As a beginner affiliate marketer, you have a crucial decision: Which affiliate program do you sign up for first?
Ideally, you want to use a program that pays high commissions, offers in-demand products, and has reliable shipping/customer support.
It also doesn’t hurt to choose a beginner-friendly program with lots of free training/educational materials.
Both companies are behemoths of online shopping and retail (they’re the top 2 retailers in the world, Amazon at #1, and Walmart at #2), and they each rake in billions from their affiliate programs each year – which means opportunity for you.
Not only that, but Walmart and Amazon are goldmines for finding in-demand products that you can sell through your website, blog, app, or social media account. No matter what niche you’re in, you’ll be able to find products related to it through both companies.
That includes health and wellness, beauty, pets, electronics, outdoor gear, cosmetics, and thousands of others.
Most affiliate programs aren’t created equal, so, if you had to pick one as your primary affiliate program – which one will work best for your needs? After all, the last thing you want is to focus on the wrong program and wind up with fewer commissions than you would have if you went the other way.
To determine which affiliate program you should focus on, we’re putting the Walmart affiliate vs. Amazon affiliate program in this ultimate comparison guide.
We’ll compare the most attractive features of each affiliate program, including any noticeable downsides. Read on to discover which program will emerge victorious in this tense matchup.
What is Affiliate Marketing & How to Make $ with It
Have you never promoted a product through your website or blog before? If not, you’re probably wondering what affiliate marketing is all about.
Even if you aren’t familiar with the term, the chances are high that you’ve seen affiliate marketing in action during your daily life. For example, do you follow any YouTubers that interrupt their videos for a ‘brief word from their sponsor?’
From there, they go into a pitch about the benefits of a particular product (usually a mobile game, razor, or subscription service).
Next, they provide a ‘promo code’ that you can use at checkout for a special discount or perk when purchasing the product they just advertised.
If you follow the link and enter the code to buy the product, the YouTuber will receive a commission from the company.
Note: Some content creators really do get actual ‘sponsored’ deals – where they get paid to mention a product with or without a promo code or affiliate relationship.
Well, that’s the affiliate marketing business model in a nutshell.
It’s where you independently promote a company’s products or services for a piece of each sale you land with your ‘affiliate link’ (a link from your website, blog, or social media profile to the product page in question).
Affiliate marketing is nothing new and has been around for many years. In fact, Amazon has one of the oldest & best affiliate programs (especially online), as Amazon Associates has been around since 1996.
Yet, affiliate marketing has exploded in popularity in recent years due to the prevalence of social media influencers and ecommerce companies. Smaller companies found that they could use affiliates online to promote and gain visibility for their products, and influencers found that being an affiliate was a tremendous extra revenue stream.
Affiliate marketing is set to reach $8.2 billion in 2022, which is up from 5.4 billion in 2017, so it’s not going anywhere.
Making Money as an Affiliate
Another reason affiliate marketing programs are so popular is that many of them are free to try for anyone. That’s true of both Amazon and Walmart, so you can immediately start promoting products after joining the programs.
To make money, you’ll need to promote consumer products in an appealing way to your audience.
It’s much easier if you have an existing following or large audience for your website, blog, or social media accounts.
Yet, you can still participate in affiliate marketing even if you don’t have a massive online following.
As long as you promote products that consumers want, use compelling CTAs in your affiliate links, create stellar content for your audience, and market through the proper channels – you can make money as an affiliate.
How much money can you make?
It will depend on your niche, the size of your audience, and the platform that you end up choosing. Without further ado, let’s look at Amazon and Walmart’s affiliate programs to see what they offer.
Amazon Affiliate Program: Key Highlights
Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world, and Amazon Associates is one of the most renowned affiliate programs on the internet.
It helps that there are over 200 million products that you can promote through Amazon, and that number grows all the time – as they add one new product a day on average. That means you won’t have trouble finding high-quality products related to your niche.
Not only that but there are thousands of digital products for sale on Amazon as well. These are products like books on Kindle, video games, subscription services, movies, and more.
If you want to become an Amazon Associate today, all you have to do is sign up for free to get started. The signup process is simple. You can learn more about Amazon Associates and how to get started here.
Once you sign up, you’ll gain access to the Amazon Affiliate Dashboard, where you’ll be able to explore your settings and link creation options. You’ll gain instant access to Amazon Site Stripe tool, which makes basic affiliate link creation easy. From there, you can quickly and easily add your link to your web pages, blog posts, social media posts, or anywhere else that is allowed by Amazon.
Whenever someone clicks your affiliate link, Amazon tracks their activity. If the person buys any item on Amazon (it doesn’t have to be the item you promoted) within 24 hours, you’ll earn a commission for it. The amount will depend on the commission rate for the type of product that you’re selling.
Affiliate marketers flock to Amazon for its trust and sheer volume. Average commission rates on Amazon aren’t very high – but that is easily offset by Amazon’s recognition and trust.
Online shoppers don’t hesitate to purchase from Amazon and hundreds of millions already have their credit card and shipping information stored on the platform. Promoting products on Amazon as an affiliate is a no-brainer.
Amazon’s high reliability
Another highlight of Amazon’s program is how reliable the company is at shipping goods on time. They also have an excellent return policy. Both are sure to keep customers happy so you can keep raking in the commissions.
A risk that many smaller affiliate programs face is the parent company going bankrupt, bringing an abrupt end to your revenue stream.
That’s why affiliate marketers enjoy using Amazon’s program, as it’s doubtful that they’ll go out of operation anytime soon. This sense of security is a big reason why Amazon’s affiliate program is so popular.
They also have an impeccable sales funnel on their website, which will positively affect your affiliate efforts.
How is that?
It’s because of their excellent product recommendation carousels. Their’ customers also bought’ section is notorious for upselling and cross-selling customers.
Let’s say that you’re promoting guitar picks through your affiliate link. An interested customer clicks on your link but decides to buy a guitar tuner through the ‘customers also bought’ section instead.
Do you still get a commission?
The answer is yes. Since the purchase was made through your affiliate link, you’ll receive a commission for any product they buy going through it within 24 hours of the affiliate link click. That’s why Amazon’s funnel is your best friend as an affiliate marketer.
Demo AmaLinks Pro®: How to Increase Amazon Commissions
AmaLinks Pro® (a WordPress plugin for Amazon affiliates) will supercharge your Amazon affiliate efforts if you use WordPress for your website or blog. It’s highly intuitive and beginner-friendly, and you can use it to save time, earn higher commissions, and expand your reach.
Pro tip: You won’t gain access to Amazon’s Product Advertising API until you land your first three sales or commissions.
That proves challenging for beginners, and you won’t be able to access Amazon’s product data without the API.
That’s why we developed the only Amazon affiliate WordPress plugin that has a No-API mode. This enables you to manually create high-converting showcase boxes or tables without API access and quickly land your first three commissions. AmaLinks Pro® can seamlessly switch between API and No-API mode, which is something other apps can’t do.
In No-API mode, you can still use our stunning product showcases boxes, call-to-action-buttons, comparison tables and more.
AmaLinks Pro® also features up-to-date prices updated in real-time, total compliance with Amazon’s policies, stunning image and text links, and so much more.
To learn more about using AmaLinks Pro®, check out this in-depth demo to see the plugin in action.
Walmart Affiliate Program: Main Highlights
Walmart is the world’s second-largest retailer and has many physical locations worldwide.
They also do a massive amount of business online, and their affiliate program is widely used across the internet.
Walmart has two programs for third parties to make money – Walmart Affiliates and Walmart Marketplace. Walmart Affiliates is their affiliate marketing program, and Walmart Marketplace is where third-party merchants can sell their products.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on Walmart Affiliates.
The program is handled by Impact Radius, the same company that manages Target’s affiliate program. As a result, the two are pretty similar – as they both allow affiliates to use banner ads, links, and other tools to promote products.
Much like Amazon, Walmart has an incredibly massive inventory. There are 7 million products available to promote through the program, which, while it doesn’t come close to Amazon, it’s still an impressive number.
You can promote everything from 3D printers to flat-screen TVs, cosmetics, and many more products spanning nearly every niche.
To join the Walmart affiliate program, you must first receive the company’s approval. Despite this, the program is free to join, and anyone can apply. To receive approval, you’ll need:
- An active website or blog
- Relevant Walmart information and direct links to Walmart pages on your website (hours of operation, grocery delivery, store locator, etc.)
It’s imperative to include direct links to Walmart products and services on your website to ensure you make it past the approval process. To play it safe, try to include at least one link and relevant information on your website or blog before applying to the program.
Product links and banner ads will be your bread and butter when promoting Walmart products, so it’s essential to get used to strategically placing them on your site.
To find the most success, only place them on web pages that relate to the product you’re promoting. As an example, if you’re writing a blog post about a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, a banner ad for a cookie sheet from Walmart is a perfect fit.
Since they’re primarily a brick-and-mortar business specializing in physical products, Walmart’s affiliate commissions are on the low side.
In general, affiliates earn a 1% – 4% commission per sale made through their links. That’s due to the money Walmart spends on shipping, production, and advertising.
So if you plan on using Walmart as a way to monetize your blog, you’ll want to optimize your content to prioritize selling high volumes of products to make it worth your while.
8 Walmart vs. Amazon Pros & Cons
Now that you’ve got a handle on the basics of both programs, it’s time for the main event – the Walmart Affiliate vs. Amazon Affiliate battle. Let’s directly compare the pros and cons of each to see which will emerge as the perfect affiliate program for your needs.
Of course, both programs are totally legit, and you can make real money using both.
Yet, you don’t want to pick up a few extra dollars here and there – you want to monetize your blog and eventually quit your day job.
That’s why you’ll need to be extremely strategic when selecting your flagship affiliate program. Make the right decision, and you’ll enjoy an almost passive stream of revenue from your efforts.
Choose poorly, and you’ll only wind up with a pittance or next to no money at all.
Beyond the program you choose, your success will also depend on the quality of your marketing efforts. That means creating relevant content that caters to your target audience while also promoting affiliate products.
3 Amazon Associates “Pros” To Review
First, let’s take a look at the benefits of signing up for Amazon’s program.
A massive benefit of choosing Amazon is how beginner-friendly their program is – with plenty of educational materials and training programs available through their Resource Center.
You’ll find tons of helpful videos, blog posts, testimonials, marketing tips, and much more there.
Amazon has built a strong community around its affiliate program, which is great news for beginners. The Amazon Associates team is always posting helpful content, and Amazon Associates community members contribute as well.
That means you can learn how to monetize your traffic from successful affiliates that know what it’s like to be in your shoes.
All these resources are invaluable for newbies, and they’re something that you just won’t find at Walmart. For this reason, the Amazon affiliate program is a must for beginners. Beyond that, the wealth of information in the Resource Center is also helpful to intermediates and advanced affiliates.
Amazon is no rookie when it comes to tracking sales. In fact, they have one of the most robust cookie tracking systems.
That’s good news for you, as it means Amazon won’t lose track of any sales you make through your links. Even if a user clicks on your affiliate link on their mobile device but makes the purchase on their desktop – Amazon will count it as a sale and pay you a commission.
Amazing Sales Funnel
You gain access to their excellent sales funnel when you sign up as an Amazon affiliate. After all, their funnel is a big reason why Amazon was able to climb to the top of the retail chain in the first place.
Every aspect of Amazon’s website is configured to encourage users to buy something before they leave.
So if someone clicks on your affiliate link, the chances are high that they’ll leave the website having purchased something. As stated before, even if they choose a recommended product instead of the one you linked to, it will still count as a sale.
2 Amazon Associates “Cons”
No affiliate program is perfect, even one from Amazon. Bearing that in mind, let’s take a look at the top downsides of signing up to be an Amazon Associate.
You Can’t Use PayPal
A noticeable downside to Amazon is that they don’t pay commissions via PayPal. For many affiliate programs, PayPal is the go-to for paying commissions outside the US.
Yet, if you use Amazon Associates, PayPal is a no-go. Instead, they rely exclusively on checks, bank transfers, and gift cards. This may be a minor inconvenience for some, but not a deal-breaker.
Short Commission Timeframe
Whenever someone clicks on your affiliate link, they have 24 hours to make a purchase before it no longer counts as a sale for you.
That’s a noticeable downside, as other affiliate programs, such as Walmart’s, offer two or even three days for users to make a sale once clicking on your link. However, the fact that you get credit for anything that somebody purchases within that 24 hours more than makes up for this.
2 Walmart Affiliates “Pros” to Consider
Alt tag: A smartphone open on the Walmart affiliate app.
Here are the main perks of using Walmart’s affiliate program.
With Walmart, you can toggle deep linking on and off.
What’s deep linking?
It’s where your affiliate link directs users to specific product pages. With Walmart, you can choose to link to a product page, or you can link to its homepage, related product pages, and more.
It’s a way to increase conversions, making shopping for products more convenient for the user.
Another exclusive perk to Walmart is the ability to use link cloaking. That’s where you’ cloak’ a long, ugly affiliate link with custom anchor text.
That way, you’re left with concise links that look cleaner and can better encourage users to click on them. Amazon doesn’t allow link cloaking, which limits your ability to use branded terminology in your affiliate links.
2 Walmart Affiliates “Cons”
Here are the drawbacks involved with choosing Walmart’s affiliate program.
Due to their low payouts, you’ll have to work twice as hard to make money using Walmart’s program. For most products, you’ll earn about a 4% commission, and for others, it’s even lower.
Let’s say you sell a video game through your affiliate link priced at $60. Not bad, right?
Walmart Affiliate Program pays a whopping 1% commissions on video games, meaning that you’ll only earn a measly 60 cents. You’ll need to be highly strategic with the types of products you select from Walmart to ensure you make a profit.
Not Beginner Friendly
Walmart Affiliates lacks the robust community that Amazon has going for it. As a result, the Walmart Affiliates program is often too overwhelming for beginners. Not only are there tons of products to choose from, but there’s a noticeable lack of training and educational materials.
AmaLinks Pro®: Pricing Options for Every Situation
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AmaLinks Pro® is in total compliance with Amazon’s policies, so you’ll never have trouble with violations or penalties.
Pricing-wise, we have options available for every budget level. With one of our annual Premium or Platinum plans, you’ll gain access to thousands of niche ideas as a bonus. That way, you can quickly and easily identify types of products to promote that are picture-perfect for your target audience. You can find out more about our pricing options here.
Walmart vs. Amazon Requirements You Need to Know
As far as joining each program, both are completely free to join. For Walmart, you’ll need an active blog or website to initiate the process.
From there, you’ll need to enter information such as your URL, name, location, and more.
Walmart requires that you have relevant links and information on your page before approval.
So if you’re planning on using Walmart, you’ll need to add some links and company information to your website.
Amazon doesn’t require this, as there’s no internal approval process. Yet, you will need to land 3 sales within 180 days to remain in the program. You’ll also need to maintain 3 sales per month to retain access to the API.
For Amazon, you need an active website, blog, app, social media account, or YouTube channel. You’ll also need to enter information such as:
- Phone number
- Information about your website, blog, or YouTube channel
- If your audience is likely to buy from Amazon or not
Once that’s complete, you’ll receive an affiliate code, and you’re all set to get started.
Walmart vs. Amazon Commission Structure & Cookie Length
A vast difference lies in the commission structure of each program. As stated before, Amazon has a higher commission structure than Walmart (in some categories). That’s due to a few reasons, such as that Amazon is primarily online and sells digital products.
Here’s a direct comparison of each commission structure:
Note: The following rates are just examples and are subject to change based on date and/or your location. Be sure to check current rates on the respective website for each.
- Cosmetics and baby products – 4%
- Clothing, home, and health – 4%
- Electronics, movies, music, and books – 1%
- Jewelry, toys, and accessories – 4%
- Contact lenses – 10%
- Video games – 1%
- All others – 4
As you can see, you’ll get the most bang for your buck if you promote contact lenses from Walmart.
- Amazon video games – 20%
- Luxury beauty products, Amazon Explore digital products – 10%
- Electronics, computer parts, and accessories – 5%
- Personal care products – 6%
- Home products – 9%
- Musical instruments – 4%
- Shoes, watches, and apparel – 5%
- Jewelry – 5%
- Tools and home improvement – 9%
Video games, luxury products, and tools tend to pay the highest commissions on Amazon, so bear that in mind when choosing items to promote.
For cookies, Walmart has an impressive 3-day cookie length. That means your customers will have three days to make a purchase from the time they click on your affiliate link.
That provides more wiggle room than Amazon, which only has a 24-hour cookie length. On Amazon, customers will only have one day (24 hours) to purchase for it to count as a commission.
However, Amazon gives you credit for ANY item purchased during this time period, not just the item that was promoted. There is a catch to this, though, so it’s not all bad news.
If a customer clicks on your affiliate link and adds an item to their cart within 24 hours, they then have 90 days to checkout. That means if someone adds a product to their cart but doesn’t actually buy it until two months later, you’ll still receive credit and a commission.
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Walmart vs. Amazon Eligibility & How to Join Each
To be eligible to join the Amazon Associates program, you already know that you need an active website, blog, or YouTube channel. Yet, your website must meet specific standards to be considered a ‘suitable’ website. Your website will be seen as unsuitable if:
- It promotes or contains sexually explicit content
- It promotes or contains violent content
- It contains harmful or defamatory information
- It collects information from children under the age of 13
- It promotes or undertakes illegal activities
- It has Amazon trademarks/logos that are misspelled/variated
- It violates any existing intellectual property rights
You’re eligible to join the Amazon or Walmart program if your website does not violate any of these standards. Both are free to join, so you won’t have to put any money down.
Walmart Affiliate vs. Amazon Affiliate Program: Which One Should You Choose?
Now that we’ve compared every aspect of each affiliate program, it’s time to raise the hand of the winner.
The Victor: Amazon Associates
Amazon’s affiliate program beats out Walmart in just about every way:
- higher commissions
- more educational materials for beginners
- more products to sell
- and better customer support
Walmart’s affiliate program is no slouch, and it’s still a great way to make money, but its low payouts and confusing layout are no match for Amazon.
Not only that, but you have the option to use AmaLinks Pro® when you sign up as an Amazon Affiliate, which can help you double your commissions (or more), find niche products to sell, and so much more. Please don’t wait to check out our AmaLinks Pro® demo to discover all of the plugin’s impressive features.