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How A Japanese Department Store Achieved Targets with Partner Marketing

Aug 30, 2017


I have been involved in affiliate and partner marketing for the last 10 years, where I have been responsible for various advertisers, and have worked hard to help my clients succeed.

Through these years of experience, I have learned two key things brands need to do in order for their partner marketing activities to produce results. I’m going to share these with you by talking about a Japanese deparment store and their success story.

In this story there is Company A and Company B. Company A was a Japanese department store, keen to develop a new customer base, but not currently involved in the partner marketing space. Company B was a big competitor and was already strong in the partner/affiliate space. On top of this, Company B had a large brand presence in Japan.

To open a new revenue channel and compete against Company B, Company A started working with marketing partners and affiliates; and that’s where our relationship began.

When I started working with Company A, I gave them two key insights into how to succeed:

  • Make maximum use of your data.
  • Build strong relationships with your partners.

Always keeping these two insights in mind, Company A undertook the following activities…

1. Selecting ‘The Right’ Partners

Whilst Company B dealt with large partners only, Company A wanted to select partners who were a right fit for their brand, and therefore would drive quality customers, instead of quantity. They decided on a range of partners, from large loyalty sites, to smaller reward partners, each of whom had a customer base that was similar to their own. In selecting a wider pool of partners, they were also opening themselves up to customers where Company B was not.

2. Encouraging Partners to Promote

For Company A, as a department store, promotional periods are strong sale drivers, and for Company A, 70% of annual online sales were supported during these promotional periods. However, Company A wanted to drive more from these promotional periods and decided to encourage its partners to promote products during this time.

In order to maximise sales, Company A incentivised its partners at a higher commission rate, to ensure more promotion and more encouragement of the partner to drive traffic to Company A. Through this strategy, Company A increased sales by 60% over one promotional period.

3. Utilising Data

The initial partner promotions were highly successful, but I knew it was important to analyse our data and learn where to better spend our partner marketing dollars.

I worked with Company A to look at exactly where customers were coming from and what they were buying, to help setup a more diversified commission structure. What we found was that we were seeing a large volume of customers purchasing gifts and so decided to focus to grow this area even more.

In conjunction with Company A, we reached out directly to our key partners to discuss ways we could further promote gifts and increase sales in this area. This helped us to set measurable objectives with each partner and ensure we were really driving growth, whilst rewarding the partner appropriately for pushing the products we wanted to sell more of.

Key Learnings

The reason Company A saw such success ultimately came down to their direct partner relationships, with the right types of partners, and really understanding their data. Whereas Company B simply chose the biggest partners, Company A took the time to work with the right partners for them and setup a range of commission structures that helped them to achieve objectives.

If you want to learn more about diversifying your commission structures and better understanding your data, contact the Performance Horizon team today.

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