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Shopify connects content publishers with retailers.

A new service through Shopify is enabling content publishers to link to retailers within the Shopify network, all in exchange for a portion of any resulting sales.

The move represents a step into performance marketing that could offer a way for publishers to diversify their affiliate revenue beyond Amazon, which has become a kind of monopoly in affiliate. Buzzfeed is already using the service, according to an article on The Information. The new program allows publishers to embed links that take readers to products from Shopify retailers, which could appeal to customers who prefer smaller and more sustainable outlets over Amazon.

“I don't think it will pose a direct challenge to Amazon's program because Shopify's shops are more like brands versus Amazon's experience is more like being in one shop buying individual items. That being said, it does help further increase the market share of the affiliate industry and gives publishers more diverse revenue opportunities since Amazon just cut their commission nearly in half last year” commented Rita Ma, of FindourView.

Though Shopify can claim some large companies on its platform, including Kylie Cosmetics, KKW Beauty and ColourPop, a lot of its retailers are small businesses. If the program expands to these retailers, the opportunity to benefit from affiliate marketing is a big one if such businesses can get their names and products in front of the right publishers. Shopify’s service will allow publishers to create their own Shopify web stores, meaning readers or viewers could use Shopify without actually leaving the publisher’s site.

So far, Shopify only has a few retailers using the program, though it is expected to expand it. According to The Information article, publishers can work out commissions directly with retailers.

It remains to be seen how much the new program will function as an encroachment on Amazon’s control of the affiliate marketing space, but it’s one to watch.

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