Please note that affiliate links may be included in some posts.
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.
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.
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.
REI Commission Structure
- 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:
|Camping and Hiking
|Sleeping Bags and Accessories
|Sleeping Pads, Cots and Hammocks
|Water Bottles and Treatment
|Health and Safety
|Men's Sweaters and Hoodies
|Men's Clothing Accessories
|Women's Skirts and Dresses
|Women's Sweaters and Hoodies
|Women's Clothing Accessories
|Kids' Sweaters and Hoodies
|Girls' Skirts and Dresses
|Kids' Snowsuits, Rain Suits and Buntings
|Cycling Backpacks and Bags
|Bike Racks and Storage
|Bike Packs, Bags and Trailers
|Exercise Equipment and Electronics
|Skates and Skateboards
|Webbing and Cords
|Chalk and Chalk Bags
|Paddling Bags and Cases
|Paddling Safety Equipment
|Travel and Luggage
|Day Bags and Packs
|Phone and Electronics Cases
|Wallets and Money Belts
|Travel Sleep Accessories
|Ski Packs and Bags
|Ski Tuning and Tools
|Snowboard Packs and Bags
|Avalanche Safety Gear
|Cargo Boxes, Baskets and Bags
|Ski and Snowboard Racks
|Base Roof Racks
|Car Rack Accessories
|Lifestyle and Gifts
|Home and Cabin Decor
|Games and Toys
|Journals and Pens
|Patches and Pins
|Solar and Portable Power
|Radios and Headphones
|Packs and Bags
|Wallets and Money Belts
|Books and Maps
|How-To and Instructional Books
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.
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.
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:
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!
Read More Of My Niche Reports
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.
Last Updated on November 15, 2023 by Ryan Nelson