Sanjeev Sularia, serial entrepreneur & technology evangelist. He is Co-founder & CEO Intelligence Node, a big data lab.
MAP policies are put in place to help maintain brand identity, image, and value. While most resellers adhere to MAP policies, MAP violations are not new. As a MAP policy isn’t a signed contract, resellers can easily violate it. MAP violations occur more often than they should because of a variety of reasons. However, that doesn’t mean you should simply accept them as fate. Here are some things that you can do when a MAP violation occurs when you least expect it.
Be clear about the violation
You need to start with the basics. Review your MAP policy to see if the violation is actually a violation. Have you explicitly stated the terms of the violation and what constitutes a violation? Sometimes resellers can find loopholes in the MAP policy which enables them to advertise at lower prices than the ones you intended without being considered a violation. If you find issues and loopholes with your MAP policy, then make corrections and share them with your resellers. This can help curb any future violations.
Ask with evidence
If the MAP violation has occurred for the first time, then it is best to simply ask. While you want to be direct when you ask, don’t come off as rude. You want to know and you have the right to know about why the MAP violation has occurred. The reseller might have simply made a mistake without noticing that they have violated your MAP policy. If you ask, then there are chances they will be more careful in the future. This can help prevent MAP violations from taking place from the same reseller. It can help you make a better policy too.
When the MAP violations occur from the same reseller even after the first warning, then it is time to penalize. If the reseller isn’t getting the hint, then it is time for you to penalize them. When you are dealing with small scale resellers, then pull out some of your products from them. This can send a clear message that you want them to comply with your MAP policy. You want to take small steps even when you are dealing with the big retailers such as Amazon.
Take legal action
If you find that despite repeated warnings about MAP violations, the reseller is continuing to sell below the stipulated price, then you should take legal action. This should be opted for as a last resort. Generally, after a few warnings, the reseller should mend his way. But if that doesn’t happen, then you can always take the help of the law in the case of MAP violations. The extent of this depends on the reseller and your relationship with them.
Edit or change the policy
When you find that there are way too many violations, it is probably time to change your MAP policy. You want to clearly state everything regarding your MAP policy so that resellers aren’t confused about any aspect of it. You want to mention how you are planning to monitor your resellers and the actions you will take in case of violations. You want to incentivize them to comply by stressing on how it will be mutually beneficial to both parties.
MAP policies should not be taken lightly by any of the resellers and this should be communicated clearly by you at all times. You need to make changes to the policy when you feel the need to and take appropriate actions to ensure your brand is not at stake. Using the right software solution to know about MAP violations is the first step.
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