Toys R Us has been a household name since it opened its doors in 1957. Now with 64000 employees and 245 stores in 37 countries, Toys R Us have filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. But is this just another case of the online world growing and overtaking the traditional bricks and mortar businesses? Why do people turn to online stores like Amazon and EBay instead of buying from a Toys R Us store?
The secret to online success?
One thing that will no doubt be overlooked by many people is the Toys R Us affiliate program. Whilst Toys R Us are struggling to pay back masses of debt, many of their online competitors are thriving. Amazon is now an online giant and one reason for their success is due to the fact that they offer a great affiliate program. The Amazon associates affiliate program is used by millions of online marketers, driving up the profits for Amazon.
A good affiliate program is essential for any big name these days. Affiliate marketers work from home in many cases and deliver sales by writing product reviews and recommendations. The likes of Amazon, EBay and Walmart attract online entrepreneurs by the thousands, massively increasing the visibility of these companies whilst driving millions in revenue each year.
The Toys R Us Affiliate Program misses the mark
Unfortunately the United States Toys R Us affiliate program is not in the same league as its competitors to say the least. In fact, after looking at the Toys R Us affiliate program agreement, I think most marketers would simply walk away.
Many affiliate marketers work from the comfort of their own home. Whilst this is a great way to make money online, it is essential that the affiliate program works well. Many online marketers operate their own blog or website and recommend products and services via product reviews. When sales are generated as a result of a recommendation from an affiliate’s website, the marketer gets paid a commission. Lots of affiliate marketers make a good income doing this, but only if the affiliate program works in both the favor of the marketers and the official site in question.
Where the US Toys R Us Affiliate Program Fails
When a visitor arrives at a bloggers website and clicks on a product, a piece of tracking code is left on the visitor’s computer. This tracking code is called a “Cookie” and this is the key to the affiliate being credited for the sale.
Cookies have a life span of anything from a few hours to an entire lifetime. The lifespan for an affiliate Cookie at Amazon is 24 hours. This means that once someone clicks on a recommended product, they have 24 hours to make a purchase and the affiliate will get full credit during that time. However, things are a lot tighter with the U.S. Toys R Us affiliate program.
Are Toys R Us driving affiliates away in the United States?
One thing that is quite odd about the Toys R Us affiliate program is the fact that they are completely different in the United States and the United Kingdom. In the States, Toys R Us offer their affiliate markers a very poor deal. The U.S. affiliate program offers a short 5 hour cookie lifespan, where the UK version offers 30 days. This means that if someone is sent to the Toys R Us website via an affiliate website, they have just 5 hours to make a sale.
The U.S. Toys R Us Affiliate Agreement showing cookie lifespan
It’s very common for people to browse for a long time before making a purchase. This browsing time would quite often exceed 5 hours meaning that affiliates wouldn’t get paid for their marketing efforts. This is completely different in the UK. The U.K. version sill pays 3% commission but also offers a very reasonable 30 day cookie lifespan.
Are Toys R Us loosing money by not offering a decent affiliate program in the United States? Quite possibly.
Will Toys R Us Survive?
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy means that Toys R Us have bought themselves some time to reorganize their business. Whilst it’s true that the future of the business looks bleak, this is make or break time for them. But one thing that we hope to see as we approach the Christmas period, is a fresh approach to the affiliate program. Affiliate marketing is huge in the United States and to turn affiliates away would just be crazy. We hope that in the coming months Toys R Us can take a fresh approach to their business by following in the footsteps of the online giants. I think Toys R Us need to take a serious look at their affiliate program and perhaps they could start by increasing the cookie lifespan in the United States.
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