How Everyone in Your Company Can Help Enforce Your MAP Policy
Why don’t you get your team to help out? MAP policy enforcement is not handled by a single individual at your firm, contrary to popular belief. It is, in fact, a company-wide obligation. Here are some pointers on how to get everyone in your firm to pitch in.
Here's the thing..
If your policy is essential enough to your brand's value, you may choose to hire a full-time MAP enforcer. However, it's crucial to remember that this is a shared, company-wide obligation. Everyone in your company has a responsibility to play in ensuring that your MAP policy is followed.
Your entire staff should be aware of the policy's existence, location, and particular price levels for each product or SKU (as well as when those prices change), as well as what to do if a reseller requests an exemption to your MAP policy and the risks of enabling policy infractions. This necessitates a company-wide education and training program.
To get you started, here's a quick rundown of the particular ways that different teams or departments within your company can contribute to the enforcement of your brand's MAP policy.
Implementing a MAP Policy: Best Practices
It's also known that many pet product manufacturers implemented new or strengthened existing minimum advertised price (MAP) or minimum retail price (MRP) rules in an effort to counteract some online retailers' significant discounts and predatory pricing practices.
But that's not the only justification for enacting and enforcing a robust, all-encompassing MAP policy. We'll look at why your firm needs a MAP policy and what best practices you should follow when developing, adopting, and enforcing one.
What Is A MAP Policy And What It Isn't
Minimum advertised price policies are unilateral initiatives that allow manufacturers to prohibit retailers from displaying products at prices below a certain threshold. MAP rules, unlike RPM agreements, do not impose severe limitations on product pricing. RPM policies or agreements are used by manufacturers to prevent retailers from selling products below a set price.
Antitrust laws in the United States make MAP programs fully legal. (Such policies have been in place since 1919, over a century!) A MAP policy isn't regarded vertical price fixing as long as the manufacturer or supplier works independently from its distributors. Because MAP policies only limit the advertised price of a product, not the final sale price, this is the case. In most cases, MAP policies do not allow for the restriction of in-store advertising. Retailers can still sell a product for less than the minimum stated price; they just can't advertise it as such.
How Can The Team Assist With MAP Policy Sales?
In many cases, the sales department is the driving force for the adoption of MAP in the first place. This is frequently due to the sales team's inability to sell items to distributors or wholesalers without such a policy in place.
However, the entire sales team must be trained on the value of adopting and adhering to a MAP pricing policy (see Map pricing policy template guide). This training should include instruction on how to respond to a retailer's request to temporarily suspend the MAP-price floor in order to help the business accomplish its own sales goals.
You should also explain to your sales team the long-term damage that allowing some shops, even your most significant partners, to breach your MAP can do to the firm and their department in particular. For example, if a sales representative chooses to turn a blind eye while a large shop violates its MAP policy, it may drive away other retailers and prevent new businesses from joining the resale network. Of course, this will lower the sales team's numbers in the long run.
E-Commerce In-House Team
If your firm has an in-house eCommerce team that sells directly to customers, that team is likely to compete with your salespeople who are seeking to sell your goods to wholesalers, distributors, and retailers.
These eCommerce representatives should behave in the same way that your organiation expects from any retail partner, including adhering to your MAP pricing standards. For example, to reach a quarterly or monthly sales target, advertised prices should not go below certain MAP levels, even temporarily.
You must teach your eCommerce team members that increasing market reach is in the company's long-term strategic interest, which they can help achieve by not undercutting your retail partners.
Not to Forget The Marketing Team
The marketing team may assist in both communicating and monitoring some of the MAP enforcement levers, such as adding repeat violators to the Do Not Sell list and withholding promotional revenue from those reseller partners.
Your marketing team can also help create the alerts and warnings (in collaboration with your legal team) to let MAP offenders know that your firm is aware of their actions and that if they don't remove their violating product listings or adverts, you will take action.
To construct this crucial library of communications to MAP violators, your marketing team will need to collaborate closely with your legal or brand protection teams to ensure that no messages are sent that could place your firm in legal jeopardy. This is why your marketing team should be educated on the legal ramifications of the MAP policy's implementation.
When a reseller contacts and requests for incentives, special offers, or a temporary suspension of your MAP pricing floor, your customer service team will need to know what they can and can't say.
These front-line staff will frequently be the ones that answer calls from resellers.
That means you'll need a set of rules in place for these employees to follow in order to prevent your company from making a mistake due to inexperience and, worse, placing you in legal hot water with antitrust regulators.
The Product Team Can Help Enforce
The product team frequently assists in determining which goods or SKUs should be included and which should not be in a reseller price policy.
By providing your product team with real-time market data on how your goods' prices effect sales statistics as well as how your competitors are currently pricing similar products, you can assist them make informed decisions about how to set MAP prices and when to adjust them.
After all, learning how to establish prices correctly to enable your resale partners sell your items successfully against those of your competitors should be one of the first stages in enforcing your MAP pricing. The product team can assist you in determining the sweet spots for MAP price levels for each of your products, as well as informing you when those sweet spots have shifted and it's time to update your MAP prices.
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 map policy 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.
How Much Money Are You Losing By NOT Switching to Brand Alignment?
How Much Money In Sales Are You Losing Each Year Due to a Lack of Quality Brand Protection?
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100% Satisfaction Guarantee
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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