Milo vs. Google vs. Affiliates, Let the Coupon War Begin!

No one understands the coupon space better than affiliates. Couponing has in many ways been the bread and butter for the affiliate industry for years. Despite this, coupon affiliates have always had one big issue in promoting big box merchants: what to do about those that offer online ordering with offline pickups.

Often the merchants haven’t implemented tracking online to offline tracking. Sometimes this is due to technical hurdles, sometimes it is due to a lack of will/understanding on the part of the merchant. For those merchants who, whatever the reason, fail to implement offline tracking commissions are lost by both coupon affiliates and some niche content sites.

This is because merchants don’t charge the consumer until they come and  pick up the product in the store. Since the person is paying at the store and not online, there is no cookie set on a browser.   There is also no pixel fired since the transaction happens offline which also means no commission. Rarely do merchants take the extra step to provide tracking within the coupon that the consumer brings to the store that will properly track to the offline affiliate.

How Milo Changes the Playing Field

It is within this convoluted space where a start up couponing and price comparison company Milo saw an opportunity and jumped in to fill this gap for consumers.

Milo helps people find products in stock at different retailers and who has them available at the best price.  To make Milo even more appealing to consumers, they not only show you who in your area has the product in stock and for the best price, but Milo also offers you exclusive coupons for that product which can be used online or at pickup.  The consumer can then call the store or order online and pick up at the location.  Not only does the consumer get to save on shipping by picking up at the store, but they don’t have to call multiple stores and be put on hold just to find one product and they also get a coupon so they save more money.  It’s an amazing deal and time saver for the consumer which is one of the biggest selling points of Milo.

Google Steps into the Mix

Milo has been dominating this market with little to no competition, until Google recently entered the local business war. Google has been going local crazy, in part to compete with Facebook, with products like advanced local search, starting to promote the use of its coupons and shopping and even its local review service called Hotpot which is supposed compete with Yelp.

Milo had owned this market for a while and until now didn’t have many fears.  According to an article on TechCrunch, Milo says that it is not afraid of Google moving into their space, but it is a little daunting to have Google as their main competitor.

So what does this mean for coupon affiliates with Google and Milo gaining more recognition and building up steam?

Things Coupon Affiliates Can Do to Stay Relevant

If there is one thing that affiliates do better than anyone it is pre-sell and show value that no one else thinks of.  Coupon affiliates can now start to re-brand the benefits of shopping online instead of reserving a product online and then picking it up in a retail store.

1) Ships to your door. Picking up large items in a store can be difficult, especially with large and heavy products. By requesting free shipping coupons or other discounts, affiliates can explain the benefits and savings by ordering online and having the larger products shipped to their house instead of having to struggle to get them in their cars and having to lift heavy packages.
2) Price comparison.  If you have to pick up a product in a retail store then you are stuck with the local prices.  If you can be patient and wait for a few days you not only get to compare prices and coupons from different online stores, but you can usually find better prices.
3) Earn rewards. If you have a loyalty site then you can not only use both of the points above but you can also offer a reward or bonus points for shopping through your site.
4) Engage socially. What Google and Milo understand is that social and mobile communication are keys to the future of shopping (offline and online). Affiliates can look for ways to continue to engage with their visitors regardless if the consumer is on a computer or a mobile device.

There is a ton of room for everyone in the coupon world.  Newspapers and magazines do a great job of distributing offline coupons.  Affiliates have taken the market for online shopping and companies like Milo filled the need for online-to-offline in-store pick up.  By Google entering into the coupon world it could put a lot of people out of business.  At the same time the creative and smart affiliates will not only be able to outmaneuver Google by building niche customer loyalty, but they will also be able to keep up by not having to deal with all of the red tape that the larger companies have.

About Adam Riemer

Adam Riemer has been an Online Marketer for over a decade. Having worked in house and on his own, Adam Riemer helps both large and small companies develop, execute and analyze Marketing campaigns for ROI and branding in both the B2B and B2C world. You can reach Adam or find out where he is speaking or which Clients he is working with by visiting his blog at or follow him on Twitter @rollerblader.

2 Responses to Milo vs. Google vs. Affiliates, Let the Coupon War Begin!

  1. Hmmm. Until Milo’s data sources are cut off. Retailers will hate this kind of thing. But Milo’s saving grace, I’ll bet, will be the retrieval of product inventory data by a third party provider. Nice and discreet. But for how long I wonder?

  2. Now Milo is doing great for me. I just hope that they will still continue to give great service and deals to their customers.