What is a MAP Agreement and How Do You Avoid Violating One?
Amazon is one of the biggest e-commerce platforms, so it is no wonder people turn to the website to sell goods. Whether you have created your own brand and its engaging brand content, or you are selling someone else’s products and are using effective listing optimization, it is important to be familiar with the ins and outs of the necessary documentation to do so.
A common agreement is a MAP agreement, which you can read more about below!
What Exactly Is A MAP Agreement?
As an Amazon retailer, you’ll develop and foster relationships with your many distributors and other sellers. If you operate a brand that sells your product to other companies for resale (e.g. Nike selling to a department store like Nordstrom), or you are a seller of someone else’s brand, it is likely you will be a part of a MAP agreement.
A Minimum Advertised Price agreement, better known as a MAP agreement, is a fundamental document to have in place as a brand distributor or a seller of a brand.
Why is it important?
This policy contains a price point at which all sellers, whether on Amazon or in a brick and mortar store, are contractually obligated to not advertise below. A MAP agreement ensures a level playing field and prevents unfair pricing.
However, not all sellers play by the rules. Some can use tricky tactics to evade brand and pricing guidelines. These MAP violations can include low pricing or misleading product descriptions that are just different enough to slip off your radar.
Before establishing a price minimum, it is important to check with local and federal Antitrust laws to make sure you are adhering to the rules established in your area.
How To Avoid MAP Violations
To prevent potential MAP violations and breaches of Amazon’s code of conduct, you need to focus your efforts on mitigating the risk for future issues. To do this, you’ll need to stay on top of what sellers are doing. If you find that MAP violations are taking place, you’ll need to report them immediately to maintain your brand’s integrity. For some helpful guidelines, check out our list:
- Review Contracts And MAP Policies
- Register Your Brand With Amazon
- Verify Distribution Channels
- Brush Up On Unauthorized Reseller Tactics
- Communicate Your MAP Pricing Policy
- Track Prices With An Amazon Price Monitor
In the sections below, we go further in depth to help you navigate around potential MAP violations.
First and foremost, if you are a seller, you should verify that you have a MAP pricing policy in place with every retailer who is reselling your product. You should also review any current policies and determine whether or not they need to be updated.
Register Your Brand With Amazon
The Amazon Brand Registry program protects your brand and any accompanying intellectual property. It provides you with powerful tools to create a more accurate and trusted experience for your customers. Not sure how to do it? Check it out here.
Verify Distribution Channels
If you have a leaky supply chain, chances are you’ll wind up with unauthorized reselling and MAP violations. Take some time to review and verify your resellers, really getting to know and understand the channels your distributors are using to supply your products.
Brush Up On Unauthorized Reseller Tactics
A great way to catch MAP violators is to think like an unauthorized reseller. There are dozens of tricks and tactics that resellers may use to get around your MAP pricing policy. Educate yourself on the many methods that are used to evade watchful eyes so you can better prevent them from happening.
Communicate Your MAP Pricing Policy
It’s essential to communicate your brand’s guidelines to Amazon to ensure their pricing for your products is both competitive and fair. Having an open dialogue with your key retail partners is an easy way to make sure you reach your sales goals.
Track Prices With An Amazon Price Monitor
Price tracking software can help you keep track of your products’ prices across Amazon. With price alerts, you’ll instantly be notified when prices drop, so you’ll be able to maintain minimum price points and thus your profit margins.
How To Address MAP Violations
Despite your best efforts, it is possible a violation may still occur. Addressing MAP violations falls within the seller’s realm of responsibility. Because of this, it’s critical that you report any violations to your MAP agreement as soon as possible.
Amazon provides a list of all seller and item prohibitions for the platform, which can be helpful to reference when addressing your concern with a violator. Once you have collected your evidence, you should report the violation directly to Amazon.
Besides alerting Amazon, you should send a message to the seller who is violating your MAP pricing policy. Be clear and firmly let them know they have violated your MAP agreement. If it’s the reseller’s first violation, consider letting them off with a warning. If they’ve done this before, ban them.
Guard Your Online Business
Companies like AMZAlert can help you avoid common headaches, like MAP agreement violations, when it comes to selling on Amazon. Our Amazon pricing tool allows you to monitor Amazon prices and receive notifications when your store is under siege. Amazon price monitor packages track product price changes, Amazon star rating shifts, BSR changes, keyword movement, threats from hijackers and much more. Have a question or need more information? Reach out today!
Each brand and seller has a reputation to maintain through the e-commerce platform, so whether you are selling your own goods or working with others to sell them, it is valuable to always put your best foot forward.
Honest business is good business, and protecting the fair pricing for all retailers is important. If you are just getting started, or simply brushing up on your MAP knowledge, we hope you are headed in the right direction!