The practice of Breaking Minimum Advertised Prices (MAP) has persisted, but the Internet has introduced a new layer of transparency into the equation. It’s no longer confined to secretive arrangements in local stores; prices are now openly available online, visible to everyone for comparison. This poses a significant challenge for brands, particularly those with extensive SKU inventories, as tracking these violations becomes an arduous task.
For many brands, monitoring these violations still relies on a manual process of searching and meticulously logging data into spreadsheets. This approach is one-dimensional and fails to provide a comprehensive view of emerging trends or identify repeat offenders. Moreover, it proves challenging to monitor violations occurring at various stages of the buyer’s journey, encompassing initial display prices, in-cart prices, and shipping costs.
However, there is an alternative. We’ve assisted one of the world’s leading brands in athletic shoes, apparel, and sports equipment in gaining a comprehensive overview of their distribution channels and SKU catalog through our advanced big data analytics solution. Suddenly, the sporadic violations here and there transformed into a structured pattern of behavior observable across their channels. This also shed light on distributors operating without proper authorization to sell their products.
Data analytics has empowered brands with the intelligence required to detect and address violations effectively. Nonetheless, this newfound capability necessitates brands to establish a robust and consistent strategy for enforcing their Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policies. Below, we outline key considerations when devising an enforcement strategy.
Develop an Internal Process for MAP Enforcement:
Brands must institute a clear process for pursuing violators. This involves defining the circumstances under which a retailer could face repercussions. Collaborating with internal stakeholders is essential to determine the appropriate steps for escalating issues to the relevant individuals or teams.
Determine the Repercussions for Violations:
Brands should decide how to respond to violations. Depending on the desired level of MAP policy enforcement, repercussions can range from issuing verbal warnings to adjusting inventory feeds or even withholding orders until the retailer achieves compliance.
The tools necessary for brands to track and identify issues are readily available. The onus lies with brands to ensure the enforcement of their policies, safeguarding their brand reputation in the process. However, as more brands become adept at addressing MAP violations, retailers must adapt their strategies to maintain positive relationships with these brands.
In this landscape of heightened transparency and evolving enforcement measures, brands and retailers alike must navigate the MAP terrain with vigilance and adaptability to preserve brand integrity and foster mutually beneficial partnerships.