Last year has been nothing but eventful! If the Covid-19 outbreak has taught us anything, it is that global economies may collapse, but after the dust settles, one thing that will remain is the consumer’s desire to buy products. The only major change has been an increased adoption of digital channels. According to a McKinsey report, since the pandemic started, there has been a shift in consumer buying behavior and a 15%–30% growth in consumers who purchase online, for most categories.
The Covid-19 outbreak has created gaps in the online market that are being filled by counterfeiters.
Covid-19-related events have played havoc with supply chain systems globally and created a space for sham products online. Last year when the outbreak was spreading worldwide, Interpol conducted a sting operation targeting the online sale of illegal medicines and medical products. Police, customs, and health regulatory authorities from 90 countries took part in corrective action against the illicit online sale of medicines and medical products. What was discovered was shocking – Counterfeit facemasks, substandard hand sanitizers, and unauthorized antiviral medication being sold online.
Now, more than ever, brand protection has become paramount and brands must look for an actionable alternative strategy to survive in this highly competitive online space. Businesses at risk need to make timely and intelligent investments to safeguard against these threats. Successful implementation of a technology-backed, efficient anti-counterfeit process will not only demonstrate ROI but also directly improve the bottom line.
A Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policy along with anti-counterfeit monitoring is critical for brand protection.
There is more to brand protection and why it is critical to retaining brand value. It is imperative to go beyond the scope of intelligent monitoring technologies that identify illicit activities. In today’s highly competitive digital shopping world, the price of the product goes beyond the actual product and determines the actual value it will hold to the consumer.
Many studies state that pricing is one of the top drivers for consumers to shop online. Brands lose their dazzle if they participate in any ongoing price war and slash their prices. Brands today not only have to put in place a clearly defined MAP policy but also ensure the smooth execution of this policy. This ensures that the brands keep their brand identity intact. After all big brands like Burberry place so much importance on maintaining an exclusive status that they have burned millions of worth of goods or rather ‘incinerated’ their unsold merchandise.
A MAP policy has many benefits in addition to protecting brand identity. It helps:
- Maintain a healthy relationship with manufacturers and distributors
- Protect margins for your distributer network
- Mitigate the risk of unauthorised selling
- Impose competitive pricing and avoid a price war
- Promote an omnichannel strategy
- Increase brand value
- Avoid the ‘showrooming’ effect
Having a mechanism to monitor MAP helps brands watch the pricing for each product, identify its sellers, and keep track on where the product is being sold. Moreover, brands need to have a set process for reporting these violations promptly. Once it is determined whether the seller is authorized or unauthorized, brands can take corrective action.
Looking beyond product listings for MAP monitoring
Are you tracking in-cart prices for MAP violations?
Did you know that a minimum advertised price typically refers only to the price on the listings and the product pages? Common exceptions to this are the in-cart prices and the ’email for price’ that create a loophole for retailers and sellers to exploit, as these aspects are predominantly omitted in a MAP policy. Conversion-hungry retailers resort to slashed in-cart pricing tactics to lure the shopper into purchasing from them over their competition. Monitoring every step of the sale process or buying journey can give brands a grip on the gravity of violations and help identify which retailer is pushing heavy discounts on their products and tarnishing their brand value.
In the post-apocalyptic world of global e-commerce, brand protection has never been more critical. And it requires an actionable strategy that will not just help you guard your brand value but also sell more in the long run.