As vital as a minimum advertised price (MAP) policy is for protecting your resale partners, your margins and your brand’s reputation, simply establishing such a policy is not enough — no matter how well you draft it or how diligent you are about publicizing and communicating it to your resellers. For your MAP policy to be as effective as it can be, you also need a process for MAP monitoring and enforcement.
But what should that MAP enforcement process look like? Well, if you’re selling products through a network of partners — dealers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers — it’s probably not feasible or cost-effective for your in-house team to manually review all instances of your products being advertised across your entire resale channel.
Plus, even if your company were inclined to keep this responsibility in-house, how would you know how often to check the dozens, hundreds or perhaps thousands of combined sales pages and ads containing every reseller’s current offers of your products?
The truth is, an internally managed MAP enforcement program — where your team has to regularly set aside hours for reviewing websites, documenting violations and sending warning notices — isn’t an optimal strategy in terms of either cost or effectiveness.
But when you deploy an automated MAP enforcement solution, you can turn your MAP policy into a valuable asset. Here are just a few reasons why.
3 REASONS AUTOMATION IS THE KEY TO EFFECTIVE MAP ENFORCEMENT
- An automated MAP enforcement program can cover more ground and catch more issues than even the most diligent manual process can.
Even if you make a good-faith effort and devote a significant amount of man-hours to monitoring all of your resellers across the Internet, at best you’ll still be enforcing your MAP policy inconsistently — because you simply can’t catch and respond to every violation.
Many retailers change their advertised prices frequently, as you know, and some gray-market sellers will even intentionally advertise your products for below-MAP prices at odd hours of the night — specifically so they can fly below your company’s radar and undersell your legitimate retailers without getting caught. If you miss enough of these violations, and they’re allowed to continue, you risk losing some of your best retail partners.
An automated MAP enforcement system, by contrast, will continuously scour the Internet, 24/7/365, and catch all violations of your MAP policy.
- An automated MAP enforcement solution will cost far less than what you’ll pay for managing the process manually.
When you set up a program to monitor and enforce your MAP policy using your in-house staff, you have a couple of options — neither of them optimal.
First, you can execute your MAP enforcement program in a half-hearted manner, perhaps setting aside a few hours a week for a couple of your staff members to check out a random set of reseller websites and advertisements of your products. You might think of this as “spot-checking” your resale channel’s adherence to your MAP policy. You won’t see every advertised price, but it’s a relatively cost-effective way to at least check a representative sample.
Of course, using this approach you will most likely miss MAP violations.
Your second option is to devote significant internal resources to MAP enforcement — maybe even creating a full-time position (or more than one) for monitoring your products’ presence across the Internet, documenting and compiling evidence of violations, contacting violators with your escalation series of warnings, and taking whatever other enforcement actions your program calls for.
This second approach will obviously place a significant cost burden on your company —and, because it’s a manual process, you’re still likely to miss MAP violations.
An automated MAP enforcement solution allows you to enjoy both the robustness of a full-time staff monitoring your products across the Internet at all times and taking immediate and appropriate action against violations, and the cost-savings of a system that doesn’t require a lot of resources or man-power to operate.
- An automated MAP enforcement platform can introduce you to business opportunities.
Remember when I suggested that automated MAP enforcement can turn your MAP policy into an asset?
That’s because an effective MAP enforcement platform can help you find new opportunities to expand your resale channel, sell new products to existing retail partners and even uncover new marketplaces for your product line that you hadn’t discovered yet.
When you deploy an automated platform to monitor and enforce your MAP policy, that platform will be tracking your products online everywhere, continuously — from marketplaces like Amazon, to the e-commerce sites of individual retailers, to the ads your resellers post promoting your products.
If you’re working with a best-in-class MAP enforcement solution, the system will also compile all of this data and organize it into information-rich reports that you can access anytime. And these reports can contain business-development gold.
You might uncover a new marketplace you hadn’t even heard of, where several of your retail partners are selling your products. There’s an opportunity to discover other retailers also selling in that marketplace — and approach them about carrying your lines.
You might learn that one retailer is selling only a small a portion of your product line, and having a great deal of success with it. There’s an opportunity to reach out to that retailer and let them know about your other products.
For these and other reasons, you can’t truly realize the full benefit of your MAP policy unless your MAP enforcement program is automated.
To see for yourself what MAP enforcement automation can do for your business, schedule your free demo.