If You Are New, Don't Start a Shopify Store, Start as an eCom Affiliate

By Ian Fernando

Seems like that everyone wants to catch this trend of the next big thing but never understand how to market anything. It kind of baffles me that users want to make sales but do not know how to promote.

Here is a video of me explaining why affiliate marketing should be your foundation:

Affiliate marketing is the perfect building block to jump-start your online marketing skills. It just teaches you so many things before actually having a real business where you have to learn operations, fulfilment, customers etc.

When you start a Shopify store essentially you are thinking about what products to promote and who are the demographics are going to be.

This one issue can be solved by joining an affiliate network that already has converting products for you to test out your advertising skills.

The question is when you start a Shopify store is how are you going to get traffic?

After learning to start a Shopify store and sourcing products, you have to learn how to get traffic. Which is the most crucial part of the formula. Just because you make it does not mean they will come.

So understanding affiliate marketing or online marketing, in general, is critical to your online venture, especially with Shopify. This is why I try to provide the basic building block in my Incomplete Affiliate Guide. An understanding of traffic, copy, ad creatives, etc.

Here are the hurdles of owning your product:

  • Customer Support (calls and emails)
  • Product Sourcing (Buy in Bulk vs Drop Shipping)
  • Merchant Applications (accepting Visa and Mastercard)
  • Web Development (Store setup and backend development)
  • Fulfilment Distribution (US Fulfilled vs International)
  • Product Packaging Design
  • etc

So if you need to learn online ad marketing and direct response, you need to find an offer, more specifically an eCommerce offering. You can go with networks like CJ, ShareaSale, etc but in the performance space, you want converting products.

So you join CPA networks that have offers that are highly optimized already for a conversion. This way your learning curve is a bit shorter than promoting a program that does not optimize.

Choosing an offer in the eCom space that is already optimized for traffic will allow you to learn much faster and give you the opportunity of success.

Clickbank has some physical products and most of them are optimized but CPA networks like GiddyUp and Verve are the most popular ones to join that have internal teams optimizing the checkout pages daily.

Joining one of these networks will allow you to promote a product without dealing with merchant solutions, customer service, sourcing the product, fulfilment issues, etc.

Here is what you focus on as an affiliate for a product:

  • Traffic conversions

That is about it, you ofcourse have to come up with ad creatives, ad angles, split test pre-sell designs etc. That comes with the territory of advertising.

Imagine doing all of the items on the first list above plus the advertising? It will become too much of a headache. If you can start with learning how to think like an advertiser, you will find it easier to create a branded product. More importantly, find it easier to promote it online.

Allowing you to understand what traffic sources to use like Facebook or Google will help you with your understanding of how to generate a sale. How to spice up your creativity. Find more angles to sell the product. etc.

This is why as a beginner you should not follow the trend of Shopify store ownership, learn the marketing aspect first. Once you understand the flow of how a store operates from the ad side then you are ready to start your branded Shopify store. My opinion.

Ian Fernando
Involved in the internet space since 2002 and have been through the ups and downs of this online industry. I am a traveling digital nomad, media buyer, online strategist, and many more online titles.

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