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Published on January 26, 2023

Best Affiliate Tracking Software (With Expert Analysis)

We’ve tested each WooCommerce referral plugin individually and found that even though most of them seem more or less the same on the surface level, there are nuanced differences that can impact the total price you’ll pay and the overall success of your referral program.

So when evaluating each referral plugin, we looked at:

  1. Core features: Are all of the basic features you require offered at the most basic pricing tier?
  2. Customer user experience: Is it easy for your loyal customers to share referral links, track sales, and receive payments?
  3. Setup: Does it require technical expertise to install or can you do it yourself in just a few minutes?
  4. WooCommerce compatibility: Is it designed to accommodate the nuances of WooCommerce, such as WooCommerce Subscription payments?
  5. Advanced features: Can you offer a different commission rate for a particular product or even block products from your referral program? Can you provide different commission rates for individual customers?
  6. Customer service: Can you reach someone in a matter of minutes/hours if you have a problem? Or are requests often ignored?

To help you find the best referral plugin for your needs, we analyzed the most popular solutions, and below, we’ll give you a detailed breakdown of our analysis.

We’ll also introduce you to our own solution, Solid Affiliate, which we built to solve the nuanced pain points we faced with other referral plugins.

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#1

Solid Affiliate

Solid Affiliate is a modern WordPress referral plugin explicitly designed for WooCommerce stores , and it just works.

It offers all the basic features you’d expect from a referral marketing plugin (plus more advanced functionalities), though the standout reasons why it’s arguably the best WooCommerce referral plugin come down to these four
differentiators:

  1. WooCommerce Specialization: Unlike other referral plugins that serve multiple ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce, Solid Affiliate is built specifically for WooCommerce. This translates to a more effortless user experience, and it natively supports nuanced WooCommerce features like WooCommerce Subscriptions.
  1. Best Value with Unlimited Everything and No Add-ons : Solid Affiliate offers unlimited everything – customer advocates, referrals, creatives, traffic, etc. – at the most basic pricing tier so that you never have to pay for add-ons or an upgrade. Solid Affiliate also includes all features on even the most basic pricing tier. This means you never have to upgrade to access advanced features like WooCommerce Subscriptions support, PayPal payouts, or custom notifications.
  1. Ease of Use and Dead Simple 2 Minute Setup : Solid Affiliate has a simple setup wizard that walks you through exactly how to install the plugin in minutes. It requires just a few clicks and zero technical expertise. In addition, the plugin is intuitively designed so that anyone can navigate it without ever reading a support article.
  1. Second Mover Advantage : Remember when we said that it just works? This is because Solid Affiliate was built with more modern coding practices than many of our older competitors, which improves the user experience, security, and more. We’ll discuss each of these key differentiators in more detail below and then walk you through how to set up a successful referral program with Solid Affiliate. Though first, here’s an overview of Solid Affiliate’s core features (though you can also read about its more advanced functionalities):
  • Referral link tracking : Create and distribute custom referral links and discount coupon codes to reward the right affiliates for orders.
  • Referral management : Accept and reject referral applications in your WordPress dashboard and view sales details.
  • Advanced commission rate customization : If you want to create a different commission rate for a specific customer, product, product category, etc.,you can do so in Solid Affiliate.
  • Automatic PayPal payouts: Most only offer this on premium versions or as an add-on, but we offer this at the most basic pricing tier.
  • Refund protection : Never pay a referral commission on refunded products or fraudulent orders.
  • Automatic notifications : You and your customers will receive automated email notifications regarding sales and payments.
  • Referral portal : Your referrers can access an easy-to-use portal to view all of their referral activity and access brand creatives.
  • Comprehensive reporting: You can easily view your referral program’s performance with a dashboard that shows total sales, commission calculations, and other data.

Now let’s discuss the key differences that set Solid Affiliate apart from other referral plugins.

WooCommerce Specialization

Solid Affiliate has deep integrations with WordPress and specializes specifically in WooCommerce.

So how does that benefit you?

Benefits of a Native WordPress Approach

There are plenty of other referral platforms that integrate with WordPress, but there are a few benefits of taking a native approach to WordPress:

  • You Own Your Data : Solid Affiliate’s native WordPress approach means you own your data. In contrast, platforms that simply offer WordPress integrations own your data. This means they can raise prices and lock you out of your program at any moment, or another company might purchase it and change policies.
  • Unlimited Customization : With a SaaS referral platform, you can’t customize the software to your liking. However, because Solid Affiliate is a native WordPress plugin, you can just ask your developers to hook into and extend the plugin code.
  • 2-Minute, Non-Technical Setup Process : If you’re using a third-party platform, you might have to set up tracking by inserting a snippet of code. Solid Affiliate’s setup only takes two minutes, and a setup wizard guides you through the entire process.

Benefits of WooCommerce Specialization

We already mentioned that Solid Affiliate only serves WooCommerce, and this is because we wanted to build it to mold
to WooCommerce’s nuanced features.

Here’s how you benefit from this laser-focused specialization:

  • WooCommerce Subscriptions Are Offered to Everyone : You never have to pay for an add-on for WooCommerce Subscriptions. They are automatically available in every plan tier.
  • More Accurate Commission Calculations : Since Solid Affiliate is natively integrated with WooCommerce, it can leverage store activity data to offer more advanced commission settings, calculate commission payouts more precisely, and more.
  • Advanced Commission Settings : Whether you want to set a specific commission rate for a particular product, product category, customeradvocate, or even exclude a product from your referral program, you can do that (and you don’t have to pay
    extra to use these advanced commission settings!).
  • Automatic WooCommerce Order Notes : Solid Affiliate immediately adds a note in WooCommerce to all orders purchased through your referralprogram.
  • Automated Refund Logging : Solid Affiliate automatically identifies refunded items and eliminates the corresponding commission from your payouts so that you never accidentally pay for refunded items.

In short, Solid Affiliate’s specialization in WooCommerce and WordPress saves you money and time.

It saves you money because:

  • You never have to pay for a WooCommerce Subscription add-on.
  • It allows you to offer advanced commission settings so that you can exclude products, offer specific
    commission settings for different customer advocates, and more.
  • It provides a detailed calculation for each payout rather than applying a single commission rate to an entire
    order.
  • Automatic refund logging prevents you from paying for fraudulent orders.
  • You’ll never be prompted to pay commissions on purchases made within the return window.

It saves you time because:

  • The setup wizard makes it easy for anyone (even those with zero technical expertise) to install Solid
    Affiliate and set up their referral program in just two minutes.
  • You can access convenience features like PayPal bulk payouts without ever paying for an add-on or upgrading
    to a premium pricing tier.
  • Everything lives in the WordPress dashboard you’re already familiar with.

Best Value – Unlimited Everything and All Features at One Price Point

When comparing prices for different referral marketing plugins, look carefully at the features included at each
pricing tier.

This is important because many referral plugins restrict important features behind higher pricing tiers or limit the
number of affiliates, referrals, or traffic you can have in your program.

So as you scale, it might become unaffordable, and you’ll have to switch programs.

On the other hand, Solid Affiliate has one single price point and gives you access to everything.  This means you get unlimited everything (referrals, affiliates, creatives, traffic, etc.) and all features (including advanced features like WooCommerce Subscriptions and PayPal payout integrations) at one single price point.

This makes Solid Affiliate the best value for scaling WooCommerce companies because you’ll never have to upgrade –
even as your referral program becomes more complex.

Ease of Use and Dead Simple 2-Minute Setup

Most referral platforms require users to add a code snippet for tracking purposes. Alternatively, other WordPress
plugins designed to serve a variety of ecommerce platforms have lengthy setup processes.

Though because Solid Affiliate only specializes in WooCommerce, the setup is dead simple. You can just follow along
with the setup wizard, and in a few clicks, you’ll have a fully functional referral program set up!

Here are the exact steps to setting up Solid Affiliate:

  • Step 1: Install WooCommerce
  • Step 2: Install WooCommerce Subscriptions (optional)
  • Step 3: Choose the outgoing email address and name
  • Step 4: Paste the license key in the bar
  • Step 5: Set up the affiliate portal with one click
  • Done!

Here’s a step-by-step follow-along video that shows you just how easy the process is:

By making the setup process this easy, anyone can confidently set up their referral program in a matter of minutes.

Second Mover Advantage –It Just Works

It’s annoying to purchase a tool only to discover it’s buggy or difficult to use.

Unfortunately, user experience issues are common in other referral plugins because many were built with legacy coding
methods and still have bloat that hinders the user experience.

In addition, many of these referral plugins are just a small part of a larger company, so the support might take a
few days to respond to you.

In contrast, Solid Affiliate has the second mover advantage and is designed with modern coding methods that make it
fast and reliable.

We also update it regularly, so you don’t have to worry about hackers exploiting your data.

In addition, because we only serve WooCommerce users, we have a more targeted customer base, and our team can be
highly responsive to any customer issues.

In fact, we even work closely with customers to develop new features and further elevate the customer experience.

To see how Solid Affiliate can help you skyrocket referral sales and minimize the time and effort required to manage a referral program, try it out today risk-free!

Now, we’ll walk you through how to set up an efficient referral system with Solid Affiliate.

How to Set Up Your Referral Program With Solid Affiliate

Step 1: Install Solid Affiliate in a few clicks (zero tech expertise required).

To get started, just follow along with Solid Affiliate’s setup wizard and you’ll have it up and running in a minute
or two.

You can watch the video below to see how quickly you can set up Solid Affiliate:

Step 2: Customize your commission rates

All referral plugins allow you to set a standard commission rate for referred purchases.

However, you can offer different commission rates for different customers, products, product categories, etc. You can
also exclude specific products or product categories from your referral campaigns altogether.

While other referral plugins typically require users to upgrade to a higher pricing tier to access more advanced
commission settings,

Differentiator — Solid Affiliate offers all of its advanced commission settings at even the most basic pricing tier.

This makes it super easy to optimize your referral program for maximum profitability without paying for upgrades or add-ons.

So when you log into your dashboard, you’ll first see the Global Default percentage at the top. This is the
commission percentage that Solid Affiliate will apply to all purchases if none of the other commission settings are
adjusted.

However, if you want to customize commission rates, you have the following options:

  • Affiliate commission rates : If you want to give a particular VIP customer (perhaps an influencer) a different commission rate, you can do that here.
  • Product-specific commission rate : If there’s a particular product that you want to offer a different commission rate for (or exclude it from your referral campaign entirely), you can do so with this feature.
  • Product-category commission rate : If there’s a particular product category that you want to offer a specific commission rate for, this feature makes it possible.
  • Lifetime commissions : Your referring customers can earn a commission on every purchase that the referred customer makes.
  • Recurring referrals : If the referred customer purchases a subscription, the referring customer will receive a recurring commissioning.

Few other referral plugins offer this level of commission flexibility. For example, lifetime and recurring referral
commission rate features are rare, and if they are offered, it’s typically only at higher pricing tiers.

Step 3: Customers can apply to join your referral program

Now that Solid Affiliate is up and running, your loyal customers can apply to join. All they have to do is fill out
this page (which is also the login page they can use to access their personal portal once accepted into your
referral program):

Step 4: Accept or reject applicants

Once customers apply, you’ll receive a notification that you have pending applicants. When you view pending
applications, you’ll see the customer’s email address and any registration notes they wrote.

You can then accept or reject their application with just one click. Or, if you have a VIP customer and want to
change the commission rate for that individual, you can do so.

Once approved, customers can log into their portal to view their referral sales, the amount earned, and payment
status.

Step 5: Your loyal customers refer their friends and Solid Affiliate tracks those sales

Instead of trying to track referral coupon codes in a spreadsheet and manually calculating payouts, Solid Affiliate
automatically tracks all referral activity.

Specifically, it tracks:

  • Referral number
  • Affiliate (referring customer) ID
  • Order total
  • Commission amount (with detailed calculation breakdown)
  • Referral source (e.g., “Coupon 10”)

This way, it’s easy to log into your dashboard and gauge the program’s success at a glance.

Step 6: Pay referral commissions in minutes

Paying referral commissions can be a headache, as you don’t want to pay them out before the product refund date
passes to avoid paying commissions on refunded products.

In addition, calculating the commission total can quickly become complicated with multi-product orders. For example,
if you have different commission rates for various products or some products are excluded from your referral
program, calculating the commission rate is much more complicated than simply applying a single commission rate to
the total order amount.

Fortunately, Solid Affiliate solves this headache by automating the entire process.

First, Solid Affiliate only includes commission payouts for orders that have passed the refund date (and you can
always customize the timeframe). This ensures you never pay commissions for returned items.

In addition, it meticulously calculates commission rates according to the custom commission rate settings you
established in the second step. You’ll also always be able to access a detailed breakdown of how each commission
rate was calculated, which can reduce any potential disputes.

Finally, Solid Affiliate offers PayPal bulk payouts to everyone. This means you don’t have to upgrade to a higher
pricing tier or purchase an add-on to access this feature.

That’s it!

You now have a fully functional referral program!

If you haven’t done so yet, sign up for Solid Affiliate today risk free! If
you aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll give you a full refund in the first 30 days. 

 

#2

Affiliate For WooCommerce

This affiliate plugin was built by StoreApps and allows WooCommerce users to create a comprehensive affiliate
program.

It offers all the core features you’d expect from an affiliate plugin, including:

  • Accept affiliate registration applications
  • Allow affiliates to create unique links or coupon codes
  • Automatic tracking (traffic, conversions, commissions, payouts)
  • Offers WooCommerce Subscription capabilities
  • Customize commissions by affiliate, affiliate tags, product categories, and more.
  • Create a multi-tier affiliate program
  • PayPal payouts integration

It offers its own dashboard that shows all of your referral data, and you can see significant metrics like total
revenue, conversion rates, customers, and visitors at a glance.

You can also drill down to individual affiliates to quickly see who your highest-performing affiliates are and reward them accordingly. If you plan to offer different commission percentages to your top-performing affiliates, you can create tags based on performance. For example, you can assign an “influencer” tag to top performers and a “dormant”
tag to inactive ones.

#3

AutomateWoo – Refer A Friend Add-on

If you’re looking for a simple referral plugin that offers just the basics you’ll need to run a referral program,
AutomateWoo’s Refer a Friend add-on might be a good option.

Note that you have to have AutomateWoo installed on your website to use the add-on, so if you’re not currently using
AutomateWoo, it might not be the best choice.

Nevertheless, it offers the basics you’ll need to run a referral rewards program, including:

  • Referral management  that shows advocate, order, new customer, percentage discount, and more directly from your WordPress
    dashboard
  • Sharable referral linksthat make social sharing easy across platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp
  • Post-purchase widgetsthat promote your referral program to all customers who purchase from you either after the checkout page or
    in emails.
  • Fraud preventionchecks if the advocate’s IP address matches the customer’s ID. It also checks for matching cookies and
    emails.
  • Reportingthat shows the success of your referral program
  • Advocate reportingallows your referring customers to see how many of their friends have purchased from you.

As you can see, you’ll be able to access everything you need to create a basic referral program, though the major
drawback is that you must be an AutomateWoo customer to use it.

#4

WPLoyalty

WPLoyalty specializes in customer loyalty programs. While it offers a referral feature, improving customer retention
is WPLoyalty’s main specialty.

Here are its three core functionalities:

  • Points: You can offer loyalty points for specific customer actions like a particular product purchase, meeting a
    minimum order amount, or meeting a minimum total spend.
  • Levels: You can create a tiered loyalty program that rewards customers according to how much they support your
    brand. This makes it easy to identify VIPs and encourages customers to keep purchasing from you to reach the
    next level.
  • Referrals: Finally, you can reward loyal customers who refer their friends to your brand. WPLoyalty allows you to
    create discount coupons with personalized shortcodes, real-time data tracking, and more.

This plugin has its own dashboard inside WordPress, though it’s fairly easy to navigate.

Overall, WPLoyalty is a great option if your primary goal is improving customer retention, though its main focus is
not generating referral customers. Therefore, it doesn’t offer some of the more advanced features like advanced
commission options.

#5

Referral System For WooCommerce

The Referral System is a referral plugin built by Codup specifically for WooCommerce. The Codup team advertises it as
a “lightweight” plugin that’s well-optimized and regularly updated.

Diving into the product, you’ll see that it offers the basic functionality you’ll need to create a referral program,
including:

  • Rewards for referrers and referees : You can set the coupon type, coupon amount, expiration date, and even enable a coupon for the newly-referred customer. The reward types include percentage discounts, a fixed-price discount, or loyalty points.
  • Social sharing buttons : Make it easy for customers to promote your program with referral buttons on social media and email.
  • Automated referral tracking : Customers can see their earned rewards, referral points, and any coupons they can still redeem.

The Referral System by Codup is fairly simple, and you can manage the entire program directly from your WordPress
dashboard.

#6

Gamification For WooCommerce

This plugin offers both customer loyalty and customer referral features. So as your customers purchase from your
store and refer their friends, they can earn loyalty points, badges, ranks, and coupons to redeem on future
purchases.

Here are a few of the key features it offers:

  • Auto-generated discount coupons for customers : As customers achieve the next level of your referral program (typically by purchasing more products), the plugin automatically sends them a new coupon code.
  • Product inclusion/exclusion capabilities : You can include and exclude specific products from your referral program.
  • Product visibility restrictions : If you have some products that you only want visible to loyal customers who have earned a certain badge, amount of points, etc., you can do so in this tab.
  • Partial payments : If you enable this feature, your customers can pay part of the purchase price for a product now and more later.
  • Feature reward points on Product, Checkout, and Cart pages : This helps increase conversions as customers will see that they are getting a great deal.
  • Referral tracking : It automatically rewards referred customers according to your established settings.
  • Points history : You can track all of the points your customers have earned in the past.

To use this plugin, you must also have myCred installed.

While the installation process doesn’t require any coding, you do have to upload a zip file and double check the myCred is properly set up. Also, if you want to further edit the interface further, any Elementor developer can do so.

#7

Coupon Referral Program

Coupon Referral Program is a plugin by WP Swings that offers coupon codes to referring customers.

It offers an unlimited number of referral coupons, referral link sharing on social media platforms, and a signup area for customers.

To get started, you can allow customers to sign up for your referral program and accept all of them automatically or limit it to only those who match a specified criterion (e.g., their friends signed up at your store).

You can then customize the program by establishing different discount percentages, coupon code expiration dates, and adding a coupon number limit.

To get the word out about your program, you can also enable referral link sharing so that customers can share your store with their friends on social media.

It also offers a coupon reporting dashboard showing which customers generated the most revenue. Your customers can also log into their own portal to see which coupons they’ve redeemed and which ones will expire soon.

#8

YITH WooCommerce Affiliates

YITH offers a WooCommerce affiliate plugin that allows you to accept affiliates, offer affiliate links, automatically track referred purchases, and pay them.

To get started, you can adopt a customizable registration form template that affiliates can fill out to apply for your program.

From there, you can manually accept or reject affiliates. If you upgrade to the premium version, you can set it to automatically accept or reject affiliates.

Next, you’ll see all affiliates in the Affiliates table, which provides details like commissions, conversion rates, and total earnings. You can also drill down to any particular affiliate to see their individual performance.

If you purchase the premium version, you’ll also be able to customize commissions with rules that assign different commission rates to different users, user roles, or products. Otherwise, basic users only have access to a single default commission rate.

When it’s time to pay affiliates, premium users can do so through its PayPal and Stripe integration, though basic users can only do so through a direct bank or wire transfer.

While it offers plenty of different features, you can see that most of them are only available to premium users.

*

Bonus: ReferralCandy

ReferralCandy is a bonus because it’s technically a referral platform rather than a plugin. This means that it isn’t natively integrated with your WooCommerce store, and they own your data.

Nevertheless, it’s a reputable product that many ecommerce customers use to track referrals and reward loyal customers.

To get started, decide on your referral reward. ReferralCandy allows you to choose between dollar discounts, percentage discounts, custom gifts, or cash.

Next, you’ll select and customize a theme for your referral program. You can select between post-purchase popups, embedded signup forms, and widget templates. You can then add your own logo, banners, colors, and fonts.

From there, ReferralCandy tracks referral traffic, revenue, and links and presents the data in a clean dashboard.

ReferralCandy also offers fraud detection to ensure you never accidentally pay for refunded or fraudulent purchases.

Choosing The Best WooCommerce Referral Plugin For Your Needs

While there are plenty of different WooCommerce referral plugins available, we couldn’t find one that was easy to set up, didn’t require add-ons/upgrades, and just worked.

So we built Solid Affiliate.

Today, it is one of the most modern WooCommerce referral plugins available that has been meticulously coded and optimized to deliver a truly outstanding user experience. With a simple two-minute setup and all features available directly inside the WordPress dashboard you already know how to navigate, it’s never been easier to manage a referral program.

It is also arguably the best value because you get everything – including features typically only offered as add-ons or on premium pricing tiers – at a single price point (which is lower than many competitors’ most basic pricing).

To see for yourself if Solid Affiliate is the best option for you, try it out for yourself today 100% risk-free.

If you don’t absolutely love it, we’ll give you your money back in the first 30 days – no questions asked. (Although we’re pretty sure you’ll love it 😉 )

Looking for the best affiliate plugin for WooCommerce?

Solid Affiliate is available for download without any extra premium addons or hidden fees. We offer straightforward, all-inclusive pricing.

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