Building a successful ecommerce business is never easy. It requires blood, sweat, and tears to even survive the first year above water. However, if your business is to continue growing, you’ll need to do something that can make some brands uncomfortable—rely on another partner for success. 

Ecommerce partnerships can be a powerful growth strategy for ecommerce companies that want to take their business to the next level. By partnering with another brand, affiliate, or influencer, a business can expand its reach and grow quicker than it could have otherwise. Using this guide, you'll learn about the benefits of partnerships, the kinds of partners you should work with, and the activities you can work on together. This way, you can unlock your business's true potential, offer your customers more value, and grow your brand.

The benefits of successful ecommerce partnerships

It's an exciting time to have an ecommerce business, as online commerce sales are projected to grow 77% between 2020 and 2025. However, if you’re going to be a part of that boom, you need to be able to continue to grow your customer base and market share. 

When ecommerce companies join forces with other brands, they can combine their resources, knowledge, and expertise to reach even more potential customers. Furthermore, partnerships help businesses cut marketing costs as the two brands or partners share the burden. That means you get more bang for every marketing buck you spend.

Types of ecommerce partnerships

When looking to find an ecommerce partner, there are a couple of different entities you can work with. Each one has its pros and cons, and you may choose to form several unique partnerships to maximize your reach and growth.

Influencer partnerships

An influencer partnership is when an ecommerce company pays an established influencer and uses their reach to help sell products. 

Influencer partnerships are an excellent choice because they have all the necessary tools to grow your reach and amplify your marketing messages. For instance, a 2020 report found that for each dollar a company spent on an influencer, they’d receive around $18 of earned media value.

Beyond just reach, influencers also provide ecommerce businesses with valuable product feedback. You can then use that product data to improve your business or add new offerings.

Brand partnerships

A brand partnership is when two ecommerce companies join forces and work together. They share resources, brainstorm marketing solutions, and create campaigns that no one company could do on their own.

When it comes to brand partnerships, picking the right partner is critical. Not only do you need to ensure that your partnership is mutually beneficial, but you also need to know that your partner has the resources, technology, and processes necessary to help you reach new consumers and clients. Always research potential partners and evaluate what they bring to the table before you partner with them. 

It's also extremely important that any brand you partner with shares your target market but doesn't compete with you directly. For instance, if you sell camping gear, you could partner with a travel company to design a campaign targeting people who like to travel and camp. This kind of partnership is perfect for smaller brands that could benefit the most from content sharing and access to new channels.

Store partnerships

A store partnership is when an ecommerce company teams up with a physical store and works collaboratively to increase sales. 

One benefit of a store partnership is that you can reach people who might not often buy things online. By partnering with physical stores, you could set up a pop-up shop, get people interested, and direct them to your site for future sales. You could also pick up their contact details and reach them in the future with a personalized SMS marketing campaign

Affiliate partnerships

When you partner with an affiliate, you can leverage the affiliate's existing web traffic to promote your own business. This makes the affiliate a sort of ambassador who spreads the word about your business and its products.

However, more importantly, an affiliate can help you by directly encouraging their visitors to buy your products with an affiliate link. For instance, if you sold video game paraphernalia, you could partner with a game review site that could write articles with links to your specific products. You'd give your affiliate partner a commission for each sale that came from one of those links.

This way, your online store can reward affiliates for their collaborative efforts and build long-term relationships with them.

3 ways to work with your ecommerce business partners

Once you've forged a partnership, it's time to decide what you'll do together. Here are some ways you could get started.

1. Run a contest

Running a joint contest is an effective way for online stores to boost sales and put their brand in a positive light. Through these contests, you can offer exclusive deals or promotions that incentivize customers to purchase from you. 

By partnering for joint contests, you can give special rewards or services that are unique and would be impossible to do otherwise. For instance, a chocolate shop and a flower shop could partner for a unique contest around Valentine’s Day. Customers could enter this contest by purchasing chocolates and a bouquet from the two stores. Each purchase would enter them into sweepstakes for an ultimate Valentine’s Day date. 

Contests are also a great way to build subscriber lists. You can ask people for their contact details during the contest and store that information for future promotions or campaigns.

2. Create an ecommerce bundle

Creating ecommerce bundles is another great way to maximize ecommerce partnerships. Bundles allow ecommerce businesses to offer customers exclusive discounts and promotions they wouldn’t get anywhere else. 

For instance, you could design an ecommerce bundle between a clothing store and a music streaming service. The ecommerce bundle could offer customers a discounted subscription to the music streaming service when they purchase a certain amount from the participating clothing store.

3. Split a marketing campaign between two online stores

Joint marketing campaigns are an effective way for ecommerce companies to save money and reach new customers. By splitting a campaign, you share the costs and double your reach without risking too much scope creep for your advertising budget.

For instance, you could partner with another online store to manage a joint PPC ad campaign that promotes a special Black Friday bundle deal. Not only would you be able to split the costs of the ads, but you'd be able to reach an expanded target audience with the campaign.

Another benefit of working directly with another store and sharing marketing experience is that you might just learn something new from the parties involved. For instance, you could get a chance to try other tools, see how their customer service departments operate, or learn new tricks that lead to a higher conversion rate and marketing ROI.

Online marketing can be better with ecommerce partners

Ecommerce partnerships are a great way to expand your ecommerce business's reach, increase sales, and drive brand awareness. By finding the right partners, you can leverage a shared pool of advertising resources, expertise, and other resources to create better customer experiences and offer more value. This makes it an ideal solution for small businesses and merchants looking for better growth and higher conversion rates. 

However, partnerships are not the only ecommerce marketing strategy you should employ to improve your sales numbers. Take a look at some of these other tried and true ecommerce marketing strategies to see how to make a positive impact on your online business.