Unusual Partnerships: Who Online Retailers Should Be Friends With
Posted Jun 29, 2017 by Anna Koneva, Ecwid Team

Unusual Partnerships: Who Online Retailers Should Be Friends With

Some types of partnership are not obvious at first sight and not obligatory for success. But they can make your business more attractive, boost brand awareness and brand loyalty, help to develop in a new way, or simply cut costs. So here’s an overview of people you don’t have to be friends with, but who can bring something to the table.

Related Products’ Store Owners

You sell shoes, they sell unique shoe-care products. You sell wedding dresses, they sell accessories or groom suits. Probably, this is one of the most pleasant types of partnership, because both sides are interested in it.

What to suggest

  1. As usual, mentioning them on the website, social media, blogs. But you can do more than just banners or promotional Instagram posts. An easy thing to do is to display related products on your product pages with links to the partner’s store.
  2. Collaborative contest, when both stores provide gifts.
  3. If you collaborate with a new store, you can present customers with their products when they buy something from you. And vice versa, if you are new on the market, your products are given away to customers. An equal exchange is also possible, though: they sell cosmetics and present customers with your company’s beauty case, and you send cream samples along with beauty cases.
  4. Limited-edition products. For example, you make a new sweatsuit, and your partner creates sneakers for it.

Business Owners From Other Branches

In this case, you can work on the most interesting projects. In what way are zombies and beer alike? It seems far-fetched, but Terrapin beer and Grateful Dead managed to find a common ground.

Bottom line: unusual advertising, special product vibe, an interesting and memorable project.

What to suggest

Original project. It works out great when two enthusiasts meet, who like to experiment and make awesome, outstanding things just for fun, and not only for profit.

Charity Partners

An act of kindness feels good, and it cleanses your karma. But there’s another benefit: a partnership with a non-profit organization has a positive impact on your company’s image.

What to suggest

  1. Products. Toys, clothes, food, electronics — anything you want for orphanages, hospitals, nursing homes for the elderly.
  2. Information support on the store website, social media, and offline events.
  3. Money. Make donations from every purchase. Apart from creating a positive company image, it can push up sales too. Customers are more eager to buy something when they see that it finances charity because they feel involved in a good deed.

Delivery Service

The easiest way to build relationships with delivery services is “you pay, they deliver”. But if your store has just opened and the budget is limited, you should try to cut costs, arranging a discount.

What to suggest

  1. Advertising: banners on the store website, mentions on social media, posts on a blog.
  2. Products: For example, if you make or supply T-shirts, vests, caps, bags that can be used by a delivery service, you can arrange an exchange.
  3. Permission to mention you as their client.

Materials and Wrapping Suppliers

The good thing about partnerships is that they make flexible terms possible. You can arrange a partially charge-free collaboration. For example, a supplier gives you a discount on materials or pays for their delivery.

What to suggest

  1. Almost the same as with delivery services: advertising on the website and social media, mentioning you as their client.
  2. Bartering trade is more complicated in this case, and it depends on the particular situation. But to put it another way, partnerships are great because you can come up with dozens of variants.
  3. Offline advertising. For example, mentioning the supplier’s name and their contacts on a product tag. As for the wrapping, you can create a stamp, for instance: “Beautiful craft bag from Crafty-crabs company”.

As a matter of fact, if you have trust-based relations with supplier agents, they can contribute to your business development. Read our 7 reasons to be friends with suppliers.

Business Rivals

An unexpected twist — you can be friends with business rivals too. A real-life example: the stores Gosha Orekhov (textile backpacks) and Kokosina (leather bags and backpacks) united to make a new product — a beauty case.


Results of the collaboration:

  • а new product, interesting on its own and as a result of two stores collaboration;
  • profit from its selling;
  • advertising, raise of interest to both brands;
  • client base exchange.

What to suggest

  1. The most interesting and the most beneficial variant is to create a product together.
  2. You can also exchange subscribers base. But stick to decency, first send letters that suggest to subscribe, and in case of refusal do not annoy customers with mailout.
  3. As with related products vendors, you can present customers with gifts for the purchase. Though a customer may not understand which store and brand exactly gave away the gift, especially if your products are similar.
  4. Organize an offline market. You can divide the costs in this case.
  5. Organize collective pickup point or open an offline shop. These variants are great for stores of related products too, by the way.
  6. You can collaborate with huge business rivals if you are situated in a small town. It may be unprofitable for them to deliver the products, and you can suggest organizing delivery or a collective pickup point in exchange for advertising on their end and an opportunity to use their pickup store in a big city.


Hopefully, you’re excited by these possibilities and can come up with some ideas of a beneficial partnership. While you’re thinking who to have a promising partnership with, read our article How to Earn Money with Ecwid: Partnership Programs for Clients, Web Studios, and Developers.

About the author
Anna is a content creator at Ecwid. She loves big cities, pasta and Woody Allen's films.
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