Creating an Effective Authorized Retailer Program

How to Create an Effective Authorized Reseller Program (ARP): 5 Tips for Success

In today's competitive marketplace—especially when it comes to online selling—building and maintaining a strong network of Authorized Reseller Partners (ARPs) can help protect your brand by ensuring that consumers purchase your products from companies that reflect your values.

But, it’s easier said than done. That’s because setting up a successful ARP program requires a lot of ideation, planning, vetting, and oversight. This can make brands hesitant to build such a program in the first place, due to the time-commitment and perhaps not knowing quite where to start.

We’re here to help. These tips can help you create an effective ARP program from the get-go. Here’s how:

Tip #1. Determine Unique Benefits of Your ARP Program

The first step is asking yourself how you’ll stand out. By creating specific benefits that authorized resellers get, you can not only stay ahead of the competition, but you’ll also be simultaneously establishing Material Differences which can be used in litigation should it ever come to that. Essentially, you’re killing two birds with one stone:

  • License to use Intellectual Property: Provide ARPs with a limited, revocable license to use your intellectual property, including copyrighted images, product descriptions, and trademarks on their websites free of charge. This gives them the tools to promote your products effectively, without any doubts.

  • Regular training: Offer quarterly, bi-annual, or annual training sessions conducted by your representatives. These sessions keep ARPs informed about your product offerings and sales strategies, ensuring they are well-prepared to market your products.

  • Guaranteed product authenticity: Assure customers that they will receive genuine products when purchasing from approved distributors. This trust can significantly boost your sales while protecting your brand reputation and consumer loyalty.

  • Unlimited manufacturer warranty: Extend an unlimited manufacturer warranty on products sold by ARPs to their customers. This added guarantee instills confidence in consumers, encouraging them to make purchases.

  • Exclusive access: Provide ARPs exclusive access to special offers, making them more competitive in the market. You can also keep ARPs ahead of the curve by granting them early access to new product offerings, making them enticing to customers seeking the latest innovations.

  • Direct customer service support: Allow ARPs direct access to a dedicated customer service agent at your company. This facilitates open communication regarding merchandising, product positioning, and resolving issues promptly.

License to use Intellectual Property

Tip #2. Establish Requirements for Maintaining ARP Status

The next tip in creating an effective authorized reseller partner program is to indicate to prospective partners what they need to do in order to maintain their ARP status. Here are some examples of what you could require:

  • Encourage ARPs to purchase a specified number of SKUs to demonstrate their commitment to promoting and selling your products. Generally speaking, you should never allow a retailer to only purchase one product.

  • Allow ARPs to sell exclusively in their brick-and-mortar stores or on branded, non-marketplace websites. This ensures that they focus on their partnership with your brand.

  • Require a niche specialty so you can be sure the niche focus aligns with your target market and strengthens your brand image.

  • Require ARPs to use your product photographs and descriptions to maintain consistent branding and messaging.

  • Emphasize clear payment terms for direct customers.

  • Request ARPs to furnish a non-residential, physical address and credit information, including bank details and resale numbers.

  • Mandate ARPs to use professional email addresses branded with their business names, discouraging the use of generic email providers like Gmail or Hotmail.

  • ARPs should exclusively sell products to THEIR consumers and avoid providing drop-shipping services to other retailers.

  • Decide which geographic regions ARPs can sell your products, which will depend on your business strategy and target market.

Requirements for maintaining ARP status

Tip #3: Consider Working With Wholesale Distributors

Exclusively partnering with wholesalers in your ARP program offers several strategic advantages, from streamlining distribution and simplifying logistics, to ensuring efficient product delivery to retailers and consumers while fostering greater control over pricing. Wholesalers are generally accustomed to adhering to minimum advertised price (MAP) policies, which means they’ll maintain consistent pricing that safeguards your brand's value and image.

Working with wholesale distributors

All this considered, whichever wholesalers you choose to work with must be vetted for their ARP qualifications. For instance, distributors should screen their customers to ensure they meet your ARP criteria, or forward customer applications to you for approval.

They should also:

  • Comply with your decisions: Wholesale distributors should agree to stop selling to any customer you designate as ineligible.

  • Inform customers: Distributors must inform their customers about your ARP program and Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) Policy before they make a purchase.

  • Provide purchase data: Require distributors to provide you with quarterly sales data, including SKUs, quantities, and customer contact information.

  • Enforce minimum wholesale price: Ensure that your products are sold at or above a predetermined minimum wholesale price to protect your brand's value and image.

Tip #4: Protection from Unauthorized Sellers

Another tip for creating a successful ARP program is to consider listing the names of unauthorized sellers on your website to demonstrate your commitment to authenticity. Assure loyal consumers that products purchased from these unauthorized sellers may not be authentic or carry warranties. This transparency helps you protect your brand's reputation and authenticity.

Protection from unauthorized sellers

Tip #5: Incorporate the Above Into Your Terms & Conditions

Last but not least—while it's not an absolute necessity—it's advisable to consider incorporating elements from the above tips into a set of terms and conditions when you finalize the partnership. This can take the form of asking your distributors to agree to it, and/or having their customers agree, in writing. (It's important to differentiate this from having them simply sign your Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) Policy, though.)

In either case, it’s imperative that these provisions are communicated clearly and uniformly to all relevant stakeholders.

The Bottom Line

If you’re eager to increase your sales and visibility, creating an Authorized Reseller Partner program may be just what your business needs. However, there can be some risk involved if you aren’t 100% clear about what should go into it. By following these tips, you can be on your way to creating a successful ARP program that ensures you’ve done your due diligence before signing on the dotted line. Contact MAPP Trap today to speak with our team of experts.

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Guides & Tips

MSRP vs. MAP: Which Is Better For Your Brand

Pricing Transparency: How MAP and MSRP Affect Customer Trust

5 Ways to Enforce Pricing Integrity with Strategies Beyond MAP Policies