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Cashback and Coupons: The Future Growth Driver of the E-Commerce Space in India? The benefits of affiliate marketing are not restricted to e-commerce platforms alone, online publishers also reap significant dividends by associating with top affiliate networks

By Neha Kulwal

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Many online shoppers in India today conduct extensive research on available deals before finally buying a product. And why not? These offers directly reduce the price of a product without compromising the quality, making the final purchase a much better value proposition. The availability of applications and websites that allow shoppers to access and avail coupons and cashback, especially during local and seasonal sales, makes the process even more convenient for the end-user.

The rapid mushrooming of such platforms and publishers, coupled with fast-growing internet penetration, has driven popularity and scale for affiliate marketing in India. The cashback industry alone has registered 20x growth within the last decade.

The Impact of Affiliate Marketing on the Indian E-commerce Space

One of the biggest reasons behind the growing popularity of marketing channels such as cashback and coupons amongst Indian e-commerce players is the value that they deliver. Top market research firm Forrester estimates that the coupons business alone drives around 13.5 per cent of the overall e-commerce audience base in India.

In its latest Annual Report highlighted how coupons and cashback drove a combined business in excess of $23 million for e-commerce companies in 2018 alone. The number of orders processed through such channels registered a year-on-year increase of over 25 per cent, driving a staggering 1.5 million+ purchases overall.

The difference that affiliate marketing can make for e-commerce players is perhaps best exemplified by Bigbasket's success story. Opting for affiliate marketing helped the online supermarket drive business growth, while also significantly amplifying its consumer mindshare and user acquisition in key markets. Today, it is one of the biggest players in the online FMCG domain in India, generating business in excess INR 1,600 crore in FY 2017-18 and posting year-on-year revenue growth of 35 per cent during the same fiscal.

This brings us to a question: how can online businesses set up their own affiliate marketing programs to ensure maximum returns on their investment? The answer might be simple: by partnering with top affiliate networks.

How Affiliate Networks are Changing the Game for E-commerce Businesses

Leading affiliate networks leverage state-of-the-art technologies and tools to deliver major differentiation to advertisers. To begin with, affiliate networks can enable seamless cross-device & cross-browser tracking to eliminate common challenges pertaining to attribution, data reconciliation, and missing orders. This ensures that publishers are fairly recompensed for meeting their brand-defined KPIs. Advertisers, on the other hand, are able to avoid the time-consuming process of manual data reconciliation and can focus on controlling and measuring their affiliate programs.

Affiliate programs can also help online brands acquire new users, re-engage existing customers and drive higher conversions with lower ad spending. Moreover, through cutting-edge anti-fraud technology, affiliate networks also minimise ad frauds to bolster the trust and transparency within the affiliate marketing ecosystem.

Adding Value to All: The Benefits of Affiliate Network Association for Publishers

The benefits of affiliate marketing are not restricted to e-commerce platforms alone. Online publishers also reap significant dividends by associating with top affiliate networks. Partnering with a leading affiliate network gives publishers access to a much larger pool of advertisers. This helps them amplify the number of available offers on their platforms and enhances their ability to monetise their online traffic.

Affiliate networks also provide a robust technological framework to support publishers. Through various publisher-focused tools and solutions, affiliate networks help online publishers enhance their business performance and adopt industry-leading practices. This, in turn, increases their growth prospects and profitability.

Affiliate marketing led by cashback and coupons is a win-win situation for everyone involved. Online customers can save money on their purchases, while e-commerce companies can improve key metrics such as sales/transactions and user acquisition. Publishers can also monetise their online traffic, driving revenue growth and profitability. With the Indian affiliate marketing industry set for exponential future growth, the country's fast-increasing online consumer base will have yet more reasons to shop – while e-commerce companies and publishers will have more opportunities to grow!

Neha Kulwal

Country Manager, Admitad India

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