Effective MAP enforcement, assuming your company sells through retail partners and has a Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policy in place, is an extremely important function for your business — both to protect your company’s important reseller relationships and also to preserve and help grow your brand value.
In fact, after working closely for years with hundreds of manufacturers and brand owners, we at TrackStreet have found that such a business should prioritize setting up at least a reasonable MAP enforcement program over even some of the activities it engages in to increase revenue.
The reason is simple: Before you turn your attention to new ideas for growing your retail network or selling more products, you first need to be certain that your existing resellers aren’t out there undermining each other, eroding your margins and weakening your brand’s reputation by advertising your products below the prices you deem acceptable.
Of course, growing your revenue by tapping into your existing resale network and adding new retail partners should also be a top priority. In today’s hypercompetitive retail climate, after all, if your brand and market share aren’t growing, they’re falling behind. So this post will offer a couple of proven but underused tactics for generating revenue through your resale channel.
But first, because we believe it’s such a mission-critical function, we highly recommend you set up a bulletproof program for MAP enforcement. So we’ll quickly review this concept first.
What is MAP enforcement?
Let’s start by defining MAP enforcement: It involves the processes a manufacturer or brand owner establishes and consistently follows to police its resale channel — and the Internet more broadly, including unauthorized retailers — and to take appropriate steps to address violations of the company’s Minimum Advertised Price policy.
Note the key phrase “and consistently follows” in the definition above. If a company establishes an internal MAP enforcement policy and distributes this policy across the organization — but the team fails to act on it, and as a result allows MAP violations to go unaddressed — then the business’s MAP enforcement program is essentially worthless.
Why You Need to Automate Your MAP Enforcement
Because the Internet is too vast, and because your products are likely appearing across too many online ads, eCommerce sales pages and digital marketplaces (e.g., Amazon) at all times, manually carrying out your MAP enforcement strategy won’t be feasible. It doesn’t matter how many employees you assign to the project — retailers can update their listings of your products any second of the day, and there’s simply no way of knowing for certain that at any given moment there are no retailers online violating your MAP pricing.
The manual process of MAP enforcement would be overwhelming: monitoring your pricing across the Internet at all hours of the day, taking the necessary actions in the correct order to deal with each violation, following up with stubborn retailers who ignore your first warnings, making sure your team’s actions don’t mistakenly step over the antitrust line, etc.
For these reasons, the only viable solution to monitor and enforce your pricing policy will be to deploy MAP enforcement software.
But now, as promised, here are a couple of tips for generating revenue once you’ve automated your MAP enforcement.
2 Ideas to Generate Revenue Through Your Resale Network
1. Find opportunities to expand relationships with your existing retailers
If you’re able to take a high-level view of your retailers’ activity, to view which retailers are carrying and selling which of your products, you’ll also be able to see which products each of these retailers aren’t carrying. This can create an immediate opportunity for your team to grow your revenue — and help your retailers grow their revenue as well — by introducing them to some of your products they might not have even realized you offer.
Interestingly, one of the easiest ways to gain this channel-wide view of which products are selling through which of your retail partners — and what product lines any given retailer isn’t carrying — is by setting up the right type of MAP enforcement software. Such a best-in-class enforcement platform will also offer you deep market visibility across your channel — and even into your competitors’ channels! — so you can gain the business intelligence your team needs to quickly find these opportunities.
2. Generate some industry buzz about your MAP enforcement policy
Few manufacturers and brand owners realize how attractive an expertly enforced reseller pricing policy can be to a new retail partner. But think about it: Why would a retail company want to go to the trouble and expense of adding a new line of products to its inventory if it can’t be sure the manufacturer will protect its margins against shady grey-market retailers advertising the identical products for prices the retailer can’t meet?
So when you have your MAP policy in place and are ready to enforce it, make some noise about it. Issue a press release letting the industry know you’re actively protecting your minimum advertised prices across your product line. Offer to speak with your industry’s trade reporters or the general business press about your pricing policy and why you know it’ll be good for both retailers and consumers. When retailers learn that your company protects its resale partners, you just might find new partners knocking on your door.
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