What is MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) and How MAP Monitoring Tools Can Help You Enforce It

What is MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) and How MAP Monitoring Tools Can Help You Enforce It

October 6, 2021

What Is A Minimum Advertised Price?

MAP is an abbreviation for Minimum Advertised Price

MAPs take the form of policies that are developed by the manufacturer or brand of a certain product. 

According to these policies, businesses are only allowed to advertise products at the lowest price point allowed by the policy. 

Brands will as a standard set their minimum advertised pricing at a level that allows retailers to earn a reasonable profit on their products whilst also remaining within a price range in accordance with the brands’ image and perceived value.

MAPs are in place for practically every product on the global market, depending on where you are in the world, and these regulations are vast.

Brands and manufacturers put a great deal of effort into developing these MAPs, and they have a vested interest in keeping an eye out for MAP monitoring software in the market.

However, brands should be aware that this guideline only applies to prices that are publicized. This means that retailers can sell products at a lower price in-store than the price specified in a MAP policy can be your solution.

A MAP solution aims to provide a level playing field among retailers that aim to boost margin or volume. They do it while ensuring that the brand’s product is not devalued by a perpetual price war among competitors.

Why Are MAP Policies So Important To Brand Value?

Brands which heavily rely upon their identity, such as expensive and luxury goods, place a heavy emphasis on using MAP policies to secure their brand value. 

These businesses understand the importance of  the pricing for their brand and have a vested interest in retaining exclusivity.

What Are The Advantages Of A Map Policy?

In order to understand why MAPs are so crucial, it is first necessary to consider why brands desire minimum advertised prices in the first place.

Naturally, sales are the most important factor. You want to improve sales, get your products in front of the largest number of buyers feasible, and increase revenues as much as possible. 

That is made possible by a proper MAP policy. This is because the minimum advertised price is one you’ve determined based on sales data, so you know it’s the right price for that product in order to meet your sales targets.

Beyond that, MAP is also a significant factor to brand protection. If you don’t have a policy in place, resellers may be tempted to list your products at a cheaper price than you would prefer them to be. 

A price that is too low might destroy your price position by creating unreasonable (and unproductive) expectations in the minds of customers. 

Moreover, it can induce competitors to lower their prices, thereby initiating a pricing war and a race to the bottom. This can be particularly devastating to luxury or premium businesses, but it is detrimental to everyone, regardless of what or where they sell their products.

As an added benefit, MAP monitoring can assist you in identifying grey market dealers or other unlicensed merchants through the use of price tracking. 

Every brand looking to cement its pricing management position online ought to have a MAP agreement in place with the authorized vendor to ensure the bottom line is enforced.

If you have this in place and are flagged with a price which is significantly lower than what have been stated in your MAP policy, then you ought to instantly look into it further. It is likely that this will be an unfamiliar and unlawful vendor, who you can then take swift action against to prevent any effect on your audience’s price perception

4 Reasons Why You Should Monitor MAP Pricing

Amazon’s Golden Age

If you don’t have an adequate price monitoring solution in place, then your products are bound for the bottom range of pricing as numerous unauthorized sellers could market your products and you would have no mechanism in place to prevent this.

The Competitive Nature of E-Commerce Necessitates Competitive Prices
Pricing also determines exposure, seller ratings, and other factors that have a direct impact on purchasing decisions, emphasizing the need for competitive pricing.

Counterfeiting Is Rampant Online
With the counterfeit sector providing such a significant danger, it is critical to safeguard the brand.

Limited Control Over Sole Vendors
Keeping up with the magnitude of thousands of resellers across numerous channels and marketplaces is nigh on impossible. You can consider working with an advanced price tracking and MAP monitoring solution.

iMAP Pricing

iMAP stands for Internet Minimum Advertised Price. This is a variant of a MAP policy which brands specifically draft with the intent of covering products sold online. These policies often provide the guidelines for e-commerce stores which advertise across the web.

Traditionally MAP policies were drafted to address physical (offline) forms of advertisement such as catalogs, newspaper adverts, billboards, television commercials, and other forms of media. 

However, because e-commerce differs so significantly from these other types of media, manufacturers were had to develop a new sort of policy to account for the changing market dynamics.

MSRP vs. MAP pricing

MSRP stands for Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price. No matter what you want to name it, the ultimate effect is always the same. 

Because MSRPs provide advice on the real sale price of a product, rather than only the advertising price of a product, they differ from MAPs. Additionally, MSRPs are not legally binding.

Retailers will frequently sell products below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) since market pricing lowers over the product lifecycle and the margins that retailers earn on products allow for this.

One of the most significant distinctions between MAP and MSRP, however, is the legitimacy of the pricing structure. 

MAP pricing is allowed in the United States, but it is not likely to be legal in the European Union. Offering a minimum selling price (MSRP), on the other hand, is an entirely legal practice in both regions.

MAP Policy Communication

Brands should develop a communications strategy to accompany the rollout of a new MAP policy. They should do it to avoid confusion and preserve a strong relationship with retailers.

Although a MAP policy should be simple to understand, legal advisors may need to include legal jargon in the document. If this occurs, organizations can still convey their policies clearly through checklists, videos, PowerPoint presentations, and well-briefed brand representatives.

Do everything you can to inform retailers on how to comply with your MAP policy.

MAP Enforcement In the United States

MAP policies are strict and the majority of them will outline their specific methods of enforcement. 

Brands in the United States are authorized to retaliate if a retailer offers a lower price than the MAP. Retailers will face severe penalties if MAP pricing is enforced.

Offering a lower price than MAP may result in exclusion from future promotional arrangements as well as the termination of partnerships.

Brands can even put merchants on “timeout,” preventing them from selling to them for a set amount of time.

Most retailers stay in line due to the substantial danger of a MAP infraction. It also generates a self-policing ecosystem.

Retailers are more inclined to report that MAP policy is broken to brands and suppliers because they know the breaching party will provide the lowest price on the market…and profit from it.

Can You Enforce A MAP Policy on Amazon?

Although Amazon does not impose MAP regulations on its platform, this does not negate the influence of brands.

When a a manufacturer discovers MAP policy disobedience, it is possible for a brand or manufacturer to file Intellectual Property complaints against Amazon. You’ll have to keep an eye on Amazon for MAP infractions.

If you notice such a situation, you must identify the Seller and issue your own cease and desist order. One method to get around this is to register as a brand on Amazon and utilize it as a new sales channel.

What To Look For In A MAP Monitoring Tool

The main function of any MAP monitoring tool should be to monitor product pages for any price changes for a lower rate which may occur.

For any brand product which is being sold online, it will be absolutely vital that whatever MAP monitoring solution you use has the ability to comprehensively track prices on various electronic marketplaces. 

You have to track prices across store websites, social media, marketplaces, and price comparison sites in a methodical manner.

It’s common practice for brands to want to do this on major commerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay and Alibaba. On top of this you will want a MAP monitoring tool which can integrate into the most popular web browsers on the internet such as Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.

Fortunately, the MAP monitoring software puts your brand’s price position and image in your control by monitoring any resellers of your products. 

This software works by controlling seller prices for you so they won’t breach the MAP threshold you have put in place. You can dictate the rules via your policy and our software will let us handle the tracking.

Our software combines state-of-the-art technology to allow:

  • Reseller Price Monitoring;
  • Instant Notifications;
  • Violation Detections;
  • Pricing Image Alignment.

There should be an Ecommerce MAP monitoring tool then you will be instantly notified and able to take action. By doing that you can protect your brand image and mitigating any potential losses you could experience to a minimum? 

More than 600 brands and stores are using and trusting our MAP monitoring solutions worldwide meaning you can trust in our ability to protect your credibility.


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