MAP Compliance: What it is & Why You Need It

Jared Mason

October 28, 2021

One of the biggest mistakes manufacturers make in their attempts to grow their brand is to not pay close attention to what sellers are doing on ecommerce.

You might have great third-party partners distributing your product, but without a vigilant eye and rigorous policies in place, any third-party distributor can (and likely will) hurt your brand right under your nose.

The best way to stay in control and ensure your brand is protected on ecommerce is via MAP compliance.

What is MAP compliance?

MAP stands for minimum advertised price (not to be confused with MSRP). It’s the lowest recommended price that a distributor can advertise a product for without facing penalties from the manufacturer (“recommended” is the key word here—manufacturers can only recommend a minimum advertising price, not fix their prices). Distributors can sell a product at a price below MAP, but when a MAP policy is in place, they cannot advertise that product at a below-MAP price.

MAP compliance is a de facto method for manufacturers to enforce their MAP policy and ensure that their third-party sellers are playing by the rules. When a brand is MAP compliant, it means they’re following your MAP recommendations and not dropping their prices too low.

Why does MAP compliance matter?

Making sure your sellers are MAP compliant is one of the best ways to ensure your brand is protected online, because it ultimately prevents bad players from seizing control and mucking up your brand’s growth and reputation.

Let’s say you have a seller who chooses to list your product online far below your standard pricing. Without MAP compliance, they have no incentives to play by your rules and you have no control or protection from the consequences. When your products are being listed too low by an unauthorized seller, it becomes hard to regain control.

Sadly, what happens on Amazon doesn’t stay on Amazon. Once a seller drops the price of a product, it impacts the sale of that product across your entire omni-channel strategy. Customers will purchase your product at the lowest price they can find, hurting your sellers who are staying compliant with your price policy.

Customers go into brick-and-mortar retail locations where your product is being sold only to showroom, or look at the product in-store, but buy it from another retailer online for a lower price.

When the price of a product has dropped online, other sellers are forced to drop their prices in an attempt to compete. Without MAP compliance, this cycle continues until the value of your product and the way your brand is perceived by customers is significantly diminished.

In short, lack of MAP compliance is like giving sellers the green light to harm your ecommerce brand and your business relationships.

**How does MAP compliance affect the relationship between buyers and sellers? **

When your sellers are forced to lower their prices to compete online, it can dig into their margins and really hurt them. Some of your sellers won’t be able to compete, and they may not want to distribute your products as a result. After all, if you allow price erosion to happen and don’t step in to stop it, they lose their safety net and control, too.

Maintaining MAP compliance keeps trust between you and your buyers/resellers. It keeps your ecommerce ecosystem healthy. Your sellers know that you’re looking out for them by ensuring other sellers don’t erode pricing, and you know that there are protections and incentives in place to prevent price erosion from harming your brand.

How can you help enforce MAP compliance?

The sooner you get your MAP compliance in place, the easier it will be to maintain it long term. But how do you start?

The first step is to assess your distribution. Are you selling your product through a few vendors? Or is your distribution so wide that it makes it difficult to keep track of everyone?

When it comes to maintaining control online, wide distribution is not your friend. The most effective strategy is to narrow your distribution—even if it means kicking out a few long-time vendors who shirk the rules—and choose quality partners who are as protective of your brand as you are.

Even with limited distribution, unauthorized sellers can get their hands on your product and sell it for cheap online. Monitoring platforms with technology that allows you to see where leaks in your distribution are happening is another way to maintain MAP compliance. If you can see it happening, you can stop it from happening.

Most important to the MAP compliance equation is actually having an effective MAP policy. Get the help of an antitrust legal council that can help your brand build a careful, clear, and effective MAP policy that tells brands exactly what you expect from them and that can be enforced across all channels.

How Pattern can help

At Pattern, we help you protect your brand by identifying leaky spots in your distribution and bad sellers. Our specialized Predict software allows us to track authorized and unauthorized sellers as well as pricing across the marketplace so you can maintain control of your brand. We also scrape critical data you can use to capitalize on the right keywords and ad strategies so your brand isn't just protected, it's continuing to grow online.

Need a reliable 3P partner in the marketplace? We can help you with that, too.

To learn more, contact us today.

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Important Holidays to Prepare for on Marketplaces in China
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Important Holidays to Prepare for on Marketplaces in China

Brands selling their product throughout the Asia-Pacific region may wonder how to keep up with the fast market and make plans for next year. The good news is that in China, and the surrounding areas, there are many ecommerce holidays year-round for brands to prepare for and increase their sales. As brands plan for 2023, here are some important holidays brands should prepare for in China:

Q1 (January-March)

  1. Chinese New Year: (usually late Jan.–mid-Feb.) Spring Festival—also known as Chinese New Year—is a week-long holiday that is quickly becoming an incredible growing opportunity for brands.

  2. Valentine’s Day: (Feb. 14) Despite being an inherently Western holiday, Valentine’s Day on 14th February is another major event that has been wholeheartedly adopted in China, especially among younger demographics. 

  3. International Women’s Day: (Mar. 8) The global holiday, which is celebrated annually, is not only focused on women in particular, but in China also the sale of items related to the needs of women. 

Q2 (April-June)

  1. 520 Festival: (May 20) The Chinese pronunciation for the numbers “5-2-0” sounds similar to “I love you”, hence “520 Festival”. May 20th gives Chinese lovers another chance to showcase their affection to one another through gift giving–China’s version of Valentine’s Day.

  2. 6/18 - founding anniversary of JD.com: (Jun. 18) This is the founding anniversary of JD.com, one of the most prominent ecommerce companies in China. The event,  colloquially known as 618, is celebrated annually for 18 days leading up to June 18th. 

Q3 (July-September)

  1. Qixi Festival: (7th day of 7th month of Chinese Lunar Calendar, Aug. 22 in 2023) Qixi Festival signals the annual meeting of the cowherd and weaver girl in Chinese mythology, creating China’s Valentine’s Day and a huge retail event.

  2. Mid-autumn festival: (Sept. 29) Also known as the Moon or Mooncake Festival, this traditional festival is celebrated in many Asian countries. The mid-autumn festival is a very popular time to give gifts to friends and relatives. 

Q4 (October-December)

  1. Golden Week: (1st week in Oct.) This week-long public holiday in China is not necessarily an ecommerce holiday, but everyone takes work off for the week and it could have a direct impact on your ecommerce business. Being aware of public closures in the Asia-Pacific regions will help you plan ahead in inventory levels and necessary communication.

  2. Singles’ Day: (Nov. 11) Singles’ Day, or Double 11 festival, is the biggest 24-hour online shopping festival in the world and originated in China. Singles’ Day is a type of “anti-Valentine’s day”, originally created for those with a single relationship status, due to the symbolism of the number 1 (11/11). The shopping event has broken sales figure records each year since its birth and is often likened to Black Friday in the US.

  3. Double 12: (Dec. 12) Double 12, or Couples’ Day, is another massively popular shopping event in China that was originally established for smaller businesses that might have missed out on the benefits of Singles Day. 

How to Prepare For These Ecommerce Holidays in 2023

Now that you’re aware of the ecommerce holidays in 2023 that could benefit your brand, it’s important you prepare well and can use them to your brand’s best advantage. Here are four things to keep in mind when preparing:

1. Make sure you have a good trade partner. 

All brands expanding to or selling in China on any marketplace need a trade partner they can trust. A good trade partner should have experience, transparency, a data-driven mindset, brand obsession, and the right tools and resources to help you succeed.  

2. Stay ahead of the logistics. 

A good trade partner will help your brand understand various regional consumer demands and give you marketplace-specific logistics to help you to stay in stock. Every marketplace demands various amounts of stock, mostly depending on the consumer demand in that region, but also the upcoming holidays celebrated in those regions.

3. Prepare your customer-service teams for the holidays.

If you are planning to participate and sell your products during the holidays mentioned above, it’s important your customer-service teams are aware and know how to handle the influx of consumers during those times. 

 4. Be aware of local and regional holidays that may affect your business.

Knowing which holidays can directly affect and improve your business is key to selling across marketplaces in the Asia-Pacific region. Although not all holidays may be obviously relevant to your brand, it’s worth looking into and elevating an opportunity for increased sales.

Accelerate on Chinese Marketplaces with Pattern

The opportunity for your brand to increase traffic and conversion during holidays in China is exponential.  As the world’s foremost ecommerce accelerator, Pattern can handle your end-to-end strategy to grow your brand both domestically and internationally. 

Pattern is an option to be your brand's trading partner since we know local languages, customs, and cultural nuances to clearly communicate your brand as we plan, strategize, and execute your products’ success in China. We make your success our business, dedicating expert teams, years of experience, and proprietary technology to find the best ways to take your products to consumers throughout the world.

Discover how you can grow your brand internationally. Contact us

One Amazon Live Event Wins Owlet the Best Seller Rank in Two Categories
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One Amazon Live Event Wins Owlet the Best Seller Rank in Two Categories

Owlet is dedicated to providing innovative baby monitor products that can track a baby's vital signs, giving parents peace of mind. With such a compelling product solution, Owlet wanted to raise brand and product awareness.  

Working with Pattern as its 3P partner on Amazon, Pattern decided to host an Amazon Live event to feature Owlet products in use. That way, Owlet could demonstrate the efficacy of their baby monitoring products dispelling any consumer doubt, skepticism, and addressing all questions.

Download the one-page case study here.

Amazon Live Kicks Off Owlet Sale Event

Pattern produced and executed an Amazon Live to kick off a sale with Owlet. Pattern’s creative team set up a studio at our global headquarters complete with a baby crib, Owlet products, and two charismatic hosts who acted as brand advocates. After the event, Pattern's digital marketing experts measured the impact to overall sales.

Read more about Owlet's Amazon Live event.

During and After Amazon Live, Owlet Sales Spike

During the event, Owlet traffic, defined by Amazon page views and sessions, spiked. The event’s attention to product detail, compelling video, and host engagement improved conversions too. Owlet's sales increased by over 10% during the week of their Amazon Live event and sale. 

But the success didn’t stop there–the event improved Owlet's Best Seller Ranking as well.  Their sock monitor went up ~70% and their camera by ~69% during that week. 

Owlet Traffic, Conversion, and Rank Skyrocket 

  • Owlet sales, page views, and sessions all spiked during the Amazon Live event.

  • Owlet increased sales by approximately 9-16% throughout the whole week of the Live event and sale.

  • Owlet’s Best Seller Ranking Jumped:

    • Sock monitor improved by 70% during the week of their Amazon Live event and sale.

    • Camera improved by 69% during the week of their Amazon Live event and sale.

Pattern’s Amazon Expertise 

As the world’s top ecommerce accelerator and Amazon 3P partner, Pattern knows how to take advantage of the various advertising channels on Amazon and other marketplaces to build your brand.  Pattern’s strategy is grounded in data-driven trends and consumer shopper behavior on Amazon, which is applied to our ecommerce equation.

How can we increase traffic and conversion to your brand? Contact us today.

“Partnering with Pattern has expanded our ability to capitalize on sales-driving opportunities that we wouldn't be able to tackle on our own. ”

– Jared Anderson, Owlet VP of Sales


Catch a behind the scenes moment from the Amazon Live Event:

5 Crucial Considerations When Building Your Global Marketplace Strategy
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5 Crucial Considerations When Building Your Global Marketplace Strategy

As a brand creates revenue and gains momentum on domestic marketplaces, executives may start to wonder if they should grow their brand internationally. Expanding to international marketplaces is complicated, can be overwhelming, but building a solid strategy before expanding internationally will streamline the process. 

At Pattern, we’ve helped countless brands build their international strategy with our proprietary data, global marketplace experience, and local expertise in established and emerging regions. 

Building an international strategy must be calculated and methodical, and here are five considerations at the core of going global: 

1. Distribution by Country/Region

First, it should be no surprise that the methods and strategies companies use to transport products from the distribution centers to customers can vary by country or region. Handling order fulfillments may look different from shipping and packaging options, to delivery and transportation. Although the basic steps of global distribution may remain the same, the nuances of regional distribution may vary. 

If your brand already has a high-level distribution strategy in place in the areas you are currently selling, then it’s possible to modify and use it to go global.  

2. Consumer Demand

Before expanding to a specific country, marketplace, or entire region (across multiple marketplaces), it’s important you thoroughly research and understand the consumer demand for your product. Do you have data to show that your expansion market(s) has a need for your product? 

Beyond product-market fit, additional parts of consumer demand analysis include: consumer behavior, awareness of differences in cultural norms, and the beliefs and values of international buyers. Having access to data-driven insights and analysis on traffic and conversion, like Pattern’s reporting, is key to understand consumer demand in certain regions. 

3. Product Registration and Regulatory

Countries around the world set up regulations and processes to protect their consumers from any hazardous imports. Because of that, it only makes sense that these countries may have different product registration requirements and standards. Before expanding to new regions, a brand should make sure their products are registered with the appropriate government institutions and follow all production best practices to prevent any roadblocks.

At Pattern, our regional experts have the resources to manage marketplace setup and understand administrative requirements necessary to help scale global growth for your brand. 

4. Localized Pricing

When it comes to localized pricing, international ecommerce retailers should keep in mind two things–currency conversion and customer perception of price. As brands look to expand internationally, thorough research should be done to understand the currency conversions at each stage of the product life cycle in order to figure out the optimal localized pricing, while still retaining a net profit.

Remember, because of cultural differences, final pricing may be perceived differently by customers on international marketplaces. For example, in the western countries, it’s common for prices to end in a 9, but in other countries, it may be best to use a round number instead. High market saturation of certain products may also affect consumers’ perception of pricing, making them more likely to pay a higher price for the product than in a low-saturation market. 

5. Localized Labeling

Different countries and regions may have unique requirements for product labeling. Awareness and understanding of these requirements is key to a successful international strategy. For example, labeling may need to be in a certain language, and some countries may require brands to include certain product information. 

Your domestic team may not be equipped to handle all translations and regulatory conversations, so having the resources in place before attempting to expand globally will help prepare you for expansion. As a global ecommerce partner, Pattern has a team of regional experts and end-to-end resources to ease the pain of complying with local product labeling requirements.   

Build a Successful International Marketplace Strategy With Pattern

Moving into global markets requires a significant amount of research and planning–that usually starts with these 5 considerations. Having a solid strategy in place before your brand starts expanding to international marketplaces will make the overall process much smoother, easier to manage, and with a higher likelihood for success.. 

Going global can be intimidating, costly, and overwhelming to grow revenue, but with Pattern as your 3P trade partner, you’ll have the experience, resources, and data to successfully expand your business internationally. Our global expertise and footprint makes international growth on marketplaces frictionless and profitable. 

Is your brand considering global marketplaces? Contact us


Want to learn more about how Pattern helps brands go global? Watch this message from our co-founder and CEO, Dave Wright.