Top 5 UK Affiliate Marketing Programs

There are a number of affiliate marketing programs available to use, all with different benefits and drawbacks. As a newcomer to the world of affiliate marketing, it can be very difficult to choose the platform that is right for you and your business. So with that in mind, I’ve been reviewing the different affiliate marketing platforms that I have worked with from both an advertiser and a publisher perspective.

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Google Trusted Stores (Now Certified Shops) Comes to the UK

Google officially announced on the 30th of October 2013 that its’ Trusted Stores program was being introduced to the UK under the name Google Certified Shops.

The Trusted Stores program was launched in USA start of 2012, and moved out of beta in July 2012.

By monitoring merchants Google assigns a score to participating retailers. Scores are based on accurate shipping and customer service. They will then display a badge on the retailers website which shows the retailers score in these areas.

Google Trusted Stores Badge

For shoppers the program allows them to identify stores that can deliver a great shopping experience, and any customer that agrees to participate in the program are eligible for a purchase protection of up to £1000.

By providing a shipment feed and a cancellation feed to Google they will monitor performance against a list of SLAs set in their merchant guidelines. As long as the retailer meet these SLAs a badge will be displayed their site, and also against ther Google Ads indicating that they are a Google Certified Shop.

As well as the feeds Google will also take customer details from the order confirmation page. When a customer places an order they will be asked if they wish to participate in the Google Trusted Stores program.

For merchants it can not only improve your conversion rate and order size, but it can also help improve your business practices.

Benefits of Google Certified Shops (Trusted Stores)

The obvious benefit of being part of the Trusted Stores program is the added trust benefit.

There are a number of case studies on companies in the USA who have participated in the program. Merchants in the states have seen an average of +4% in conversions but appears to be a larger increase for lesser known, smaller, online-only companies – Case Studies. Case StudyBeaucoup Case Study


The lucky partners who have gotten onto the the Beta for Certified Shops are: ‎ ‎

Certified Shops is completely free, and I’m sure Google will be making a big deal out of this over the coming months so expect it to appear in various places (Ads, Organics, Google Shopping – the possibilities go on!).

You can read the official launch post here on the Google UK Google+ page.

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The Importance of Customer Service in the Digital Age

Unfortunately it is all too common to see businesses forget to focus on customer service when they launch an online strategy. However, with review sites becoming more and more popular as a way for consumers to vent their anger, retailers have got to ensure their customer service is spot on! You could have a perfectly optimised website and a brilliant marketing strategy but these will be in vain if searches for your brand bring up a hoard of negative reviews.

There are many review services out there and they are becoming more and more popular. Personally, I review pretty much everything I can as I feel it is important to share more experiences with other web users. That is what Web 2.0 is all about – sharing information. Two sites that I frequently use for reviews are Trip Advisor and Trustpilot, and as you can see from my profiles I review both good and bad experiences. This, in a way, makes me a little unusual as you tend to find people are far more inclined to review a bad experience than a good one, and this is where the importance of customer service comes in to play.

I was once told a happy customer could potentially win you another customer, but an unhappy one could loose you 100s. These figures are obviously not 100% accurate, but they’re also on the right track. With the growing use of social media tools a customer happy with their purchase may share a product they’ve purchased on Facebook which in turn may encourage another friend to purchase the same product, or another from that site. However, someone dissatisfied with a company may not only use Facebook, Twitter, Blogging etc. to rant about their poor experience (see my rant about E.on on Trustpilot for a really good example of a rant!) but they can also publish these negative reviews on a number of websites! Once these reviews start to build up they can have a seriously negative impact on your business!

How to avoid negative feedback

The most obvious one is provide good customer service from the offset! Ensure everything from your pay-per-click adverts to your prices is accurate and honest. Make sure your customer service team is the best you can get – customer service agents are so often overlooked as being a vital part of a business, however without them it’s surprising how quickly things will fall apart!

Secondly, listen to what your customers have to say and be open to constructive criticism. If a number of your clients complain about an aspect of your service or website CHANGE IT! When it comes to business it is not about what you want it is about what your customer wants!

Now every company will get negative reviews from time to time, it’s to be expected as you cannot possibly please everybody, but if you listen to what people are saying about your company and provide them with an excellent service from the word go you’re definitely on the right track!

On a final note about the importance of customer service I leave you with this article I read a few months ago. If you can go above and beyond the call of duty for your customers then do so – it might just pay off.