MAP Enforcement — doing it without doing it

July 6, 2023

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MAP is a pain point of every brand manufacturer. Because it's a part of image it translates to the customer. If someone starts selling Gucci bags at 10% of their average retail price – what message will it send to the shoppers? That the brand has been robbing them all this time?

Or most probably, that it's not that valuable and luxurious as it wants to be. What will happen when a upper middle class shopper will see a house keeper wearing a Michael Kors bag? Will they be happy that a house keeper is able to afford a famous brand? Or will they start suspecting a brand in a fail play? No matter what, brand wants to test this scenario. On the other hand, it's easy to empathise with retailers too. The season is ending and the old collection is still unsold. Their only option now is to have a clearance sale.

Legislative nightmare

In the US companies can actually enforce MAP pricing, and dictate retailers their will. In Europe and UK there's no legal way to do it. There were some attempts to change the lay of land though.

In 2021 The European Commission published drafts of its revised Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) and Vertical Guidelines in 2021. These drafts provide guidance on the application of Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to vertical agreements. While these changes did not sanction MAP policy enforcement directly, they suggest a possible shift in the Commission's stance towards greater pricing flexibility for suppliers.

However, no changes were introduced in this respect. Instead, they adopted a “New Deal for Consumers” Initiative.

Which, honestly, did not help brands and turned into a nightmare for retailers. It obliged sellers to display the previous price of a product when announcing a price reduction. Good for customers. Not so great for business.

Importance of Price Monitoring in the EU and UK

Despite the illegality of MAP enforcement, knowing who sells your products, where and at what price is highly important for brands AND retailers in the EU and UK.

Here's why it's important for brands:
  1. Brands can maintain their image. This ensures that they do not consistently advertise or sell their products at prices that could harm their perceived value.
  2. Brands unsure the consistency of the message they send to the customers.
  3. Brands build healthier relationships with all their network. None of the sellers feel treated unfairly.
Here's why it's important for retailers:
  1. Retailers see who gets preferences from a brand and can reach out to voice their concerns
  2. Retailers stay more competitive
  3. Retailers win by playing a "non-zero sum" game where sticking to the rules altogether is beneficial for the whole market.
A successful MAP monitoring strategy necessitates more than simply tracking the compliance of a few select sellers. It demands a comprehensive, 360-degree view of the market, which means keeping tabs on all your sellers across multiple channels and platforms.

Enforce through monitoring: strategies to use to monitor price policy violations

Here are some strategies brands can implement to ensure effective price monitoring in the EU and UK:
  1. Invest in automated tools that monitor prices on multiple online platforms and provide real-time updates.
  2. Collaborate with legal experts: Join forces with legal teams or consult with knowledgeable professionals about EU and UK laws.
  3. Teach retailers to keep prices consistent with your brand and explain the risks of not following the rules.
  4. Regular Reviews: Regularly review your pricing data to identify potential issues and address them promptly.

Choosing MAP Price Monitoring software

A successful MAP monitoring strategy necessitates more than simply tracking the compliance of a few select sellers. It demands a comprehensive, 360-degree view of the market, which means keeping tabs on all your sellers across multiple channels and platforms.

Why is such an all-encompassing perspective crucial? It ensures that we do not overlook any violations, providing us with a complete understanding of your product's presence in the market. This is crucial during online sales because one violation can easily spread to various platforms and damage your brand. Online sales require careful attention to prevent violations from spreading and harming your brand.

So, how do you choose the right MAP monitoring software?

1. Comprehensive Market Surveillance: Prioritise software solutions that allow for tracking all sellers, not just a select few. This ensures that you maintain an accurate and complete picture of your brand's market presence.

2. High-Quality Data: The effectiveness of MAP monitoring software depends on the quality and accuracy of its data. If you get "garbage in" you will get "garbage out". Look for vendors that use advanced technologies to scrape data from Google itself (like we do it at Aimondo).

3. High Frequency of Search: The digital marketplace is fast-paced, and delays in addressing MAP violations can be costly. Choose software that offers if not real time then same-day notifications of any breaches, enabling you to act swiftly.

4. User-Friendly Interface: The software should be intuitive and easy to use, presenting data in a clear, digestible format. A good MAP monitoring tool will allow you to quickly identify violations and trends, without having to navigate through convoluted interfaces.

5. Robust Reporting: Comprehensive reports that provide insights into your market position, seller performance, and trends are crucial. These insights can help inform your pricing strategy and seller management.

6. Legal Compliance: Last, but not least, ensure that the software provider complies with all legal standards in terms of data collection and usage.

By the end of the day, brand can not enforce MAP. But they can stay aware of who sells their products, where, and at what price. And this is a cornerstone of the brad positioning and success.

Alec Scheul, Revenue Management at Aimondo

Alec Scheul, Revenue Management at Aimondo


With years of experience in sales and revenue management, Alec makes significant contributions to Aimondo's Knowledge Hub. He covers topics related to competitive strategies, competitive pricing, and strategic approaches to revenue growth

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