According to MAPP Trap data, on average, 48% of a brand’s online sellers are only carrying a single unit of a single product. For example, if MAPP Trap finds a company’s products being listed by 100 sellers, only 52 of them are carrying more than one product. Depending on the brand’s objectives (MAP Compliance, Authorized Sellers, Marketplace exclusions, etc.), the other 48 are noise and should either be ignored, or be dealt with in an entirely different way.
Fig 1. Noise Filter off – 608 Current Merchants | 101 Current MAP Violators
Fig 2. Noise Filter on – 199 Current Merchants | 43 Current MAP Violators = 57% Noise
By filtering out the noise of single-product sellers in its e-commerce enforcement monitoring, a brand can focus on making progress with more significant online retailers. Generally, these will be authorized sellers the brand has an ongoing relationship with. And when it comes to policy enforcement, focusing on what’s important and where to prioritize efforts is essential to strategy. That’s not to say the noisy sellers should be ignored completely; just that they should be dealt with differently.
Noisy unauthorized sellers typically fit into three buckets. The first group is the largest, but the least impactful in terms of brand protection. First off, the majority are not discounters. And if they are, their listings are being ignored by the more important sellers and therefore don’t contribute to price erosion. Secondly, these sellers come and go so fast that by the time the brand figures out who they are, the listings are gone. Here are examples of those sellers:
Individuals who received a product as a gift and want to sell it.
Individuals or small businesses that bought the product on sale in a store and then want to resell it online (known as retail arbitrage).
The second bucket is a bit more important and takes more work to identify. Once they are identified (by reviewing each listing individually or using appropriate MAPP Trap reports), a removal strategy can be determined. Generally, the take down strategy will include fighting the First Sale Doctrine through the Lanham Act or the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The sellers in this group are typically:
The third bucket is the most dangerous. Again, they need to be identified through individual listing reviews. Counterfeiters can frequently be spotted based on large discounts, odd images (bulk packaging, poor quality printing, misaligned labels, etc.), and/or having a large number of related storefronts. Scammers frequently have many related storefronts along with multiple, registered LLCs from the same state. Many of these sellers originate in Eastern Europe and Asia. The same strategy for takedown notifications applies here.
MAPP Trap’s Compliance Pro Suite “noise filter” can be turned on in any report to remove the single-product sellers’ presence from reports and topline statistics. The filter provides an easy way to group which accounts should be subject to MAP Policies, which should be subject to take-down notices, and which ones should be ignored. It also allows users to see how their compliance efforts are succeeding with their more significant sellers. For many companies, applying the filter provides them with a simple way to automate the MAP monitoring process and prioritize their efforts.