GPEC official data says that 1 in 4 Internet users is an online shopper and in 2014 these bought products and services worth 1.1 € billion (40% growth compared to 2013). Therefore, the online shopping market in Romania is very big and continually growing. In this context, affiliate marketing has started to evolve as well. In the last few years, this concept has gained momentum and has proven to be a considerable source of revenue for all parties involved: affiliates, merchants and affiliate platforms.
Affiliate marketing is a form of performance-based marketing. In short, it is the process by which affiliates (also called publishers) receive percentage commissions for each lead or sale brought to merchants based on a cookie. This process is mediated by an affiliate platform, where the two parties must be approved in advance. In Romania, the most popular affiliation platforms are 2Parale and Profitshare. These paid in 2014 commissions worth over 184 million lei.
Combining this type of marketing with fundraising, the BuyAndHelp.ro project was born within the Innovation Labs 2015 competition, supported by Spherik Accelerator. The road from idea to reality was short. The project started from 0 in March this year and was officially launched in early June. The project quickly attracted media attention and managed to have appearances in numerous online newspapers (Gandul, Monitor Cluj or Ziarul Financiar) and in TV shows such as I Like IT (Pro TV), Recrutat in Cluj (Digi24) or TVR 1 news.
Our mission is to raise donations by directing part of generated sales commissions to various social causes and NGOs such as dog shelter "Arca lui Noe" or Fundatia Comunitara Cluj, support for disabled people or coding courses. BuyAndHelp is a web platform where people can find a wide range of products: electronics, insurances, pharmaceutical, books, etc. offered by some of the largest online stores in Romania.
The difference from a classic online store is that the payment is made within the integrated BuyAndHelp stores, so buyers are directed to them after choosing a product to be purchased. Also, the plus or the HELP part comes from the option to choose to what social cause the buyer wants to donate part of the product value. What is very important is that the customer does not pay anything extra. We receive from the merchant, for example store X, a commission for bringing them a customer, and part of this commission is directed to the NGO chosen by the buyer.
We can best explain the entire process through a simple example. Let's say you want to buy a new tablet that costs 1000 lei, on the website of an online store (call it X). Accessing the store's website X through BuyAndHelp.ro (click on its logo) we will receive a commission (let's say it is 3%). After you buy the tablet, the store X will transfer to BuyAndHelp.ro 3% meaning 30 lei, and we will donate it to social cause that you support. All of this without you paying more money out of your pocket.
The website was officially launched in early June and so far we have registered 178 donations with total value of 2000 lei, the highest being 79 lei. All these acquisitions and donations were made through more than 40 partner online stores, including eMag, Elefant or Plafar.
Currently, we are hosting on the platform 11 NGOs and social cases of the most diverse. Our users can buy and donate to organizations dealing with the care and sterilization of animals, to support programming courses from Simplon Romania or the Recovery Center "Un zambet cu MIRA". The only independent case we have at the moment is "HelpSmaranda" trying to raise money for the treatment of a young woman with cancer.
As future plans, we want to expand the number of partners and online stores and have as many special campaigns such as the one we have with which Gxgia Fashion through which we donate 100% of the value of 9 unique dresses. We also want to create accounts that allow visitors to view their donations and to develop a browser plugin that will facilitate online purchases and donations.
Enjoy your shopping!
by George Rus
by Razvan Gai
by Alin Luncan
by Razvan Opris