Minimum advertised price policies. These pricing agreements are incredibly important for brands that want to manage their price position and control how they are priced by their resellers. On May 9th, Wiser hosted a webinar that explored how to enforce MAP and how brands find MAP success.
You can check out the recording of the webinar if you want to listen to host Ryan McCole, Customer Success Manager at Wiser, dive deeper into what makes MAP a winning proposition. Or, keep reading to get an overview of the MAP webinar and how you can ensure MAP is working for your brand.
What is MAP Monitoring?
Minimum advertised price, or MAP, is an agreement struck between a brand and a reseller to advertise a specific product or products at or above a set price—the minimum advertised price.
The key word is “agreement,” as it’s not a legally binding policy. Therefore, resellers can and do violate MAP and price below what a brand wants. This is where MAP monitoring comes into play. Monitoring for MAP violations is the routine process of reviewing prices of online resellers to identify compliance.
As we explained in the webinar, an estimated 61 percent of retailers violate MAP on some products, pricing products an average of 14.5 percent below the MAP price. Violations are prominent across online marketplaces, especially eBay and Amazon.
MAP monitoring is a must if your brand has any MAP policies in place.
Who is Affected by MAP?
MAP affects everyone involved in retail, not just brands and retailers.
For starters, brands are affected by MAP because of the widespread use of online channels to sell, and the common usage of third-party resellers in eCommerce. As the steps along the road between manufacturer and consumer grow, the more opportunities there are for MAP violations.
Authorized resellers partner with hundreds or more brands to sell online. Some of those brands will also sell competing products. Not to mention, there are thousands of other resellers to compete against and sales are made quickly online. The result is high pressure to price aggressively to survive, leading to more MAP violations.
Consumers are probably unaware of MAP, but they are still affected by it. They are influenced by price and will often buy the lowest-priced offering available. The reseller who breaks MAP is doing so to attract more shoppers who make their purchasing decisions based on price.
Why MAP Monitoring and Enforcement Matter
MAP enforcement goes beyond simply working with retailers to establish a price floor. The cost of violations can appear in many ways.
For example, a brand facing MAP violations could have a hard time building more authorized seller relationships, if those potential partners see all these other sellers breaking MAP. “I’d be at a disadvantage if I followed that brand’s MAP policies,” they might say.
Or, a brand could lose existing authorized sellers if too many other unauthorized—or even authorized—ones violate MAP. Brands could see shrinking margins due to authorized sellers negotiating lower MAP prices due to rampant price cutting. Brand value could take a hit as consumers perceive that brand as discount or low-value. It may be too hard to implement effective pricing strategies. The list goes on.
These reasons are why MAP monitoring and enforcement matter.
What Brands Should Do to Enforce MAP
MAP enforcement begins with the MAP policy itself. A good policy makes it easier to enforce and encourages compliance. A bad policy could be easy to violate and provide little incentive for retailers to comply.
What is a good MAP policy? First, it emphasizes advertised prices only, not sale prices. Second, it includes reasons why the policy benefits both the brand and the reseller. Third, it clearly states the consequences of violations.
Of course, violations still occur, even with great MAP policies in place. Brands must then:
- Identify MAP violations
- Issue warnings
- Place a hold on distribution
- Reduce assortment with the violator
- Revoke authorized seller status
Make note of “warnings,” not warning. Many brands warn their sellers multiple times of violations. This is a good strategy because the reason for the violation is likely not malicious. Resellers are under pressure to complete and cutting them some slack can earn good will in the future. Brands shouldn’t harshly punish them for the first infraction.
MAP Remains a Must for Brands
Overall, MAP policies, enforcement, and compliance are musts for any brand that sells online. The right price is a major contributor to strong sales. MAP enforcement protects both brands and retailers’ bottom lines.
However, MAP compliance begins with brands and effective MAP policies and fair implementation. With the right MAP policy in hand, brands can grow their value and ensure pricing is an ally, not an enemy. Don’t forget to get your recording of the webinar to hear more details about MAP enforcement and how brands find success!