WooCommerce external products or WooCommerce affiliate products are a WooCommerce product type that allow you to create an “affiliate store” like an amazon affiliate store in WordPress.
Building an Amazon affiliate store in WooCommerce (or using any other affiliate program) is essentially just like setting up an eCommerce store with WooCommerce – but instead of the simple product type, or grouped product type you select “External/Affiliate Product Type” on the WooCommerce Product page.
Building a WooCommerce Amazon Affiliate Site vs Building a WordPress Affiliate Site (Niche Site)
This isn’t like building a conventional affiliate website with WordPress where you write reviews or product roundups.
This is more like being a “curator” of products which you’d like to promote.
So people arrive at your website somehow, for example using Organic Traffic from Search Engines.
Once on your website they’ll browse and hopefully click on the Buy Now button on your WooCommerce product pages.
The “buy now” button on the product page has an affiliate tag in it, so you earn a commission if the website visitor then goes on to buy from the website you sent them to – for example earning a commission from the Amazon Affiliate Program if you sent the customer to Amazon.
How to sell affiliate products on my website using WooCommerce
As mentioned in the introduction, the process listing affiliate products on your website with WooCommerce is as simple as creating the product page and selecting “External / Affiliate Product” as the WooCommerce Product Type.
The question of “selling affiliate products on my website” is a little bit of a misnomer, as essentially the products are being sold on the merchant’s website – or marketplace such as Amazon. What you’re doing is directing traffic and sales towards them as an affiliate.
You don’t need any special plugins to do this – you can literally do this with WooCommerce which is an absolutely amazing and 100% Free Plugin for WordPress.
That being said, if you’re sensible – you’ll stay within the Amazon Associates Terms of Service and WON’T download images from Amazon product listings and upload to your site. This will get you BANNED from the Amazon affiliate programme. So even though you can add the Amazon affiliate LINK to the “buy now” button on your WooCommerce product page – you’re still going to have to embed images using the Amazon Advertising API and a WordPress Amazon Affiliate Plugin – or using Sitestripe (a tool provided by the Amazon Associates Program).
The standard WooCommerce Product Page template won’t allow for this – as the Default WooCommerce Product Page template has a container for “uploaded product images” not “embedded” ones. You’ll therefore be wanting to customize the WooCommerce Product page entirely, here are a couple of options we covered in another couple of articles:
- Customizing WooCommerce Product Pages with the Gutenberg Blocks Editor
- Customizing WooCommerce Product Pages with Page Builders like Divi
Using a customized product page layout in WooCommerce would then allow you the freedom to embed images anywhere on the Product Page using amazon affiliate WordPress plugins that can access the Amazon Advertising API – such as Amalinks Pro (which also has an Amazon affiliate table builder) and in our opinion is the very Best Amazon WordPress Plugin for Amazon Affiliates.
The article was written for Amazon sellers, but it applies to affiliates too.
Challenges of running an Affiliate Store built on WooCommerce
If you’re setting up WooCommerce External Products or WooCommerce Affiliate Products you’ll be entering product descriptions and trying to rank for what would be referred to as “eCommerce Keywords” which are high buyer intent – but also typically quite high competition and difficulty to rank for in Google.
Imagine listing a product from Amazon in your WooCommerce Affiliate Store and trying to rank that product page for the SAME keywords that Amazon is also targeting with the SAME product…
Trying to outperform Amazon or any other retailers on Google for eCommerce focused search terms with your Product page is going to be challenging to say the least.
Fundamentally, where are you adding value to the buying process?
Adding value for the customer?
The reality is you’re probably not driving an awful lot of value – so traffic and conversions are likely to be low for the level of effort you’re going to need to put in to creating a full WooCommerce store with Search Engine Optimised Product Descriptions..
How to create an Amazon Affiliate store on your website – and should you?
So WooCommerce is a great way to create an online catalog of curated products from the Amazon product catalog. The problem with this as a business model is that it doesn’t deliver a huge amount of value to the consumer unless there’s additional “behind the scenes” information that can be provided. This is the case when the WooCommerce site is a brand website for an Amazon Private Label Brand who drives all of their traffic back to Amazon – if you’re a Private Labeller take a look at this guide on how to setup a website for your brand quickly.
Private label brands can then provide more stylised versions of the Amazon Product pages, include more images and provide more insight into the brand as a whole. Which is a hell of a lot more than you can do with a standard Amazon Product Listing – even with Enhanced Brand Content (A+ Content).
So unless you are a brand, REALLY think about the value you can add to the consumer – AND the likelihood that you’ll actually be able to outrank Amazon, and the original brands in Google Search. It might be way more of an uphill struggle than it’s worth!
Can I sell amazon affiliate products on Shopify?
Yes you can take the same approach with Shopify and list products in your Shopify store that link through to Amazon products across the globe. In essence whether you use WooCommerce or Shopify to create an Amazon Affiliate store, you face the same challenges with adding value to the buying process for the end customer.
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