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What is MAP Monitoring?

Posted on 4th September '23 in MAP Monitoring - Comments

What is MAP Monitoring

Table of Contents

  1. Refresher On MAP
  2. Why Is It Important?
  3. Map Monitoring Software: What is it?
  4. When and Why You Should Setup MAP Monitoring
  5. What Are the Benefits of Using MAP Monitoring Software?
  6. What Are the Features of MAP Monitoring Software?
  7. How to Implement an Effective MAP Monitoring Strategy
  8. How Price Monitoring and Lowest Price Policies Help
  9. Frequently Asked Questions

MAP monitoring involves the procedures that brands employ to verify that sellers adhere to their minimum advertised pricing (MAP) policy.

Establishing a brand and selling online can be tricky. Just when I wrapped my head around what MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) was, I found myself confronted with another concept: MAP Monitoring. I soon learned that it's not always enough to establish a MAP policy to standardize prices -- it's also critical to for brands to track what's going on to keep resellers honest. Here's what I picked up on in exploring the idea of MAP monitoring, why it's so critical for brands and how it is usually accomplished.

Refresher On MAP

For those who are still lost on what MAP is, here's a quick reminder. It stands for Minimum Advertised Price , and it's defined as the lowest price at which a retailer is supposed to advertise a manufacturer's product for sale.

For example, the manufacturer of "Brand X" jeans sets their MAP at $125, then online retailers set themselves in a position to sell Brand X jeans to consumers. The retailers must sell those jeans at $125 or more, lest they are in violation of the MAP policy.

Brands and manufacturers use these MAP policy agreements to help keep the advertisements for their products fairly standard across the outlets that are selling them. Unfortunately for brands, though, these agreements don't always work out as intended

Why Is It Important?

MAP monitoring is important because it allows you to stay on top of the best, appropriate pricing in the industry to keep your brand and products competitive. It ensures that competition remains fair for all sellers while similar brands and products are advertised to consumers.

Why Retail Suppliers Require MAP Monitoring

Retail supplies need MAP monitoring for various reasons. The first is that it keeps the market more competitive for everyone. It can track what pricing their competitors use for advertising products, allowing them to adjust their own prices appropriately. Another reason retailers require MAP monitoring is that it prevents price wars. It also helps retailers to protect their profit margins and allows for brand compliance and retaining relationships with manufacturers.

Understanding Why Some Retailers Violate MAP Policy Agreements

Unfortunately, some retailers violate MAP policy agreements. There are many reasons why this happens; one is that a retailer thinks they can get an advantage over the competition by snagging customers from their competitors. Generally, this might occur due to a very competitive market. Retailers may also violate a MAP policy agreement because they prefer selling on the gray market while thinking they can rack up more money in the process. Unprofessionalism is another reason for it. However, in some cases, retailers mistakenly violate MAP policy agreements.

Where MAP Monitoring Comes Into Play

While MAP agreements are supposed to set the pricing stage , resellers don't always follow them. In some cases, they may do so with no ill-will in mind. The competitive pressures of other e-commerce retailers may just be forcing them to lower prices to stay in the game. In other cases, resellers might take advantage of leaks in the supply chain, obtaining products and selling them for less to gain an advantage over competitors.

In both scenarios, a brand's reputation can be at stake. Even in situations where the brand is compensated in full for the products resellers obtain, the act of resellers advertising those products below the established MAP can create confusion among consumers. They might start to wonder why they don't see that low price everywhere, and, in many cases, they'll blame the brand for this inconsistency (not the rogue reseller).

Map Monitoring Software: What is it?

MAP monitoring software gives manufacturers the opportunity to stay on top of the current trends in pricing sellers currently use to advertise products. It lets them take control of their brand’s image and detect violations committed by partner retailers. MAP monitoring software is also done in real-time, which allows manufacturers to make educated decisions while saving time. It affords better visibility into authorized and unauthorized sellers so those who violate MAP policy terms can be dealt with sooner rather than later and accordingly.

When and Why You Should Setup MAP Monitoring

This is where MAP monitoring comes into play. Brands want to protect their good name by ensuring the MAP is followed across the board . They have to check to see which (if any) resellers are violating the MAP so they can take action (a slightly different procedure known as MAP enforcement ). By and large, there's a broad process that most manufacturers and brands follow to scour the internet and keep tabs on their products.

The first step is listing their products and the means by which to identify them. It could be the numbers related to the products (serial numbers, SKUs, etc.), or could also be specific text, images, video and similar content related to the products in question. Whatever the means, these identifiers are clearly identifiable and allow brands to track their products regardless of where they are being sold online.

With this base of products and identifiers to work from, brands can then go about establishing the system of systematically checking for their products and determining if their MAP is being followed correctly.

This might take the form of a manual system, wherein they assign a team the task of reviewing e-commerce outlets at regular intervals, or it could take the form of some automated software that performs these checks based on criteria set forth by the brand.

Whichever route they pursue, brands have to take care to ensure their monitoring is efficient enough to catch all price aberrations , as well as flexible enough to recognize when certain reseller "tricks" are being used to skirt the rules. For instance, some reseller platforms have a "best price" offer that reveals deep discounts upon clicking, even though they are still advertising the price at or above the MAP. If a brand's MAP considers this a violation, the monitoring process would need to be robust enough to keep such scenarios in mind and check for them vigorously.

With all that in place, brands can go to work monitoring, detailing when and if their MAP has been violated, gathering the supporting evidence to prove their claims, then moving on to enforcing the MAP where necessary. It's a rather involved process, and in the case of some brands, one that the manual route isn't sufficient in handling.

In addition to the aforementioned reseller trickery that can disguise when a MAP policy is being violated, there's also the fact that even well-staffed teams, dedicated strictly to monitoring, can only perform their duties so often. There could be a whole host of outlets that are selling a brand's products, with new, unauthorized ones popping up from time to time as well. How would a team catch wind of these?

There are also situations where resellers will periodically change their pricing back to the MAP if they have a sense they are being monitored, then lower those prices again once they feel they are in the clear. If a manual team can only check once or twice a day, those efforts may well be in vain. For these reasons, many brands choose to automate the monitoring process with software , although the final decision will take into account how complicated the overall process will be.

What Are the Benefits of Using MAP Monitoring Software?

There are numerous benefits that come with using MAP monitoring software. They include competitor analysis, dynamic pricing, geographical insights, identifying price trends, price optimization, market expansion, supply chain insights, promotion and discount strategies, identifying price violations, data-driven decision-making, customer insights, regulatory compliance, efficient monitoring and benchmarking and KPIs.

Analyzing Competitors

With MAP monitoring software, you have the benefit of being able to analyze your competitors. This gives you the chance to know what pricing the competition is placing on similar brands or products so you can do so in a way that’s fair for the entire market.

Dynamic Pricing

MAP monitoring software gives you insight into dynamic pricing for your brand and products so you can stay competitive in the market. Dynamic pricing can help manufacturers to ensure that their items are advertised accordingly.

Get Geographical Insights

A notable benefit of MAP monitoring software is that it allows you to get geographical insights into the typical pricing all across the board for products and brands similar to your own. Manufacturers can also see where their brand is succeeding the most and where it might need room for improvement.

Manufacturers can get the benefit of being able to identify price trends when they use MAP monitoring software. This allows them to stay up to date on pricing they should consider when sellers advertise their products.

Optimizing Prices

MAP monitoring software gives you the opportunity to optimize prices when advertising products within your brand. This lets you have the best MAP prices so that you can stay competitive.

Allows for Market Expansion

Using MAP monitoring software helps to expand the market. When retailers who comply with pricing are identified, it helps products to eventually be sold to pleased consumers. This success allows for market expansion as manufacturers can connect with more sellers to partner with who can advertise their brand and ultimately sell products.

Gives Supply Chain Insights

MAP monitoring software gives manufacturers insight into their supply chain so that they know how well their partner sellers are advertising their products. It tells them where they are doing well and what can be improved in terms of advertising prices.

Provides Promotion and Discount Strategies

You can better promote your brand and devise discount strategies to entice potential customers thanks to MAP monitoring software. When you see what competing sellers are doing with products they advertise, you can get an idea for offering good promotions and discounts on your own brand.

Identifying Price Violations

MAP monitoring software helps you identify price violations so that you know which sellers are problematic so that you can take action. From there, you can send violators cease-and-desist letters warning them that further violations will result in penalties.

Lets You Make Data-Driven Decisions

When various data are revealed through MAP monitoring software, you can make educated decisions on where next to turn. This can help your brand and increase sales of your products.

Provides Customer Insights

MAP monitoring software helps you to see how customers take to your products. You can see where their interest lies within your brand and what you might need to improve upon to draw more customers.

Ensures Regulatory Compliance

One of the most important aspects of MAP monitoring software is that it ensures regulatory compliance. Sellers are more likely to fairly place advertising prices on products based on your MAP policy.

It Efficiently Monitors

You get efficient monitoring with MAP monitoring software. Thanks to the features included, you can breathe easy knowing that any potential violations or areas that need improvement can be more easily identified. See where your successes are and learn how customers are responding to your brand and how retailers are advertising it.

Shows Benchmarks and KPIs

MAP monitoring software shows you benchmarks and key performance indicators (KPIs) about how well your brand is performing compared with the goals you’ve set for it. It also shows how your brand compares with the competition in the market.

What Are the Features of MAP Monitoring Software?

MAP monitoring software offers certain key features. They include monitoring, notifying and analysis.

Monitoring Activity

As its name states, the software can monitor activity among sellers to determine whether they are staying within the requirements you have set in your MAP policy.

Receive Notifications

With MAP monitoring software, you can receive notifications whenever seller violations have been detected. This allows you to take control over how to deal with said sellers.

Get Data Analyzed

MAP monitoring software can analyze data regarding your seller partners and how they are pricing your products for advertising purposes. It can also analyze other details, including whether unauthorized sellers are advertising your brand and the market itself.

How to Implement an Effective MAP Monitoring Strategy

To implement an effective MAP monitoring strategy, you must have clear language in your MAP policy regarding the appropriate pricing sellers can use when advertising your products. You will also want to ensure that retailers know what to expect if they violate that pricing range. Including the benefits of compliance can also give them incentives to stay in line. For example, you might want to include certain perks they can get if they comply with your MAP policy pricing.

How Price Monitoring and Lowest Price Policies Help

Monitoring pricing and having the lowest price policies are essential for manufacturers. It gives them an opportunity to have their products competitive in the marketplace as retailers and achieve positive profit margins as consumers flock to ultimately buy them.

To get the most out of price monitoring and lowest price policies, it’s important to understand minimum prices and authorized sellers, how to use price monitoring for fair competition, how to establish pricing policies for distribution channels and use a price monitoring tool for product prices.

Dealing with Minimum Prices and Unauthorized Sellers

When you establish minimum prices in your MAP policy, it means sellers are required to stay within that range when advertising your products. Unfortunately, sometimes, unauthorized sellers come in and advertise your brand while putting prices even lower than what you allow for advertising purposes. Customers often flock to those sellers because they seek the lowest prices possible. However, this hurts your brand, authorized sellers and the market as a whole.

Using Price Monitoring for Fair Competition

Price monitoring can help to ensure that your partner retailers adhere to your price requirement in your MAP policy. In turn, this allows for fair competition in the market and doesn’t give any particular seller an edge over others. When things remain fair, it ensures that you can make the best profit margins and boost your brand.

Establishing Pricing Policies for Distribution Channels

There are different ways to establish pricing policies for distribution channels. First, you must set a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). This is the price recommended to sellers that includes the costs of both manufacturing and selling. While it’s considered a standard price, many retailers sell products at lower prices to entice customers or when it’s necessary to reduce inventory.

The next step is anticipating hidden costs that might appear in the distribution channel. Also, margins should be divided along the distribution channel. The point is to make a profit and benefit everyone involved in the chain.

Importance of Using a Price Monitoring Tool for Product Prices

Using a price monitoring tool for product prices allows you to keep tabs on pricing sellers are placing on your brand. This helps you grow your business and allows you to see how your competitors are faring. Price monitoring tools allow you to browse other companies’ websites for the latest trends in pricing of similar products so you can stay competitive.

Using Automated Price Monitoring on Online Marketplaces

For manufacturers, it’s crucial to use automated price monitoring on online marketplaces. This allows you to utilize email alerts to monitor MAP policy violations, apply automated price monitoring to online retailers and compare prices with online comparison sites.

Why Utilize Email Alerts to Monitor MAP Policy Violations?

Utilizing email alerts to monitor MAP policy violations gives you control to take action against errant sellers. You can deal with violators as you see fit such as through an initial warning letter. If the seller ignores this, you are free to take further action.

Understanding Applying Automated Price Monitoring to Online Retailers

Convenience is why you should apply automated price monitoring to online retailers. When these sellers’ advertised prices are monitored, it lets you stay in the know regarding whether they are following your MAP policy or straying. You can also stay apprised of any changes to typical pricing on products similar to yours so that you can make adjustments to your own brand.

Why Compare Prices with Online Price Comparison Sites?

Comparing prices with online price comparison sites gives you an idea of prices to expect all across the board. You can also see which retailers are advertising products at all price ranges. It can show you which retailers are being fair and which aren’t playing by the rules.

Trade Vitality is well versed in all these tactics and our map monitoring software will help you get the edge you need to be successful with your brand's policy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Benefits of MAP Monitoring?

MAP monitoring gives you the benefit of analyzing your competitors, offering dynamic pricing, getting geographical insights, finding the latest pricing trends, pricing optimization, market expansion, insights into your supply chain, promotion and discount strategies, identifying price violations, regulatory compliance, efficient monitoring, getting insights into customers and being able to make educated decisions.

What Is the Best MAP Monitoring Software?

Trade Vitality offers the best MAP monitoring software. It provides monitoring to determine whether sellers are in compliance with your established pricing to protect your brand, gives you control over your MAP policy process, gives you information on how your retail partners are faring in the market and enforces MAP compliance to benefit profit margins to authorized sellers.

What Is MAP and Its Importance?

MAP refers to the minimum advertised price that sellers are permitted to advertise a product as set by the manufacturer. It’s important because it helps protect the value of the brand and keeps the market fair yet competitive.

Why Is MAP Important?

MAP is important in keeping advertised prices on products on an even keel all across the board in any given market.

Get actionable steps on how to monitor and enforce your MAP policy: