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Following the MAP: Monitoring Your Retail Channels for MAP Violations

Originally written for SME attribution for Quad Analytix (now Wiser Inc.), a provider of actionable online and in-store data for retail decisionmaking.


In our previous column on brand protection, we looked at the reasoning for creating a minimum advertised price (MAP) policy to protect brand value. But a MAP policy that covers all your bases will do no good if you have no way of monitoring your various retail channels.

You can manually check the prices of your products from each of your sellers, but that can be tedious and inaccurate, especially as retailers are changing prices more frequently than ever before. Automated price monitoring is the most efficient and effective approach if you’re distributing a large number of SKUs through multiple channels. There are a number of data points and capabilities you should aim to include in your MAP protection toolkit:

Automated Reporting with Actionable Insights

It’s one thing to mine your retailers’ prices, it’s another to go beyond the raw data. No one wants to scan through lines of prices looking for one that’s lower than the rest. You’ll want to receive reports isolating the most important information that you can take immediate action on. Some reports you should highly consider generating:

  1. Violation Data
    At the most basic level, you’ll want to know: What are the total number of retailers violating MAP, and who are they? On how many products? By how much? Which resellers are violating your policy the most?
  2. Historical Data and Trends
    You’ll want to keep an eye out for first-time offenders, but also repeat offenders (especially if you have a “three strike” clause). Using historical data and trends, you can identify how often a specific retailer has violated MAP, and carry out the appropriate form of discipline.
  3. Proper Screenshots
    Invest in a solution that clearly identifies a seller’s MAP violations with timestamped screenshots as supporting documentation for case management.

Grey Market Seller Detection

The ability to mine data outside of your authorized reseller network is important since they are off your radar and are often the most egregious violators. If you’re concerned about grey market sellers, look for a price monitoring solution that uses UPC codes or other product identifiers to scan the entire web for your products.

It can find your product in any nook or cranny it might be hiding in, including on the sites of sellers you may not have previously known were selling your product. That way you can catch any clandestine violation and find out who sold it to them. You may even find opportunities to convert them to authorized sellers and generate more sales.