Minimum Advertised Price policy off of the internet and replace their name with yours. That’s a good instinct: many existing MAP policies are written ineffectively, fail to include important brand protection elements, and can even expose the company to legal problems.
Could Be Upsetting Your Resellers
But you can’t just make up your MAP policy’s language by guessing, either. Where you do start?
We at TrackStreet have seen companies in this situation many times. And although we can’t give you a full MAP policy template — because there are too many variables, and no two company’s circumstances or needs are identical — we can give you a few examples of standard MAP policy snippets that you can use as a jumping-off point to start drafting your own policy’s language.
Note: The snippets below do not represent an entire MAP policy. They represent only specific sections and elements that, based on our experience at TrackStreet, as well as the views of our consulting attorneys, we believe are important clauses for such policies, although you may choose to word them differently.
A Statement Indicating the Policy Is Unilateral and Not an Agreement
This Minimum Advertised Price has been unilaterally drafted and adopted by Company. Nothing in this policy constitutes an agreement between Company and any dealer. Each dealer, at its own discretion, can choose to acquiesce or not acquiesce with this policy. Company will not discuss conditions of acceptance related to this policy. This policy is non-negotiable and will not be altered, modified, or amended for any dealer.
This Minimum Advertised Price policy does not restrict the dealer’s right to establish independent advertised and/or resale prices of Company’s products. This policy was not developed in coordination with, or with input from, any of Company’s resellers.
What this does: Including such a statement, ideally toward the beginning of your policy document, makes clear that your MAP program is based on a one-way policy that your company has created, and not an agreement that you are asking or demanding your resale partners to accept. This can help protect your company from antitrust issues.
A Statement Warning of the Consequences for Violating Your MAP Guidelines
We reserve the right to determine whether a dealer has advertised our products at a net advertised price less than the MAP price established in this policy. If we make such a determination, Company’s may without assuming any liability, issue consequences including cancel orders and indefinitely refuse to accept new orders from the dealer.
What this does: A clause such as this alerts your resellers that, although they are free to advertise your products for any retail price they choose — even if those prices fall below your MAP prices — you are also free to issue consequences, including cutting the dealer off from access to your inventory.
A Statement Discouraging Resellers from Asking for Exceptions to the Policy
Company’s sales representatives do not have authority to modify or grant exceptions to the terms of this MAP policy. All questions regarding interpretation of this policy should addressed be the Policy Administrator: [insert your company’s MAP email address].
What this does: This type of statement lets your resellers know your company has trained your sales personnel not to accept retailers’ requests for permission to violate your MAP policy, even temporarily.
It also lets your resale network know that there is a single point of contact for their questions or requests regarding your MAP program: the policy administrator. Assigning this role to a single individual and empowering only that person to make decisions about reseller requests — such as a retailer asking to advertise your inventory at a temporary discount, to promote the company’s 25th anniversary — will help reduce the sales channel problems that can arise when each sales rep is able to make their own one-off decisions about exceptions to your pricing policy.
A Statement Explaining the Policy’s Benefits Both to Your Brand and to Your Resellers
We recognize that our high-quality dealers invest time and resources to deliver an extraordinary customer experience through knowledgeable staff and compelling vendor presentation. To support these efforts, Company wishes to establish policies that allow our resale partners to earn the profits necessary to maintain the high level of customer excellence people have come to expect from Company dealers.
What this does: A statement like this lets your resellers know that the MAP policy is there to protect not just your company’s interests but theirs as well. Keeping your products’ advertised retail prices at or above a minimum threshold allows your resellers to earn enough of a margin on those items to help them grow their own businesses while offering their customers a quality shopping experience.
Without such a policy in place, your reputable retail partners might find themselves losing money on the investments they make purchasing your inventory, marketing your products, training their sales reps, etc. — because retailers with less overhead would undersell them and lure away their customers.
A Section Explaining the Details of Your Policy’s Rules and Guidelines
Advertising approaches that do not comply with this MAP policy include:
- Advertising that requests the End User to “see price in cart,” “click to see price,” “add to cart for lowest price”
- An advertised price that is struck through or otherwise crossed out
- An advertised price not shown at all, for example with language asking, “Why don’t we show a price?”
- Any type of advertising on the product’s main sales listing page from which the End User can infer that by clicking through to the cart they will see a lower price, and where that price will be below the price established in this MAP policy
What this does: Achieving compliance with your MAP policy will work only to the extent that your resale partners know which actions your company deems in compliance and which you’ll view as a violation of the policy. You need to make very clear what your company will consider an advertised price versus a resale price (which might require a different policy entirely, such as a unilateral policy).
So it’s important that you include a detailed section like this — which should list the types of advertised pricing you’ll allow, which types you’ll view as a violation, and when and if a retailer may present a shopper with a price that actually dip below your MAP pricing guidelines.
Need More Help Developing Your MAP Policy?
As we stated earlier, the sections and suggested verbiage above do not represent a complete MAP policy. We’ve offered them here just as a starting point to give you an idea of what types of details and language you might want to include — tailored to your own company’s unique circumstances, of course.
If you’d like additional guidance on fleshing out your MAP policy, we can help. Contact a TrackStreet brand protection specialist today.