It’s been a while since Debenhams ran their trial with Vouchercloud but we’ve recently assisted them with documenting the case study, which has now been shortlisted for the A4u Award best use of affiliate marketing as part of a multi-channel campaign. The trial provided some interesting findings around this activity and brought some more general learnings that I think should be applied to the channel.
It’s long been cited that the affiliate channel is a great way of trialling online opportunities without over exposure to the whole online offering. However very rarely do we find that merchants act on this. Understandably there are often logistical barriers that are thrown in the path of the advertiser, yet results show that these small scale trials can be very successful and have a long term benefit on businesses and earnings generated through the affiliate channel.
One such example is the trial Debenhams ran with Vouchercloud in October 2010, a UK first, which delivered mobile vouchers to a users’ smart phone for redemption in store. The solution allowed for store staff to log a redemption code at the till so the customer could claim 10% off. To provide a seamless collaboration, Vouchercloud’s unique iPhone app solution was fully integrated with affilinet’s technology, enabling the creators of the solution to earn commission for each voucher redeemed offline at Debenhams.
The results delivered by Vouchercloud redemptions were comparable to some of Debenhams top performing affiliates during that period. With in-store redemptions illustrating another interesting point… that affiliate marketing can be used to drive offline purchases. This is a great result in a world where so often only the opposite is highlighted.
To Debenhams’ credit, they took a risk by investing time and resource into a trial that was not guaranteed to work. They saw the potential of the opportunity and decided to give it a go, overcoming obstacles along the way to ensure the project was carried out. The trial proved successful and Debenhams will use Vouchercloud in future tactical promotions.
Summary of lessons learned
- The affiliate channel provides a great platform to trial opportunities without over exposure
- Because of the nature of the channel (i.e. Cost Per Acquisition) risk is minimal
- Such trials can lead to long term revenue gain
- The affiliate channel can be used to drive offline activity
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