Sales Agent (Source) Tracking
As more and more people try to build online businesses, competition heats up, and we all look for innovative ways to spread the word about our business, as well as gauge the value of various promotional campaigns. One very popular, increasingly effective way to do so is by encouraging third parties to help promote or link their web page to yours. However, asking someone to do you a favor without any kind of remuneration isn't very effective. BUT, if you could attribute revenue to a particular source, then you could pay such an agent a commission (in one form or another) in return for their efforts. This is the underlying idea behind Agent/Commission Tracking.
Built-into the standard VOE is the ability to handle what we call Sales Agent Tracking. Other sites may refer to this type of functionality as revenue sharing, commission programs, source tracking, pyramid marketing, affiliate programs, etc. It's all basically the same thing: A method by which you can track where online sales are coming from.
How does Sales Agent Tracking work?
During the order process, the VOE looks for what it calls an "Agent ID" - this is a piece of information which is either passed directly to the VOE (in the form of a parameter in a URL to toss an item into the basket, a hidden form field) or indirectly via a cookie being set in the user's browser. If this Agent ID is found, it is stored on file with the completed transaction and also may appear on the merchant's copy of the order. Since the VOE can maintain a historical transaction database, reports can be generated summarizing revenue by agent ID.
The Agent ID can be used for a variety of purposes. Since it is a way for you to "tag" the source of someone coming to your web site on any sales. You can assign Agent ID codes to specify particular advertising, link exchange, or referral campaigns. A good merchant will always try to identify the source of traffic to their site - and the Agent ID is very useful. All you do is simply assign a unique ID for each source/link and the system takes care of the rest automatically.
How do I enable Sales Agent Tracking?
The most common way is to compose a special URL to reference your web site. You embed the Agent ID in the URL. Here is an example:
<A HREF="http://order.icorp.net/mpr/agent?id=ad100&url=http://www.mysite.com/mypage.html">CLICK HERE</A>
The URL format is:
Whatever you specify as MyID is what will be stored on file, so it is important to develop a system by which you assign Agent IDs in order to track sales. These IDs can be verbose or they can be short but in general, these rules apply when specifying any text in a URL: try to use just numbers and letters and no punctuation or other symbols/characters; spaces are NOT allowed (the exception being the characters necessary to specify a fully-qualified URL, such as a colon or forward slash).
The above URL/format calls a special script set up on our system called agent which is written in C and uses only 13K of memory when called, so it's VERY fast and efficient (again compared to most sites' Perl-based crap, the VOE rules in terms of how much traffic it can handle).
Here are some "clickable" examples:
Click here to go to Dixie Art Supplies and set an agent ID of "VOE" - (NOTE: I'm using the TARGET="_new" command to open a new browser window because the cookie script makes it difficult to hit "back" on your browser once you click thru - this is an added benefit to using the script: once people click, it's more difficult for them to back out to the page they came from)
Go to Cajunland site while setting an agent id of PR02
NOTE: If you use an html editor, make sure it does NOT convert the & into & in the URLs or else the links will not function properly!
Agent IDs can also be specified in URLs to toss items into a shopping cart - so you can track references to the purchase of individual items. To do so, use the token a_xxxx in VOE URL references, where xxxx would be the agent ID. Here's an example:
http://order.icorp.net/mpr/voeb?review+c_sample+i_1000+q_1+u_1.95+n_Bob's_Bar-B-Que_Sauce+s_Original+s_12_Oz.+a_MyIDIn FORM methods of interfacing with the VOE, use the following html code:
<INPUT TYPE="hidden" NAME="agent" VALUE="xxxx">
What Kind of Reports on Agent Tracking are available?
On any order placed where there is an attributed Agent ID, if the feature is enabled, the Agent ID will appear on the order the merchant receives. In addition there are other summary reports which show more detailed info.
There are always features and reports being added to the VOE, so be sure to ask. One of our standard reports - the monthly sales summary has recently been updated to also include breakdowns of sales by agent IDs. This allows you to track the effectiveness of advertising, linking and affiliate programs. You will get a report outlining sales broken down by agent in the standard summaries.
We are always available to do custom reports and systems to provide even more functionality. For additional information, contact us and provide details on your needs.