The Amazon Local Associates Program: Refer & Earn

The Amazon  Local Associates Program: Refer & Earn
October 30 12:00 2017 Print This Article

 Like millions of others I use Amazon.com to purchase just about everything. While Amazon has created one of the most successful e-commerce platforms in regard to convenience and price, it has also given consumers the opportunity to earn money for referring other consumers to their site. Piers Heaton-Armstrong is the Vice President, Affiliate Marketing at Amazon and I had the honor of talking to him about how the Amazon Local Associates program works. Here’s how it went:


 Jay : Amazon has created one of the most successful platforms for both merchants and consumers. By adding the Local Associates Program you’ve been able to leverage both sides of the transaction to continue to drive sales. What inspired you and the Amazon team to create this platform?

Piers: The Local Associates Program is an extension of our long running Amazon Associates program, which has enabled websites and bloggers to earn money referring customers to Amazon for over 20 years. Websites and blogs can influence customers on what products to buy and where to buy them, and the Associates program has been a great way for customers and website owners to benefit from that expertise. We recognized that influencers extend beyond the digital world into the physical environment and built the Local Associates program to enable retailers and service providers, who may not necessarily have a big digital presence, to earn from their referrals.
Jay: Aside from the accomplishment of getting thousands of businesses to sign up, what data have you been able to retrieve so far as to what kind of sales rewards participants have received from making recommendations?

Piers: The program has only been live for a few weeks, but businesses earn different commission rates based on what kind of products they refer customers to buy. The rates we pay are aligned with the underlying margin structure of the product category. Businesses that participate in the Local Associates Program will earn higher rates for referring luxury products for example, than they will referring flat screen TVs. The rate card is available online at www.amazon.com/localassociates.

Jay :What kind of recommendation have you seen to work the best and produce the best results so far?

Piers: Local Associates that have set up their product recommendations page on Amazon and are referring products that complement their core business are doing the best. For example, a hair salon can’t stock hundreds of different hairdryers or straightening irons, but can recommend favorite products and send customers to their page on Amazon to buy them.

Jay : Millennials have changed the playing field in so many ways. The ability to share information and experiences on social media has enabled consumers to educate themselves prior to any purchase in a way that is completely unprecedented. Has this element enabled the Associates Program to attract the millennial audience?

Piers: Yes. Millennials are still very much into blogging, and so have been benefiting from the Associates program for some time. But millennials are spending more and more time on social media and often follow trusted friends and well-known celebrities and social media influencers. We recognize this and recently launched an influencer-specific Associates program that enables influencers to earn money by sharing content to their social media sites. It works the same way as Local Associates – they get a dedicated page on Amazon, which they add recommended products to, and then earn money when they send their viewers/visitors to that page and they transact.

Jay: I’ve been a longtime Amazon fan- I buy everything on Amazon and have always been pleased with the service. What’s your perspective as an insider and a VP, what are some of the “secret ingredients” that have made and continue to make Amazon so successful in so many different areas?

Piers: Great question.  The biggest ingredient, which isn’t much of a secret, is that we are completely customer obsessed. Everything we do at Amazon starts with the customer and works backwards from there. For example, if someone on the team has an idea for a new product or program, the starting point is that they write a press release and accompanying FAQs (frequently asked questions). The press release is written from the customer perspective, and in a style that would be relevant if you, the customer, were reading about that product or program for the first time. This process helps everyone understand what problems we are trying to solve and why it is good for our customers. If you put your customer first, every time, you’ll be thinking like we do at Amazon.


Piers Heaton-Armstrong is the VP, Affiliate Marketing at Amazon. Piers has extensive experience with digital sales and marketing executive. Auditable track record in growing online businesses profitably. A strong product development and product marketing background in ever changing digital entertainment environments.

His specialties include: Affiliate Marketing, Digital media & marketing, building and managing international teams, e-commerce, building online businesses, video services & video monetization, social media, general management, change management, strategic partnerships, International trends, Mobile, online advertising, music subscription services, video subscription services, product marketing & management, Digital Strategy, iphone applications, droid applications, web applications.

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