Curated commerce – two websites making money by helping customers find ‘hidden’ internet shopping gems

Curated commerceThere’s no denying the internet provides shoppers with an amazing amount of choice, but sometimes too much choice can be overwhelming and people need help sifting through thousands of products of varying quality to find what they are looking for.

This creates a wonderful business opportunity to provide customers with an online destination where they can browse through smaller collections of high quality products, carefully curated from around the web.

And by utilising the various affiliate referral programmes of different online retailers, it is possible to earn commissions on recommended purchases and leave the complexities of logistical fulfillment to others.

Here are two such websites operating the curated commerce business model and earning their money through affiliate referral programmes.

This is why I’m broke

This is why I'm brokeTargeted towards men in their 20s and 30s, curates everything from cool toys and gadgets through to one-man hovercrafts and hidden swimming pools.

Products are presented with images and short descriptions on a continuously scrolling web-page, making it easy to while away the time looking at the latest crazy finds from the internet.

Whilst there are a few big-ticket items listed on the site, such as a zombie-proof fortification cabin costing over $100,000, most of the products range from a few dollars to a couple of hundred dollars and are available from big retailers like Amazon.

The site makes money through affiliate sales – such as Amazon Associates – where they receive a commission on each purchase made by the visitors they send to the retailer’s website. One independent source estimates the site earns $20,000 a month from Amazon affiliate sales alone.


CanopyAmazon has created an amazing marketplace where you can source nearly everything you need for your home, but the downside of listing such a huge inventory of goods is all the great products get lost amongst those of poorer quality and the general mundane.

Here’s where Canopy comes in. is a website that displays the most stylish products available on Amazon; all hand-picked by a small team of style enthusiasts.

Instead of the busy, cluttered Amazon product pages, Canopy takes a select few products and presents them in a minimalist way – similar to the approach of an expensive, boutique retailer.

This makes it very easy for people to browse and find products that they might not have expected to see on Amazon.

Once they have found the product that they like, customers just need to click on a link and they are taken to the appropriate Amazon page to complete their purchase. Canopy then receive an affiliate commission from Amazon for each product sold.

Unlike, Canopy only lists products that are sold on Amazon, advocating their well-known brand, easy purchasing process and reliable delivery service.

Starting your own curated commerce site

Three things to consider if you want to start your own curated commerce site:

Picking a niche

Rather than trying to curate the whole internet, pick a niche area and set up a web presence that will dominate that niche.

The different Amazon categories (clothes, shoes jewellery, etc) are good places to start looking for inspiration, but the key factors to consider when choosing a niche are:

  • Customer demand
  • Competition
  • Sufficient numbers of retailers with affiliate programmes

Creating your destination

WordPress provides a cheap and easy platform for creating a virtual showcase for your collection of curated products and I have found three themes that present content in an easy-to-digest format:

There are plenty of other solutions available, but regardless of the solution you choose, be certain to ensure it is user friendly, mobile-responsive and fast to download.

Getting high volumes of traffic

Of course, this is a numbers game and to generate decent affiliate revenues you will need to attract lots of visitors to your site.

Search and social media are the key sources of traffic and if you can create a resource that people love to use and share ( receives the majority of its visitors from social media) then you’ll win more traffic.


Image from rgallant

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