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How to Set Up Your Successful WooCommerce Affiliate Program

Using the most popular 'Affiliate for WooCommerce' plugin, here's how to set up your own successful WooCommerce affiliate program, that too, without any coding.

Last updated on June 21, 2024

An online business opens the door to infinite opportunities for growth and multiple revenue streams. Further, setting up a WooCommerce affiliate program can be an additional passive income stream brands can adopt.

This blog will help set up a high-paying affiliate program for your WooCommerce store.

For a beginner, you will learn insight about affiliate programs. On the other hand, this blog will enrich the knowledge of seasoned marketers and store owners.

Overall, you get the practical tips to set up a successful WooCommerce affiliate program and make more affiliate sales.

What is the WooCommerce affiliate program?

The WooCommerce affiliate program or any affiliate program is an organized system wherein people become your partners and earn commissions for sending traffic or sales your way.

It could be your customers, friends, influencers, or anyone else.

These partners promote your brand products/services to their audience on various channels. We call this process affiliate marketing.

In the affiliate program, every time affiliates sell your product/service, they earn a share of the profit. The passive income starts flowing as sales increase and more affiliates join the program.

Affiliates earn commission and their efforts also let brands receive more acknowledgement.

Easy to get started but a challenge to succeed


Chris Lema, a WooCommerce expert has the best answer to this.

People don’t believe you because too many marketers have lied. Too
many have used tricks – all kinds of them – to create ways to get
people to click and/or buy. Even if your marketing and sales copy is
good enough, people don’t convert.

Chris Lema

Very true.

So, whom do they trust?

They trust their friends. They trust their gurus, influencers and people who may be your customers.

Taking advantage of this psychology can help you grow steadily as a store owner.

It’s possible with a WooCommerce affiliate program. But you also need planning and smart tactics that can help you.

How WooCommerce affiliate plugin can help you?

WooCommerce core itself is very powerful. However, it doesn’t provide the functionality you need to build a successful WooCommerce affiliate program.

You’ll find multiple WordPress affiliate plugins or SaaS affiliate tools that are good but are way too complex to use, expensive and brimming with unnecessary features.

All you need is an affiliate plugin that offers simplicity along with the required features.

That plugin is the official Affiliate for WooCommerce developed by StoreApps and you can purchase it from the WooCommerce marketplace.

Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin overview and features

The Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin enables you to set up your own successful affiliate program.

From commissions to marketing campaigns to making payouts to tracking performance, manage everything from a single place.

No complex elements, no jargon, no complex setup or high fees. Get your program running within minutes.

Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin dashboard

What makes the plugin foremost choice for 5400+ users:

  • It’s a WooCommerce extension, not SaaS or integration. So it works more smoothly.
  • Easy affiliate onboarding via registration forms. Approve affiliate requests manually or automate the process.
  • Turn customers into affiliates and brand ambassadors. Track visitors, conversions and other progress.
  • Leverage the most impactful commission plans. Set up lifetime and multi-tier commission plans.
  • Offer distinct commission rates for individual affiliates.
  • Assign commissions based on affiliate performance, individual products & product categories, referral medium, user roles and subscription parent order and renewals.
  • Set up customizable marketing campaigns to help affiliates promote your brand.
  • Simple, self-explanatory KPIs to monitor affiliate performance, such as high-performing affiliates and view detailed affiliate reports.
  • Automate payouts via PayPal or tick off commissions as paid manually.
  • Offer payout alternatives, such as store credit or reward points (you can mark them with the plugin). Compatible with Smart Coupons and Points and Rewards.
  • Easily search specific affiliates using pre-configured filters, such as tags, status, email addresses and time.
  • Create landing pages for affiliates to allow them to promote without referral link or coupon.
  • Customize affiliate referral links into pretty links to make them appear cleaner and better.
  • One-place tracking and real-time reporting of important metrics, such as total sales, sales from affiliates, refunds, commission earned, etc.
  • The plugin automatically links WooCommerce orders with affiliates. It also updates commission status as order status changes – pending to completed, completed to refunded, etc. Commission status will be synced with WooCommerce order status automatically.
  • A self-care dashboard for affiliates to help them monitor their performance – commissions, products sold, payout history, etc.
  • Affiliates receive detailed marketing campaigns, coupons and also customize referral link; everything under their ‘My Account’ tab.
  • Export affiliate data to CSV based on filters and without filters.
  • Compatible with WooCommerce Subscriptions, WooCommerce Blocks, Customer Email Verification, PayPal Payments.

Now let’s move to the core section – setting up your WooCommerce affiliate program.

How to set up your WooCommerce affiliate program?

Here are some essentials for your WooCommerce affiliate program:

  • Initial configuration settings.
  • Affiliate referral links, coupons, profile.
  • Commission plans – product-based commission, tiered commission, lifetime commissions, etc.
  • Affiliate marketing campaigns, landing pages, affiliate tags and more features.
  • Affiliate tracking – referrals, sales, commissions, performance.
  • Payouts via PayPal and other payment methods.

You get all these things when you use the Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin.

Let’s look at each one of them to begin creating your affiliate program using the plugin.

Initial configuration settings

Install and activate the Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin as you do for any plugin. Once activated, go to WooCommerce > Settings > Affiliate on your WordPress admin panel.

You’ll see come across different settings tab – General, Referrals, Commissions and more. Switch to each tab to configure individual settings for your affiliate program and keep saving your changes.


Affiliate user roles
Set this field with specific user roles, such as ‘Customers’ to turn them into your affiliates automatically.

Excluded products
Search and select products you don’t want to provide commission.

Approval method
Review each request manually before approving or automatically onboard every affiliate who has signed up via the registration form.

Cookie duration (in days)
Set this to keep the cookie active to track affiliate referrals on the visitor’s browser for a fixed period.

For example, set it to zero for session-only referrals and set it to 36500 for 100 years or lifetime referrals.

Affiliate manager email
Brands can offer a transparent communication medium for affiliates by providing an authentic email address.

It’ll be displayed on the affiliates’ dashboard to contact whenever required. Or choose to hide it by leaving it blank.

Affiliate landing pages
In the affiliate program, assign landing pages to your affiliates by enabling this field. They can then promote your products without the referral link or coupon.

WooCommerce affiliate program general settings using the plugin

Registration Form

Use the shortcode [afwc_registration_form] on any page or post of your site. This will show a registration form to visitors on your site and they can request to join your affiliate program. You can edit the form to show/hide the desired fields.

Fields like email, password, about affiliate, accept affiliate program terms are compulsory.

You can also customize the form using Elementor Form Builder and Contact Form 7.

Affiliate for WooCommerce registration form settings


Tracking param name
It is to set the tracking parameter name. By default, it is ‘ref’.

Personalize affiliate identifier
Check the box to allow affiliates to use something else, such as brand name, instead of their user ID. The default affiliate link displays as ‘{user_id}’.

The affiliate referral link can also be customized.

Pretty affiliate links
It’s always better to use links that look clean and non-spammy. Thus enable this setting to automatically convert affiliate links.

Coupons for referral
Enable it to assign coupons to affiliates along with affiliate links.

Multi-tier affiliate program
Enable it to launch a multi-tier affiliate program. Your affiliates can invite other users to join your program, earning an extra commission for their referrals.

Credit first/last affiliate
This setting lets you decide on the right affiliate to receive the commission. It helps when a customer uses another affiliate’s link.


  • The first affiliate means that a specific affiliate receives the commission whose referral/coupon got clicked first.
  • The last affiliate means that affiliate whose referral/coupon was used recently or last.

Affiliate self-refer
Stop affiliates from receiving a commission on the orders placed on your website using their own referrals.

Show affiliate referral link for a product
Allow affiliates to quickly copy their affiliate referral link for a specific product from a single product page.

Send referral details to admin
Enabling this will include affiliate referral details in the WooCommerce new order email.

Affiliate for WooCommerce referral settings


Referral commission
Set the storewide or default commission rate.

Lifetime commissions
Affiliates will receive commissions for every sale made by the same customer linked to this affiliate – without using referral link or coupon.

Lifetime commissions exclude affiliates
Search and select those affiliates or affiliate tags you don’t want to provide the lifetime commission.

Affiliate for WooCommerce commission settings


PayPal email address
This setting in the plugin lets affiliates enter their PayPal email addresses.

Payout via PayPal
The plugin allows you to pay commissions via PayPal to your affiliates. The plugin uses PayPal Payouts API to send payouts.

Affiliate for WooCommerce payout settings

Payout Invoice

Payout invoice
When enabled, you can print invoices from the Payouts tab.

Logo for payout invoice
Upload your brand logo to be added to the invoice.

Show and allow affiliates to print
The option to print invoices for affiliates will be visible in their My account > Reports > Payout History tab.

Affiliate for WooCommerce payout invoice settings

Affiliate’s Account

Custom page for affiliate dashboard
Enable this to allow affiliates to view their dashboard on a specific page by inserting the [afwc_dashboard] shortcode.

Register as an affiliate
Enable this to show the affiliate registration form in existing users’ My Account’ and allow them to join your affiliate program.

Affiliate for WooCommerce affiliate's account settings

More about plugin setting here

Note – Do not forget to save your changes for each of the setting tab before moving to the next.

Let’s move to the next section.

Affiliate profile setup

Each affiliate gets a unique referral ID.

For example –

affiliate referral url generator

Affiliates can customize affiliate IDs and promote products using coupons instead of referral links. They need to contact the store admin for a coupon.

Once the coupon is assigned, the affiliate will find the coupon code under their My Account > Affiliate > Profile area as well as under their User Profile.

Here’s how to create and assign coupons to affiliates

Creating commission plans

Commission plans allow you to set up different affiliate rates based on rules:

  • Product categories-based commission
  • Affiliate-specific commission
  • Affiliate group/tag based commissions
  • Product-specific commission
  • Storewide commissions
  • Tiered commission
  • Commission for subscription parent order and renewals
  • Commission based on referral medium – link or coupon
  • Commission for user first order or user roles
commission rules overview

The plugin provides full flexibility to set up a personalized commission plan based on different scenarios.

Some popular commission plans:

  • 25% commission on the best-seller products only to specific affiliates.
  • 35% commission on product category ‘Sports’.
  • Apply commission only on the first product and zero commission on cross-sells/upsells in the purchase order.
  • $25 flat commission on a branded phone only to five specific affiliates.
  • $10 flat commission to all affiliates belonging to the ‘Silver’ tag.
  • Apply a 15% commission on the first product and a storewide commission of 20% on other products in the purchase order.
  • Set up a commission plan with two tiers for exclusive products.
  • 15% commission to all affiliates via referral coupons only.
  • 20% commission on subscription parent order and 15% for up to 11 renewals.

and many more…

To create a commission plan, go to WooCommerce > Affiliates > Plans > Add a Plan.

commission plan rules for specific product and affiliates

The details to be filled here include:

  • Commission plan name
  • Commission amount & multi-tier value
  • Rules
  • Actions

Based on the rules and actions you select here, the affiliates will earn the desired commission.

For example, the above plan is a single tier commission plan wherein all three affiliates involved will earn a commission only on those two specific products mentioned in the plan.

Learn more about commission plans

Create affiliate marketing campaigns

Affiliate campaigns help optimize all marketing assets and promotional materials such as instructions, email swipes, etc., and deliver them to selected affiliates.

affiliate marketing campaigns restriction

The informative details that a campaign page consists of are-

  • Campaign name – a descriptive title.
  • Slug– short campaign link.
  • Destination link – a place that visitors will visit.
  • Visibility – which affiliate gets to see this campaign.
  • Short description – short campaign summary.
  • Full description – include images, videos, PDFs, swipe files, banners, e-books, logos, and more.

Your affiliates can use the marketing assets from the campaign on their various channels to promote your brand.

Learn more affiliate marketing campaigns

Paying your affiliates

Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin provides two ways for commission payout:

  1. Commission payout via PayPal.
  2. Manual commission payout.
Payout affiliate commission via PayPal or manually
payout affiliate commission via paypal or manually

For payout via PayPal, refer to this doc for the steps

The manual commission payout is to keep track of the commission payout. You do the actual payment of the commission outside the Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin. It can be using a bank transfer or other payment method.

You can also assign store credit and reward points to affiliates instead of payouts. And then assign it from outside the plugin.

You can recheck for each payout made from the Payouts tab.

Track everything from a single place – referrals, sales, commissions…

Once the earning begins, you know which affiliate brings high revenue and which affiliate profile exhibits low sales. Based on this data, you can plan your future affiliate marketing strategies.

Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin provides everything in one single dashboard. You don’t need to struggle with different screens and menus to track revenue, affiliates, referrals, and payouts.

There are two dashboards – one for store owners and one for affiliates.

No plugin overload – We believe in simplicity!

We do not confuse users with too many unwanted things. Hence, in this plugin, you’ll find only those essential metrics needed to give you a quick glance at affiliate performance. So you get a neat and clean dashboard.

Important metrics storeowner can track

Affiliate for WooCommerce referrals tab
  • Net affiliate sales
  • Unpaid commissions
  • Refunds
  • Complete details of each affiliate – Payment method, order date, commission paid, payouts and others.
  • Visitor metrics

and more…

Important metrics your affiliates can track

affiliates dashboard under my account
  • Gross and net commission
  • Total sales and refunds
  • Conversion rate, clicks and referrals
  • Details of products sold with quantities
  • Payout history

and more…

That’s it.

Whenever a customer buys any product from your affiliates using the referral URL, you get your money and your affiliates earn the commission.

Thus, these affiliates promote your products in their circle/audience giving your products and your WooCommerce store a wider global outreach.

And hence, your affiliate program is set within minutes.

Try Affiliate for WooCommerce live demo

Five hacks for a successful affiliate program

It’s easy to set up an affiliate program with WooCommerce. However, you shouldn’t stop here.

You need to develop proper content strategies, avoid mistakes, and look for opportunities to make your affiliate program a success.

Let’s check out the hacks first.

Competitor analysis

Analyze what your competitors are offering and at what price. It will help you make decisions on selecting products, and setting commissions, agreements, and targets.

For example, if your competitor pays a 30% commission on $500 per sale and the product is promoted well on all relevant websites and marketing channels, you have two options:

  1. Match that commission and those channels if you can afford it.
  2. If you cannot, don’t worry. Offer it to new affiliates. If conversion rates keep improving, you can raise the budget.

Maintain the quality of your product

Successful affiliate marketing is not just about how high the commission is. It’s all about having a high quality product that has an edge over your competitors.

Remember, a great converting product is the easiest way to repeat conversions.

Segment your affiliates

Not every customer of yours can become a successful affiliate. You have a list of customers that can help you identify customers like top spenders, new customers within the first three months, and so on.

Try to turn these customers into affiliates. See what works better and keep experimenting.

Look out for new partners

Visitors to your website can also be good affiliate candidates.

Find new partners by advertising your affiliate program on your website, listing, or by contacting potential affiliates directly. Your friends who run businesses can also be good affiliates.

Take care of your partners

Communicate with them by welcoming them to your affiliate program. Send out updates on product additions or changes. Give them tips and advice on how to be successful in marketing your products.

Always pay them on time. Give bonuses to those who get you more sales.

Leveraging content to make more affiliate sales

Content is king!

Provide valuable information to readers. You’ll gain their loyalty and steer them toward smart purchasing decisions. In addition, some creative work and designing will boost that more.

Benefit-driven reviews

Review the affiliate product, describing how it helps solve pain points. Providing honest information will win users’ trust and get them persuaded to buy. You can also use videos for the same.

Yaro Starak pulls that off with impressive results over at the Entrepreneur’s Journey blog where he writes about using a stand-up desk. Both the video and the post lay out the reasons why a stand-up desk is worth it and how to put one together.

Product comparisons

Readers get confused when there are similar competing products to choose from.

In such cases, a product comparison post works best.

Product comparison

SMEPals does a good job of putting popular business accounting software products against each other in a tabular form. They also add mini-reviews of each product. This makes it very easy for the audience to select the product based on their requirements.

How-to articles (text, video) / case-studies

Articles that describe how to get the most out of an affiliate product or use certain features work well.

Similarly, case studies that describe how an affiliate product helped someone achieve a particular goal are even better.

Seasonal content

In October, it’s the scary costumes and pumpkins. In November, Black Friday and Cyber Monday dominate.

Brainstorm all the seasonal trends that relate to the product used for promotion and turn those ideas into content that goes up at just the right time to people.

For example, if you want to promote a marketing product for Black Friday, you can mention how the Smart Offers for WooCommerce plugin helps create offers like upsell, cross-sell, order bump, etc.

List roundups

Readers don’t have to search out and find all the products/deals independently when all of them are in one place.

deals roundup example

As shown above, you get to see all the best holiday season deals in one place.

And it’s proven that users will surely click on one of the products.

Good! You are almost done. But not without the premium tips to retain affiliates.

How to retain affiliates for longer?

Like retaining customers, your affiliates also need to be kept happy so that they stay with your brand for a longer time. Here is how:

Affirm rewards

The number of more paid customers brought in by an affiliate compared to others is indicative of their influence, isn’t it?

By rewarding them with bonuses and extra commissions, you encourage them to promote your brand more.

Make timely payouts

It’s a good practice to pay affiliates their commission on time. Otherwise, it will lead to more communication back and forth. Having your affiliate leave due to non-payment is not what you want.

Provide marketing resources

Guided resources like banners, logos and content material related to your products will make your affiliates’ work easy.

Send email regularly

What’s your new product? Any upcoming offers? Any new features?

Identify your marketing strategy. Email your affiliates about the product specifications and strategy to promote to their global audience.

Have a one-to-one call

Communicate with your affiliates regularly. Take feedback and hold one-on-one discussions (if possible). See whether they have been facing any difficulties or hurdles. Find ways to remove them.

Promote your affiliates

If your affiliates sell products, describe their product to your audience and give them visibility. Be it via a blog post, how-to’s, reviews, social media, or emails.

Promoting your affiliates helps you level up your affiliate relationship with your brand.

What sets Affiliate for WooCommerce apart from other affiliate plugins?

Here’s a comparison of Affiliate for WooCommerce vs other WordPress affiliate plugins and WooCommerce affiliate plugins in terms of features, pricing, ratings and what will give you more value for money.


Pat Flynn, one of the top affiliate marketers rightly says – “Do not put the desire for short-term gain over the needs of your audience”.

So, avoid mistakes, implement the strategies and start earning.

A successful WooCommerce affiliate program used to take time to build. But with the Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin, it’s quick. This plugin and some good affiliates promoting you well are required to boost sales on autopilot.

After all, having your own affiliate program gives you so much satisfaction, right?

Get Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin


How to find affiliate marketers for your affiliate program?
Finding the right affiliates is key to building a successful affiliate program. You should:

  • Invite affiliates on social media platforms. For example, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Turn loyal customers into affiliates
  • Connect with bloggers working in the same industry
  • Contact relevant YouTubers to join your affiliate program
  • Join affiliate networks or forums

Is the affiliate program useful for small businesses?
Yes, the affiliate program is useful for businesses of any size. Contact the niche-related affiliates and invite them to join your affiliate program.

For small businesses, affiliates would increase sales and improve website traffic through affiliate marketing. Over time, you witness an improvement in conversion rates and brand awareness.

Why is a multi-tier affiliate program beneficial for your WooCommerce store?
A multi-tier affiliate program offers numerous benefits:

  • Motivates existing affiliates to bring more affiliates
  • Boosts overall revenue
  • Increased promotion drives more sales
  • Improved search engine ranking through affiliate marketing
  • Reach a larger audience
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