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Hey there everyone, Michael here and today I will be taking an in-depth look at the affiliate program of one of the biggest outdoor brands around. REI has been around since the 30s and has one of the largest online stores dedicated to all types of outdoor activity.
If you are an outdoor blog or a camping blog or a hiking blog or really any outdoor blog then they are definitely an affiliate you need to consider for your affiliate strategy.
Let’s start with the basic question…
Is There An REI Affiliate Program? There is an affiliate program for REI.com. It is hosted on the Avantlink affiliate network. You can apply to join their program but they will need to approve your website before allowing you to promote their products.
Let’s Take A Closer Look…
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*Update* It appears that the REI affiliate program may be suspended at this time*. Keep checking back in case they allow new members to join.*
The REI Affiliate Program At A Glance
- Affiliate Commission: 5%
- Tracking Cookie: 30-days
- Niche: Outdoors
- Application: Join REI Affiliate Program
- Affiliate Network: AvantLink
What Is The Commission For The REI Partner Program
The commission is probably the first thing that an affiliate marketer looks at when they are deciding on which affiliate Partners to actively promote.
You can sign up for as many affiliate programs as you want but you want to try to whittle down the number that you actively promote to a manageable number so that you don’t confuse your audience by throwing a bunch of different websites at them.
So the commission is going to be an important part of that whittling down process. The REI affiliate program has a 5% commission on qualifying sales through your affiliate links.
This is about the lowest commission that I would typically consider for an affiliate program. When you start to get lower than 5 you are squarely in Amazon Associates territory and at that point, you’re probably better off just using Amazon Associates because they are so well known and used by just about everybody.
But 5% means that this affiliate program can work for you as an outdoor Niche partner. Even that 1% difference between Amazon Associates and the REI affiliate program is going to make a huge difference in the overall commissions that you earn.
I do wish it was a little bit higher. I always like to try to get double-digit affiliate programs if possible but you have to take into account the other factors of affiliate programs in order to get a big picture idea of just how efficient it is going to be to promote that particular partner program.
So, the commission is probably the weakest part of the REI affiliate program but the other factors that we’re going to go into later in the article will make up for it making this one of the better outdoor affiliate programs to take advantage of if you are in the outdoor, camping, or hiking niches.
The REI Affiliate Program Tracking Cookie
The tracking cookie duration for the REI affiliate program is a pretty standard 30-day duration. What this means is that you have 30 days from the time they click your affiliate link to the time they make a purchase in order to get a commission for that customer.
30 days is pretty much the Baseline that I like to see in an affiliate program these days. You always want to have a longer duration cookie because the longer people have to make a decision on whether or not to purchase a product means that you have a better chance of converting that affiliate link click into an affiliate commission.
As a basic rule of thumb the higher the prices of the products the longer the duration cookie you want. Really high ticket items need a 3 to 6-month tracking cookie at the very least.
For the REI affiliate program and the 30-day duration is okay because you have quite a wide range of products depending on which product it is. Some of them are very cheap others can run well into the hundreds of dollars so the 30-day cookie is good for the lower-priced items and just average for the higher-priced items.
However, with the 30-day cookie, you should be just fine in working out promotional material that’s going to get you a good conversion rate and ultimately some great commissions from your promotional content.
How Are The Products
It’s pretty strange but one of the most overlooked aspects of an affiliate program is the products themselves.
A lot of affiliate marketers, especially new affiliate marketers, look at the commission and then they look at the cookie and they look at the earnings per click or the conversion rates but they don’t take a hard look at the products that they going to be promoting.
And this is going to lead to picking bad products that are ultimately going to hurt your credibility as an authority on those products or in your niche.
So you always want to take a good look at the products that you’re going to be promoting. If possible you want to get your hands on the products and have a look at them yourself before you do a review or decide to promote that product.
That’s certainly not always going to be the case so you at least want to do a lot of research to find out exactly what those products are about and what the best way is to go about promoting them.
That brings us to the REI products. They are very well respected among outdoor enthusiasts. You still want to go take a look at them yourself and get your hands on them if possible and see if there’s something that fits into your overall strategy on your Outdoors blog.
But from the perspective of someone looking to buy outdoor products they look fantastic. And that’s how I approached these types of products in niches that I’m not necessarily an expert at.
They need to appeal to someone who is looking to purchase those products. Then it’s up to you the affiliate marketer to decide how best to promote them and work them into your content.
The bottom line is I don’t think that their products are going to be a detriment in any way shape or form. They look great, they are well respected and they’ve been around for a very long time so they built up quite a reputation.
Popularity Of REI Brand
Speaking of the REI reputation. It is quite well-established at this point. And it’s a pretty good reputation at this point. Their reviews on Consumeraffairs.com come in at around four out of five stars(you can read them here).
Which is quite good for an online business like this. It’s not perfect and there are some complaints amongst the reviews. But overall it’s a fairly well-respected brand that you can feel comfortable promoting their products.
Another aspect of the reputation of a specific brand is how well-known are they. The more well-known a brand the easier they are to promote as long as they have a decent reputation.
If they don’t have a really well-known brand than you were going to have to spend some time developing content for educating your audience on who exactly they are and what they’re brand is about.
You probably won’t have to do that with REI since they are such a well-known brand in the outdoor niche.
You can see the consistency of the REI brand in Google Trends, with spikes in May and around the Holidays.
Conversion Potential Of The REI Affiliate Program
Conversion rate is always a tricky one to predict. The reason for that is a conversion rate is going to be very specific to your particular audience.
It is dependent on the type of content that you are developing, is dependent on the makeup of your audience, it is dependent on where you place your affiliate links, and there are dozens of other factors that are going to Contribute to the conversion rate.
So you’re not going to know your conversion rate for any affiliate program until you use that affiliate program and run some tests.
What you can do is get a good idea of whether or not the conversion rates are going to be decent enough to even run a test.
The conversion potential is really going to be a combination of all the other factors that make up a good affiliate program.
If you want to have a good act conversion rate with very few returns than you were going to need great products. REI has great products so you can check that box.
The tracking cookie also plays into the conversion rate. You want as long a duration cookie as possible. The REI racking cookie is 30 days which is plenty for this type of affiliate program so that’s another good sign for your conversion rate.
There’s plenty of outdoor or hiking Niche blog content that you can create for these REI products which are ultimately going to determine how well the affiliate program converts within your specific content.
So these factors when you put them all together they’re going to ultimately give you the conversion rate. When you start to tweak your content and really get to know your audience then you can push that conversion rate up to levels that are really going to generate a great passive income for yourself.
The bottom line with the conversion rate is that all the factors are there for the REI affiliate program to have a very good conversion rate for quite a wide range of outdoor Niche blogs.
Some Alternatives To Consider
The Bottom Line
That brings us to the end of our look at the REI affiliate program. The commission is probably the weak link in the overall partner program but I think everything else makes up for it.
The popularity and recognition of the REI brand along with a decent cookie in a very high conversion potential means that this is going to be an outdoor affiliate program that anyone in those types of niches is really going to need to consider adding to their affiliate arsenal.
My recommendation would be to sign up with the REI affiliate program and run some tests inside your content to see if it’s going to be a useful affiliate partner for your passive income blog.
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