More and more manufacturers and wholesalers are seeing the benefits of having a Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policy, monitoring their products’ prices online and enforcing this MAP policy.
In fact, even retailers are seeing the benefits of such policies, as they promote healthy competition. This makes them favor manufacturers who have such policies, monitor and enforce them.
So, you might be thinking about creating a MAP policy or you might even already have one, but not enforcing it consistently.
In this article, we will show you ways to do your Minimum Advertised Price monitoring and enforce it either by using a Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) monitoring software or by doing it manually as efficiently as possible.
Even if you are not from the US and MAP doesn’t apply to you, I believe you will still find actions to take and systems to implement from the map pricing monitoring tips I mention below.
Let’s dive in!
What is Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) Monitoring
First, let me give you a brief overview of what is a Minimum Advertised Price or MAP.
MAP prices are specific numerical prices defined by the manufacturer or wholesaler for the products a retailer is carrying.
These prices are unique for each SKU and it’s the minimum price the manufacturer is suggesting their SKUs are sold for by their partners.
The manufacturer then has to monitor their products’ online prices and take action whenever a partner or 3rd party seller is selling their products at a lower price than the Minimum Advertised Price (MAP).
This can be achieved either by using map monitoring software or by having a person check the prices manually each day.
You will see how we can monitor them, manually or automatically, in the next section.
Another thing the manufacturers have to keep in mind is that their partner might be complying with their MAP policy throughout the business week, but drop the prices during the weekend and then on Monday morning take them back to normal.
That’s something that has to be kept in mind. Also, you should do some checks of how the prices of your products fluctuated over the weekend.
There is also the chance that prices fluctuate below the MAP price after business hours.
Generally speaking, during Black Friday and during special promos you should be more reluctant with your Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policy.
Last but not least, it’s better to not have Minimum Advertised Prices at all, rather than having a MAP policy and not enforcing it.
The reason is that it will bring you more headaches and complaints than if you didn’t have one to begin with.
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Identifying Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) Violations
A lot of companies opt for a software tool in order to see their products’ online prices every day and which ones violate their MAP policy.
In the market, you can find both affordable simple MAP monitoring software and more expensive and complex ones.
As far as we are concerned, our MAP monitoring tool caters to both customer needs, depending on the number of products and websites monitored.
However, some companies might not have the budget right away or maybe their industry has very low price volatility. In cases like these, they can start by checking their products’ online prices manually and gradually advance to an automated solution, such as ours.
Below, we will see how we can monitor, identify MAP violations and enforce our Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policy either automatically or manually.
Automatic MAP monitoring / tracking
Depending on the technicalities of the software you choose to use to automate your products’ MAP tracking, you will have to do some groundwork to prepare the software to work as you wish.
For us, you’d need an excel or CSV or XML file with the products you are looking to monitor, each SKU’s Minimum Advertised Price, if you allow any percentage discount below the MAP before it’s marked as a violation and any additional product data you want.
Note: For other competitor tools you might have to provide additional data or the URLs (web addresses) of each product on each website you are looking to monitor.
Once you have your product file with the products you want to monitor, you will have to discuss internally with your team and decide if you want to monitor for MAP violations:
- Marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay or any other marketplace
- Aggregators such as Google Shopping, Idealo or others
- Direct ecommerce websites
- A hybrid approach including a combination of the above
Based on which websites you are looking to monitor you will then have to evaluate which MAP monitoring tools are suitable to you, how they handle such cases and what their pricing is.
By using an automated solution you will know every day which prices have been violated, by which retailers and at what discount. This will enable you to keep a pulse on the market.
At some point, you might also want to add some competitor products and compare their online prices to your own products’ online prices. This can give you insights into how they are performing or if they are running a promo on a specific retailer and more.
Manual MAP monitoring / tracking
Although monitoring your online products’ prices to find MAP violations can be tedious to do manually, some companies choose to do that, or they are doing it until they adopt an automatic solution.
The most efficient way to do this is by using price aggregators or marketplaces and monitoring those exclusively.
This will help you save time and view multiple prices from multiple retailers or sellers in a single product URL.
If you are doing this manually it makes more sense to just check your products one by one and only take action for the products with a Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) violation, while ignoring the rest.
Filling Excel reports manually with each retailer’s price of each product takes a lot of time and has minimal usability. You are far better off monitoring only the violations and consider keeping a record of how prices fluctuate when you advance to an automated solution.
One more tip to make your life easier is by having an Excel file with your products, their Minimum Advertised Price (MAP), their barcode / MPN / other and the URL of that product in an aggregator or marketplace so you can just click it and quickly view the prices of that product.
MAP monitoring can be pushed behind especially during busy days, but it’s best if done daily. Less than once per day doesn’t have a lot of value in most industries with normal price volatility.
The last tip for your manual Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) tracking setup is to check your MAP violations at least some of the weekends.
This will yield valuable insights into which retailers tend to violate your MAP policy when given the chance.
Benefits of Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) Tracking
There are significant benefits to tracking your products’ online prices and checking for Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) violations.
Retailers tend to compete mostly on more important factors than price such as:
- Customer loyalty
Manufacturers also save time and headaches. If a retailer is selling your product below your wholesale price for whatever reason, this will trigger your other retailers (and rightfully so) to ask for a discount.
Also, you can protect your branding, especially for luxury and high-tier products. I am sure you remember that Burberry story.
Lastly, you will have a clear picture of your products’ online prices, from each of your retailers and how this changes over time. Of course, you can reward your best partners with special promos, advertising campaigns and more.
Just make sure to talk with the appropriate lawyer before proceeding to monitor your Minimum Advertised Prices (MAP) and enforce your MAP policy. It’s not a matter to be taken lightly.
To sum it up, having a Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policy can be very beneficial for all parties involved, as long as you do consistent MAP price monitoring.
You can do your MAP tracking either automatically by using a Minimum Advertised Price software or manually with an Excel file and some elbow grease.
Then you can proceed by taking action and enforcing your MAP policy.
Please let us know your comments or questions in the comment section below!
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