The past ten years have seen Amazon stake its top claims in every field whether big or small: from their global e-commerce network to their world leadership in cloud computing, television, and smart speaker industries, now it’s looking to step into the field of influencer marketing. Amazon first began to dabble in the market in 1996 with its Amazon Affiliates program, which allowed website owners and bloggers to receive a commission whenever a user purchased an Amazon product using their custom affiliate links.
However, some say the influencer marketing industry took a turn when Amazon then launched its new influencer program in 2017, already a step up from its former affiliate program as it allows everyday people, or otherwise small influencers, to make a sizable profit and amass a platform. Influencer Samuel Torres told Business Insider that he sees friends making over $100 per day on the site.
Nonetheless, this influencer program is turning heads as it guides the influencer marketing game onto a new course. Read on to learn about what the program is at core, benefits influencers can reap, and what the future could hold for Amazon in the influencer marketing industry at large.
How The New Influencer Program Works
Amazon’s new influencer program allows influencers from all different platforms to curate their customized storefront, essentially handpicking the products they believe can embody or represent their online persona or identity the best. These individuals can then receive up to 10% commission whenever one of their followers uses their storefront (accessed through a customized URL) to purchase their promoted products from any of their social media accounts.
The custom shop feature of this influencer program is nonetheless an extension of Amazon’s previous affiliate initiative, and now customers can seek a variety of products on an influencer’s storefront. With this feature, influencers can essentially customize their image based on the storefront they curate themselves, and pick the products that they believe best embody their public presence.
Custom URL Feature
Perhaps the most groundbreaking component of the influencer program yet is the
custom URL feature. For Instagram, Twitter, or even Facebook influencers, attaching a link to their posts may be no big deal; Youtubers, however, might have challenges with linking their storefront URLs to their videos. Thus, the easy to remember custom URL (simply amazon.com/shop/influencername) not only makes the storefront as accessible as possible to the influencer’s followers, but it also curates an online identity that attaches one’s name to a custom shop.
How to Get Started
To sign up for this program, the steps are quite simple. You must own an account to one of the following prominent social media platforms: Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook and enter the information into the program’s algorithm. Instagram and Facebook users are approved almost immediately or within a couple hours at most while Twitter and Facebook influencers may wait up to 5 days to get their application approved.
What Amazon is Looking For
A majority of accepted influencers into the program have made it clear that the larger the platform (typically around 100k-500k followers), the greater the chance of acceptance. This doesn’t mean that smaller influencers don’t have any chance of acceptance as the evaluation process is more than just a numbers name. Smaller influencers who have been accepted into the program in the past have all reported the following:
Past membership in Amazon Affiliates Program
Presence on all four major social media platforms: YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook
Consistent uploading and content generation
In recent years especially, Amazon has been taking into account more than just the sheer size of the influencer’s following. Thus, Amazon has recently been rolling out more ads across the internet that are looking to drive more membership from smaller influencers while Amazon representatives have been scouting out for more of them as well.
Getting on Board
Once an influencer’s account officially gets verified, they can go ahead and fill out their personal information and begin creating their store. Though the appearance customizations are currently limited, the influencer can upload a profile picture, a short biography, and of course, pick a name for their storefront.
Time to Create
From there, they can pick out and promote their favorite products, recent purchases, or even create lists of product recommendations. Once their store is completely set up, they receive their custom link and can promote it on their largest social media platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram).
To receive money, influencers must enter their payment information and can be paid through Amazon gift card, a check, or direct deposit, and can access their funds anytime once they’ve made $10 through their store.
Making Money as an Amazon Influencer
The size of commissions really depends on the type of product the influencer is selling, with video game consoles starting as low as 1% but Amazon’s private-label fashion line allowing influencers to earn up to 10% commission. See the list below for commission rates on other products:
Toys and Amazon Fresh: 3%
Beauty products: 6%
All non-Amazon clothing, jewelry, and shoes: 7%
Furniture sales: 8%
Many have noted that being an Amazon influencer is no more than a side hustle as
commissions start off small but it can noticeably begin to rack up if the influencer knows how to drive their sales and promote their store.
Another way for influencers to make money through Amazon is through flat, one-time payments whenever their promoted service gets purchased by one of their followers through their store URL -- essentially an Amazon influencer referral program. All the influencer has to do is promote an Amazon service (Amazon Fresh, Amazon Business, Amazon Wedding Registry, Amazon Prime/Twitch Prime, Audible) and earn a set amount of money each time the service gets purchased. See below for a list of flat payments Amazon offers for each successful influencer referral:
Amazon Business Account Sign-Up: $15
Amazon Prime Trial: $3
Twitch Prime Trial: $3
Amazon Fresh Sign-Up: $5
Audible Sign-Up: $5
Amazon Wedding Registry: $3
Optimize Your Storefront: How to Make the Most out of Your Time
Before sharing your link onto all your platforms, make sure your store is ready to be picked through and evaluated by your followers. Though Amazon’s customization options are still limited, have your storefront echo your brand as much as possible by taking advantage of the thumbnail, store banner, name, bio, and logo features. Ensure that your brand and identity is etched into the store wherever you can insert it.
Organize Your Products
Perhaps the next most important feature of the storefront are the product lists. Though
some influencers may choose to simply display their products one by one, creating lists and organizing the products you choose to promote not only makes your store more appealing to the everyday consumer, but also presents another opportunity to strengthen your store’s message. At the end of the day, your product recommendations, promotions, and lists should clearly display your values, interests, and hobbies as an influencer, and in turn reflect those of your audience as well.
Now that your store is complete, knowing where to promote it is also key to your success in sales. Some effective places to insert your custom store link would include:
Website: about page, recommendations of pages, footers of articles
Facebook: about page, Facebook groups,
Twitter: bio link, pinned/relevant tweets
YouTube: about section, video descriptions
Instagram: profile bio, *Linktree, Instagram stories/highlight reel
What Does the Future Look Like for this Program?
Customization & Branding Opportunities
Sources say Amazon will soon begin to look at ways influencers can amp up their storefront more with an expanded collection of customization features. Amazon will be introducing a publishing tool that will allow its creators to display their social media content onto their storefront, essentially streamlining their content in one place with their curated product collection. This is nonetheless an effort that will fully transform the storefronts to embody the influencer’s brand, aesthetic, and online identity.
Benefits of the Amazon Influencer Program
With the Amazon influencer program, smaller influencers will be presented with the opportunity to expand not only their online presence but strengthen their brand identity with the Amazon storefront feature. The simplicity of the storefront provides an accessible way by which small influencers can start making some revenue with the simple call-to-action this program begs. As Amazon is the first to venture into many industries, the creation of this influencer program can beckon in a new wave of micro-influencers that optimize this space as an incubator for their future platform and growth.
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