Update: As of June 2019, Walmart’s affiliate program is now being managed by Impact!
If you signed up for the program before June 2019, then you’re probably participating in the Walmart affiliate program as managed by Rakuten Linkshare. Both programs are still officially supported and we haven’t heard of any plans to deprecate the Rakuten program. If you’re signed up for Walmart (Rakuten), there should be no need to sign up for Walmart (Impact).
Walmart is incredibly popular in the United States and was long known as the largest (physical) retailer across the country with what seemed like a Walmart store in every city and town across the country (5,358 stores in the US in 2018). Their focus, even from an early beginning (the first store opened in 1962!), was centered around offering shoppers the lowest possible prices, and they built an incredible distribution network to be able to do just that (the feat of which is still a popular case study in MBA classes).
In more recent years, Walmart is known for it’s $3.3B acquisition of Jet.com to increase their ecommerce presence and for bringing in their co-founder, Marc Lore, as the new CEO of Walmart eCommerce. Before Jet.com, Lore was the founder of another ecommerce company (Quidsi / Diapers.com / Soap.com / Wag.com) that was eventually sold to Amazon in 2011. It seems that from his multi year stint at Amazon, which didn’t end well, that Lore started on a path to disrupt Amazon’s push for domination. With Lore at the helm of Walmart’s ecommerce drive we’ve seen huge improvements and walmart.com becoming a legitimate alternative to Amazon for a wide range of consumer packaged goods as well as electronics and groceries.
Walmart.com is now ranked as the 108th most popular websites in the world, 22nd in the US and 13th for “General Merchandise” shopping according to SimilarWeb.
Further, Walmart also happens to have a well-managed affiliate program for Walmart.com, which many consider as another great alternative to Amazon’s affiliate program. In our attempt last year to quantify the affiliate landscape we saw it was the 7th largest affiliate program with nearly 6,000 affiliate sites as recognized by PublicWWW.
The Walmart.com affiliate program is managed via the Impact affiliate network (previously Rakuten Linkshare). The program pays commissions of 4% for most products (via Impact) or 2% via Skimlinks. The cookie length is 72 hours. The commission rates in comparison to Amazon’s affiliate program are mostly on par, but Walmart’s 3 day cookie window far surpasses Amazon’s 24 hour window.
The average earnings per click with the Walmart.com affiliate program vary drastically between $0.02 being reported by Skimlinks and $0.22 being reported by VigLink. In comparison to Amazon we typically see an EPC of $0.05.
Similar to Amazon, iTunes and Microsoft, Walmart uses different online storefronts to service specific regions of the world. Walmart has stores in 27 countries but operates under 55 different names including (Asda in the UK, Seiyu Group in Japan, and Best Price in India). Each storefront is targeted to a specific region (eg. Walmart.com and it’s affiliate program is focused specifically on consumers in the United States) has individual affiliate programs for the other international storefronts.
Walmart.com’s affiliate program is an interesting alternative to Amazon’s Associates program for a couple reasons. First, the operating agreement is a bit less strict and allows links to be placed in “offline” places such as PDFs, and ebooks. Additionally, while a consumer’s trust in your links is always very important, the Walmart.com affiliate program also doesn’t have the requirement of having to mention the store in close proximity of the link which can often be a challenge on social media. These are all things that Amazon’s affiliate operating agreement bans.
Second, the deep catalog and inventory that Walmart brings to it’s ecommerce store, as well as it’s recent introduction of including 3rd party sellers via it’s “Marketplace”, means that many of the products that can be found on Amazon.com can also be found on Walmart.com.
Walmart.com + Geniuslink
As of June 2019, if you go sign up for the Walmart affiliate program, you’re going to be signing up for the program as managed by Impact. Affiliates who signed up before that date are likely still using the older program managed by Rakuten Marketing. Both programs are still officially supported and we haven’t heard of any plans to deprecate the Rakuten program. Now that we’ve updated our own UI to accommodate this change, both programs can be used within the Geniuslink dashboard. The Geniuslink dashboard accepts affiliate IDs from either program.
If you’re a newcomer to the Walmart affiliate program, you can sign up here.
While the Walmart.com affiliate program offers a range of link creation tools via the Rakuten Marketing & Impact dashboards, it’s still a bit of a process to take a product link from the Walmart.com site and convert it into a fully functioning affiliate network.
We are excited to announce, however, that any Walmart.com product link can now be used in a geni.us link and you can rest assured that all clicks on it will be sent to the correct destination with a properly formatted affiliate tracking link.
We call this process “Auto affiliation” and it’s very simple to set up. You simply need to grab your Partner ID from your Walmart Affiliate dashboard (managed by Rakuten or Impact) and drop it into Geniuslink. Once we have your Partner ID all of your geni.us links for Walmart.com will start using the tracking info appropriate for your affiliate account. Additional information on adding your Walmart.com affiliate information into your Geniuslink account can be found in our Knowledge Base (Rakuten or Impact).
Please note our recent rollout of VigLink and Skimlinks support also enables you monetize Walmart.com links through either of these monetization platforms. There are multiple benefits of using VigLink or Skimlinks but signing up directly and adding your Partner ID directly into Geniuslink allows you to keep 100% of your commissions earned from the program (vs. the ~ 75% that is paid out when using an affiliate aggregator).
Further, it’s important to note that we currently only support auto-affiliation for Walmart.com but have plans to support the Walmart.com.mx (Mexico) affiliate program, Walmart.com.br (Brazil) affiliate program, and the Walmart.ca (Canada) affiliate program in the near future.
Excited to try out using Geniuslink with the Walmart.com affiliate program? We have a few suggestions if you are up for a challenge and want to experiment with augmenting your Amazon affiliate links.
A/B Split Links – The Amazon.com Associates program is often a mainstay way to earn commissions from US-based clicks, though we’d encourage you to test if its the best option for your audience and recommended products. The A/B Split Test links provide a platform to closely track between two or more affiliate programs.
Choice Pages – We believe that curation and choice is good for the consumer and have built out Choice Pages to enable you to promote a single product but offer multiple destinations for the consumer to choose from (and you’ll monetize the sale either way). You can see an example here — geni.us/InstapotChoice — and we bet you’ll see a boost in overall conversions and total commissions. More info on how to set up a Choice Page can be found in our Knowledge Base.
In the last few weeks we’ve rolled out support for monetizing your links in a number of ways with the launch of direct auto affiliation for Walmart.com, as well as B&H Photo Video, and thousands of other affiliate programs via integrations with VigLink and Skimlinks. And we are just getting started.
We look forward to hearing your feedback.