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Everything You Need to Know About MAP Policy and Amazon

Kiel Hauck
Nov 7, 2018 10:20:13 AM

As you’re getting started selling on Amazon, you’ve probably wondered how your brand will control product costs. After all, if you’re working with multiple sellers to push your products out on the e-commerce platform, 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.

Wait, what’s a MAP policy again, and why should my brand care?

Minimum Average Price policies, more commonly known as MAP policies, are federally-regulated retail laws that impact sellers across both online and brick-and-mortar retail environments. MAP policies dictate the lowest price that a brand will tolerate for a particular product. While they’ve been a part of the retail landscape for over a decade, MAP policies are now a part of the day-to-day language of many brands, thanks to the growth of online marketplaces, including Amazon and eBay. Today, thanks to the modern influx of knock-off, copy cats, and discounted versions, MAP policies are an essential part of selling products online. With a strong MAP policy in place, your brand can confidently sell products online while still reaching your revenue goals.

MAP policies are so important because they protect your brand credibility and image in the marketplace, both online and offline. If your brand is selling products both online and in brick-and-mortar stores, be prepared for online MAP policy violations to catch up with your products offline. Many modern shoppers turn to Amazon first to get a general idea of how much a product costs, and if they see your products in a physical store for significantly more than the price online, it can cause confusion and result in lost revenue. While it’s easier for physical retail stores to run marketing campaigns and in-store deals that might violate MAP policies, the lack of consistency in pricing can quickly turn consumers away.

How does selling on Amazon impact our MAP policies?

The first thing to realize as an Amazon seller is that the minute you start working with multiple third party sellers, including Amazon itself, you’re relinquishing complete control of your online brand. Unless you have a strong relationship with a single seller, there is no way to know for sure who is selling your product at what price. Amazon in particular is notorious for violating MAP policies if there is a chance to win the buy box. When Amazon itself is up against competitors, it can easily lower the price of a product to come out on top. If you’re working with Amazon or multiple third party sellers, make sure you’re diligent about enforcing MAP policies.

Another thing to think about when it comes to MAP policies is the legality of the policy itself. Know that as a whole, MAP policies are 100% legal. For larger brands and manufacturers, there could be antitrust laws at stake, but these have nothing to do with the MAP policies themselves.

How can we ensure our MAP policy is enforced and protected?

The only way to ensure complete compliance and protection when it comes to MAP policies is to maintain control of your brand presence online. This means optimizing product listings for maximum consumer reach as well as monitoring the entire Amazon platform for possible MAP policy violators or brand frauds. Even though ensuring MAP policy compliance is so important, it can take up serious amounts of manual time and employee resources, which is why many brands choose to instead work with a dedicated third party seller to manage their online presence. Instead of having to worry about multiple sellers going rogue on the Amazon platform, brands can work directly with a single seller to develop reasonable MAP policies that fit both the company’s revenue goals and the needs of the target consumer audience.    

At SupplyKick, we work with dozens of Amazon sellers to ensure complete MAP policy compliance and protection. As a single seller partner, we work tirelessly to deliver peace-of-mind to our partners that their products are being sold online in an effective, efficient manner that doesn’t risk brand integrity or credibility. SupplyKick honors all MAP policy agreements and will never compromise price just to win the buy box. After all, at SupplyKick, our partners always come first. You can learn more about MAP policies on Amazon by connecting with a buyer today.

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