The REI Affiliate Program [Full Review]

rei affiliate program

In this post, I examine the REI affiliate program. I review their commission structure, what products you can promote, and how I would push traffic to their offers.

About REI

REI, which stands for "Recreational Equipment, Inc.", is a U.S.-based retail and outdoor recreation services company.

They sell camping gear, sporting goods, travel equipment, and clothing. REI also provides various services- things like outdoor-oriented vacations, adventures and courses.

They've got 154 retail stores in 36 U.S. states- but also have a strong catalog and eCommerce internet presence. REI's annual revenue for 2015 was $2.4 billion, according to Wikipedia.

Their affiliate program is managed by the AvantLink affiliate network- click here to signup.

REI Co-op: Outdoor Clothing, Gear and Footwear from Top Brands

From backpacking to cycling to staying in shape and more, outfit your outdoor activities with the latest gear, clothing, and footwear at REI.

One word of caution- AvantLink only accepts established sites into their network: "We typically only accept websites which rank well with third party traffic tools (3 million or less on Alexa.com)."

So you'll want to have some decent domain authority/rankings before trying to apply.

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REI Commission Structure

​REI offers:

  • 5% commission rate
  • 30-day cookie referral window
  • An average order value (AOV) of over $120
  • Free shipping to an REI Store for pickup!
  • Free shipping on orders over $50
  • Every item you purchase at REI is 100% satisfaction guaranteed. Customers' online purchases can be returned at any of 144 REI stores

What Can You Promote

As you can see, there are lots of outdoorsy products you can promote as an REI affiliate:

Affiliate OptionsCategory URLAffiliate OptionsCategory URLAffiliate OptionsCategory URLAffiliate OptionsCategory URLAffiliate OptionsCategory URLAffiliate OptionsCategory URLAffiliate OptionsCategory URLAffiliate OptionsCategory URLAffiliate OptionsCategory URLAffiliate OptionsCategory URLAffiliate OptionsCategory URL
Camping and Hikinghttps://www.rei.com/c/camping-and-hikingTentshttps://www.rei.com/c/tentsHiking Backpackshttps://www.rei.com/c/hiking-backpacksSleeping Bags and Accessorieshttps://www.rei.com/c/sleeping-bags-and-accessoriesSleeping Pads, Cots and Hammockshttps://www.rei.com/c/sleeping-pads-cots-and-hammocksCamp Kitchenhttps://www.rei.com/c/camp-kitchenCamp Lightinghttps://www.rei.com/c/camp-lightingGadgetshttps://www.rei.com/c/gadgetsCamp Electronicshttps://www.rei.com/c/camp-electronicsWater Bottles and Treatmenthttps://www.rei.com/c/water-bottles-and-treatmentHealth and Safetyhttps://www.rei.com/c/health-and-safety
Footwearhttps://www.rei.com/c/footwearMen's Footwearhttps://www.rei.com/c/mens-footwearWomen's Footwearhttps://www.rei.com/c/womens-footwearKids' Footwearhttps://www.rei.com/c/kids-footwearSockshttps://www.rei.com/c/socksFootwear Accessorieshttps://www.rei.com/c/footwear-accessoriesShoeshttps://www.rei.com/c/shoesBootshttps://www.rei.com/c/bootsSandalshttps://www.rei.com/c/sandalsSlippershttps://www.rei.com/c/slippersHiking Footwearhttps://www.rei.com/c/hiking-footwear
Men's Clothinghttps://www.rei.com/c/mens-clothingMen's Jacketshttps://www.rei.com/c/mens-jacketsMen's Pantshttps://www.rei.com/c/mens-pantsMen's Shortshttps://www.rei.com/c/mens-shortsMen's Shirtshttps://www.rei.com/c/mens-shirtsMen's Sweaters and Hoodieshttps://www.rei.com/c/mens-sweatersMen's Vestshttps://www.rei.com/c/mens-vestsMen's Swimwearhttps://www.rei.com/c/mens-swimwearMen's Underwearhttps://www.rei.com/c/mens-underwearMen's Clothing Accessorieshttps://www.rei.com/c/mens-clothing-accessoriesMen's Sleepwearhttps://www.rei.com/c/mens-sleepwear
Women's Clothinghttps://www.rei.com/c/womens-clothingWomen's Jacketshttps://www.rei.com/c/womens-jacketsWomen's Pantshttps://www.rei.com/c/womens-pantsWomen's Shortshttps://www.rei.com/c/womens-shortsWomen's Skirts and Dresseshttps://www.rei.com/c/womens-skirts-and-dressesWomen's Shirtshttps://www.rei.com/c/womens-shirtsWomen's Sweaters and Hoodieshttps://www.rei.com/c/womens-sweatersWomen's Vestshttps://www.rei.com/c/womens-vestsWomen's Swimwearhttps://www.rei.com/c/womens-swimwearWomen's Underwearhttps://www.rei.com/c/womens-underwearWomen's Clothing Accessorieshttps://www.rei.com/c/womens-clothing-accessories
Kids' Clothinghttps://www.rei.com/c/kids-clothingKids' Jacketshttps://www.rei.com/c/kids-jacketsKids' Pantshttps://www.rei.com/c/kids-pantsKids' Shortshttps://www.rei.com/c/kids-shortsKids' Shirtshttps://www.rei.com/c/kids-shirtsKids' Sweaters and Hoodieshttps://www.rei.com/c/kids-sweatersGirls' Skirts and Dresseshttps://www.rei.com/c/girls-skirts-and-dressesKids' Vestshttps://www.rei.com/c/kids-vestsKids' Swimwearhttps://www.rei.com/c/kids-swimwearKids' Underwearhttps://www.rei.com/c/kids-underwearKids' Snowsuits, Rain Suits and Buntingshttps://www.rei.com/c/kids-snowsuits-rain-suits-and-buntings
Cyclinghttps://www.rei.com/c/cyclingBikeshttps://www.rei.com/c/bikesBike Helmetshttps://www.rei.com/c/bike-helmetsCycling Clothinghttps://www.rei.com/c/cycling-clothingCycling Shoeshttps://www.rei.com/c/cycling-shoesCycling Backpacks and Bagshttps://www.rei.com/c/cycling-backpacks-and-bagsBike Accessorieshttps://www.rei.com/c/bike-accessoriesBike Componentshttps://www.rei.com/c/bike-componentsBike Racks and Storagehttps://www.rei.com/c/bike-racks-and-storageBike Packs, Bags and Trailershttps://www.rei.com/c/bike-packs-bags-trailers
Fitnesshttps://www.rei.com/c/fitnessRunninghttps://www.rei.com/c/runningYogahttps://www.rei.com/c/yogaTriathlonhttps://www.rei.com/c/triathlonSwimminghttps://www.rei.com/c/swimmingTraininghttps://www.rei.com/c/trainingExercise Equipment and Electronicshttps://www.rei.com/c/exercise-equipment-and-electronicsSkates and Skateboardshttps://www.rei.com/c/skates-and-skateboards
Climbinghttps://www.rei.com/c/climbingClimbing Shoeshttps://www.rei.com/c/climbing-shoesClimbing Harnesseshttps://www.rei.com/c/climbing-harnessesClimbing Ropeshttps://www.rei.com/c/climbing-ropesWebbing and Cordshttps://www.rei.com/c/webbing-and-cordsClimbing Hardwarehttps://www.rei.com/c/climbing-hardwareClimbing Packshttps://www.rei.com/c/climbing-packsClimbing Essentialshttps://www.rei.com/c/climbing-essentialsMountaineering Gearhttps://www.rei.com/c/mountaineering-gearChalk and Chalk Bagshttps://www.rei.com/c/chalk-and-chalk-bagsClimbing Traininghttps://www.rei.com/c/climbing-training
Paddlinghttps://www.rei.com/c/paddlingKayakshttps://www.rei.com/c/kayaksCanoeinghttps://www.rei.com/c/canoeingPaddle Boardinghttps://www.rei.com/c/paddleboardingPaddleshttps://www.rei.com/c/paddlesPFDshttps://www.rei.com/c/pfdsPaddling Clothinghttps://www.rei.com/c/paddling-clothingPaddling Footwearhttps://www.rei.com/c/paddling-footwearPaddling Bags and Caseshttps://www.rei.com/c/paddling-bags-and-casesKayak Accessorieshttps://www.rei.com/c/kayak-accessoriesPaddling Safety Equipmenthttps://www.rei.com/c/paddling-safety-equipment
Travel and Luggagehttps://www.rei.com/c/travel-and-luggageLuggagehttps://www.rei.com/c/luggageDay Bags and Packshttps://www.rei.com/c/day-bags-and-packsComputer Bagshttps://www.rei.com/c/computer-bagsPhone and Electronics Caseshttps://www.rei.com/c/phone-and-electronics-casesPacking Organizershttps://www.rei.com/c/packing-organizersWallets and Money Beltshttps://www.rei.com/c/wallets-and-money-beltsTravel Sleep Accessorieshttps://www.rei.com/c/travel-sleep-accessoriesTravel Accessorieshttps://www.rei.com/c/travel-accessoriesPhotographyhttps://www.rei.com/c/photography
Skiinghttps://www.rei.com/c/skiingSkishttps://www.rei.com/c/skisSki Bootshttps://www.rei.com/c/ski-bootsSki Bindingshttps://www.rei.com/c/ski-bindingsSki Poleshttps://www.rei.com/c/ski-polesSki Helmetshttps://www.rei.com/c/ski-helmetsSki Goggleshttps://www.rei.com/c/ski-gogglesSki Packs and Bagshttps://www.rei.com/c/ski-packs-and-bagsSki Tuning and Toolshttps://www.rei.com/c/ski-tuning-and-toolsClimbing Skinshttps://www.rei.com/c/climbing-skinsSki Accessorieshttps://www.rei.com/c/ski-accessories
Snowboardinghttps://www.rei.com/c/snowboardingSnowboardshttps://www.rei.com/c/snowboardsSnowboard Bootshttps://www.rei.com/c/snowboard-bootsSnowboard Bindingshttps://www.rei.com/c/snowboard-bindingsSnowboard Helmetshttps://www.rei.com/c/snowboard-helmetsSnowboard Goggleshttps://www.rei.com/c/snowboard-gogglesSnowboard Packs and Bagshttps://www.rei.com/c/snowboard-packs-and-bagsSnowboard Accessorieshttps://www.rei.com/c/snowboard-accessoriesSnowboard Clothinghttps://www.rei.com/c/snowboard-clothing
Snowshoeinghttps://www.rei.com/c/snowshoeingSnowshoeshttps://www.rei.com/c/snowshoesSnowshoe Accessorieshttps://www.rei.com/c/snowshoe-accessoriesSledshttps://www.rei.com/c/sledsAvalanche Safety Gearhttps://www.rei.com/c/avalanche-safety-gearSki Packshttps://www.rei.com/c/ski-packs
Car Rackshttps://www.rei.com/c/car-racksCargo Boxes, Baskets and Bagshttps://www.rei.com/c/cargo-boxes-baskets-and-bagsBike Rackshttps://www.rei.com/c/bike-racksSki and Snowboard Rackshttps://www.rei.com/c/ski-and-snowboard-racksWatercraft Rackshttps://www.rei.com/c/watercraft-racksBase Roof Rackshttps://www.rei.com/c/base-roof-racksCar Rack Accessorieshttps://www.rei.com/c/car-rack-accessoriesGarage Storagehttps://www.rei.com/c/garage-storageStroller Rackshttps://www.rei.com/c/stroller-racks
Lifestyle and Giftshttps://www.rei.com/c/lifestyle-and-giftsKeychainshttps://www.rei.com/c/keychainsJewelryhttps://www.rei.com/c/jewelryHome and Cabin Decorhttps://www.rei.com/c/home-and-cabin-decorHolidayhttps://www.rei.com/c/holidayPicnickinghttps://www.rei.com/c/picnickingGames and Toyshttps://www.rei.com/c/games-and-toysPark Passeshttps://www.rei.com/c/park-passesJournals and Penshttps://www.rei.com/c/journals-and-pensStickershttps://www.rei.com/c/stickersPatches and Pinshttps://www.rei.com/c/patches-and-pins
Electronicshttps://www.rei.com/c/electronicsAction Camerashttps://www.rei.com/c/action-camerasGPS Systemshttps://www.rei.com/c/gps-systemsWatcheshttps://www.rei.com/c/watchesFitness Electronicshttps://www.rei.com/c/fitness-electronicsWeather Instrumentshttps://www.rei.com/c/weather-instrumentsSolar and Portable Powerhttps://www.rei.com/c/solar-and-portable-powerRadios and Headphoneshttps://www.rei.com/c/radios-and-headphonesPhotographyhttps://www.rei.com/c/photographyEmergency Electronicshttps://www.rei.com/c/emergency-electronicsMusic Systemshttps://www.rei.com/c/music-systems
Packs and Bagshttps://www.rei.com/c/packs-and-bagsPackshttps://www.rei.com/c/packsBagshttps://www.rei.com/c/bagsCaseshttps://www.rei.com/c/casesLuggagehttps://www.rei.com/c/luggageStuff Sackshttps://www.rei.com/c/stuff-sacksPacking Organizershttps://www.rei.com/c/packing-organizersWallets and Money Beltshttps://www.rei.com/c/wallets-and-money-belts
Books and Mapshttps://www.rei.com/c/books-and-mapsMapshttps://www.rei.com/c/mapsGuidebookshttps://www.rei.com/c/guidebooksAdventure Bookshttps://www.rei.com/c/adventure-booksHow-To and Instructional Bookshttps://www.rei.com/c/how-to-and-instructional-booksKids' Bookshttps://www.rei.com/c/kids-booksDVDshttps://www.rei.com/c/dvdsMusic CDshttps://www.rei.com/c/music-cds

REI Keyword Research

Below, I extracted 1,000 of REI.com's top-performing organic keywords.

If you're looking to promote camping and hiking equipment, this list is a great resource.

Try sorting the table by Difficulty and unearthing low-competition/high-volume keywords that have huge ranking potential.

Content Idea Example #1

You can see some huge brand searches in the table, things like "arcteryx", "smartwool", "eno hammock", "darn tough socks" and "big agnes". 

Typically, brand searches like this are low competition and signal high buyer intention.

If someone is Googling for "smartwool socks", they're deep in the purchase process- it's a great term to rank for if you're trying to make money online.

Content Idea Example #2

Another idea- you can also promote adventure travel opportunities. I ran a search for Classes & Events near New York City- and you can see there are a bunch of different classes available ranging from Long Distance Backpacking to Emergency Preparedness Skills.

Try ranking for a keyword like "ny backpacking", a 1,900 a month search term, according to Keywords Everywhere, and affiliate-linking to REI's location specific classes and events page.

Going further, check out the keyword research table below- I compiled 1,000 of TripAdvisor's top-performing organic keywords. 

You can see a ton of low competition keywords and lots of themes like "what to do in dallas".

You could create a landing page targeting that keyword with links to some of the outdoor adventure experiences REI provides in that area. 

You can also join the ">Airbnb affiliate program to suggest travel accommodations in the area. 

Promotional Strategies

This feeds into my promotional strategy. I'm a big fan of content marketing.

Besides just focusing on 'SEO', my long-term strategy would include developing a content-rich website that promotes contextually relevant content across all the big social media channels. 

Think of each social media platform as a separate traffic acquisition channel that will push traffic back to your site.

For example- I'd have a 1,500+ word money post, product review on the best "darn tough socks" with REI affiliate links. I'd create custom graphics and content for Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Facebook and drip the content out using MissingLettr

In this case, if you're starting from scratch, you might want to create an outdoor adventure-themed site. That could be on topics like 'hiking' or 'outdoor water sports'.

While Amazon Associates is, obviously, a great affiliate partner for physical products- you'll find that if you've niched down into a particular category like outdoor adventure that there are worthwhile alternatives, like REI's affiliate program, you can explore.

Email Marketing

It's also worth it to have an email list up and running from the start. I recommend using ConvertKit to create an autoresponder sequence that promotes your content and also markets affiliate offers to your list.

You can scour sites like Clickbank, FlexOffers and ODigger to find both information and physical affiliate products to promote.

A lot of the email marketing affiliate experts I follow recommend sending out 1 affiliate email for every 3 or 4 informational, value-adding emails in your autoresponder sequence. 

Plus- you can direct traffic to money pages on your site that may not rank for terms organically.

For example, check out some of the 'survival' and 'prepper' offers I found in ClickBank:

surivval affiliate programs

The 'emergency prepper' niche is pretty SEO competitive- but you can still profit in it if you can push traffic to the offers by email!

Summary

Depending on the style of site you run, the REI affiliate program has some interesting offers. You can promote some of their physical goods products or diversify into some of their experiential events. 

Whatever the case may be, the constant is publishing high-quality content across channel, capturing email addresses, so that you diversify your traffic and monetization strategies. 

I advise against merely 'doing SEO' and waiting for rankings. Yes, that can work- but it'll be much more rewarding, and you'll see faster growth, if you focus on holistic traffic generation strategies.

j3teq
 

Ryan Nelson is a full-stack online marketer. I help people discover niches to build passive-income online businesses (for free!).

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