How to Track Walmart MAP Violations
The future of retailing is online, thanks to technological advancements and the prevalence of internet use in the various sectors of our lives. Today, shoppers can order and pay for their goods online. For manufacturers to adapt to this evolving market, they, too, need to evolve. With online stores, price is a factor prioritized by most consumers. This is because of the ease with which they can access product information. You might be asking yourself what MAP pricing is, how it affects eCommerce brands and how you can monitor Walmart MAP violations. Find the answers in this article.
Walmart MAP Violations
A Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) is the price agreed upon between the product manufacturer and retailer, in this case, Walmart. Therefore, this is the lowest price that resellers can advertise a particular product. It shouldn't be confused with the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)–the price the manufacturer recommends to the retailer. Manufacturers undertake market research to establish the prices of their products. The research involves measuring the product's demand and evaluating the existing market conditions and competition. However, manufacturers must be careful about pricing as meager prices could result in losses, and extremely high prices could push away buyers. This is where the MAP policy comes in.
What is a MAP Policy?
A MAP policy is a contractual document enforced by a manufacturer. It is non-negotiable for legal reasons; therefore, retailers and sellers cannot negotiate the MAP. The policy manufacturers the product value and highlights the penalties and repercussions for the reseller or retailer if the contract is breached.
As competition increases, manufacturers are more inclined to protect the quality and perception of their products. Walmart is one of the leading retailers globally, with store chains in various places. The simplest way to remedy MAP violations is by cutting off the retailer. But does this tactic work if that retailer is Walmart? This is where a MAP policy comes in. Having a MAP policy in place will be helpful in such scenarios. A MAP policy helps in the following ways:
- Ensuring fairness in competition across storefronts
- Building brand identity
- Safeguarding the manufacturer's profit margins
- Giving small businesses fair chances to face the competition in the market
- Ensuring consistency in the value of products
- Avoiding product under-pricing
Ways to Track Walmart MAP Violations
A MAP violation or MAP policy violation is when a retailer or reseller advises a product below the appointed price established in the MAP policy agreement between retailers and their manufacturers. This could result from resellers wanting to offer discounts to their potential customers. In addition, there are heightened MAP violations when non-compliant sellers utilize repricing software that violates MAP temporarily or automatically reduces their prices when the competitors do.
Monitoring/Tracking Walmart MAP Violations
MAP monitoring refers to the routine inspection and review of your product prices on eCommerce websites and other online marketplaces. Its goal is to ensure retailers comply with the terms set out in the MAP policy. The information obtained from a MAP tracking process is priceless to businesses. If you are looking for reputable software for Walmart MAP monitoring, look no further! Brand Alignment is the best company that offers effective software to help you track MAP violations. These tools reveal the following:
- Price advertised by every reseller
- Each reseller's name and contact information
- The platform on which the product is being sold
Selecting the Ideal Tracking/Monitoring Software
While using MAP monitoring software has several benefits, it is crucial to gauge such software before investing in them. Here are some aspects you should look out for before you make a choice:
Comprehensive Market Analysis
Typically, MAP monitoring tools focus on big marketplaces such as Walmart. However, violators exist even in minor marketplaces and must be identified. A comprehensive MAP monitoring software provides a complete solution. It should be able to do a thorough internet search and give you the information you require.
An ideal MAP monitoring software is one that, after perusing resellers' pages and other marketplaces, will provide you with intelligent and actionable data. In addition, it should ensure that the intelligence collected is available at all times.
Providing information on MAP violations would be useless without proper solutions to protect your brand. Good monitoring software should offer a follow-up plan that can help enhance your brand protection.
Here are some enforcement actions that Brand Alignment MAP service software considers:
- Sending notifications of violations
- Automatically take screenshots of the violator
- Saving the conversation thread with each violator
- Creating a database that houses information on MAP violations
Why Retailers Violate MAP Policies
Here are the main reasons why resellers or retailers perpetrate MAP violations:
- Little or no regulation on third-party marketplaces
- Stringent MAP policies
- Inadequate and poor MAP violation tracking
- Limited incentives for resellers to conform to MAP policies
- Unrealistic or lenient MAP violation penalties
- Open distribution networks
- Lack of bargaining power over already established brands
Why Should Brands Track Map Violations?
Unfair Pricing Could Discourage Customers
It is common for online shoppers to make price comparisons on various e-commerce platforms before settling for the best deal. There is an increased risk of customers flocking to unauthorized retailers that offer products below the MAP.
Brands Could Lose Their Reputation
When consumers spot a specific brand's products at a very low price, this doesn't necessarily excite them. Instead, it has the opposite effect. From your potential customers' perspectives, low prices could negatively represent your brand value. They could also be a sign of counterfeit.
Disrupted Relationship Management with Distributors
Failing to keep track of MAP violations could also negatively impact your brand's partner network. Brand owners heavily rely on their distribution channels and are, therefore, particular when choosing retailers. Unauthorized resellers and non-compliant distributors destroy the trust in business relations. Resultantly, all the stakeholders in the distribution chain are troubled.
Loss of Revenue for Brands
Unsurprisingly, MAP violations also cut into a brand's margin. As a result, you may experience revenue losses. Damaged reputations, diverted customers and unauthorized distributors all cause revenue losses in the end.
Tips for Tracking Walmart Map Violations
You now know why retailers sell below MAP and are aware of the various brand non-compliance scenarios. You'll want to know how to follow the trail of violators to prevent them from negatively impacting your brand. Here are the tips to guide you to achieve this:
Developing Separate Strategies for Responding to Authorized and Unauthorized Resellers
A myth that has been the highlight of brand protection discussions is that manufacturers should respond identically to all offenders. Failure to do so may make them appear to be operating on favoritism which is deemed an antitrust violation. While selectively enforcing a pricing policy may not look like a good approach, the truth is that different retailers need to be handled differently. For instance, say you set up a kind of Authorized Dealer Program. This means that some retailers will sell your products without your authorization. In such cases, you can take aggressive action without fearing antitrust issues. This is because your problem with the companies is that of authorization rather than price.
When you discover unauthorized retailers selling your products, you may send letters threatening to take legal action. With authorized resellers, however, you'll have to be more careful when addressing policy violations. For example, you might consider taking such a company off your Authorized Dealer Program after their first violation. Alternatively, you could formulate a graduated enforcement plan where the retailers will suffer consequences after their first violation. For instance, their inventory may be suspended for 60 days. This way, if there is a second violation, you can remove them entirely from your authorized list. The bottom line? You do not owe unauthorized retailers the same antitrust consideration that your legitimate resellers require. Want more help? Brand Alignment is here for you.
Do Not Discuss Enforcement Notifications with the Violators
Say you catch a retailer offering a product at a very low price. Further, assume you decide that the reseller's access to future inventory will be cut off, and you take them off your authorized list. How do you go about executing this enforcement strategy? The best course of action would be formally delivering the bad news to the company. The notice should restate the relevant guidelines of your policy and the consequences of breaching it. In addition, it should point precisely to the guidelines the retailer violates. Further, it should state that the company is no longer on the authorized list and isn't allowed to trade in your products.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Direct-to-Customer Channels Aid in Reducing MAP Violations?
Yes, selling Direct to Customers may handle issues of unauthorized sellers and MAP policy violations. Using DTC means you can:
- Fully control your distributions channels
- Sell your products via your online marketplace platforms
- Establish and nurture better relationships with potential clients
- Maintain control over resellers
Since selling by DTC is yet to garner mass appeal due to the high costs involved, the inability to match prices, and channel conflicts, it may not be desirable, at least for now. Don't worry, though! Brand Alignment offers you the cheapest software solutions that can help you reduce MAP violations.
What Are the Common Mistakes Brands Make in Map Violations Tracking?
When it comes to tracking MAP violations, there are areas that brands fail in. These may include:
- Failure to Take Enforcement Action Against Violators: Developing a waterproof sound policy means nothing if a manufacturer does not continually monitor the resale landscape for violations. This is because once good resellers notice that non-compliant retailers are in constant breach of your policy and are going unpunished, they may not want to continue representing your product line. Why? Your legitimate resellers may no longer be able to compete fairly with the violators.
- Treating Violators Equally: Because your product retailers do not have equal standing with your brand, they can't all be treated equally. For instance, when your long-time retail partners violate your MAP policy, it isn't the same as finding out that a grey-market retailer is reselling your products without your permission. One-size-fits-all approaches to MAP enforcement could damage your brand reputation, and in the end, your revenue may reduce.
- Failing to Adopt an Effective Monitoring and Enforcement Process: The biggest mistake you can make is implementing a process that isn't able to capture all violations. When a manufacturer engages an in-house team to scan the internet for violations, they are likely to catch fewer violations than they would if they had an automated process. Owing to the vastness of the e-Commerce world, your retailers are always offering your products on multiple sites simultaneously. Because of this, it might be hard for your team to keep up with all violations.
The most crucial step in tracking Walmart MAP violations or any other eCommerce platform is identifying unauthorized sellers and striking them off your listings. Brand Alignment Monitoring software allows you to do this and more for you. As one of the most sought-after service providers in the brand protection industry, Brand Alignment is committed to customizing our services to suit our client's needs and preferences. Let us Track Walmart MAP violations for you! Contact us today and get our expert advice. You can also get a quote for our MAP monitoring software.
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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