Amazon MAP Monitoring: Dealing with Unauthorized Sellers on Amazon

Amazon MAP Monitoring, Unauthorized Sellers, and Your Brand

If you’re getting complaints from retailers about MAP violations on Amazon, you’re not alone. It’s the age of ecommerce, and online sellers have to compete, frequently on price, for visibility in Amazon’s buy box.

Many of these sellers have little to no overhead costs, meaning they can operate on much slimmer margins than traditional retailers – resulting in disruption in the marketplace.

MAP Monitoring on Amazon Is Essential for Your Brand

As a manufacturer, you can’t ignore Amazon. Savvy consumers are looking for the best deal anywhere they can find it, often by showrooming. They enter brick and mortar stores, where staff spends time educating them on your products and how to choose the right fit for them, and then they make the purchase online for a few dollars less.

While this might not seem like a big problem for you – after all, your product still sold – it can cause serious problems if allowed to continue. Eventually you’ll hear those complaints from traditional retailers who can’t compete on price with the online sellers.

And those online sellers will have to compete with each other, which can quickly result in price cascading. If this happens, the value of your brand is at risk – consumers may no longer be willing to pay MAP if your products are readily available for much lower prices.

How to Monitor Prices on Amazon

Keeping a close watch on Amazon listings of your product is the first step in preventing brand erosion. Partnering with a MAP monitoring software provider, such as ORIS Intelligence, gives you a holistic view of what’s happening in the marketplace, even when you can’t be watching it yourself.

With a tool that is constantly crawling Amazon throughout the day and night, you’re able to see which sellers are frequent MAP violators, as well as who is playing pricing games on nights and weekends.

3rd Party Seller Monitoring

A strong Amazon MAP monitoring strategy keeps tabs on both Amazon itself and 3P sellers listing your products. Remember that even if a seller is small potatoes to you, a MAP violation on Amazon means others are likely to price match to gain access to the buy box.

Of course you’re also likely to come across 3rd party sellers you don’t know. For these, you’ll need to use the tools available to you in your monitoring tool to determine their identities.

Along with databases, business directories, and parent-child seller matching tools, you might try purchasing a product from an unknown seller to pinpoint their location and then work backward to determine which distributor could be supplying them.

Once you’ve identified them, you can stop unauthorized Amazon sellers and authorized dealers who violate your MAP by enforcing your price policy.

How to Enforce MAP Pricing on Amazon

With your monitoring platform, sending enforcement letters to violators is easy. Store email templates within the platform for each stage of your policy and send out the appropriate ones directly through your service.

You’ll have access to historical data at your fingertips, so it’s simple to see which letters you’ve already sent to whom, and exactly when those were sent. Notice which sellers have opened your emails so you’re armed against any claims of ignorance.

The most important part to keep in mind is that your MAP policy is only as strong as your enforcement, so follow-through is key: if you have a three-strike policy, you must cut off supply after that third strike, or else sellers will see your letters as empty threats.

Amazon MAP Violations Are Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Amazon MAP monitoring helps you stop the pricing games surrounding 3rd part sellers and the buy box, but it’s not a full MAP strategy. While you’re thinking of your MAP policy, don’t only focus on those 3P sellers.

Amazon itself, behemoth that it is, is rarely the first to drop prices below MAP; however, it’s extremely competitive on price and will price match other violators rapidly. How will you know who they’re matching? A comprehensive monitoring plan will do the trick.

In addition to crawling Amazon, a good MAP monitoring service will scan all ecommerce sites and marketplaces the way a consumer might, looking for listings of your products and alerting you to violations.

This allows you to stay on top of all violations, not just those on Amazon’s platform, and gives you a full picture of who moved first.

Get started implementing a robust MAP monitoring strategy with ORIS Intelligence. Contact us today for more information.