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How to Protect your Brand in 5 Minutes

Selling your products to businesses in the eCommerce industry is a scary thought for manufacturers. Like your child’s first day of school, you just want to keep tabs on them and make sure they’re doing ok. This is because brand value can be easily tarnished when you have your products in the hands of many retailers across multiple channels.

To combat brand damage, manufacturers monitor their reseller networks to check for a couple of things. First, they check the positioning and descriptions of their products across multiple stores. They want to make sure their products are given enough attention on each distribution channel, and they are competing effectively against competitor products in the same store.

They also monitor retail networks for their products’ prices. Pricing has a direct influence on their brand value. If they are looking to appear luxurious in the mind of the consumer, then they need to make sure their prices are more expensive than their competitors’. Even if you’re not going for a luxurious image, a minimum advertised price (MAP) policy is a good idea to enforce.

MAP is a mutually agreed upon price between you and resellers that acts as a floor your retailers can’t break through. MAP is often necessary in eCommerce because the competitive nature of the industry can lead to frequent price cuts, which in turn can damage your brand value.

Another aspect to monitor is gray market sellers. The legality of gray market sellers is in a bit of a, well, gray area. These sellers gained access to your products without your permission. Therefore, they can fly under the radar. Checking for them manually is nearly impossible, but there are tools available to help identify them and their pricing.

There are two main ways to monitor your reseller network: manually, and automatically. Manually monitoring your networks takes time and comes at a steep cost. The way to do it is to set up a team of employees to manually go through your channels and check your products, take note of the price, who’s selling it, compare it with your MAP, and screenshot the listing for your records.

This method is useful if you’re selling on one channel and have a low number of SKUs. But odds are that isn’t the case. You have countless SKUs across multiple channels that need to be monitored. Therefore, you’re going to run into a lot of problems with manual monitoring.

The first is the cost. You have to dedicate a team of employees. On top of that, manual monitoring takes a lot of time. It can take hours to look at every one of your products on every single one of your channels, and there is room for human error. The volatility of the eCommerce industry has resulted in multiple price changes throughout the day, so the price your employee notes could change a minute later.

These inaccurate results should prompt manufacturers to look into an automated process. Automated brand monitoring is faster, more accurate, and easier for enterprise manufacturers to implement.

Automated monitoring works for a couple of reasons. First, it only takes five minutes out of your day and automatically pulls back results with little to no work on your end. You set it up to scan once or multiple times a day, give it your list of SKUs, your list of resellers, and it works its magic. The only thing you have to do is analyze the results.

The results are easy to read, with clear indications of MAP violations and gray market seller alerts. Automated monitoring solutions scan the internet using your product’s UPCs, meaning it’ll be able to find it in any corner of the internet. You can choose what to do with that information, such as starting a relationship with a previously unauthorized seller or sending a cease and desist letter.

Your automated solution has the strength of several employees, with a cost much less expensive than their salaries. Automated monitoring times and frequencies can vary between solutions, but the fact of the matter is that the manual labor involved is minuscule and only requires a one-time implementation on your behalf.

The best way to protect your brand from the threats of the eCommerce industry in 2016 is with automated monitoring. It’s like having a bodyguard on your product’s watch throughout the day, protecting it from abuse and more. To learn how Wiser can help you monitor your brand, learn about our solution for brands and manufacturers.

Contributing writer: Brian Smyth


Arie Shpanya

Arie is the former COO, Executive Chairman, and Co-Founder of Wiser, a dynamic pricing and merchandising engine for online retailers and brands. He has extensive experience in business development with a focus on eCommerce (eBay and Amazon), and is a guest blogger on Econsultancy, VentureBeat, and more.

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