Being Sensitive to Brands

As a retailer, you work with a lot of manufacturers, and a lot of brands. Each manufacturer has their own brand image and their own ideas on how they’d like to see that brand represented. While their brand might be a useful sales tool, sometimes brands can be more like an ego which needs close attention.

Using the brand/ego analogy sometimes confusing manufacturer behavior becomes far easier to empathize with. Many manufacturers will employ a MAP policy (Minimum Advertised Price) and will often enforce this policy to the extent of terminating your ability purchase and resell their products all together. They [manufacturers] feel their product is worth a certain amount and it frustrates them to see it sold for a lot less by everyone, so they make it a rule. Manufacturers may also have an IMAP policy (Internet Minimum Advertised Price) as web retail stores interact with one another in a much different fashion than geographically separated physical stores.

In addition to MAP and IMAP policies, there are some manufacturers who limit what sales channels they’ll allow a retailer to use. For example, some prefer that you not list their products on Amazon.com. Why? Unlike an ordinary comparison shopping engine (CSE, e.g. Bizrate, Froogle), where the user is redirected to your unique shopping site, Amazon handles the entire transaction. CSE’s could be compared to a mall, where Amazon is more like a garage sale.

A manufacturer may not like seeing their brand and product tossed in with the rest of the junk in the garage, with no respect or individual consideration. Also, while a CSE allows you to sort by price, it usually can sort by store rating as well, helping assure the customer the best purchasing experience possible.

As a web retailer you should understand the above concerns and note some manufacturers will be more sensitive than others. It is important to keep track of the rules you’ve agreed to follow for each of your manufacturers. If you don’t cater to the needs of their brand, then you could easily find yourself cut off! You’ll be searching for replacement products to fill that gap in your offering, and may have hurt your reputation with other manufacturers in the process!