If your site is focused on selling a very small selection of products, you may not need a full eCommerce solution to manage the sales of your product(s). In this case, you might have a landing page with an ordering / sign up form to manage transactions for your eCommerce site instead, as you don’t need product catalogs, tags / categories, or a “shop” view.
For example, we’ve talked about creating eCommerce forms with Gravity Forms in the past to manage simple sales forms, and how to use Gravity Forms as a restaurant ordering system. Not every site needs a heavy-duty management system, and plugins like Gravity Forms or Ninja Forms can allow you to create sales forms and accept payments without the overhead of a large eCommerce plugin.
The downside to using a form plugin to manage your sales is that you may miss out on some of the features that eCommerce plugins include, such as the ability to have a customer account section, or to use affiliate referrals to encourage affiliates to promote your site.
Affiliate programs are an excellent way to promote your store, as they essentially provide a commission-only sales team to help drive traffic and customers your way. Affiliates promote your products via content or advertising in exchange for a fee for every converted sale.
If you use a landing page or sales form for your products, affiliates can easily drive traffic to this page to expand your sales efforts. However, if transactions submitted through the form are not tracked, affiliates don’t have an incentive to promote your site.
The goods news is that AffiliateWP can track referrals via a payment form so that affiliates get a commission for promoting your products. The downside to using AffiliateWP previously was that there was no specificity to which forms allowed referrals. For example, if you wanted to give affiliates a commission on a purchase form for one product, they would get this — but also commissions on any other payment forms you had on your site.
Recently AffiliateWP released version 1.7, which makes a significant change to the way payment forms are handled. Version 1.7 included:
- an S2Member integration
- a Zippy Courses integration
- a WP EasyCart integration
- affiliate URL campaign tracking (hugely helpful for your affiliates)
- added options for enabling / disabling emails
- referral information displayed on Paid Memberships Pro order screen
- per-membership commission rates for Restrict Content Pro and MemberPress
(You can view the full changelog as well.)
However, the one change that’s very important for our eCommerce form is this one:
Option to disable referrals for specific forms in Gravity Forms and Ninja Forms
Now you can control which payment forms on your site allow affiliate referrals, ensuring that affiliates have an incentive to promote your products and payment forms, but that you can control which forms produce referrals.
This can let you offer referrals on a general sign up form, while still keeping a restricted (logged-in customers only) form for other payments, such as upsells, referral-free.
Let’s take a look at how this works with both Gravity Forms and Ninja Forms.
To use AffiliateWP with Gravity Forms for purchasing or eCommerce forms, you’ll need:
- Gravity Forms (any license)
- AffiliateWP (any license)
- Gravity Forms + Stripe (free) or another Gravity Forms payment gateway add-on (requires Gravity Forms developer license)
- and if you want set up instructions, you can view the integration docs
This setup is also hugely helpful for Easy Digital Downloads-powered sites. We’ve written about using Gravity Forms Checkout for EDD before, which lets you leverage a Gravity Forms payment form for an EDD product, so you can use this integration to allow AffiliateWP referrals for both EDD and Gravity Forms transactions.
First, you’ll need to enable the Gravity Forms integration in AffiliateWP under Affiliates > Settings > Integrations.
Next, you’ll need to create your Gravity Forms payment form. Our tutorial on using Gravity Forms for eCommerce will help out here, as you’ll need a form that includes (1) purchaser billing details, (2) the product name / pricing / any options, (3) any shipping costs or other fees, and (4) the credit card / payment details.
Once your form is set up and tied to your payment fields via your payment method, you can enable the Gravity Forms integration for AffiliateWP. Go to the “Form Settings” for your transaction form that should have referrals enabled, and scroll to the bottom. You’ll see a setting to enable referrals for the form:
This will be off by default to ensure affiliates only get referrals for the forms you want them to.
Now any time a successful payment is submitted via this form, the referral will be created for the affiliate that sent the customer to you under Affiliates > Referrals. The “Reference” column will also link back to the form submission so you can quickly view details.
Payments submitted via other forms, even if an affiliate refers a customer to them, will not be tracked as referrals.
You can also enable AffiliateWP on certain purchasing forms with Ninja Forms. You’ll need:
- Ninja Forms (free)
- AffiliateWP (any license)
- any Ninja Forms payment gateway ($49)
- and you can view instructions in the integration documentation as well
Again, you’ll need to enable the integration with AffiliateWP; this time, we’ll enable Ninja Forms under Affiliates > Settings > Integrations.
In order to create a Ninja Forms payment form, you’ll need to add fields for (1) user billing information, (2) the product name and pricing (can be a hidden field if desired) — don’t forget to automatically include this in calculations in the fields calculation settings — (3) any shipping costs or other fees, (4) the calculation / total field, and (5) the credit card / payment details.
When your form is set up, you can go to the form’s settings tab and add your payment method information and fields. You’ll also find the ability to enable referrals here at the bottom of the “Restrictions” section:
When this is enabled, any successful transaction that runs through this form will generate a referral for the affiliate. The “Reference” column will link back to the form entry just as it does with the Gravity Forms integration.
Transactions or payments submitted via other forms will not be tracked for affiliate commissions unless you’ve enabled these.
So now you have more control over how referrals are counted for your eCommerce form, and affiliates still get commissions for the forms you have enabled — everybody’s winning so far 🙂
However, I’d be pretty remiss if I didn’t mention another great feature of AffiliateWP 1.7 that helps your affiliates. While the ability to track referrals on a per-form basis is immensely helpful, your affiliates also have a great new feature they can leverage: affiliate campaigns.
Affiliates can now set a campaign in their referral URLs along with their referral ID, like:
This lets your affiliates track where their conversions are coming from, giving them insight into which sources of traffic convert the best. They can then optimize their campaigns for different sources of traffic, helping them increase sales and drive more revenue for your site.
While per-form referrals help protect you against paying out additional referrals, campaigns help affiliates determine how to be most efficient in their marketing strategies so they can track which traffic sources are most effective.
Overall, the AffiliateWP 1.7 release was helpful for both site owners and affiliates, as site owners have increased flexibility, while affiliates can better manage their campaigns while promoting your site. This ensures that (1) you can still incentivize affiliates to promote your payment / eCommerce form and products without paying out referrals on other forms, while (2) still benefitting from the increased exposure and marketing efforts of running an affiliate program.
Ready to get started? You can connect AffiliateWP to your eCommerce forms in minutes: