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The Importance of Monitoring Your MAP Policy

November 16, 2016 // Deputy Dan

A graphic drawing depicting a person coming across an important warningA graphic drawing depicting a person coming across an important warning

Are your products being sold under MAP and potentially damaging your brand? You probably already know that MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) is an agreement between manufacturer and retailer to maintain a minimum price when advertising your products. When retailers violate their MAP policy agreements, it can severely damage your brand and lead to loss of sales and bad relations with your customers. Ensuring that retailers comply with MAP policies is an essential piece of your brand protection strategy.

Who typically violates MAP?

In order to protect your brand, you need to know who is selling your products. Many unauthorized retailers and one-off resellers pop up and sell your products without adhering to MAP. Virtual stores on platforms such as the Amazon Marketplace can also sell your products under MAP in an anonymous manner. Some may be dedicated online resellers, while others may be your regular retailers seeking to get around MAP by opening these virtual stores under a different name.

How do I successfully enforce MAP?

When tackling MAP violations, speed is key. The longer that unauthorized sellers are allowed to go on violating MAP, the more damage that they can do. Sites like Amazon typically do not help in identifying which retailer is violating MAP, so you need to be proactive in identifying who is selling your products. The quicker that you can contact distributors and sites with proof of the MAP violation, the quicker the violators can be taken down.

What if I don't enforce MAP?

In a highly competitive marketplace, brands that cannot or will not effectively enforce a MAP policy find themselves in a race to the bottom. This kind of price war is particularly damaging to premium brands, who may see their brand image eroded as prevailing online prices fall. With no price floor in effect, retailers will continually drop prices to compete, and given the low overheads of anonymous virtual stores, the minimum price can be extremely low. Margins eventually cannot sustain the retail business and customer service is degraded, resulting in significant damage to the manufacturer's brand. Those retailers who abide by MAP (in other words, the kind that you want to do business with) will see their own sales fall as they are undercut by less honest businesses, causing them to either break MAP themselves or drop your products from sale entirely.

What can we do to enforce MAP?

Implement an aggressive and consistent monitoring system for MAP violations. Given the speed at which virtual retailers can pop up, manual searches may not be enough, particularly for large manufacturers with extensive product catalogues. Automated MAP enforcement systems take the legwork out of the process and ensure that no retailers fall through the cracks. Communicate promptly and directly with all MAP violators to remind them of their obligations. Consistent reminders of your MAP agreement lead to significantly improved compliance and protection of your brand assets.

MAP enforcement can be challenging, especially when it comes time to contact a violator with proof. That's not the case with MAPCOP. When a reseller is found violating your MAP policy, a real-time screenshot is captured and can be passed on within one of our built-in, fully customizable notification templates. Our system watches retailers across the internet day and night, freeing you up to focus on other areas of your brand.

A comprehensive system for identifying and stopping MAP violations, with 24/7 monitoring.