Channel Data Management Channel Partner Marketing Commerce

As Shoppers Shift to eCommerce, a MAP Policy is a Must

Well before the unprecedented events of 2020, traditional brick-and-mortar shoppers embraced the eCommerce channel in fast fashion. Benefits like same-day shipping, membership discounts, and an almost-unlimited access to inventory all made stay-at-home shopping the new normal.

Of course, COVID-19 did nothing but accelerate this shift. In fact, data from IBM suggests that the eCommerce channel closed in on 5 years of expected growth in 2020 alone. Should that staggering pace continue into 2021, eCommerce shopping may very well eclipse brick-and-mortar transactions for several legacy retailers.

As companies pivot to adapt to this dramatic shift in consumer behavior, many are learning that the eCommerce channel carries its own set of challenges and opportunities. Most notably, companies are discovering that employing pricing policies – like Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) or Minimum Retail Price (MRP) – are practically prerequisites for online brand equity protection.

In simple terms, a MAP Policy is a formal company policy that helps brands establish a minimum price at which their products are sold. Of course, retailers are free to sell products at any price they see fit but doing so below a company’s MAP price could result in consequences, which are typically outlined in the MAP policy itself.

While some MAP policies are simply one-pagers hosted on a company’s website, others can take on omnichannel qualities and incorporate partner incentives like Market Development Funds (MDF) and Co-Op dollars. No matter how integrated into a company’s Channel Partner Marketing efforts a MAP policy may be, there is no denying that policies like MAP are foundational to a brand’s channel engagement strategy.

Could a MAP Policy be the secret ingredient missing from your eCommerce strategy? Here are three MAP benefits worth considering:

  • MAP is far-reaching. Considering a company’s MAP Policy is, in fact, a policy and not an agreement, the policy can be applied to virtually anyone selling that company’s products across the eCommerce channel. This far-reaching applicability gives companies the ability to reign in unwieldy Grey Market sellers on websites like Amazon, eBay, and more.
  • Price supports brand equity. Simply put, there is no piece of information that tells your product’s story better than its price. Premium and luxury goods that are priced too low will lose their sheen, along with their brand’s integrity, when uncontrolled eCommerce resellers price-match towards a “race to the bottom.”
  • Improves retailer performance. When a MAP policy is properly deployed and enforced, retailers can no longer compete on price alone. Instituting a MAP challenges your retailers to win sales by offering better customer service, product expertise, and other consumer-friendly tactics to win business. When every retailer is on an even playing field, everyone wins.

At Ansira, we’re obsessed with bettering the relationship between our clients and their channel partners, including their eCommerce partners. Our industry-leading approach to MAP Monitoring and Enforcement combines sophisticated software with tailor-made services to deliver impressive results. In fact, a typical Ansira MAP Monitoring client sees a 90% compliance rate after just six months of program administration. Want to chat about your eCommerce channel? Contact us here.

By Chase Wade

Chase is the Director of Client Partnership for The Brand Protection Agency, an Ansira Company, where he has spent nearly a decade helping hundreds of brands establish, monitor, and maintain effective eCommerce practices and policies.