Enforcing MAP Policy on highly competitive marketplaces like Amazon is not an easy task. Platforms like Amazon tend to have high stakes and low prices, so it becomes even more important to ensure that your resellers respect your MAP.
A marketplace like Amazon that has a large number of sellers and consumer traffic and highly aggressive pricing tactics by Amazon itself makes it a super-competitive marketplace but a great market place with exploitable opportunities at the same time. MAP Policy is thus super important to protect your brand’s price position and margins while preventing other resellers from undercutting sales based on price.
What is a MAP Policy?
A MAP policy is a policy to maintain a minimum amount at which a product is advertised. Many brands and manufacturers require their resellers to adhere to if they want a contract to distribute their products.
The MAP policy of a brand or manufacturer dictates the lowest price to advertise the product online or in marketing materials. However, it does not dictate what price they can sell it at in brick and mortar stores or in private transactions.
For instance, a Minimum Advertised Price policy would be a manufacturer contracting a distributor or reseller to sell their products. As part of the contract, the manufacturer could fix a minimum price of their product, for example, $89. The violation of this rule would directly lead to the reseller losing the contract. The impact of MAP pricing is certainly different on sellers and brand owners on Amazon. As a seller, it is less of a headache as you would be aware of these policies only if the distributor informs you about them.
It could definitely be some serious elbow grease for you as the brand owner or manufacturer.
Here are the Top Use Cases with DataHawk to save yourself from being a victim of MAP Violation :
1. Seller Identification
a. Identifying the number of sellers
b. Winning buy box sellers on any product on Amazon with DataHawk Product and Buy Box tracker.
This would help you to list out the resellers through whom your products are reaching the consumers.
a. Identifying the number of sellers
DataHawk provides you the total number of sellers of your product or any tracked product on Amazon.
b. Winning Buy Box sellers :
DataHawk gives you the names of sellers winning the Buy Box in a calendar format where you can view who won the Buy Box and on which dates.
The tool thus allows you to track the changes in the number of sellers which is updated on a daily basis. This allows you to monitor how many sellers are winning the Buy Box from the total number of sellers of that product on Amazon for a selected range of time.
For instance, we monitored the “Roku Ultra | HD/4K/HDR Streaming Media Player” in the electronics category, it was found that this product has 46 sellers on Amazon out of which only 12 sellers have won the Buy Box in the last one month.
Having a list already curated for you will help you to verify and make sure that the sellers winning the BuyBox are not unauthorized.
2. Price monitoring with DataHawk product tracker
If you’re working with multiple sellers on the Amazon marketplace, the lack of visibility into what happens once the products leave your warehouse can lead to some major pricing disparities. Amazon itself has guidelines in place to protect brand integrity and pricing issues, but as a brand, you should have a clear understanding of your MAP policy and how it can impact your brand’s presence on Amazon.
It is thus imperative to track regularly the pricing of your product. DataHawk’s Product metrics provide you the winning price of Buy Box every day in a graphical presentation that also shows you the price evolution as compared to the week before.
The detailed pricing trends are given by the BuyBox tracker. The “Price” row on the tabular presentation projects the different winning prices for which different sellers have won the Buy Box for a product on different days.
For instance, for the “Roku Ultra | HD/4K/HDR Streaming Media Player” we can see that the seller “WorldWide Distributors” has won the BuyBox on 20April20 with the BuyBox price of $84.89.
With all the different metrics for Buy Box analysis present on the same page, you could also analyze the price trends followed by each seller for the tracked product. This will keep you informed and help you ensure that none of these sellers are exploiting your MAP policy. Here, you can monitor the average price, price range, and price variance by each seller.
3. Getting alerted on changes for the Buy Box with DataHawk Alerting Tool.
You can use the DataHawk Alerting Tool to get notified of the changes on the product’s in pricing, winning Buy Box seller, and new sellers competing for the Buy Box.
Here is how you can do it super quick :
Click on the “Product Actions” on the top right-hand corner of the page and select “Setup an alert”, and then, from the pop-up box “Edit monitor information & rules”.
You can create Alert Groups which are a combination of multiple alerts or monitors. This will send you an email with a group of alerts based on the triggers that you include. To illustrate, you could create alert groups like:
1. Buy Box lost
2. New Seller competing
3. Price change
You could select the triggers you want to apply, these could be the already given templates or customization is also possible. And to create an alert for Buy Box, you can choose the “BuyBox is lost” and “New seller competing” trigger.
Or, you could also customize the triggers using the custom rules tab, just choose a “property” related to Buy Box and an “operator” and receive customized Buy Box alerts.
For instance, to track the price change for your product you can choose the property “Price” & operator “changes >/< by more than the relative value”
Using insights from DataHawk (What to do once you have identified the seller committing MAP Violation)
If manufacturers discover a reseller has violated their MAP agreement on Amazon, they can address the reseller directly. Here is what you can do:
1. Identify all resellers exploiting your MAP.
2. Roll out a message to all 3P sellers for the enforcement to remind them that they must respect MAP to save themselves from getting banned as a seller for all products.
3. Monitor your MAP pricing for all your products regularly with DataHawk.
If you do not have a MAP policy:
Manufacturers can dismiss an unauthorized reseller without a MAP agreement if they can make a valid case to Amazon.
Tips to protect your brand from future MAP violations on Amazon.
- Mend your distribution channel if there is a leaky supply chain.
- In order to ensure there is no retailer selling under a different store name, you could practice product serialization.
- Constantly monitor your product so that you can identify if there are any abnormally low prices or high purchase quantities.
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