Most website publishers for the Amazon Associate affiliate program relies on WordPress-powered review niche sites to earn from the affiliate program, but there are many other ways to promote Amazon products without using WordPress or the review route.
Recently, I’ve purchased a program called Fresh Store Builder that runs as a standalone program. Unlike other scripts that require the WordPress framework, Fresh Store Builder is a full-featured eCommerce store for Amazon associates from the ground-up.
If you already have a site created using my free Amazon Affiliate Blueprint [free download here], adding an FSB store will practically give you two separate sites to make more sales.
Amazon Fresh Store Builder Features
- 100% Amazon compliant
- Simple Installation – You pretty much just FTP the files to your server, run the web-based installer like WordPress, and register your store URL in the Fresh Store Builder website control panel and you’re ready to go.
- Pull products from Amazon via keyword, node ID, filters, and categories
- SEO optimized
- Ability to add fresh content pages for better customer experience
- Customer-centric layouts and designs
- Highly detailed dashboard for performance tracking
- Keeps customers on your site and exits to Amazon only upon checkout. Allowing a 90-day shopping cart cookie instead of the 24-hour limit.
- Can work as a standalone eCommerce website or a store portal to a blog or information site
- Integration of The Best Spinner for unique product descriptions and content for better search engine ranking
- One-time fee with unlimited licenses
If you’ve read the previous section carefully, the last item pretty much sums up why Fresh Store Builder is enticing.
Amazon’s cookie is amazingly short at 24-hours, meaning, the customer who clicked on your link must complete their purchases within 24-hours or you won’t get credit.
However, Amazon also clearly stated that when items are added into their shopping cart, the referral cookie for those items lasts a whopping 90-days.
So as long as your visitor didn’t clear their shopping cart, you can get Amazon affiliate commissions on those cart items as long as they complete the purchase within 90 days.
Ease of Use of Fresh Store Builder
Fresh Store Builder is very easy to install and populate. You just need to enter either a node ID, keyword, or ASIN numbers to start populating and categorizing your store.
The important aspect is to set up your site carefully in terms of category structures so customers can browse through items easier. In short, Fresh Store Builder lets you create a tighter niche eCommerce site from their thousands of big categories.
Automatic Updates on Product Details
Fresh Store Builder automatically updates the prices, availability, and special offers as they appear on Amazon. Frequency depends on your dashboard settings
Growing Community and Good Support
The support team has been quite helpful to me, especially for a guy like me who knows little about PHP, CSS, and database issues. Most of the time, I just let the support team handle the back-end issues themselves by providing them temporary access.
The members-only forum is highly active and provides a lot of tips on getting the store ranked better, debugging issues, and promotion ideas.
Sample Sites Running Fresh Store Builder
Below are some ‘live’ stores running the Fresh Store Builder platform. You can see the actual site URLs from the Fresh Store Builder website.
The Internet Marketing Books store I have on this site as well as my camera online store run under the Fresh Store Builder script as well, that particular store narrows down the book shopping list for many internet marketers and it’s a standalone site that generates its own income.
Compared to Other Amazon Plugins, Scripts, and Stores
There are quite a few successful plugins and scripts for Amazon Associates in the market, in fact, Amazon themselves offer a free Amazon aStore script for you to do pretty much what Fresh Store Builder does, so how does Fresh Store Builder compare and why did I invest on it instead of the other tools?
For one, the odds of a Fresh Store Builder store ranking decently in the search engines is pretty good as the spinner (The Best Spinner required) can churn out unique content automatically. You can literally create hundreds of unique product pages with a few key strokes.
You can add pages and articles to Fresh Store Builder much like a WordPress-powered site as well, further adding content for SEO and usability purposes.
Fresh Store Builder practically does what Amazon aStore does, but much, much better.
The Amazon aStore offers you all the goodness of having an eCommerce site by placing one line of code to your existing website, but the problem is, the aStore is hideous! Customization is very limited and you’re going to waste a lot of time trying to make the store match the feel of your website.
Fresh Store Builder has the look of many standard eCommerce sites out there, which increases customer confidence when shopping. The four standard templates are decent to use ‘from-the-box’, just add a custom header and you should be good to go.
WP Zon Builder
I also own the popular WordPress plug-in called WP Zon Builder, which is a great script as well but that required the use of a WordPress blog to run.
I wanted to run eCommerce sites in conjuction with my blogs and niche sites but the WordPress model required me to spend a lot of time finding the right theme to run an eCommerce platform on.
As I’m not a big HTML/CSS/PHP programming fan, I had a hard time making these WP Zon Builder sites look like legitimate storefronts. I feel that WP Zon Builder and other similar tools are more suited for review sites and niche sites rather than an eCommerce store front.
I also faced the issue of always seeing the latest added products on the front page of the site. Yes, I could’ve simply created a custom page and used appropriate plug-ins to feature certain categories and such, but that’s just too much work for my liking.
Shortcomings of Fresh Store Builder
Nothing’s perfect, and Fresh Store Builder did have a couple of things that bothered me at first:
1) Relatively difficult to customize the pre-set themes. My CSS skills are weak, so that played a big part.
2) The documentation, screen instructions, and support are written by developers therefore the terminologies and usability of their help documentation are filled with jargon (though the support system can solve your problems easier, their support ticket system is very comprehensive).
3) Inability to customize the front page special offers and best-seller list (currently being fixed with the new update).
4) Clicks are only logged into Amazon’s system if the customer checks out from your shopping cart.
Honestly, none of these are real deal-breakers as you can hire a decent CSS guy to customize your site for you in a jiffy and just ask the support team to solve your back-end server/software issues.
In addition, the FSB team is constantly getting feedbacks from customers in the private forum and a lot of the feature requests get integrated into the software updates.
Does Fresh Store Builder convert well enough for the investment?
I wish I can give you a clear yes or no, but that would be misleading you as much as saying creating any Amazon niche review site will make money.
Fresh Store Builder is just a tool and mechanism to get a store up easily, not a magic pill that automatically ranks high on Google and sells items automatically.
The standard process of picking the right niche, creating relevant content, and building backlinks still apply as a Fresh Store Builder site is no different from any other website.
But once you’ve narrowed down a good niche to promote, adding new content and creating a legitimate online store is a cinch and visitors love a familiar shopping system.
Remember that this is an unlimited license, so I’m currently running 6 of these stores, which makes the cost of the script quite low.
The Numbers and Case Study
This is from one of my sites in the car niche, the items sold are pretty cheap, we’re looking at sub-$50 range for most items, so commission earnings will be a bit low.
This Fresh Store Builder install is a part of a larger authority niche site and not a standalone, so it’s relying on traffic from the main site as well as organic search to generate traffic.
The Fresh Store Builder site actually has a couple of product pages already on the first page of Google for [product name] review. Mind you that the product content was unchanged from Amazon, so it’s not original content yet it is still ranking.
Let’s take a look at the dashboard inside Fresh Store Builder, you can see how many Checkouts occurred from your store.
Checkout means when the visitor viewed the product, added the item to their shopping cart, and clicked “check out”. That’s the stage when the visitor gets redirected to the Amazon payment screen to enter their credit card and shipping info.
As you can see in the image below from Amazon, for the month of February (up to the 25th, 2012), this Fresh Store Builder yielded 90 clicks (checkouts) to Amazon. Note that clicks made within your store are not registered in Amazon, only checkouts.
The interesting part is, the eCommerce site sent 816 less clicks than the contextual affiliate links in the authority site but converted 10x more sales.
As mentioned, this is one of those ‘volume-padding’ niche sites to help bump the commission percentage so the low value of the items doesn’t really mean anything.
The conversion rate of a Fresh Store Builder site has proven to yield better completed sales compared to just a hop link in many cases as the customer will only go through checkout if they intend to buy.
Cost and License Price
The Fresh Store Builder normally sells for $197 for unlimited site license.
Remember that this is an unlimited license, so you can create as many stores as you wish.
Verdict for Amazon Fresh Store Builder
I highly recommend Fresh Store Builder if you’re out to create a professional-looking Amazon eCommerce site as the conversions are good and you can easily add content much like any other website platform but with a much more refined store system.
Your Amazon site will be very professional looking, SEO optimized, and utilize the 90-day shopping cart cookie as well that makes being an Amazon affiliate more enticing and profitable.