Pop quiz. Ready?
1. Can you name the handful of US states in which resale price agreements are still always treated as illegal under state law (even though the federal government has adopted the more relaxed “rule of reason” standard and reviews each challenge on a case-by-case basis?)
2. Can you think of at least one mistake an employee at your company could make when dealing with a reseller that could, in effect, turn your unilateral resale policy into an agreement and increase your exposure to an antitrust challenge?
3. Do you know how far into the online shopping experience your unilateral minimum advertised price (MAP) policy or minimum resale price (MRP) policy is able to go before it could be construed as illegal price fixing?
4. Do you what your employees can and cannot say to retail partners who call to ask about exceptions to your minimum MAP or MRP policy?
5. Do you know under what circumstances Amazon will act on your behalf to remove to a rogue retailer’s unauthorized sales listing of your product — and under what conditions they will not?
If you’ve found this article on minimum advertised price (MAP) and minimum resale price (MRP) policies, it’s safe to assume you understand the importance of rolling out one of these policies to control your products’ pricing on the retail market—or improving your oversight and enforcement of the policy your company already has in effect.
But if you (or someone at your company) could not easily answer the above questions with a high degree of confidence, the chances are your company is not giving your pricing policy—and, more broadly, your brand protection in general—the attention this all-important function deserves.
And if that’s the case, then it’s probably time to consider outsourcing the reseller pricing and brand protection function to a minimum advertised price professional.
When is it Time to Hire to a Minimum Advertised Price Expert?
A good rule of thumb is that unless you are able to cost-effectively keep a constant eye on your products’ presence across the entire Internet (whether through an automated solution or by using actual sets of eyes), and then deal quickly and effectively (not to mention legally!) with retailers who violate your policy, you are probably better off handing these roles over to a professional.
Which brings up another question: What type of minimum advertised price professional(s) should you hire?
Should You Bring a Minimum Advertised Price Professional In-House, or Outsource to an Automated Solution Operated by a Team of Experts?
You might be wondering if you can bring onboard a full-time brand protection professional to work for your organization. Perhaps that person can solve the problem and oversee an effective MAP or MRP monitoring and enforcement program for your company? Perhaps.
But there are several things to consider about bringing on a new employee for such a role:
- Cost: A full-time (or full-time-equivalent consultant) brand protection expert is going to be expensive.
- Limited reach: An employee, no matter how skilled or motivated, is still going to be limited in terms of how much Internet ground she can cover each day monitoring your products’ pricing across the hundreds, perhaps thousands or even tens of thousands of sites and ads on the Internet.
- Additional resources: Because for most companies it is simply not feasible for an individual or even a small team to keep track of all pricing of all products and SKUs across all of the Internet at all times of every day, your new reseller pricing professional will almost certainly need to implement an automated online service for price monitoring and enforcement.
Want to know how to implement the right brand protection service, operated by minimum advertised price experts? Let us walk you through it.