Police MAP Violators and Incentivize Sellers That Comply With MAP Rules

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Police MAP Violators and Incentivize Sellers That Comply With MAP Rules
Prasanna Dhungel | January 9, 2024
|READ 8 MIN
Police MAP Violators and Incentivize Sellers That Comply With MAP Rules and Regulations

The world of B2B authorized sellers is a complex ecosystem teeming with opportunity… and challenges. While your products may reach far and wide, managing the reseller and distribution channels can feel like navigating a labyrinth. From unauthorized retailers to MAP violations, and bad reviews to fraudulent sales, the intricacies of this landscape can test even the most seasoned brand.

We understand these struggles you face, and in this article share how you can enforce MAP rules and channel policies for your brand. We’ll guide you through various complexities, identify the top performers, and help you craft reseller-friendly communication strategies.

Issues Faced by Authorized B2B Sellers

Authorized B2B sellers in the US are exposed to various reseller and channel problems. You observe authorized sellers marketing your products, encounter unauthorized sellers, and witness sellers authorized to sell only in the UK appearing on US marketplaces like Amazon US and Google Shopping US. You find sellers carrying your products and selling at MAP get poor reviews that tarnish your brand. You spot sellers peddling fraudulent products. You find retired products getting resold. You notice your products bundled with others to create new packages. Google Shopping gives you the lens to this displaying this entire spectrum –  showcasing which sellers are selling your products and how. Amazon, Walmart, Target, and other marketplaces provide the same lens on their sellers. You must be on top to navigate both your US and Canadian markets.

Recognize tiers of MAP Violators

MAP violators can be categorized into three tiers. The first tier is sellers that may have mistakenly committed map violations. These sellers may have made the errors due to a lack of good understanding of map policies and guidelines. In the second tier are sellers that violate minimum advertise pricing despite having a full understanding of map pricing guidelines. Authorized sellers or brands need to regularly monitor these map violators to ensure compliance and enforcement. The third tier has sellers that make map violations due to faults in their pricing system. Addressing issues here requires addressing their technical infrastructure challenges.

Understand Seller Types

You must understand how sellers and their prices change day by day in different marketplaces at an SKU level. You need to customize monitoring prices to understand this mix of sellers in your markets. The data from tracking prices at an SKU level and market can help you understand these four types of sellers –

  1. Sellers from other countries dumping/selling their products in the US – despite being unauthorized to do so
  2. Fraudulent sellers
  3. Sellers with bad/negative reviews tarnish your reputation.
  4. Authorized sellers that violate MAP

You must track all these issues during times of change. For example, you want to switch off monitoring during a MAP holiday such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday. You want to update your MAP price when a new MAP pricing sheet comes to you. This may be annually or at whatever frequency the brand publishes. You want to adjust when the brand offers promotions at different times of the month. You must ignore MAP on SKUs that are no longer sold. Additionally, you want to ensure you factor case pack with your product is sold with others as a case pack.

Map Violation by Sellers Unauthorized to sell in the country

There are numerous cases in which B2B sellers from various countries, including the UK, Canada, and others operate within the US market. The following approaches can be employed to monitor and address such situations on an ongoing basis –

  • Communicate with sister companies in different countries to request that the violating company is not authorized to sell in the US.
  • Have an open dialog with colleagues in other countries to prevent such issues.
  • Have an open dialog with the Parent company to help police and enforce country-level channel conflict.

Enforce and Clamp Down Map Violators

One of the best ways to enforce these violations is to reach out to the map violators. However, you must send these map violators different types of messages based on the severity and frequency of violations. You might have to file MAP violation reports with marketplaces such as Amazon, Google, Walmart or others. You should regularly follow up with these marketplaces and ensure that the violations are stopped. Sometimes picking up the phone and having a dialog versus sending a stern letter can bring the violating seller to the table.

Other ways to clamp down on MAP violators are the following.

  1. Slow down sharing inventory with them.
  2. Stop shipping products to these violators.
  3. Give them tougher payment terms and fewer discounts.

Net, there is no one silver bullet, and understanding what’s possible, learning, and testing is the model we have seen work.

Appreciate Resellers following MAP Rules

It is crucial to acknowledge and appreciate resellers who consistently adhere to MAP policies. Recognizing these resellers is important, as they might feel discontented when witnessing others breaching MAP guidelines without consequences. To foster a positive relationship with these reliable resellers, consider offering incentives such as trade promotion incentive dollars. This acknowledgment becomes particularly meaningful because these resellers, despite the challenges, continue to uphold the specified pricing standards. Incentives may take various forms such as

  • Early access to new product releases
  • Preferential availability of limited inventory
  • Favorable payment terms.
  • Special awards during reseller events

Demonstrating public and private appreciation for such resellers serves to encourage and reinforce their commitment to following the brand’s MAP policies.

Effectively Communicate

It is imperative to effectively oversee and address both problematic and commendable resellers, using monthly, quarterly, and yearly reports to keep a pulse. It is best to use the following 4 pronged communication strategy with different resellers –

  • Avoid sending threatening emails immediately after holidays and refrain from unsettling reputable sellers.
  • Make a constructive dialogue a viable approach as a minor violation may not warrant legal action.
  • Emphasize a multi-dimensional outreach strategy to engage with problematic and commendable resellers.
  • Ensure a comprehensive and nuanced approach to managing these violations.

Conclusion

In summary, channel monitoring is complex and ever-changing. You must constantly stay on top and monitor over time – identifying both good and bad actors at a macro level. You must have a dialogue with your sellers in the right way, avoiding actions and words that might turn them against you. You don’t want one mistake to burn the bridge. Incentivizing your reliable sellers is helpful to foster a good relationship with the outstanding resellers as this will encourage and reinforce their commitment.  You want to test and reflect on which tactics are effective versus which are not to identify and regulate unauthorized sellers and map violators. It is essential to track competitive channel activity and periodically reassess your sellers and channel policies.

We don’t believe a MAP monitoring software only is the answer. In the ever-changing, you need a tool and a service model that customizes the MAP monitoring per your need, constantly advises you on industry best practices, and helps you stay on top. Gone are the days of buying a MAP monitoring tool and assuming your worries are put to rest.