In a retail context, MAP stands for ‘Minimum Advertised Price”. This is the lowest price, decided by the manufacturer of a product, which they will allow that product to be advertised for sale for. It is important to note the distinction that it is not the minimum price that the reseller (retailer) may sell the product for, only the lowest price it may be advertised for.
A manufacturer may choose to impose a MAP policy on reseller for a variety of reasons, such as to avoid the brand or product’s value being eroded. If a brand has spent considerable marketing funds promoting their brand and products as luxury and high-end, for example, this would be damaged by a reseller slashing prices. It could prompt customers to question the regular pricing of that manufacturer’s products or create an expectation that products will be available at that low price again. If one reseller advertises a product at a lower price than other stockists, it can also result in that stockist gaining market share over their competitors, and cause issues in the longer term for the manufacturer.
A Minimum Advertised Price may be imposed by the manufacturer if they are entering an agreement with the reseller to contribute advertising funds to drive sales of their product through that reseller. A MAP policy is typically written as a contract and signed by both the manufacturer and reseller. The MAP should not be confused with other pricing terms, such as the Recommended Retail Price (also known as Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price).
A MAP policy can be hard to enforce, particularly with online resellers who may use a variety of tactics such as bundling products together so that the cost of an individual item is not shown.
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