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?
What is MAP (Minimum Advertised Price)?
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.
Why do retail suppliers need MAP monitoring?
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 image
- Ensuring fair competition across all distribution sources
- Allowing smaller manufacturers to compete with larger suppliers
- Protecting seller margins
- Preventing 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.
Why do retailers violate MAP agreements?
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 market.
- Leaks 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.
How does MAP monitoring work?
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 prices
- Contacting and warning the violators
- Re-checking if the violators have changed the advertised prices
- Following up with the sellers who have not taken action
- Giving 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 services
- Telling you how much your goods or services cost on each marketplace
- Flagging 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.