Minimum advertised price, or MAP policies are used by brands and manufacturing companies to make sure that their sellers do not advertise their products below a certain price. This has been common practice for a while but why are companies suddenly publicising their MAP policies and should you consider doing the same too?
What is a MAP Policy and why should you have one?
The MAP is the minimum price that can be publicly displayed and advertised for a product.
An MAP Policy is therefore designed to protect your b. By establishing the minimum amount a seller can advertise your product for, you are not only protecting your brand and reputation but also your all-important profit margin.
In today’s online-driven market, a strong MAP policy protects you from relentless discounting by sellers.
Why should you publicise your MAP Policy?
As we’ve established, MAP policies have been around for a while but why should you consider publicising yours now?
In today’s market, there are thousands and thousands of online sellers all plugging the same or similar products. Buyers can and do shop around at the click of a button for the best possible price so sellers are forced to discount or offer additional services in order to win over customers and drive conversions. Smaller and mid-range retailers are also in constant competition with giants like Amazon and often struggle to compete on price without dropping below the MAP.
But although a discounted price may help the seller to make the sale in the short term, it can cause significant damage to a brand in the long term. And with so many online sellers in the market, it’s hard for brands to keep track of who is selling what for which price.
Brand owners are becoming increasingly aware of this issue. And whilst enforcing their MAP policy by keeping track of sellers and their prices is one way of tackling the problem, it may not be the most effective way to do so. Policing the issue by contacting sellers in violation of the MAP policy will only get you so far. The options are to politely ask them to put the price back up above the MAP or threaten to pull their stock from the retailer. Depending on the size and scale of the brand, this may not be a bluff they can afford. Moreover, it may be fairly easy to contact a small retailer about this issue and intimidate them with the threat of pulling stock, but not so easy to get in touch with the big, global retailers who sell the majority of the brand’s products.
So, in order to tip the scale back in their favour, many companies have opted to publicly announce their MAP policies. By marketing their policies to the world, these brands can protect themselves on several different levels. Find out how brand governance tool helps to manage and protect your brand equity, and why they are essential for its success.
Firstly, the public announcement of the MAP policy is an extra tool to reference if the retailer contests the policy. Retailers are far more likely to adhere to this pricing if it has been made public knowledge as going below it would be damaging to their reputation amongst consumers (as well as other brands with whom they do business).
Secondly, it reinforces the brands’ reputation amongst consumers. By offering transparency about their pricing, they are appealing to the nature of the modern customer who appreciates trust and transparency. It also protects a brand’s reputation in terms of the quality of the products. By announcing the minimum price that they are willing to trade at, they backing themselves and are reminding customers that they are a quality brand worth investing in. And finally, if there are any violations of the MAP policy from any sellers, the brand will avoid any negative feedback as the public policy puts the responsibility firmly on the sellers and retailers’ shoulders.
In conclusion, having a MAP policy in today’s market is essential. Publicising your MAP policy, on the other hand, is a judgement call that only you can make. But, it may be worth your while to do so.
Publicising your MAP policy will protect your brand and your reputation. Although publicising it is no more legally binding than the policy itself, it is a political and tactical move that could help you enforce your policy more effectively. And as a nice plus, it will also improve your reputation amongst modern consumers who expect and appreciate transparency from their brands.
And finally, if you do decide to create and/or publicise a MAP policy for your brand, make sure you seek professional legal advice first.