A person holding their credit card in front of their laptop screen showing a sale online - MAP Policies and Holiday Sales: The Discount Dilemma

MAP Policies and Holiday Sales: The Discount Dilemma

Major sales events like Mother's Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday can make or break an online retailer’s profitability.

With how critical these holidays are, brands are faced with a conundrum: should they allow their resellers to violate MAP during these sales extravaganzas, or should they uphold their MAP policies without exception? “MAP holidays” can be a useful tool in a brand’s toolbelt, but brands must tread carefully when allowing resellers to break MAP.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and potential pitfalls  of implementing MAP holidays, and we’ll propose an approach that balances the needs of brands and resellers.

The Case for ‘MAP Holidays’

During major sales events, consumers are more likely to make impulse purchases due to the perceived urgency and exclusivity of the deals. Allowing resellers to violate MAP during these time frames could lead to a significant increase in sales, which may be beneficial for both the brand and its resellers. 

By implementing MAP holidays, brands can give their resellers the opportunity to capture a larger share of the market, which could translate to higher profits for all parties involved.

This can strengthen the relationships between resellers and brands, leading to better MAP compliance throughout the rest of the year.  By granting temporary MAP waivers during these predetermined periods, brands can prevent unauthorized MAP violations from occurring at other times, ensuring that their pricing strategies remain consistent and competitive in the long run.

The Case Against ‘MAP Holidays’

On the other hand, allowing resellers to violate MAP policies, even on a temporary basis, can have several negative consequences. If brands choose to allow MAP holidays, they must tread carefully to mitigate these potential pitfalls.

First and foremost, allowing resellers to sell below MAP can undermine the brand's perceived value in the eyes of consumers. After all, that’s the point of MAP in the first place. Consistent pricing is essential to maintaining a brand's image and reputation, and frequent fluctuations in pricing can lead to a perception that the brand's products are of lower quality or less valuable than they actually are. 

Inconsistent vs consistent pricing shown on a laptop screen for products in an ecommerce marketplace

If brands choose to allow MAP holidays, they must do it for short, predictable timeframes. In other words, a limited-time price decrease around Black Friday is less likely to damage a brand’s value than price decreases throughout the year that aren’t tied to any specific date.

When granting MAP waivers, brands must also be careful to do it fairly. Resellers who have access to exclusive MAP holidays may be able to outprice their competitors, leading to an uneven playing field and potentially driving smaller resellers out of business. This can ultimately result in a loss of valuable retail partnerships and reduced diversity in the brand's distribution network.

Another concern is the old slippery slope. Implementing MAP holidays may encourage resellers to push for additional exceptions or leniency in other aspects of their agreements with the brand. This can weaken the brand's overall bargaining power and make it more difficult to enforce other important aspects of their business relationships, such as marketing guidelines or product exclusivity agreements. If you give an inch, don’t let them take a mile.

The Verdict

So, should brands allow resellers to violate MAP during major sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday? The answer is not a simple yes or no, but rather a nuanced evaluation of the potential benefits and drawbacks.

A laptop screen with Amazon Prime Day discounts

If a brand is considering implementing MAP holidays, it should carefully weigh the potential for increased sales against the potential damage to its brand image and the competitive landscape. Additionally, brands should consider implementing strict guidelines and conditions for MAP holidays, such as requiring resellers to submit detailed promotional plans for approval and setting limits on the extent of the price reductions allowed.

When enforcing a MAP Policy, it’s important to have internal (and external) compliance officers aware of any sanctioned MAP holidays. That way, sellers that have been given permission don’t get accused of violating the policies during the holiday period. Systems like MAPP Trap’s automated Policy Enforcer allows brands to set blackout dates to correspond with MAP holidays. This way, mistaken accusations don’t happen and no accidental friction is created.

Ultimately, the decision to allow resellers to violate MAP during specific periods must be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the unique circumstances and objectives of each brand. While MAP holidays may be an effective strategy for some brands, others may find that maintaining strict adherence to MAP policies is the best way to protect their brand integrity and support fair competition among their resellers.

A Balanced Approach

Ultimately, MAP holidays can be a double-edged sword for brands. 

Weigh the pros and cons

While they may provide a temporary boost in sales and help resellers capture a larger market share during major sales events, they can also undermine a brand's image, disrupt fair competition, and create challenges in maintaining consistent business relationships with resellers. Before implementing MAP holidays, brands should carefully consider the potential benefits and drawbacks, and develop a strategic plan that balances the needs of their resellers with their long-term business objectives.

In some cases, brands may find alternative strategies to support their resellers during major sales events without violating MAP policies. These could include offering special promotions, bundling products, or providing additional marketing support to help resellers stand out from the competition. By exploring these alternatives, brands can promote their products effectively while maintaining a consistent pricing strategy and protecting their brand value.

The decision to implement MAP holidays should not be taken lightly, and brands should carefully weigh the potential benefits and risks before making any changes to their MAP policies. 

By maintaining a strategic focus and exploring alternative ways to support their resellers, brands can ensure the continued success of their business and the satisfaction of their customers.

Are you struggling to decide whether to implement MAP holidays or seek guidance on enforcing your MAP policy? MAPP Trap can help! Our comprehensive suite of tools and services ensures that your brand maintains its value while fostering a fair and competitive retail landscape. Let our team of experts support you in making the right decisions for your brand and help you navigate the complexities of MAP enforcement

Your brand's success is our top priority.

Try MAPP Trap today with a free demo!

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