Shopify unveils new feature to connect UK sellers with influencers

Following success in the US and Canada, UK sellers can sign up to the Shopify ‘Collabs’ influencer network from today.

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Helena Young

Global ecommerce platform Shopify has today debuted its ‘Collabs’ influencer marketing feature in the UK. The new software will help online sellers to more easily partner with creators for affiliate marketing.

For brands on Shopify, the Collabs Network is designed to streamline merchant-creator partnerships. Retailers can manage their entire affiliate program end-to-end, from recruiting influencers to automatically paying commissions.

Shopify claims the new feature will remove friction and wasted time – both for sellers and their partners. According to the company, organisations like French Connection and Three Spirit Drinks have already signed up to the program, alongside over half a million creators.

Deann Evans, managing director, Shopify EMEA, said: “For brands looking to reach new customers, at a time when the cost of customer acquisition has gone up by as much as 80%, Shopify Collabs enables easier, more efficient and more profitable collaboration.”

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How does Shopify Collabs work?

Shopify Collabs acts as an all-in-one system for acquiring, managing, and monitoring affiliate partnerships.

Companies that qualify for Collabs, and make their store and products discoverable, can set a commission on their products. These offers will be automatically shown to all verified Collabs creators in the app, who can then sign up to begin producing promotional content.

Shopify Collabs can also be used to manage the relationship, supplying creators with everything they need. Brands can generate unique links or discount codes, and influencers can share the merchant’s products with their engaged audiences.

Preview of the Shopify Collabs software on the Shopify mobile app

Preview of the Shopify Collabs software on the Shopify mobile app

Because Collabs is on Shopify, the entire process is managed centrally from the Shopify admin, which means inventory, order, and customer information are kept up to date, giving a real-time view of which creators are driving the most sales.

Payment can also be automated through the Shopify billing system, reducing the time spent on admin, such as creating invoices and gaining approval. All commission payments to creators will be subject to an additional 2.9% payment processing fee, payable by the merchant.

Shopify Collabs eligibility

Merchants that sign up to join the new program must complete their profile within the Collabs Network. They must also meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Have at least one product on their Shopify store
  • Have set up auto-payments. Collabs Network uses auto-payouts only
  • Have generated at least $10,000 (approx. £7,800) in sales in the past 12 months

Sellers who operate a dropshipping store – one of the most popular cheap small business ideas for today’s entrepreneurs – will not be able to use the software. Stores that use dropshipping are currently not accepted into Collabs Network.

Shopify Collabs is free for creators and merchants on the Shopify, Advanced, or Shopify Plus plans. Those who would like to apply to the program can do so through the Collabs Network dashboard.

What is an affiliate network?

Affiliate marketing has been growing in popularity, in tandem with the acceleration of the UK’s creator economy. As influencer numbers boom, savvy businesses are seeking out ways to capitalise on the trend for cost-effective brand promotion.

Creators who produce content directing customers to a retailer are paid a fee per click commission. This can be a small percentage of the total purchase amount, or a set amount for each referral.

Is affiliate marketing successful? The figures speak for themselves. According to data from Forrester, affiliate marketing is ranked in the top three customer acquisition channels for 54% of marketers. That’s higher than both organic search (16%) and display ads (15%).

Getting involved can be tricky for small retailers, however. SMEs early in their growth strategy may lack the same level of awareness as large brands, meaning it can be harder to attract influencers.

Affiliate networks such as Shopify Collabs can facilitate introductions between entrepreneurs and relevant influencers. Merchants can search on the software to find influencers and contact them directly. They can then use these relationships to access new audiences and supercharge their marketing strategy.

Evans concludes: “By introducing the Collabs Network in the UK, Shopify is making it even easier for creators to access more parts of the Shopify platform, work with an unparalleled range of innovative businesses, and turn their projects into full-time viable businesses.

“By having greater visibility of how they can work together, creators and brands can deepen their relationships and give consumers easy access to the products they want.”

More on this: to discover other ways to market your business online, read our guide to the top digital marketing trends for 2023.

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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