MAP policies are crucial for manufacturers to safeguard their brands from price erosion and maintain control over their product pricing. These policies offer several benefits, such as leveling the playing field for resellers, preventing price and revenue deterioration, and safeguarding brand perception and overall value in the marketplace. However, a MAP policy that lacks direction can lead resellers astray and hinder compliance. To ensure the effectiveness of your Minimum Advertised Pricing strategy, it’s essential to address the following key elements:
Regular Policy Review: Ask yourself two critical questions: When was the last time you reviewed and updated your pricing policy? Does your MAP policy include all the necessary elements for compliance? Conduct an annual policy review and consider more frequent reviews when introducing new dealers, launching product lines, making supply chain changes, or revising pricing strategies. Link the policy review to the start or end of a new fiscal or calendar year to avoid neglecting your MAP policy.
Gathering Feedback: In addition to your own assessment, it’s crucial to seek input from key internal departments, including sales, marketing, finance, operations, and legal, as well as your resellers themselves. Gathering feedback from your retail base, conducting surveys, or forming focus groups among e-tailers in your supply chain can provide valuable insights. Ensure fairness by avoiding assumptions and recognizing that a properly enforced MAP policy levels the playing field for all resellers.
Clear Requirements: Your MAP policy should clearly state its purpose, highlighting the benefits it brings to both manufacturers and retailers. Specify the products or product lines covered under MAP, whether certain products are excluded, and guidelines for “clearance,” “discounted,” or “special purchase” items. Transparency is vital to avoid the “I didn’t know” response to MAP violations and to simplify compliance.
Minimum Advertised Price: Define the minimum advertised price for each product covered by the policy or provide clear instructions for resellers to access the listed MAP. Ensuring transparency simplifies compliance and fosters a level playing field among resellers.
Comprehensive Advertising Guidelines: Include detailed guidelines for advertising products, covering aspects such as MAP violations, handling “price in cart” scenarios, and the use of trademarks and brand names. Writing clear and specific guidelines prevents resellers from exploiting potential loopholes. Aim for a solid, easily understandable policy.
Effective Enforcement: The enforcement of your MAP policy is paramount. Implement strict enforcement measures and outline the consequences of violating the policy, including the potential suspension or termination of a retailer’s account. Consistent and timely action is crucial to prevent repeated violations and establish a reputation for serious enforcement among your e-tailing base.
Monitoring and Empowerment: Strengthen your enforcement efforts by outlining the methods you employ for monitoring pricing. This may involve mystery shopping, price tracking, automated price monitoring services, or other effective monitoring strategies. Demonstrating your commitment to compliance empowers resellers and reinforces the significance of your MAP policy.
Regular Updates: Your MAP policy should outline how you will provide updates and communicate them to your retail base. Acknowledge that MAP policies require periodic tweaks and enhancements, along with at least an annual review. Inform your e-tailers about accessing updates to stay informed and compliant.
By ensuring that your Minimum Advertised Pricing Policy addresses these crucial elements, you can effectively guide resellers, protect your brand, and maintain a fair marketplace.