Best Practices to Avoid Walmart MAP Violations
You might have come across the term MAP. It is an acronym for Minimum Advised Price. The minimum advertised price is not necessarily the cost of the product in the retailers' store but rather the lowest price that can be shown online or during an advertisement. MAP policies vary depending on the brands and manufacturers. The manufacturer of the product creates the policies that are used when advertising a product. Companies and manufacturers make substantive efforts to create MAP policies and, as a result, monitor the market for any violations.
Best Practices to avoid Violations of Walmart MAP
The agreement between manufacturers, retailers, and distributors regarding MAP policies should not be violated. For instance, advertising products below the minimum price is unacceptable since it violates Walmart MAP policies. MAP policies aim to benefit retailers and manufacturers by preventing brand devaluation and assuring retailers' margins. However, at some point, retailers and resellers violate the set agreements regardless of the benefits. MAPs are mainly violated when resellers intend to offer discounts to potential customers. Also, non-compliant sellers can utilize repricing software to break MAP temporarily. The best way for manufacturers to avoid MAP Violations from retailers, in this case, Walmart, is by incorporating best practices. Brand alignment is renowned for providing the most suitable software to manage Walmart MAP violations. Here are some best practices to help avoid Walmart MAP violations
Active Communication With Retailers
The simplest way for brands to keep things under control is by maintaining clear communication lines with retailers and resellers. This goes a long way to eliminate any confusion that may arise. Every time your brand launches a new product, it is essential to initiate proper communication channels and strategies with retailers such as Walmart. However, it can be difficult for brands to understand the jargon of policy documents. Brand Alignment simplifies the process by crafting distribution agreements that can be easily understood. Using well-briefed brand reps, checklists and videos can help manufacturers significantly avoid MAP violations.
Drafting and Enforcing a Comprehensive MAP Price Monitoring Policy
The first step in countering MAP violations and reclaiming control of your prices is formulating a fair and comprehensive MAP monitoring policy. The established policy should align with both parties involved (the manufacturer and retailers/resellers). In addition, it should be detailed and specific to help maintain a uniform brand image across all resellers. Afterward, the manufacturer should establish stringent measures that will effectively enforce MAP. For instance, you can engage Brand Alignment for their advanced techniques to identify serial numbers and parallel imports and conduct further investigations.
Solidifying Distribution Channels
A leaky supply chain can cost your brand. Unauthorized selling, also known as the gray market, is part of MAP violations. The good news? This shouldn't be a cause for panic. All you'll need to do is research and identify the channels through which your distributors are supplying the products. Also, you'll need information about the retailers and resellers you are selling to.
Identifying Violators Using MAP Monitoring Software
Technology has developed drastically, and the future of retail stores is online. Most manufacturers prioritize price and therefore need to utilize MAP monitoring software to reduce the possibility of price wars and prevent brand erosion. Brand Alignment avails the best software in the market for your brand protection. The software reviews the prices of your brand, thus preventing MAP violations. The monitoring software offered by Brand Alignment can reveal the name, contact information, and prices advertised by each retailer. MAP monitoring software usually focuses on online stores like Walmart. Its ability to provide a thorough list of the information required makes it the best tool in the market any retailer would wish to have.
Intelligent and actionable data is guaranteed when using the Brand alignment software in monitoring the retailer's marketplaces and pages. The strategies utilized by Brand Alignment are tried and tested, and therefore, manufacturers can avoid MAP violations effortlessly. On the other hand, a poor monitoring tool can make it difficult for a retailer to monitor MAP violators. However, it is essential to select a monitoring software that is compatible with your website. Sometimes, trusting software blind can be dangerous. For instance, some MAP monitoring software indicates that they can monitor your products across the web, which is not always the case. Also, it is wise to inquire how many websites MAP monitoring software can support.
Enforcing Violation Alerts
It'd be useless to identify violators and do nothing about it. Once you've established the person violating your brand's MAP policy, it is time to take action. Sending a cease-and-desist letter would be an excellent place to start. However, manufacturers have to formulate different strategies for dealing with other offenders. For instance, how you treat your long-term authorized resellers shouldn't be the same as you treat unauthorized resellers. Look at it this way: If retailers sell your products without your permission, you are right to take aggressive action without worrying about antitrust issues. Why? Your issues with the retailer are not price- but rather authorization-related.
On the other hand, if your authorized are caught with a MAP violation, they may suffer consequences as a warning. You can only strike them off your listings after a second violation. Need more help enforcing violation alerts? Explore the wide range of software options Brand Alignment has to offer.
Researching on Unauthorized Reseller Tricks
Retailers have mastered the art of evading pricing and brand guidelines. To protect your brand, it is essential to learn their tactics. Unauthorized resellers are third-party resellers that sell your products without your authorization. The sellers could get your items in retail stores or from distributors. Sometimes, they could purchase directly from you without letting you know they intend to sell the items online. This group can frustrate your brand's need to ensure its representation on e-commerce platforms is consistent with its culture and brand style. Additionally, these resellers limit your brand's ability to run ads, not forgetting they could violate your copyrighted images.
Unauthorized resellers may use the tactics below to evade brand owners:
- Creating new listings for the slightest variations in the product specifications. Besides confusing customers, these duplicate listings could delay a manufacturer from detecting the presence of unauthorized resellers on their listings.
- Using a store name different from their legal entity name
- Frequently changing their store name
- Switching between multiple seller accounts
- Providing inaccurate addresses to cover their tracks
Brand protection services like Brand Alignment can aid in identifying the resellers via their seller notification process and reseller database.
Rewarding Retailers for Compliance
A little motivation goes a long way. The brand could lose out in the long run when retailers and resellers violate MAP guidelines. Brands that sell below a product's advisement price tend to attract more website traffic and increase sales. Resultantly, legitimate retailers suffer as there won't be fairness in competition. After determining the seller selling your product on Walmart, it is essential to establish whether they follow your MAP guidelines and reward them if necessary. The reward can be in the form of laxity of MAP rules during holidays such as Easter and Christmas. During promotional seasons the laxity of rules must be outlined in guidelines.
Suppose Walmart is under-pricing your products in its stores. The retail giant is among the biggest in the US, with numerous chain stores. In such scenarios, the most effective way for a brand to stop violating its MAP policy is to stop distributing to the specific retailer. However, with its large consumer base, no brand would risk failing to work with Walmart. This is where you turn to a comprehensive MAP policy.
In addition to a brand having a MAP policy with its retailers, it should also limit the products' distribution to just a few of them. A MAP policy includes physical stores, the internet minimum advertised price (IMAP), and the Electronic minimum advertised price (eMAP). In addition, distributors should be able to provide authorized retailer agreements. When signing the retailer agreements, remember to ask for clarification where required. Dealing with well-known retailers significantly reduces the risk of MAP policy violation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it Essential to Track MAP Policy Violations on all Online Channels?
Tracking MAP policies helps you as a brand to identify unauthorized sellers of your products. A single brand could have numerous sellers of the product online. Checking for policy violations protects your loyal retailers' profits while protecting your brand image. It is advantageous to be vigilant as a brand since any retailer can sell your product, whether authorized or not.
How Can I enforce MAP policies Effectively?
The first step of enforcing MAP policies is detecting violators across all advertising and marketing places. Swiftly reporting MAP pricing violations after identifying the MAP violators through compliance monitoring tools could save your business big time. Once you have determined them, ban the non-compliant ones from selling your products and services.
How Can I Select the Best MAP Software for My Brand?
It takes effort and time to identify the best software for your brand. However, selecting a good software for your brand requires identifying your needs. Some of the things you should consider are the size of your company and the number of products that your brand has.
Violation of MAP can have a detrimental effect on your brand and certainly hurt the profits of your retailers. Making Brand Alignment your brand protection service provider is the best thing you can do for your company. Brand Alignment provides the best software that is reliable and accurate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Don't Have the Time to Do It Yourself?
Let us Take Care of Your Monitoring & Enforcement
The first step in removing unauthorized sellers is spotting them on your listings and that is exactly what the Brand Alignment Monitoring Dashboard will do for you. With price updates every 3 hours and inventory totals for every seller on every listing, you will get the most complete picture possible of your brand on every major online marketplace.
Of course, the most important step in removing unauthorized sellers is prevention and enforcement. This is where Brand Alignment is leagues above the competition when it comes to the best Amazon map enforcement software.
- 1Clear over 80% of unauthorized sellers: Brand Alignment will make a custom strategy for your brand reputation to ensure the highest rates of removal
- 2Control Your Authorized Channels: Daily emails informing you of authorized channel violations and price cascading events
- 3Risk-Free Guarantee: Brand Alignment is so confident in their removal rates, that we will create a custom guarantee for every brand. We will remove x% of sellers or you have the option to terminate the contract early
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Will Enforcement Solutions Work for My Brand?
In short, the answer is Yes.
We have had our 80%-90%+ enforcement rates in every single industry we have worked in. That includes the following:
- Consumer Electronics
- Apparel and Shoes
- Health & Beauty
- Sports & Outdoors
- Mobile Phone Accessories
- And More
As you are already aware, each industry has their own bells and whistles. Please contact us if you have any specific questions about enforcement in your industry.
Are There Any Risks Involved With Enforcement?
Brand Alignment gives the brand the option of using their own personal cease & desist letters or the option to customize Brand Alignment's proven high performance Cease & Desist letters. These letters were crafted by Intellectual Property lawyers with a full focus on minimizing liability.
Any infringement complaints filed by Brand Alignment are done with the utmost care and transparency. We do not file counterfeit complaints without test buys and approval from the brand. Our trademark complaints are done with caution and all bases covered.
Finally, in this world, anybody can sue anybody for anything. But it does not mean it will stand up in court. There is nothing we can do to prevent frivolous lawsuits from disgruntled sellers. However, we do everything we can to prepare you to have any case against you quickly dismissed. After two years in business, we are proud to say that neither us or any of our brands have had any legal issues of any kind related to our service.
Brand Alignment vs The Competition
If you are new to shopping for a brand protection provider, it might be confusing to tell the difference between companies. It might sound like everybody offers the same type of monitoring and enforcement. This could not be further from the truth.
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You are fully protected by our "Brand Alignment Enforcement Guarantee". If we don't reach the custom benchmarks that we agree upon during negotiation, we will give you the option to terminate the contract and you will not be charged any further.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does It Take to Get Started?
Our on-boarding period takes between 1-2 weeks depending on the amount of custom work required.
I Have More of a Counterfeit Problem Than a Grey Market Problem. Can You Help?
Currently, our specialty is grey market sales. If you are dealing primarily with counterfeits or knockoffs, we recommend speaking to a IP Takedown service instead. If you are interested in both, our services compliment IP Takedown software very well.
Do You Work With Third Party Vendors or Only Directly With Brands?
In the past we worked with 3rd party vendors, however due to liability concerns we now only work directly with brands. We do offer a referral commission so please feel free to contact us if a brand you work with needs help with brand protection.
What Are Your Enforcement Rates on Other Marketplaces Besides Amazon?
We do not offer removal guarantees for other marketplaces, however it is not uncommon to see removal rates on Walmart or Rakuten in the range of 50%-90%
My Grey Market Problem Extends Outside the USA. What Can You Offer?
We LOVE investigating international grey market trade. Contact us about the countries you would like to monitor and enforce, and we will be glad to help.
I Had a Bad Experience With My Last Brand Protection Provider, Why Will You Be Any Different?
We understand your concerns. We are aware of many unhappy brands who have worked in the past with our competitors.
We can talk all day about how we are different, but instead we would like to show you with our Brand Alignment Enforcement Guarantee. Contact us to learn more.
P.S.: Due to the constant changing nature of online marketplaces, our Enforcement Guarantee is a limited time offer.
Please contact us now to ensure you are locked in with your guarantee.
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