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Blog · What is MAP Monitoring? – Trade Vitality
Establishing a brand and selling online can be tricky. Just when I wrapped my head around what MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) was, I found myself confronted with another concept: MAP Monitoring. I soon learned that it’s not always enough to establish a MAP policy to standardize prices — it’s also critical to for brands to track what’s going on to keep resellers honest. Here’s what I picked up on in exploring the idea of MAP monitoring, why it’s so critical for brands and how it is usually fresher On MAPFor those who are still lost on what MAP is, here’s a quick reminder. It stands for Minimum Advertised Price, and it’s defined as the lowest price at which a retailer is supposed to advertise a manufacturer’s product for example, the manufacturer of “Brand X” jeans sets their MAP at $125, then online retailers set themselves in a position to sell Brand X jeans to consumers. The retailers must sell those jeans at $125 or more, lest they are in violation of the MAP and manufacturers use these MAP policy agreements to help keep the advertisements for their products fairly standard across the outlets that are selling them. Unfortunately for brands, though, these agreements don’t always work out as MAP Monitoring Comes Into PlayWhile MAP agreements are supposed to set the pricing stage, resellers don’t always follow them. In some cases, they may do so with no ill-will in mind. The competitive pressures of other e-commerce retailers may just be forcing them to lower prices to stay in the game. In other cases, resellers might take advantage of leaks in the supply chain, obtaining products and selling them for less to gain an advantage over both scenarios, a brand’s reputation can be at stake. Even in situations where the brand is compensated in full for the products resellers obtain, the act of resellers advertising those products below the established MAP can create confusion among consumers. They might start to wonder why they don’t see that low price everywhere, and, in many cases, they’ll blame the brand for this inconsistency (not the rogue reseller) is where MAP monitoring comes into play. Brands want to protect their good name by ensuring the MAP is followed across the board. They have to check to see which (if any) resellers are violating the MAP so they can take action (a slightly different procedure known as MAP enforcement). By and large, there’s a broad process that most manufacturers and brands follow to scour the internet and keep tabs on their first step is listing their products and the means by which to identify them. It could be the numbers related to the products (serial numbers, SKUs, etc. ), or could also be specific text, images, video and similar content related to the products in question. Whatever the means, these identifiers are clearly identifiable and allow brands to track their products regardless of where they are being sold this base of products and identifiers to work from, brands can then go about establishing the system of systematically checking for their products and determining if their MAP is being followed correctly. This might take the form of a manual system, wherein they assign a team the task of reviewing e-commerce outlets at regular intervals, or it could take the form of some automated software that performs these checks based on criteria set forth by the brand. Whichever route they pursue, brands have to take care to ensure their monitoring is efficient enough to catch all price aberrations, as well as flexible enough to recognize when certain reseller “tricks” are being used to skirt the rules. For instance, some reseller platforms have a “best price” offer that reveals deep discounts upon clicking, even though they are still advertising the price at or above the MAP. If a brand’s MAP considers this a violation, the monitoring process would need to be robust enough to keep such scenarios in mind and check for them all that in place, brands can go to work monitoring, detailing when and if their MAP has been violated, gathering the supporting evidence to prove their claims, then moving on to enforcing the MAP where necessary. It’s a rather involved process, and in the case of some brands, one that the manual route isn’t sufficient in addition to the aforementioned reseller trickery that can disguise when a MAP policy is being violated, there’s also the fact that even well-staffed teams, dedicated strictly to monitoring, can only perform their duties so often. There could be a whole host of outlets that are selling a brand’s products, with new, unauthorized ones popping up from time to time as well. How would a team catch wind of these? There are also situations where resellers will periodically change their pricing back to the MAP if they have a sense they are being monitored, then lower those prices again once they feel they are in the clear. If a manual team can only check once or twice a day, those efforts may well be in vain. For these reasons, many brands choose to automate the monitoring process with software, although the final decision will take into account how complicated the overall process will Vitality is well versed in all these tactics and our map monitoring software will help you get the edge you need to be successful with your brand’s policy.
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What Is MAP Monitoring? – Blog | Oxylabs
Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) monitoring is the act of monitoring online product prices across digital channels to identify fluctuations of the market.
It would be difficult to find a brand, manufacturer, or supplier that does not care about their reputation. But what does it have to do with Minimum Advertised Price monitoring? Can e-commerce marketplaces put the supplier brand’s image at risk just by selling their products at the lowest price? Yes, they absolutely can.
You will soon find out everything you should know about MAP monitoring, but let’s first revisit what Minimum Advertised Price means.
Navigate this article:
What is MAP (Minimum Advertised Price)?
Why do retail suppliers need MAP monitoring?
Why do retailers violate MAP agreements?
How does MAP monitoring work?
MAP stands for Minimum Advertised Price and defines the lowest price at which a retailer should sell a manufacturer’s product.
For example, a manufacturer produces cups and sets their MAP at 10$. Retail companies that wish to sell those cups agree to sell them for at least 10$. Otherwise, they will be violating the MAP policy.
The reason MAP agreements are set, is to keep the advertised price for the same product fairly standard across different outlets.
Setting a MAP is not only about the price, it also plays an important role in a brand’s reputation and overall fair competition.
Here are the most common reasons why companies have MAP agreements in place:
Maintaining brand imageEnsuring fair competition across all distribution sourcesAllowing smaller manufacturers to compete with larger suppliersProtecting seller marginsPreventing underpricing
The more brands monitor MAP compliance, the more retailers feel responsible to keep their word and respect the agreement. Therefore, every CEO should consider having MAP monitoring in place.
In an ideal world, after agreeing on MAP, retailers should respect the policies and comply with them. However, in the competitive e-commerce environment, this is not always the case.
In most cases, two main factors lead to MAP compliance violations:
Competitive pressures may push e-commerce retailers to lower the prices in order to stay in the in the supply chain (unauthorized resellers) may lead to retailers lowering the prices for your products.
Either way, MAP policy violations may harm the supplier. If retailers are advertising products below the established MAP, consumers will rarely blame the retailer, all the blame falls on the supplier’s brand. Inconsistency in prices may harm the brand’s reputation, and rebuilding trust certainly requires more effort than tracking MAP compliance.
MAP monitoring can be performed in two ways: manually and automatically. While some companies might choose manual tracking, automating this process has significant benefits. Let’s look into both options:
Checking MAP compliance manually
In order to deal with MAP compliance, manufacturers have to go through multiple steps. Depending on different policy terms, the process may include these steps:
Finding all the sellers and checking their advertised pricesContacting and warning the violatorsRe-checking if the violators have changed the advertised pricesFollowing up with the sellers who have not taken actionGiving a final warning
While smaller companies may work with less retailers, manually monitoring even as few as 20 is time consuming and takes a lot of energy. Moreover, this process never ends. Advertised prices have to be constantly monitored to track all the possible MAP policy violations.
Automated MAP monitoring
In order to track MAP compliance automatically, e-commerce companies use price monitoring software, or data extraction tools. These tools automatically gather e-commerce pricing data and deliver it whenever needed.
Price monitoring tools should automate these processes:
Providing a list of sellers that offer your products or servicesTelling you how much your goods or services cost on each marketplaceFlagging up the prices that violate your MAP policy
For example, Oxylabs offers two tools that help monitor prices. One of them is Real-Time Crawler, a powerful web scraping tool that extracts public data and returns it in ready-to-read JSON format. Another solution is Next-Gen Residential Proxies with adaptive parser that automatically extracts pricing information from various e-commerce product pages.
Automation allows building a stable and reliable price monitoring process, and is a more efficient solution than manual monitoring. After all, if a person can manually check the prices across the sellers once a day, special tools can deliver this information much faster and more accurately.
In this article, we discussed the importance of Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) monitoring. To sum up, MAP tracking helps keep brands and manufacturers in good relationships with authorised resellers and marketplaces. It also helps identify what marketplaces might be selling brand’s items without authorisation, or violating MAP policies.
MAP agreements are important for brand reputation, fair competition across different distribution channels, and creating a healthy environment for brands of various sizes. MAP violations harm brands and their reputation, because price inconsistencies cause confusion among consumers.
Tracking MAPs involves checking product prices across many different channels. Some companies choose to perform MAP monitoring manually, but this method is inefficient. Automated price monitoring allows gathering large amounts of information from different e-commerce marketplaces quickly.
Would you like to learn more about price monitoring and what tools can help you gather large amounts of pricing data from different channels? We invite you to read about price monitoring solutions by Oxylabs.
Adelina Kiskyte is a Content Manager at Oxylabs. Adelina constantly follows tech news and loves trying out new apps, even the most useless. When she is not glued to her phone, she also enjoys reading self-motivation books and biographies of tech-inspired innovators. Who knows, maybe one day she will create a life-changing app of her own!
All information on Oxylabs Blog is provided on an “as is” basis and for informational purposes only. We make no representation and disclaim all liability with respect to your use of any information contained on Oxylabs Blog or any third-party websites that may be linked therein. Before engaging in scraping activities of any kind you should consult your legal advisors and carefully read the particular website’s terms of service or receive a scraping license.
MAP Policy Compliance | Minderest
The MAP Policy Compliance (Minimum Advertised Price) is still the fulfilment of the roadmap used by brands to let sellers know what the minimum prices should be for their products. Compliance with these guidelines is of increasing concern to brands and manufacturers who are witnessing the disproportionate growth of online sales as they try to redirect their strategies towards omnicanality. With a specific price monitoring tool for brands it is possible for each manufacturer to check which sellers follow their recommendations and which do not.
Is it legal to enforce MAP compliance?
It depends on the legislation of each country, in the USA for example it is a common and legal practice with which manufacturers can force their retailers to follow their business practices, while in EU countries this is not possible and only the recommendation of selling price is allowed, but not compliance enforcement.
Factors to delimit your MAP policy
The definition of the MAP Policy of each brand is an internal work that cannot be ignored, however, the activity of the sellers to the end consumer, the retailers, the relationship between the two must be configured as a win-win situation in order for sales to be successful and achieve a benefit for both parties. When establishing the minimum selling prices for each product, the brand will obviously take into account both its costs and the intrinsic value of its product in the market. This is an arduous task that can even decide, in most cases, whether a product is released or not. How not to consider, then, how retailers act with these prices?
Without a doubt, the final seller will always be more receptive to sell a product in his online store with an attractive price, as well as good features that make it an excellent choice with respect to value for money. This can be considered when looking for minimum selling prices that are also beneficial for retailers. However, this is nothing more than a recommendation that some experts put forward as a cushion to avoid future conflicts with sellers. Ultimately, it may be necessary to make certain agreements and negotiate the context of online commerce, MAP compliance is even more critical for brands. The online sales paradigm is characterised by the almost infinite number of sales portals in which your product may appear, and this represents a new risk, unembraceable in most cases by the manufacturers themselves.
Therefore, the risks of non-compliance with a brand’s MAP Policy are now palpable. How can we make it clear to the seller what happens if their minimum price policy is not complied with?. A fundamental part is to present all the information in a single document. It should detail what the relationship is between the brand and the seller, as well as the type of agreement they reach on prices.
The clauses for non-compliance with the brand’s MAP policy should make it clear what measures will be taken by the manufacturer when the case arises: possible withdrawal of stock, cancellation of the commercial relationship, economic sanction or even taking certain legal actions. It is recommended that this document specifies what types of commercial actions the seller can carry out with the manufacturer’s products. In this way you can limit promotions, offers and discounts that can be offered on your products by the retailer’s own initiative. It is a practical way of stemming the tide.
Relationship between MAP policy and brand identity
Experts are increasingly stressing the importance of minimum price policy as an influential factor in a manufacturer’s brand identity. Why? It seems clear that product pricing has always been a distinguishing feature for different brands. Hence, for example, luxury brands continue to be considered as such; price is a determining factor for the company’s image. With this assertion clear, the relevance of minimum prices in brand identity falls by its own weight. While it is true that, a priori, the minimum price responds only to the economic requirements of the manufacturer, nothing could be further from the truth, it can also be an important obstacle for consumers.
A fall in price, below the threshold allowed by the manufacturer, may have the opposite effect to that desired, by, for example, a certain discount or promotion. By exaggerating prices downwards, it may arouse suspicion in consumers who are loyal to the brand of a reduction in product quality.
It is true that lowering the price of a product can open new opportunities for potential customers who, until now, were not consumers of the brand. However, this does not always have to be a good strategy, since loyalty is precisely one of the most difficult objectives to achieve by firms, both in the digital environment and any case, this type of decision should only be made by your brand and the strategy you have set out in house. In no way should retailers be left with the possibility of playing with these concepts that directly affect the image of the manufacturer.
How to track each retailers’ prices
Any brand that already has a developed minimum price policy must face the arduous task of checking whether or not this is met. Only in this way can you have real control over the prices at which your products are sold and, therefore, execute the actions foreseen for non-compliance in your MAP Policy. Carrying out this control in the digital environment, as we have already said, can become a daunting task. In fact, it is virtually impossible to do so manually.
Price Monitoring Software implements the necessary technology to track the catalogues of each one of the retailers who sell your products and allow the variations they make on them to be recorded at all times. With Minderest’s MAP Policy Compliance tool, you can perform this monitoring in a way that is completely customised for your business. You will be able to establish as many alerts as necessary to keep track of the prices established by the online stores that sell your products.
Without a doubt, this type of technology has multiple advantages for brands and manufacturers as it allows them to obtain periodic reports with all this information in detail. Thanks to Minderest, you will always have first-hand information to maintain compliance with the demands of your brand with respect to sellers. Minderest’s MAP Policy Compliance software allows you to check at any time how retailers relate to the minimum prices of your products for a low monitoring cost.
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Frequently Asked Questions about map monitoring
What is the purpose of monitoring MAP?
Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) monitoring is the act of monitoring online product prices across digital channels to identify fluctuations of the market.Nov 11, 2020
What is MAP compliance?
The MAP Policy Compliance (Minimum Advertised Price) is still the fulfilment of the roadmap used by brands to let sellers know what the minimum prices should be for their products.
What is MAP enforcement?
MAP is a policy from manufacturers that dictates the lowest price their distributor or reseller can advertise the products online or in marketing materials — but it does not enforce what price they can sell it at in brick and mortar stores or in private transactions.Nov 9, 2020