Affiliate Spotlight: Q+A with Eddie Alberty from Shop.com, Part 2

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Let’s kick this thing off with an age-old question. Is too much of anything never good? Debatable, but in this case, I think we can make an exception. A few weeks back we had a convo with Eddie Alberty, Shop.com’s VP of Strategic Partnerships, and we’re back with more. Let’s be real, there were just too many gems to leave to only one blog post. 

That’s right folks, this is part two of our Shop.com affiliate spotlight and we’re getting into some great stuff this time. If you joined us for part one, you know that we got into some topics like Shop.com’s origin story, how they brand themselves, and the value they offer to merchants and customers alike. Today we’re getting a bit more specific. We’ll be covering things like the importance of customer trust, how Shop.com delivers a compelling shopping experience, and a whole lot more. 

I won’t divulge any more than that, though. Get your curiosity on and read on to find out more. Enjoy!

Going above and beyond customer expectations definitely goes a long way, especially during such a turbulent time like the pandemic. It’s great to hear Shop.com was able to do that. That kind of leads me to my next question, actually. Your mission at Shop.com is to deliver the most compelling shopping experience. How does it do that? 

We want people to find what they want, find it fast and have different payment options. I talked about how we offer shopping comparisons earlier, but the way we do that is by pulling in product feeds from our direct sellers as well as affiliate feeds. If someone is looking for a blender, for example, we might know that Bed, Bath, and Beyond has it, so we position them on the right rail of our search results. That makes it very quick and easy for customers to see the source. 

Something else we offer is Shop Buddy, which is an extension that aids in the shopping experience. Aside from that, the shopping comparisons we have are a big part of that along with the buy now, pay later method we added to our payment options. We just try to stay relevant, provide an experience, and make changes when we need to. Probably one of the best things that we do as a company is, every day both good and bad customer comments are captured and distributed to our different departments. It’s each department’s responsibility to read through them. In that way, we’re empowered to make changes. 

Whether someone has an issue at checkout, with registration, or with not receiving their cashback after placing an order, we’re on it. We’re very responsive and we want to make sure that we meet our customer’s needs. Listening to your customers through comments is just a great way to do it. 

I’m sure that listening has made all the difference. Shop.com’s recognition alone can speak to that. Your company has been featured on Newsweek’s list of best online shops in 2020 and Digital Commerce 360’s top 300, among others. Congratulations! Let’s talk a little about that. 

There are several accolades that we’ve been recognized for. My favorite of them is our A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. We were nominated for and won the Torch Award, which says a lot about our ethics. It’s an award BBB gives out that recognizes organizations for integrity and their dedication to ethical business practices. I really believe that good things happen to people that work hard.

Agreed, Eddie, agreed. Now, going back to the affiliate side of things, how do you believe your shopping comparison site can fit into a merchant’s affiliate program? In other words, how would you describe affiliate marketing and where Shop.com fits into it? 

We have a lot of different affiliate partners and we provide a lot of different ways for customers to find merchants, including filters. We provide true functionality with our search process so that our customers can get to any merchant very easily. Ultimately, that makes for a better customer experience. 

I’ve seen affiliate marketing really grow a lot over the last 15 years or so of being in the affiliate industry. Every year the budget and/or sales revenue of some of the biggest advertisers continue to go up, and it’s because of partners and companies like Advertise Purple that help facilitate those relationships. You all bridge the gap between great brands and publishers, like ourselves, that have a good model and a good following. At Shop.com, as I mentioned, we offer cashback, loyalty rewards, and have a very engaged customer base. All of that helps our affiliates to increase their sales and acquire new customers. The affiliate channel is definitely a large part of Shop.com’s forecasted growth. We have plans to continue to invest in mobile apps and anything else that will get our customers from Shop.com to advertisers’ sites. Whether through deals or offers, we want to be able to bridge that gap. 

Something I talked about recently in a blog post is customer trust. So, I wanted to know, how does Shop.com help engender customer trust in the advertisers you promote? 

When Shop.com aligns itself with a certain advertiser and promotes them on our homepage, our customers know that they’re there for a reason. Because we already have the trust of that existing customer base, they assume that we’ve done our due diligence and that there is a good relationship in place between Shop.com and the advertisers we promote. They trust Shop.com and that trust transfers over to the advertiser. That’s how it’s been for years. 

Having that loyal customer base is really what I think sets us apart when advertisers are looking at publishers. Like I said, when we promote brands, customers trust them because Shop.com has already won over their trust beforehand. 

There’s no doubt that trust is an important part of the shopping experience, so it’s great that Shop.com has been able to establish that with its customer base. Moving forward, what are some predictions you have for Shop.com? What does the future look like and do you have any exciting developments in the pipeline for the rest of the year and beyond? 

Our international expansion is huge for us. I mentioned that we were in 8 countries and Asia-Pacific is growing faster than we ever thought it would. So, we want to continue to invest and grow there. We did start selling in China and I think that’s going to be a great push in our overall numbers as well. 

We’re also in the process of adding a buy now, pay later option, which I think is going to help attract millennials or younger groups of people to our site. Those initiatives—although maybe not directly related to affiliate marketing—will help the affiliate marketing side of our business. This is because more customers will be coming to the site and having a good experience with Shop.com.

We’re excited to see where things go as you implement those plans. Our interview is officially coming to a close, so the last thing I want to ask is, what do you see for the future as it relates to shopping comparison sites? 

I think they’re going to continue to have a place and be something that consumers want. People are very conscious of their time and I think that going to sites that offer shopping comparisons helps them find the best prices and deals while comparing different inventories.

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Thank you to Eddie again for giving us the opportunity to highlight Shop.com. It was a pleasure chatting about why Shop.com fits so well into affiliate programs and what the future holds for it. For those who weren’t familiar with Shop.com prior to this, I hope this was a great first look!

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