If you’re working to promote a brand, a service business or just about any other type of business, both types of marketing will be useful for you to know about. There are quite a few similarities and areas of overlap between these types of marketing, but there are also distinct differences. Let’s take a look at the most important similarities and differences between influencer marketing and affiliate marketing.
The merchant is the retailer or brand that is trying to attract users or make sales. The network is the store which contains offers for the affiliates to chose from and handles the payments. The publisher is the affiliate who is producing content that attracts users or managing the website that your ads appear on. The customer is the user who visits the affiliates website then is referred to the merchant website and converts.
In an affiliate marketing business, the affiliate supplies the merchant with their leads. Thus, you’re not necessarily the product expert. As a result, the merchant handles all customer support issues. If the customer isn’t satisfied with their product, the merchant handles the refund. If a customer needs help with a specific aspect, the merchant is responsible for helping them. Thus, when it comes to customer inquiries all you need to do is direct customers to the merchant.
At the end of the day, I have two things to say. First, neither option is better overall than the other. It all comes down to how much effort you put into it, what connections you make, what you’re willing to invest, and the fickle vagaries of luck. Second, absolutely nothing says you’re limited to just one or the other. You can always build a dropshipping storefront and augment that income with affiliate marketing. No one can stop you but your competition and your own lack of ambition.

Hi Jamie, awesome content that is very helpful esp with the resources, links and the rich discussions. Want to start e-commerce and blog for money…selling others products, want to go full on with this, tired of the daily routine crunch working for others. I live in a developing country (PNG) that has high internet costs (work still in progress with getting rates down…) so will see how I go with your posts. Any advise? Don’t have a website yet, have to build one I guess….
When comparing dropshipping vs affiliate marketing, dropshipping tends to be a little less risky in various ways. First, like an affiliate marketing business, dropshipping doesn’t carry inventory nor does it ship goods. This makes both models pretty low risk. However, with dropshipping, the risk is even lower as your funds become available each week. With an affiliate marketing business, there may be thresholds you need to reach before you can cash out your first cheque. For example, if you’re an Amazon affiliate outside of the US, you can only be paid by cheque or gift card. However, to receive the cheque you must have made at least $100. Yet, not everyone succeeds at making $100, when the percentages are really low. With dropshipping, you get paid what you made.
Some advertisers offer multi-tier programs that distribute commission into a hierarchical referral network of sign-ups and sub-partners. In practical terms, publisher "A" signs up to the program with an advertiser and gets rewarded for the agreed activity conducted by a referred visitor. If publisher "A" attracts publishers "B" and "C" to sign up for the same program using his sign-up code, all future activities performed by publishers "B" and "C" will result in additional commission (at a lower rate) for publisher "A".
Focus on reviewing products that fall within your niche. Then, leveraging the rapport you have created with your audience and your stance as an expert, tell your readers why they would benefit from purchasing the product you are promoting. It is especially effective to compare this product to others in the same category. Most importantly, make sure you are generating detailed, articulate content to improve conversions.