If you are an affiliate marketer or have been in the industry lately, you might have heard about different kinds of affiliate programs already.
Also known as associate programs, these are basically arrangements created by some merchant websites where they pay the affiliate websites a certain amount of commissions to send them traffic.
The method was pioneered by amazon.com. When you sign up for that program and promote any product that is available on Amazon’s website, the company provides you commission for every sale made through your website.
Due to the increasing popularity of affiliate programs, several other retailers are launching their own affiliate programs. Costco Wholesale is one of those companies. But, should you go for it? Let’s find out.
Here, we are going to provide an honest review of the Costco affiliate program. But before you learn about the program, get a brief idea about the company.
Costco: Company Profile
For those who aren’t familiar with the company, Costco is a membership warehouse club that provides quality, brand-name products at a very low price.
The international chain was first opened under the Price Club name in 1976 and started serving small businesses and a few non-business members.
The first warehouse of Costco was opened in Seattle in 1983. Starting from zero, the company grew to $3 billion in sales within six years.
Due to its effort for providing the best value to its members with 100% satisfaction with quality products and services, Costco has become extremely popular with hundreds of locations worldwide.
Costco Affiliate Program: What it Offers
Just like some of the successful businesses in the world, Costco also launched its own affiliate program for its members and others who want to do affiliate marketing.
The program was hosted in CJ Affiliate last year, a leading affiliate network where anyone can join. All you need to do is sign up into Commission Junction’s website and join the affiliate program.
The affiliate program is currently available only in the US. So if you live here and have a Gold Star or Executive membership, you can join this program to promote Costco through your website.
Well, you must be wondering how this program will work? Like other affiliate programs, it will provide you a certain amount of commission for any membership purchases through your website.
You will get $3 commission for every Gold Star membership purchase, and for Executive membership purchase, you will receive $6 commission.
The company has a dedicated affiliate team that will ensure all your procedures run smoothly and without any hassle. The process is session-based and follows the standard lifecycle.
Benefits of Costco Affiliate Program
Although relatively new compared to the Target or Walmart affiliate programs, Costco’s one has become quite popular among the affiliate marketers.
Many publishers and bloggers are now showing interest in promoting Costco and its services and for good reasons.
There will be hardly anyone who never heard of Costco, especially those who live in the USA. Being one of the top retailers, the company has gained a significant amount of trust from all its members.
After creating a strong position in North America, it’s now continuing to expand worldwide. Besides, it has a conversion rate of 99.81% only in the United States.
From the above information, you can understand how easy it will be for you to convert the traffic into new members. And the more members it will get, the more commission you will receive.
Low Payout Threshold
This is another reason why you may consider joining its affiliate program. The payment threshold is pretty low, meaning that CJ Affiliate won’t wait for your total commission to cross thousands of dollars to proceed with payment.
This is particularly helpful for those who are new in affiliate marketing or those who are doing it on a limited scale. The money will be sent to your bank account which you can withdraw at any time.
Great Support for The Publishers
Every publisher wants great support from the affiliate team of a particular retailer so that he/she can get the service as promised. With the Costco affiliate program, you can be sure to get that support, thanks to CJ Affiliate.
With the help of a full-time affiliate manager and a dedicated team, the company makes sure to quicken the process whenever a merchant contains the staff to support the affiliate marketers.
For any query or complaint, you can contact the company’s affiliate team via email.
What Are The Drawbacks?
In a perfect world, nobody comes with a flaw. Well since ours isn’t perfect, you can’t expect the affiliate program you’ve joined will provide you a flawless service.
Although launched by one of the most popular companies and hosted by another popular platform, the Costco affiliate program does come with a number of drawbacks.
No Affiliate Landing Page
If you’re doing affiliate marketing for years, you would understand how important it is to have a landing page that will outline the company’s affiliate programs.
One of the biggest mistakes Costco made by hosting its program through CJ Affiliate, instead of launching its own landing page. As a publisher, you will find this program on CJ Affiliate’s website only by chance.
Poor Commission Rate
Costco will pay you $3 for Gold Star membership purchases and $6 for executive memberships. As you can see, the rate is extremely low to attract anyone for this affiliate program.
Due to this low commission rate, most affiliate marketers are losing interest in joining this program, which can be proved as a loss project for Costco.
Session-Based Referral Period
The conversion period of this affiliate program is session-based, which is quite new to me and I am sure to most of the affiliate marketers.
If you go through the Costco affiliate program in CJ Affiliate’s website, you will see there’s no detailed idea about how this session-based referral period will be counted. People may lose interest in this program if they have any confusion regarding the procedure.
Deep Linking Not Available
Deep linking is a process in which the affiliate creates a link to a particular page on the merchant’s website. It allows you to directly link to an article that relates to your post, which can help send traffic directly to that company’s sales page.
Costco affiliate programs don’t support this feature, which can be extremely inconvenient for both the company and the publisher.
No Marketing Materials
To run a successful affiliate program, you need to make sure that you provide all the necessary marketing materials such as banners, creative assets, etc. Surprisingly, Costco has provided us with none of these materials.
Can You Make Money With The Costco Affiliate Program?
Why do people put so much effort into affiliate marketing? The answer is simple, to make a lot of money. So, while you were signing up for Costco’s affiliate program, you definitely thought about earning a minimum of $1000 per month.
Unfortunately, that may not happen in this case. Although Costco is a top retailer, the commission it provides through its affiliate program is extremely low.
Apart from that, the session-based cookie system and the limitations of earning only from membership sales suppress your conversions. So if you’re planning to earn a huge amount of money through affiliate marketing, Costco’s program isn’t’ the right fit for you.
As you’ve got a fairly good idea about the Costco affiliate program from this review, you may have understood whether joining this program will be a good idea or not.
Since the program is launched by a renowned retailer, there’s a chance that you will be able to make some sales through your website.
However, considering its limitations and other available options you have, such as Walmart, Amazon, eBay, etc. you shouldn’t have a high expectation from Costco.
Sujan Sarkar is the Co-founder of OnelittleWeb, a leading SEO agency specializing in helping businesses improve their online presence and search engine rankings.