Shopping Cart Software Tutorial - Affiliate Program
Before you start an affiliate program, be sure to speak with an accountant/CPA
and attorney to ensure you understand which local laws (tax related and others)
apply to affiliate programs and Tier 2 affiliate programs in your area.
An affiliate program will allow you to have people advertise your website
(using banners, text links and so on) and when they send a person to your
site who places an order, you can pay them a commission.
You can also simply
pay them for each person they send to your site (whether they order or not).
A 'Tier 2' affiliate program allows you to have an affiliate (say person A)
send new potential affiliates (say person B) to your web site and have them
sign up as affiliates. Then, at the end of the month (when commission are
calculated) person A would get a percentage of affiliate B's commission as their
To start an affiliate program, enter the 'shopping cart' module in the control
panel and select 'Affiliate Program' and configure your new affiliate program.
Several files will be installed on your account when activating this feature.
You can modify several of these files to make the affiliate pages blend in with
the look/layout of your site.
Three files are installed in your main web directory :
|newagent.html||new affiliates go here to sign up|
|viewagent.html||affiliates go here to check real time stats|
|lostagent.html||affiliates go here in case they lost their password|
Numerous files are installed in your /merchants directory :
|affiliates.header.html||header file for the below .html files|
|affiliates.footer.html||footer file for the below .html files|
|affiliates.new.html||page new affiliates see after signing up|
|affiliates.approval.html||page for non-automated application approval|
|affiliates.missing.html||shown if required fields are not filled out|
|affiliates.invalid.html||shown if login info for stats is incorrect|
|affiliates.notfound.html||shown if affiliate ID is not found (stats)|
|affiliates.report.html||the actual stats page|
|affiliates.lost.html||page shown after lostagent.html|
|affiliates.letter.txt||text for email sent to new affiliates|
Files affiliates.new.html, affiliates.report.html and affiliates.letter.txt
have special codes in them which allow you to define which information is
included in the new signup screen/email and the stats page.
The codes are
as follows (each represents affiliate info, each starting with the | character):
||e||Custom Field 1|
||f||Custom Field 2|
||g||Custom Field 3
||h||Visitors sent to your site since signup|
||i||Number of orders placed which they sent to you since signup|
||j||Total sales volume created by that affiliate since signup|
||k||Total commission amount since signup|
||l||Month-to-date visitors sent to your site by this affiliate|
||m||Month-to-date orders sent to your site by this affiliate|
||n||Month-to-date total sales amount sent to your site by this affiliate|
||o||Month-to-date commission amount for this affiliate|
||q||Commission earned (but below minimum for that month) and not yet paid|
The three custom fields have no pre-defined meaning, you can use them to hold
the affiliate information of your choice (phone number and such). If you do not need
these custom affiliate fields, simply remove the references to them in those files.
Information (URL's) on how affiliates can send traffic to your site can be
found in the affiliates.new.html and affiliates.letter.txt files. Affiliates
send visitors to :
the 'AGENTID' would be replaced with the actual affiliate/agent ID. As a
default, this will then bring up your main page on your site. If you wish
to specify a different page :
the 'AGENTID' would be replaced with the actual affiliate/agent ID and
page.html would be replaced with the page you want visitors to see.
Please note that the affiliate program is defined for an entire account and
not per shopping cart merchant. This has the advantage of having affiliates
that can generate traffic/earn commissions for all shopping cart merchants
on an entire site.
In short, to start using the affiliate program software, configure the program settings,
customize the .html (and .txt) files and your program (shopping cart) is ready to go.
When using the
'Generic Checkout' method, the agent responsible for an order will be listed
on the email with the order information (if no affiliate is responsible for
this order, no such information will be included). When using other secure
server methods, use the 'View Orders' module to see if an affiliate was
responsible for this order (bottom of individual order info page).
At the end of each 'commission cycle' (one month or longer) you should run
reporting to see which affiliates are to be paid. On the 1st or 15th
of each month (for example), select 'Reporting' and click the button. This
will give you the information on affiliates who have earned a commission
higher than the 'Minimum Payment Amount' and general stats.
If you see no
affiliate info when running reporting, this simply means no affiliates earned
enough commissions to issue payment for that commission cycle.