One of the biggest fears we see with brands is fear that if they allow Amazon sellers on their listings that the price on Amazon will fall, leaving their brick and mortar stores furious. When someone can go to a store and then see it is significantly less expensive on Amazon, it slows the rate your inventory sells at in stores. In turn, all those buyers you worked so hard to get at the last trade show disappear.
While Amazon, in general, will not help you with MAP violations there are some actions you can take to avoid this crisis, to begin with.
1. Put a clear verbiage on your reseller agreement AND pricing sheet that is incredibly clear on your MAP policy and who is and is not allowed to sell your product on Amazon or other marketplaces.
2. Enforce your MAP policy like crazy. If you go to a trade show and you tell new customers that you have MAP pricing and the price is currently below MAP pricing. The buyer might think that you don’t care. Set price alerts on your items and send a message or call the MAP violator immediately when you see the price drops.
3. Screen for Online Only Sellers. Online-only sellers can be perfect for you. Especially if you focus on justing having one or two that honor your MAP pricing. In fact, they can help your brand considerably by running sponsored ads, enhancing your product listings, sending you keyword and traffic reports. Having an Amazon seller that you give an exclusive or semi-exclusive to can give you an incredible advantage.
Simply Google orders as they come in. Check the address to see if they are in retail spaces and not a UPS store. You can also ask for pictures of the inside and outside of their store. Finally, you can have a sales rep visit their store. If they are not a retail location, and the buyer misrepresented themselves to you, you can decide if you want to fulfill the order. However, we don’t recommend you excluded all Amazon sellers. We recommend keeping at least one exclusive Amazon seller and for you to set clear expectations for them to keep you up to date on what is going is new at Amazon, help you enforce MAP policy, and enhancing your listings.
4. Deputized an Amazon Seller. If you don’t have the time or bandwidth to enforce MAP Policies, find a seller with experience in your category and have them help you enforce the MAP policies in exchange for an exclusive or semi-exclusive arrangement. We have had arrangements where our MAP pricing was fifty cents above the manufacturer’s price. Since our metrics on our Amazon account were so good, we outsold them on several products we sold at a higher price.
5. Hunt them down. If you don’t know who the MAP violator is it can be incredibly difficult to cut off their supply. Look at your order history and when the MAP violators appeared on your listing. See if you can find who placed a similarly sized order. Check the storefront of the seller and see if you can find out the state, phone number, or other contact information. You can also place an order that is merchant fulfilled to try and obtain an address. Finally, when all else fails, you might have to use serial numbers or lot numbers to track down the violators.
6. Stop selling to Amazon directly. Amazon is very bad about honoring MAP agreements. If you are selling through Vendor Express or Vendor Central, you might need to consider moving to Seller Central to sell your items directly or have a 3p seller handle your products on Amazon.
If you would like to contact us to see if we can help you with getting your MAP pricing under control, we encourage you to contact us.