How Adopting A ‘Site-to-Store’ Strategy Can Minimize Your Attribution Woes


The final click before a conversion. Sounds like a very simple answer to a complex problem. Well, it is good, but just for people who receive the commission every time regardless of the seller’s perspective on whose influence best aligns with their own strategy. Attribution has been an issue because of this, mostly as a result of lack of proper tools and practices which may help attribute the sale suitably without deferring to an oversimplified and often strategically flawed solution.

While this problem rears its ugly head in several distinct subsets of online affiliate marketing, let’s take a look at the site-to-store strategy, which leverages the connection between online or mobile shopping and in-store buying when minimizing the past click issue.

Exactly why is a site-to-store approach so important? Consider that, according to eMarketer, 22.6% of shoppers obtained mobile coupons via their mobile device before purchase. In addition, Card Linking Network found that over 50% of shoppers access and redeem vouchers within one day, and Hitwise found that 66% of searches for vouchers or coupons originated by a mobile device while the shopper was at a physical retail location.

Regardless of the massive growth of mobile as an Ecommerce conduit, a recent AT Kearney Omnichannel Shopping Preference Study found that 90% of all retail sales still occur in a physical store. According to Retail Next, U.S. brick and mortar retailers see $3.9 trillion in yearly earnings. That exact same study found that just $294 billion in sales happen on the internet. Couple the rise of mobile and online as shopping assists with the fact that 90% of sales still occur at a physical shop, and it is sensible to connect the dots between the two in a way that benefits everyone.

Zooming in on site-to-store, we find that this approach entails the use of vouchers (mobile or otherwise) presented while the shopper is using their smartphone (or desktop) device. These coupons can then be redeemed in-store for the item the shopper is interested in. Properly set up, site-to-store allows the merchant to track offline/in-store sales back to the affiliate who affected the purchase. One approach involves clickless monitoring, also called exclusive codes, to guarantee the sale is correctly attributed. The disadvantage with this method is that the retail location must be set up to honor and process online coupons.

Another site-to-store approach entails the use of card-linked offers. A card-linked provide is an electronic coupon loaded on a customer’s credit or debit card. Deals are subsequently realized at the register without any integration effort on the part of the retailer. There’s no cutting or printing coupons, no loading individually-branded coupon apps, no time-consuming mail-in rebates, and also for the merchant, no integration. That means no new hardware or training.

Cardlytics, Bank of America’s BankAmeriDeals program has been used by over 200 million clients making over $500 billion in purchases. It provides tremendous benefit to the 4,000 retailers who have signed up for this app. Nashville-based card-linking company Edo has extended billions of supplies to 200 million cards issued by three of the top six fiscal institutions.

Other card-linking businesses have taken the strategy into the affiliate neighborhood, offering merchants a performance-based program that can reach thousands of affiliates, and in turn, millions of customers. When shoppers visiting these affiliate sites choose to purchase in-store, their card is automatically linked and the reduction or rebate is triggered at retail check-out. The processing occurs between the community and the financial institution. The network then handles payment to affiliates.

Even though 20 plus years of internet and the more recent growth in mobile have radically changed the way trade is conducted, the simple fact remains that the overwhelming bulk of sales still happen in a physical store. Whether it be the need to touch the product, try on a piece of clothing before buying, or the desire for a one-on-one consultation, heading into the store is still how most people buy things.

Regardless of the motivation, studies indicate that shoppers do their research online and search out deals before they head to the shop, and that is the reason why a site-to-store plan is an ideal strategy to ripen both retailer sales and affiliate commissions while still offering a simple and effective way for retailers to attribute sales to the affiliates most valuable to their strategy.