Serial entrepreneur with an industrial psychology education and over 23 years of creating, consulting, and operating businesses. Loves mountain biking, snowboarding, and surfing.
After implementing a pricing program and really cracking down on enforcement manufacturers hope they can just coast for a while. But when they do, violations begin creeping up almost immediately and soon dealers are complaining and pointing fingers all over again. Trying to bring everyone back into line a second time around is harder than the first. So, why do the violations come back soon? Well, here are 4 reasons.
1. The first reason is “ye olde” honest mistake. There are many reasons why a dealer might accidentally advertise an item below MAP. Keeping track of multiple files and data feeds from the wholesale distributors, and the manufacturers, many in different formats, can be extremely confusing. Then attempting to integrate this data with a website and a handful of third-party sites leaves even more room for error.
I remember receiving a phone call early one morning from a large dealer. He called with a heartfelt thank you! I was a little confused at first. Most sellers don’t love it when we send them MAP violation notices. In this particular case there was more to the story. The dealer was running a sale over the weekend and had asked his data guy to list everything in the store at 10% off. Well, the data guy did list everything at 10% off, but he accidentally listed everything at 10% of their cost. They were making tons of sales but losing money on every one. Fortunately, there was a MAP Services Corp violation email waiting for him in his inbox first thing Saturday morning and the dealer realized and corrected the problem quickly. We saved him a ton of money.
2. The second reason we see continued violations is bad data. Bad data often comes from a WD. It is surprising how often different WDs will have different price files for the same manufacturer. Maybe it is an accident. Or maybe they are trying to get a slight edge on their competition. Dealers will complain to us that a violation we found is not really a violation at all because they are getting the price file “straight from the WD”. Therefore, they are not doing anything wrong, and our software must be faulty. Since we get the price files directly from the manufacturers, we can straighten the dealers out and identify which WD’s have outdated or just wrong price files and help to get them fixed.
3. A third cause of continued violations is new sellers. We have a weekly report for our clients that lists all new sellers from the previous week. Clients are usually surprised to see how many brand-new sellers appear every single week! Most of these new sellers are not aware of the MAP policies, so we continuously educate them on the ins and outs of MAP
4. The fourth reason for continued violations is that the good sellers, who should know better, are testing the waters. They are making sure we are still watching. They do this because many manufacturers start strong with their MAP enforcement, but then 6 months down the road they start slacking off. The online marketplace is extremely competitive, and if a dealer can violate MAP, even by a few cents, it is extremely profitable for them. When we catch this type of violation they almost always say “It must have been a glitch in the system” but we know what is really going on.
It is for these reasons that continued monitoring and enforcement are crucial. This is why even though we have month-to-month contracts, our clients stay with us for years and years. It is important to never back off because violations will always creep up and keeping a level playing field for you dealers is a never-ending task.
Sounds like a loaded questions doesn't it? One of the most overlooked or undervalued answers to this question is "Do you have the stomach to stop selling to a good customer". Consider this "Is this really a good customer if they're undermining your efforts to maintain a fair market for the rest of your customers". Consumers will find and buy your products regardless of the source. Brand integrity, customer service and continuing to bring viable products to market isn't easy or inexpensive but it's what you've built your business on. Don't allow your work to be degraded by sellers who are only interested in a quick buck and could care less about how their actions undermine your hard work. ...Read More
In today's dynamic business climate, price changes have taken on much more importance. Freight and raw material costs are rising quickly and price changes need to happen quickly as well. Fortunately, we make these price changes easy for our clients. It's as simple as sending us an email with the new file and we make it happen. No need to log into a portal and format your file to fit etc. Just send us your price file to ensure enforcement is in sync with your internal price notifications. In addition, we can make sure your new price file is distributed to all your resellers, even the ones that you do not have direct contact with. We can notify all the Amazon and eBay sellers in one easy email making your life easier and also heading off future advertised price violation issues. IMPORTANT: Do not forget to update your data services as well. Updating one and not the other is a recipe for a MAP violation nightmare." Send your price files to; firstname.lastname@example.org ...Read More
When trying to grow a brand it is normal to think more distribution is better. Manufacturers are pumped when they get large enough to make it into the top-tier wholesale distributors. Sales are growing and everyone is happy. During this growth phase, it is hard to be aware of the problems that might lurk just around the corner. With growth in distribution comes growth in unauthorized sellers. There are many “underwear entrepreneurs” who get a data feed from a WD and list all your products at rock-bottom prices on Amazon and eBay. Who are these guys?! ...Read More
Besides monitoring and MAP policy enforcement we also develop a healthy relationship with your compliant sellers.