Michael Burke

Snap Affiliates – The Big Ideas

As discussed in the previous post, Snap Affiliates attempts to solve a number of problems with the built-in Zen Cart referrer system. The big idea is to simplify and streamline the whole process; for customers, affiliates, and administrators. However, a number of other considerations greatly influenced the design. Before any code was written, the following principles were established to guide development and ensure the project stayed true to its intent.

  • The software must be completely transparent for the customer. It should require no interaction from them aside from their normal shopping activity.
  • It must be tightly integrated with the Zen Cart customer database. Affiliates should not have to resubmit their personal information.
  • It must give affiliates the information they need to succeed. Of highest priority is a detailed record of their completed sales.
  • It must provide affiliates with lots of easy to use marketing tools. Affiliate team members shouldn’t be expected to write HTML or memorize their referrer details.
  • It must give the store administrator the ability to directly manage their affiliate team. This includes setting commission rate, approving new accounts, and suspending problem members.
  • It must integrate seamlessly with the rest of the Zen Cart experience. Customers, developers, and administrators shouldn’t have to adapt to a new interface. It should stick to the many good conventions established by the Zen Cart team.

With those principles in mind, I began work on Snap Affiliates. What I wound up with is not only faithful them all, but does so in a way that feels out-of-the-box. The tools are powerful, familiar, and easy to use. I’m confident any store owner will be able to build a productive, happy, and profitable affiliate program with them.

Monday, February 9th, 2009 at 9:01 pm


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Michael Burke