Minimum advertised price (MAP) is defined as the lowest price that a retailer can advertise a brands product for. But this does not mean that this is the lowest price that they can sell it for. It just means that that’s the lowest price that they can show online or in an advertisement.
The right MAP provider can help your team save hours of time looking through eCommerce sites or online advertisements to see whether your resellers are following the agreed-upon MAP policy. A third-party software platform can also help your team search for violations, inform you when violations are discovered, and assist you with reseller communication and enforcement.
Here are five questions to ask when choosing your next MAP platform:
1. What Comes After Identifying the MAP Violations?
Many brands find that identifying MAP policy violations is only a small part of the battle. After discovering them, you will want to make sure that you have a process for enforcement. For example, if you’re a parent and you find out that your kid is misbehaving, that’s only a small part: You need to actually have a process or consequence to stop them and prevent them from misbehaving in the future.
You will also need to have a way to notify sellers and manage sellers’ contact information (this can get tricky, especially when there are multiple violators.) Sometimes, this can also be an opportunity to get unauthorized violators to become an authorized seller and agree to your MAP policy.
2. What Will Be Your MAP Monitoring Workflow?
It’s important that the workflow you choose to monitor, identify violations, and enforce your MAP policy is right for you. You will want a dashboard or report where your company’s executives can get a quick glimpse of what is happening. This will help you report up the chain to leadership quickly and easily.
Custom dashboards typically provide a simpler, easier-to-follow level of insights, but are often at a higher price point than Excel sheets. Remember that technology will make life easier, but if used incorrectly can cause more headaches than it solves.
3. Does your MAP Vendor Provide Ongoing Customer Service and Support?
What happens when (inevitably) something goes wrong? You are going to want some actual humans (SaaS bots can never compete with a real person, at least for now) to help guide you through your questions and provide recommendations to increase productivity and save your team the time of learning themselves.
You also want to make sure that there is ongoing training. Videos or walk-through demos will make it easy for your new employees to ramp up quickly and decrease the number of questions that they have (which ultimately will mean that your team can answer any high-level questions).
4. What is the Future Roadmap?
It’s always important to keep track of how your MAP solution will evolve alongside your business. Usually, this means:
- A growing directory of seller contact information
- Increased actionability and effectiveness (or simplicity) of the dashboard
The marketplace is changing very quickly, and while any vendor is unlikely to have everything that you want, it’s important to see the ultimate vision and how the product will be improved over time.
5. How Much Does the MAP Monitoring Service Cost?
It’s a must to consider pricing for any MAP monitoring and enforcement tool. Pricing will usually be based on the number of sites that you are searching for MAP violations (such as Google Shopping, Walmart, or Amazon), the frequency of data extraction (how often you are searching for violations: daily, weekly, or monthly) and the total number of SKUs that you are tracking.
All in all, it’s important to consider what your current workflow and process will be for MAP monitoring and enforcement. The first thing you and any potential vendor should be clear on is what is your MAP policy and how will your policy be enforced.
Then you should set expectations for who will be the MAP point of contact at your company and who to go to on the vendor side for questions and complications that will ultimately arise. Then you want to have a sneak peek of how the product will evolve, as the marketplace is changing quickly. Last, but not least, is price. Make sure you get the most value for your dollar.