We write often at the TrackStreet blog about how a well-drafted and effectively enforced Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policy creates a win-win for both the manufacturer and its retail partners. But your MAP protection can actually create an even farther-reaching win-win-win, because it also helps your customers.

To understand how, take off your brand-owner hat for a moment, and put on your consumer hat.

3 Ways Customers Benefit Directly from MAP Protection

1. MAP protection reinforces the customer’s comfort with (and pride in) your product.

Imagine you recently purchased an item from what you consider a high-end brand. We just asked you to switch metaphorical hats to think like a consumer, so let’s imagine that it’s an actual hat.

You feel good about your purchase and enjoy wearing it. But then you start seeing ads for the same hat (or similar hats from the same brand) at prices steeply discounted below what you paid for yours.

What’s going on here? When did retailers start discounting these hats? Is there something wrong with the brand? Were you incorrect in thinking it was high-end company? It sure seems like retailers are trying to clear out their inventory as quickly as they can.

(Let’s briefly switch back to your brand-owner hat. Remember, your consumers are more sophisticated and informed than ever, thanks to the Internet, so these plummeting advertised prices of your products could quickly damage your brand’s reputation.)

When you consistently and aggressively enforce your reseller pricing policy, this MAP protection indirectly—but significantly—benefits your customers, by helping ensure they can maintain their pride in the products they’ve purchased from your resale channel.

2. MAP protection can also help protect against knockoffs that cheat and infuriate customers.

Now let’s imagine you’re shopping for a high-end hat when you spot one online that looks great and is, for some reason, much less expensive than the others in its category. You snap it up as quickly as you can.

When it arrives, though, you need only a few seconds after opening the package to realize why it was so attractively priced. The packaging is lousy, and the hat itself is an off-color and the logo is already practically falling off. It’s a fake!

Now you’re furious with the online marketplace that let these crooks’ sell you a fugazi product, and you’re left wondering how this supposedly high-end brand allowed its goods to be knocked off and sold right under their noses.

Quick: Put your brand-owner hat back on. When you have a MAP protection strategy, supported by aggressive enforcement, you can make it much more difficult for knockoff artists like these to do their dirty work. That’s because you’ll be in a much better position to spot the fake retailers—they’ll be the ones selling your products for prices well below the amounts they could afford to if they had actually purchased the real inventory from you or your distributors.

3. MAP protection actually helps preserve the ability for your consumers to see and test your products.

Finally, if a brand can’t maintain a floor on its products’ advertised prices, the company might find that some of its most important retail partners—particularly the brick-and-mortar stores—will decide that carrying the company’s products is no longer profitable.

So now imagine you’re in the market not for a hat, but for a new high-end Bluetooth speaker. This is one of those purchases you’d rather not make online. You’d prefer to visit an actual store, test a few high-end models, and buy one only after having a chance to hear it in person.

But several of the better-quality wireless-speaker makers have had difficulty controlling their retailers’ advertised prices; these manufacturers either didn’t put in place a MAP protection program, or they haven’t been enforcing it aggressively, so prices are in a freefall. Retailers can’t stock these speakers profitably anymore. As a result, when you go to your local electronics store, you find a very limited selection of Bluetooth speakers to choose from.

Or what if, instead, you were in the market for new arrows for your high-end compound bow. This is definitely the type of purchase you’d want to make in person, and only after seeing and testing a few different types of arrows. And maybe you’d want to speak with a sales rep at the store, someone knowledgeable about bows and arrows.

But again, if the arrow makers can’t control their resale channel, and the brick-and-mortar stores find that they’re repeatedly being undersold by online retailers who violate the manufacturer’s pricing guidelines, you might have trouble finding a decent selection of quality arrows anywhere, let alone finding a salesperson who’s been trained to help you find the right one for you.

Let’s do one final switch back to your brand-owner hat. As you can see, a MAP protection program can also help you preserve your relationships with the all-important brick-and-mortar retailers, who are so important because many of your customers still prefer to visit an actual store and check products out before buying.

So there you have it, one more reason to deploy a MAP protection service (as if you needed another): It will benefit your customers, too.

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