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    September 22, 2020
    7 minute read

    How to Tackle Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) Violations

    by: Jonathan Herman

    When your products are listed below minimum advertised price (MAP), it impacts shoppers’ perception of the quality of your products, brand, and ultimately affects your bottom line. To effectively enforce your MAP policy, you will need dedicated people, process, and technology to actively track, identify, and resolve them.

    While a difficult problem to solve, the right system can even help you begin working to actively prevent them.

    Amazon Product Detail Page Are You Winning the Buy Box?

     

    Are you winning the buy box? Making sure your products remain in stock and your competitors don't undercut you unfairly on price are critical steps to maintaining ownership over the buy box.

    Assign a Dedicated Individual or Team to Uphold MAP Policy

    Depending on the size of your company, identify the individual on your team who will tackle MAP violations, or form a dedicated MAP task force, and have them determine the process to alert violators on each major marketplace. Once you have the right people in place, and they have determined the best process for ensuring your MAP policy is maintained, arm them with the technology they need to take action at scale.

    Track and Identify MAP Violations at Scale

    With so many different third-party marketplaces and sellers on those marketplaces, it is an uphill battle to monitor for all possible MAP violations across the tens, hundreds, or even thousands of products in your catalog, everywhere across the digital shelf.

    Salsify allows you to identify companies selling your products, and to home in specifically on the ones violating MAP. This includes tracking individual resellers within a 3P marketplace, and big box retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Target violating your MAP policy in a 1P relationship. You can see a report listing your products with their names, MAP prices, current buy box sellers, and current buy box prices. This allows you to easily see who is violating your MAP policy for what product and price.Salsify MAP violation reportThis screenshot shows demo data. Data displayed here would be of your products and anyone reselling them. Note: the red highlights reveal MAP violations.

    You can also view competitive price intelligence reports in Salsify to quickly understand how your products are being priced across multiple retailers at once. This can help you see if a price war is starting to develop on one of your products.

    When shoppers discover a lower price for a product (typically online, and possibly from a MAP violator), the retailer they want to buy from will usually price match, with the potential to kick off a price war.

    Defending your MAP policy helps you be your retailer’s best partner by protecting their margins as well as yours.

    Salsify Competitive Price Intelligence ReportSalsify's Competitive Price Intelligence Report allows you to compare the price changes of your products across major retailers such as Walmart and Target.Salsify Competitive Price Intelligence Report Chart Over Time Comparing Big Box Retailers

    This price report for a sample product allows you to view price changes over time on multiple retailers at once such as Walmart, Amazon, and The Home Depot.

    Resolve MAP Violations Systematically 

    Once a specific violation is found, it can be a time-consuming process to reach out to a seller and get their cooperation to enforce your MAP policy.

    Salsify’s buy box reporting module starts an internal notification process as new violations are found. The assigned team or team member can then resolve each issue depending on whether it’s with a known retail buyer or on a marketplace.

    For retailer violations, you can automate sending a predetermined email message notifying them that they’re in violation of your MAP policies.

    To effectively enforce MAP with third-party sellers, you will need to identify who is actually behind the third party storefronts, so you can notify them when they’re in violation. In this case, you have a centralized list of sellers to research and kick off a legal process when necessary.

    Together, this reduces the time it takes to address MAP violations, increasing your entire department’s ability to combat them.Salsify Workflow for Monitoring and Taking Action on MAP violations

    Salsify's Workflow product can help you turn insight into action by automating sending emails to MAP violators when their email address is known, or notifying internal team members to do something.

    One strategy to defeat MAP is to simply compete in third party marketplaces yourself, and win your own buy box. While price is important, there are factors beyond price, such as stock availability, fulfillment method, and shipping time, which you can compete on to win the buy box and mitigate the effects of MAP violators.

    Salsify’s Buy Box availability module helps you monitor buy box win rate for specific products and stock availability. 

    Salsify Amazon Buy Box and Stock Availability Report

    Salsify's Buy Box and Availability report helps you monitor your buy box win rate and stock availability for individual products. Watching these metrics should be a key part of your buy box strategy.

    Adopt a Process for Ongoing Vigilance 

    MAP violations are a continual challenge—devoting resources to fighting MAP involves a set of activities to monitor and address them as they surface. For many, actively preventing them is a distant goal.

    A best practice to preempt MAP violators is to widely present your policies through press releases and other forms of engagement with resellers. This can help the market understand clearly what is expected of them, and the consequences for violating those expectations. 

    At the Digital Shelf Institute Virtual Summit Session: “Gaining Control: A Holistic Approach to Channel Strategy”, Daren Garcia, partner at Vorys, shared that many third-party sellers may claim they have a legal right to sell your products under the “first-sale” doctrine. However, you can establish a legal foundation to show that your product is differentiated by a “material difference,” such as a warranty only available through your brand or authorized resellers.

    While identifying, resolving, and preventing MAP violations isn’t easy, it’s essential to the continued health of your brand identity and profit margins. You will need a holistic channel strategy and the right technology to scale those efforts.

    Salsify can help you defeat MAP violations with an integrated platform that combines detection and taking automated action on those insights.

    Visit Salsify Digital Shelf Analytics to learn more about how you can stop MAP violations.

    Feature Image: Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

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