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Why Retailers Really Care About MAP Enforcement

Userby MapCop
Your retail partners want you to use MAP enforcement software. A well-enforced MAP policy doesn't only protect your brand image and the prices that your products can command, it also protects your retail partners from damaging price wars and allows them to offer value-added service instead of racing to the bottom on service and price, protecting their brands along with yours. Adopting watertight automatic MAP enforcement systems makes for better, more productive relationships with retailers.

Strong and weak enforcement

A lot of retailers claim to have a MAP policy, but a weakly enforced policy is ineffective at best and may actually be a liability at worst. Manual MAP monitoring is an extremely time-consuming process, and can easily miss violations. Flash sale prices may be available for only a few hours, so if you check up on product prices once a week or even once a day, you are unlikely to spot them. For manufacturers with a lot of retail partners or a large product catalogue, it just isn't practical, and even for smaller companies it can be a full-time job. While companies often seek to save money by attempting to manually enforce their MAP, the resulting weakness of that enforcement makes it a false economy.

Weakly enforced MAP policies force retailers into a very narrow type of competition. When they are locked into a price war, they cannot make a margin on your products that allows them to offer value-added services like expert staff, extended warranties and service packages. Even if their services are cut to the minimum, they may still find it difficult to compete with pop-up online resellers, who do not have to pay for marketing, staff or physical store locations. Ultimately, they are faced with a choice: treat your product as a loss leader, or stop selling it entirely. Enforcing a MAP price that allows retailers to maintain a decent margin lets them offer those services without having to suffer from showrooming. Retailers can enjoy a respite from constant price warfare, consumers benefit from value-added service, and manufacturers protect their brand from becoming known as the cheap option. Everyone wins.

Sellers therefore have an understandable interest in how well your MAP policy is enforced. Taking it seriously demonstrates to them that you are willing to protect their interests, which has a predictably positive effect on your relationship with them. On the other hand, allowing your MAP policy to become a dead letter can easily breed resentment as retail partners find themselves undercut.

MAP software and compliance

Automatic MAP enforcement software clearly helps to promote compliance by spotting MAP violations and notifying retailers. Constant, automatic monitoring across all platforms means that retailers cannot hide MAP violations by using flash sales or selling through large online platforms. However, it also has a secondary positive effect on compliance that is less often discussed. When MAP policies are poorly enforced, even normally honest retailers may believe that they have no choice but to break them in order to compete. With automatic enforcement, not only will retailers know that they have less chance of getting away with MAP violations, they also have less incentive to try. If they feel like your brand supports them, they are also more likely to continue to work with you, to market your products, and to increase their orders and adopt new product lines as you launch them.

Effective MAP monitoring, then, should be a priority for any manufacturer that runs a MAP policy. Not only does it protect your brand's reputation, it also helps your retail partners to provide great service. The only people who lose out are sellers looking to undercut your prices and free-ride on your marketing efforts.
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