much appreciated.
It appears that affiliates have much too many challenges dealing with companies like Toys"R"US and stand to lose big time due to:
Price
Shipping
Shopping UI/UI
Customer Support
Affiliate Program (incuding "cookie length")
Affiliate Management
Companies desiring to invest in e-Commerce business need to follow suit as Amazon who is one of the biggest players in the online shopping business. Affiliates should seek other opportunities with big players like Amazon that provides a higher commission return for their online success.
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PatsyC Premium
With that kind of service, they were bound to eventually fold.
It sounds like they have been around for a long time according to what Rob (boomergp08) states.

With all the competition out there it's a tough market to compete with, and it wasn't until I joined WA that I realized how massive it is!

I haven't shopped much on line, every couple of months at the most. I was never into online shopping, I'm more hands on and seeing everything in person. I can't see myself ever buying groceries, but more and more I see that personal shopping won't be around in the future. I wonder if my Granddaughter will experience shopping in person when she grows up.

I see many stores where I am closing because of online shopping.
Any mall I go to has a lot of retail space available because businesses can't make it, creating huge job losses. I am living in one of the top 15 economic regions that experienced the most severe increase for unemployment, and most of it retail stores who can't compete with online shopping!

It's understandable that it has taken over, and joining WA has made me realize how important it is to have my own website, and having a piece of that market out there to supply.

Thanks for this Kyle, it has opened my eyes even more to how important this is.
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Jay Gumbs Premium
That's why it's important to read the terms. I checked out the Toys R Us affiliate program before but didn't notice the 5 hour cookie period. But I got turned off from the 3% they were offering vs Amazon's 4% (at the time when I compared the two). Amazon's popularity was also a factor I took into consideration.
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Johnyipkh Premium
If that's the Kyle - would WA have the direction of teaching what's in the marketing like sales process technique , funnel creation , marketing 101 i.e. Emotional buying, these are currently quite 'hot' in the market.

Many marketer are jumping into these bandwagon?

Any thought in setting up an Jit camp for the above.
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boomergp08 Premium
This doesn't surprise me one bit. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s they were the retail king of the toy and video game world. Toys R Us was our, the video game company I worked for, biggest retail buyer.

I remember seeing their top execs in our company conference room and at our trade show exhibitions in Las Vegas always placing orders for our games. They were/are a huge company with a beautiful headquarters about 15 miles from here in NJ.

But around 2004/05 the company I worked for noticed that Toys R Us was not buying in as huge quantities as they once were. Even though we were making more online download games, we were still supporting the Nintendo market, but they were not buying.

That is when we learned of their financial troubles. And though they stopped buying from us in 2009, mainly because we were now doing nothing but online and Apple app games, many of us thought that they were probably getting their financial house in order.

I thought when they bought out FAO Schwarz that they were on the mend. But they still had many problems all leading up to this day. Poor customer service, a not so exciting website, a poor affiliate program - as you have described, the emergence of ecommerce from other sources, and prices higher than its competitors. I am surprised that they lasted this long.

It is obvious that ecommerce has played a big role in helping them lose money. Amazon is by far the online retail king in my opinion when it comes to having almost everything one could buy under one brand roof. Online marketing is not just the future, it is the present and we all should be happy about that.
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Kyle Premium
I think the FAO Schwarz acquisition was one out of desperation and maybe even for some publicity. FAO on 5th closed down and that was the toy store of ALL toy stores in my opinion.

The toy industry has officially changed and you don't necessarily need to go into a toy store to make an informed decision about which toy is going to be the best for your child (or your adult lol).

The clothing industry still has a ways to go, but with free returns and some real advances in "personal measurements", I think we are going to see the likes of Macy's, Nordstroms, Sax, Hudson Bay (here in Canada) collapse if they don't keep up within the online experience for their customers.

Thanks for sharing your stories and insights here, really awesome stuff!
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Tjennings122 Premium
This doesn't surprise me. Every one of their stores I had been in had really bad customer service. I applied to work for them one holiday season--I was over-qualified and not high enough education.....I had an associate's degree but they wanted more...just to work in a toy store--seriously! I told them I didn't need them anyway~!!!!
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boomergp08 Premium
I agree about their acquisition of FAO Schwarz. Sometimes when a company is in trouble they will buy out another similar company with hopes of making their brand stronger.

This has worked for some and has spelled the demise for others. I have seen this happen in the video game industry a few times, companies merging and then eventually both closing down.

The only downside I see to a toy store closing down has to do with that personal experience little kids, and some adults, like to have interacting with the toy before purchasing.

But if the stores can adapt to the changing landscape and be more relevant to the online ecommerce experience, keeping their in-store prices about the same, those stores could still survive.
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HarveyBrown Premium
I was just watching the news and of course this is a major headline. It would appear that most people agree with you Kyle. The convenience of sitting on the coach and purchasing online is gaining greater momentum. The other thing people of found is that Toys R Us is overpriced compared to other big box stores and the online programs.
I personally still like to walk around certain stores, electronic mostly, but will purchase certain items on line because of the variety and availability.
Like you stated when you have a variety of items that people can purchase online then you can set your cookie life short. Toys R Us should take a look at other affiliate programs that are selling one genre of goods.
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Kyle Premium
For kids, they still love going in stores like this and without seeing and playing with toys, there is going to be a reliance on ads. It is strange, we can live without it, but can kids live without toy stores.

It might actually be a good thing for boutiques. Big boxes are getting run over by the likes of Amazon and eBay (it has taken some time to get here), whereas boutiques may have an advantage if they provide a great and unique experience.

And of course the online world will continue to thrive, something that is good for all of us.
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HarveyBrown Premium
What worries me is the loss of imagination and creativity. Parents are relying more on Smartphones and tablets to entertain their children. It will be interesting to see what malls in the not too distant future will look like as the flag stores close.
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BellaBill Premium
This is pretty much how I feel. This news is fairly depressing...crossed fingers they get there house in order. There's just nothing quite like Toys R Us near where we are, there's a Disney Story but thats a narrow field of selection, Walmart's toy department doesn't compare. Kyle's right above about Chapters growing but it's not really comparable - nothing really is though. And the advertising to kids is a fascinating thing, almost all of my childs watching habits are done through Netfllix with zero ads, or a few things on PVR where the commercials get fast forward through. She next to never sees a toy commercial so what she finds cool or stuff she wants pretty much is 100% through word of mouth from other kids or from walking through a toy department, the biggest of which now is in serious trouble. Fascinating stuff ahead for sure.

As someone brand new here, who also just picked to get into the kids toy niche, I have to say that Toys R Us Affiliate Program just confused me (granted most of this still confuses me), and I avoided it so far when my website should have been a slamdunk Toys R Us Affiliate out of the gate.
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Paul1916 Premium
Would you believe I actually got a sale last month with the UK version of Toys R Us affiliate program. They are with commission junction while the US version is with someone else.

Thanks for letting me know about this as I need to do some work now in removing their brand / links from my site.
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Kyle Premium
The interesting part about the UK Toys "R" Us is that they are operating under a 30 day cookie period whereas the US is under a 5 day cookie.

The Affiliate Program here in Canada was operating under Pepperjam for sometime but is no longer available. Strange how they have had such decentralization with their affiliate programs and their rules vary so drastically from one place to another.

Great to hear about your sale though Paul!
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Paul1916 Premium
Yes that's 1 sale among others...
I try to mix in merchants offering 30 day cookies also...
Wal-Mart is 3 days and my sales with them surprisingly surpasses my sales with Amazon.
Thanks again for the update (and also for this awesome platform for creating websites)
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Kyle Premium
Walmart has really stepped up their online game in the recent year and a bit. They also purchase Jet.com in hopes that this would become the next Amazon, but they still have a ways to go with that space.

Walmart definitely has an understanding of working with a large base of SKU's and has a large network of stores, so it will be interesting to see how that relationship plays out (and whether or not they can become a true competitor to Amazon).

If affiliates start seeing more revenue from their Walmart affiliate links (over Amazon), this is certainly going to put a dent in Amazon's business and their already thin margins.
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Paul1916 Premium
Wal-Mart is 4% across the board but it still surpasses my Amazon sales due to the extra cookie duration. I will continue to work both to give my website visitors a choice...
Thanks for the heads up on jet dot com, will check that out
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Kyle Premium
Yeah, the Jet.com is a 7 day cookie life and it is operated through Linkshare/Rakuten.

https://jet.com/affiliates

Learn more about it there. There are definitely making a push since I started following them a few years back.
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MsMoneyHoney Premium
<perk>... 7 Day COOKIES!... Yikes! I need to check THAT out too! Thank you!
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TopAchiever Premium
Did you not mean 5 hour cookie, not 5 day cookie?
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KristenV Premium
We're moving into a technology based world, everything is becoming more accessible. Why would I go to the mall and have to deal with the headache of getting ready, driving there, trying to find parking and then interacting with a bunch of strangers, some of which will probably be rude and sour my mood? I can skip all that and just order it online, and have it brought right to my door.

The internet has just begun its journey, I believe people that get a head start in online marketing are going to thank themselves when they're older. As time goes on and technology advances, you'll already be established in the online world.
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Kyle Premium
I say this over and over again. The e-com world and the affiliate marketing worlds are still in their infancy and the popularity of online spending is only going to continue to increase (which gives us more and more opportunity as affiliate marketers).

It's an exciting time to be online and here at WA! :)
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