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What is showrooming? Showrooming is when shoppers view a product inside a brick-and-mortar store, then use a mobile device to check the price of that product across online marketplaces in search of the best deal.
Should these shoppers find a cheaper price online, they’ll leave the store without buying the product. Should they see a comparable or higher price, they’ll buy from the store. Naturally, this creates headaches for retailers who have brought those shoppers into their stores, only to see them leave for cheaper pastures.
Why Showrooming is Popular
Showrooming is driven by the desire to get the best deal possible. This is not a new concept, but what’s changed over the past decade is the prevalence of mobile devices and access to competing prices.
Today, shoppers have immediate, easy access to countless retailers selling the same or similar products online. It takes a few seconds to search the product on their phones and quickly see who has the cheapest price. Now, they can buy directly from their phones while in the store, able to see, feel, or test the product in person and still get the best deal.
Beyond that, retailers are making it easier to showroom with the development of mobile applications. Amazon’s app, for example, allows shoppers to check prices. This removes the hurdle of searching a product on Google, by allowing consumers to use their preferred online retailer app to check a price in seconds. Other online perks like same-day or two-day delivery and free shipping also make it more beneficial to showroom. Instant gratification is now the realm of both online and brick-and-mortar channels.
To recap, shoppers are showrooming by:
Visiting brick-and-mortar stores
Testing a product in person
Using a mobile device while in the store to compare prices either via a search engine or retailer app
Buying the lowest-priced offering on the spot
How to Stop Showrooming
For brick-and-mortar retailers, showrooming is problematic because it takes sales away from their in-store channels. In rare cases, the cheaper price could be the online webstore of the same retailer. Most of the time shoppers who buy elsewhere are buying from a competitor.
As a result, retailers should look for ways to discourage or outright prevent showrooming. Here is how:
1. Price-Match Guarantees
Price-match guarantees set by the retailer allow sales associates to match any online price found by a shopper if that online price is lower than what is advertised in the store. This strategy is a great customer service tool and shifts the focus back to instant gratification. Shoppers can take that product home, right now, for the same price.
2. Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store
A buy online, pick up in-store policy, or BOPIS, is another strategy to decrease showrooming. BOPIS lets shoppers order a product from a retailer’s webstore and pick up that order at a brick-and-mortar location. BOPIS is beneficial for retailers because shoppers are likely to buy more once inside a store. Retailers can then design their store layouts to position best-selling items near customer service, further increasing the odds of more purchases when shoppers get their orders.
Checkout should be quick and painless, so shoppers have less time waiting to pay (otherwise known as more time showrooming).
3. Optimized In-Store Experience
On a related note, a stronger in-store experience is another tool to combat showrooming. For instance, retailers can offer a unique assortment in stores so the products on the shelves are harder to find online. In-store promotions and sales can help reduce showrooming as well. Furthermore, ensure associates are well-trained and provide value to shoppers. They can conduct product demos and provide recommendations not available online. Finally, make checkout quick and painless, so shoppers have less time waiting to pay (otherwise known as more time showrooming).
4. Optimized Online Experience
An optimized online experience can be a deterrent to showrooming as well. How? Webstores that contain high-quality product reviews, including video product demos, can mimic the in-store value of seeing a product in person. Online shoppers then have as good of an understanding of the products as they would if they could see them in person. Beyond that, webstores that are easy-to-use and have a simple checkout process reduce the chances that shoppers get distracted and visit a competitor.
5. Pricing Intelligence and Automated Repricing
Importantly, pricing intelligence and automated repricing are retailers’ allies in the fight against showrooming. While “just have the lowest price” isn’t the answer to showrooming—dropping prices often leads to price wars and competitors just following suit—it is beneficial to know what competitors are doing and be able to strategically reprice. Retailers should monitor their competitors’ prices and identify opportunities to win on price or shift the focus to other value-adds.
Win the Sale with a Better Offer
Showrooming won’t go away, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing for retailers. Above all, the sale can be won with a better offer, more value, and a unique experience. That doesn’t always mean the lowest price.
Retailers can defeat showrooming by creating a brick-and-mortar experience that is enjoyable, educational, and stress-free. Any retailer that operates online and in-store should focus on a holistic experience that partners the strengths of each channel. Show shoppers the value, and they’re more likely to buy.
Minimum advertised price policies. These pricing agreements are incredibly important for brands that want to manage their price position and control how they are priced by their resellers. On May 9th, Wiser hosted a webinar that explored how to enforce MAP and how brands find MAP success.
You can check out the recording of the webinar if you want to listen to host Ryan McCole, Customer Success Manager at Wiser, dive deeper into what makes MAP a winning proposition. Or, keep reading to get an overview of the MAP webinar and how you can ensure MAP is working for your brand.
What is MAP Monitoring?
Minimum advertised price, or MAP, is an agreement struck between a brand and a reseller to advertise a specific product or products at or above a set price—the minimum advertised price.
The key word is “agreement,” as it’s not a legally binding policy. Therefore, resellers can and do violate MAP and price below what a brand wants. This is where MAP monitoring comes into play. Monitoring for MAP violations is the routine process of reviewing prices of online resellers to identify compliance.
As we explained in the webinar, an estimated 61 percent of retailers violate MAP on some products, pricing products an average of 14.5 percent below the MAP price. Violations are prominent across online marketplaces, especially eBay and Amazon.
MAP monitoring is a must if your brand has any MAP policies in place.
Who is Affected by MAP?
MAP affects everyone involved in retail, not just brands and retailers.
For starters, brands are affected by MAP because of the widespread use of online channels to sell, and the common usage of third-party resellers in eCommerce. As the steps along the road between manufacturer and consumer grow, the more opportunities there are for MAP violations.
Authorized resellers partner with hundreds or more brands to sell online. Some of those brands will also sell competing products. Not to mention, there are thousands of other resellers to compete against and sales are made quickly online. The result is high pressure to price aggressively to survive, leading to more MAP violations.
Consumers are probably unaware of MAP, but they are still affected by it. They are influenced by price and will often buy the lowest-priced offering available. The reseller who breaks MAP is doing so to attract more shoppers who make their purchasing decisions based on price.
For example, a brand facing MAP violations could have a hard time building more authorized seller relationships, if those potential partners see all these other sellers breaking MAP. “I’d be at a disadvantage if I followed that brand’s MAP policies,” they might say.
Or, a brand could lose existing authorized sellers if too many other unauthorized—or even authorized—ones violate MAP. Brands could see shrinking margins due to authorized sellers negotiating lower MAP prices due to rampant price cutting. Brand value could take a hit as consumers perceive that brand as discount or low-value. It may be too hard to implement effective pricing strategies. The list goes on.
These reasons are why MAP monitoring and enforcement matter.
What Brands Should Do to Enforce MAP
MAP enforcement begins with the MAP policy itself. A good policy makes it easier to enforce and encourages compliance. A bad policy could be easy to violate and provide little incentive for retailers to comply.
What is a good MAP policy? First, it emphasizes advertised prices only, not sale prices. Second, it includes reasons why the policy benefits both the brand and the reseller. Third, it clearly states the consequences of violations.
Of course, violations still occur, even with great MAP policies in place. Brands must then:
Identify MAP violations
Place a hold on distribution
Reduce assortment with the violator
Revoke authorized seller status
Make note of “warnings,” not warning. Many brands warn their sellers multiple times of violations. This is a good strategy because the reason for the violation is likely not malicious. Resellers are under pressure to complete and cutting them some slack can earn good will in the future. Brands shouldn’t harshly punish them for the first infraction.
MAP Remains a Must for Brands
Overall, MAP policies, enforcement, and compliance are musts for any brand that sells online. The right price is a major contributor to strong sales. MAP enforcement protects both brands and retailers’ bottom lines.
However, MAP compliance begins with brands and effective MAP policies and fair implementation. With the right MAP policy in hand, brands can grow their value and ensure pricing is an ally, not an enemy. Don’t forget to get your recording of the webinar to hear more details about MAP enforcement and how brands find success!
Shelf health can have a big impact on your in-store sales. Understanding your share of shelf, display condition, and much more is extremely important, but it’s also difficult to keep track of within all stores nationwide. Luckily, smartphone-enabled shoppers are the key to understanding in-store conditions before they have a negative impact on your sales and revenue.
Having access to smartphone-enabled shoppers is one thing, but to gather the most beneficial information about your current shelf health conditions, you have to understand which questions to ask. Gathering the best data in the least amount of questions is the key to success when it comes to retail audits. But which questions will guide you toward understanding your shelf health conditions nationwide?
1. Photo Questions
The first, and most commonly used, question type is photo questions. Photo questions can give you a look into stores nationwide. You can view where your products are on the shelf, how many are available, the condition of your products on the shelf, understand out-of-stock issues, and so much more. When it comes to shelf health, being able to look into each store without leaving your desk is a big win.
You can gather hundreds or even thousands of photos in each survey that will give you a good understanding of your overall shelf health. Looking through photos to understand shelf health isn’t the only option, however. There are so many question types that can help you gauge your in-store shelf conditions quickly and easily.
2. Brand Noticed First
An interesting question to ask consumers is which brand they notice first on the shelf. This is a good indicator of shelf health because the brand they notice first is typically located in the most ideal spot on the shelf and may be an indicator of which products are in good condition or have a larger share of shelf.
In addition to shelf health information, this question can also provide you with valuable insights into your standing among the competition. Over time, you can track changes in brand popularity in comparison to in-store changes, product rebranding, product releases, and more. Combining this question with “Where is your product located” can give you additional shelf health insights that can’t be replicated.
3. Where is your Product Located
A leading indicator of shelf health is the location of your products on the shelf. Sometimes you’ll find that products aren’t where—or in as many spaces—as you expect. Asking consumers where they find your products on the shelf can help you better understand your current shelf health status. Consumers can quickly tell you where they’re seeing your products in different sections of the store.
This question is a great overall indication of shelf health because it can be shown in your dataset as a heat map. You’ll see where your products are found most and least often based on a nine-section grid. Having a visual representation of a large number of stores’ product placement nationwide will direct you toward understanding your shelf health and product placement. In comparison to your overall sales, this can also help you understand how your product location impacts sales and revenue.
4. Number of Facings
An easy question to ask smartphone-enabled shoppers is how many facings are currently available in-store. If you’re expecting 12 but there are only three, that would be a good indication of poor shelf health. A simple question like the number of facings can give you valuable information in one quick and simple question.
Understanding shelf health can be as simple as ensuring all of the products you expect in-store are truly there. From there, you can use a mix of shelf-health-related questions to understand what can be done to improve upon your current shelf health condition or make sure it stays up to par.
5. Brand Perception Questions
Brand perception is often loosely tied with shelf health conditions. Brands with more recognition and positive overall brand perception are often placed in better locations on the shelf. Asking consumers their perception of your brand can indicate if your products are well represented in-store as well as through your marketing efforts.
To fully understand shelf health, we’d recommend pairing this question with one or more of the preceding shelf health questions. Brand perception is a powerful metric and can help you make important decisions. You can follow how these changes impact your brand perception and shelf health conditions over time by running more surveys at later dates.
These aren’t the only questions you can use to understand shelf health, either. From UPC scans to additional sentiment-based questions, the possibilities are endless. Using all of these question types or mixing and matching based on the information you need most will give you the most beneficial insights without an overload of unnecessary information.
We often hear of unauthorized third-party sellers disrupting price parity and creating price erosion in the online marketplace. While often assumed to be counterfeiters, individual “basement bandits” reselling products, or professional liquidators, on occasion that’s not the case. The pressure to compete in a saturated market amid truly unauthorized discounters can cause the most loyal of retail partners to go rogue. These days, anyone can open up an Amazon storefront latching their inventory to existing Amazon ASINs as one more purchasing option under a unique seller alias.
Some Warning Signs
Sudden Increase of Wholesale Inventory Purchase
If nothing changed about the retailer’s online presence or no new physical locations have opened, it’s not likely that your retail partners have hit a lucky streak with sales or suddenly increased foot traffic. Look at previous orders and notice any drastic changes, particularly on key items or best sellers. We all love a bigger order, but this can be a warning sign of an unauthorized new online store to funnel inventory.
Similar to the first example, a trend to look for is product inventory spikes in the online marketplace itself. This one may be tricky as inventory levels are not available on Amazon. However, if your brand sells to a distributor that resells to others, a MAP monitoring platform should allow you to see new sellers and new violations on your products daily. Additionally, eBay is a common marketplace to notice this trend. It’s often overlooked, but still one to watch.
Depending on your brand’s retail partner relationships, you will have access to their sales data. Often used to determine future assortment and product performance, a poor sell-through report may be a warning sign that your retail partner can’t move inventory fast enough. You guessed it: a panic reaction is to sacrifice margin and sell through an additional channel under an unauthorized alias store name. While larger retailers have access to liquidation partners and in-store foot traffic that allows for heavier discounts, the smaller scale retailer and boutique store has fewer options.
Empower Your Sales Team
Awareness of red flags allows your dedicated account reps to see the warning signs as they arise. An increased order from a new or long-time retail partner is a great incentive for sales reps to ignore the red flags and unusual purchasing behavior. It’s important to communicate the long-term damage to the brand as well as the overall relationship if the retailer is discovered to have an unauthorized online store and loses status as an authorized retail partner. While you’re at it, remind them of your MAP policy.
Data is King
Many brands now utilize some form of automated price monitoring solution and have access to new developments in the online channel. Many now have a dedicated administrator whose job is, 100 percent or in part, to be the guardian of the brand’s online image. It’s important for Sr. Exec leaders to understand the data as well to familiarize themselves with the market and be equally empowered to make business decisions. These executives must have tough conversations internally and externally.
Lead by Example
Give retail partners a leg up by pricing at full MSRP if your brand is equipped to run an official eCommerce website. Your “everyday” price will set the standard and anyone compliant with MAP is competitive to win the sale. Yes, you’re taking it for the team, but for the greater good of the brand. Communicate this clearly as part of your MAP strategy to show support to your wholesale channel.
A Bonus Idea!
Give your authorized partners a break. Allow for scheduled and controlled promotional windows with a specific start and end date and a designated Promotional MAP price. A little breathing room goes a long way.
Keep a watchful eye on retail partner behavior, unusual trends, and data, of course. While the omnichannel dynamic continues to evolve, your goals to delight shoppers and protect brand integrity remain the same. Awareness, empathy, and agility are the winning formula.
Are there ghosts haunting your shelves? No, not real-life ghosts: phantom inventory. Walk through the aisles and see empty shelves and out-of-stock products. Check the system and see that everything looks good. It looks like there is enough inventory in the back room and on the shelves to meet demand. But your eyes don’t lie. Something is off.
What’s wrong is called phantom inventory.
What is Phantom Inventory?
Phantom inventory is inventory reported that does not exist. It is what happens when perpetual inventory—the number of items in the front and back of the store—is greater than on-shelf availability.
Phantom inventory is particularly challenging because your inventory management system says the products are in-stock, but the shelves are empty. You can’t fix what you don’t know is even a problem. There are several potential causes of phantom inventory, including:
Shrinkage – Shrinkage occurs when a product is lost due to employee theft, shoplifting, or another unknown reason.
Receiving errors – Errors can happen as merchandise is received and processed at the back of the store.
Employee errors – Store associates may make an error when entering data, processing returns, or picking inventory to fulfill an online order.
How Phantom Inventory Hurts Retailers
Phantom inventory is a problem for retailers because it generates zero dollars in sales. It’s inventory that you believe is on the shelf but doesn’t exist, which means nobody can buy it.
Furthermore, phantom inventory creates more issues beyond lost revenue. The unknown nature of this type of inventory means you can’t attribute a poor-selling product or underperforming store to phantom inventory. Your data isn’t accurate, and any insights you’ve gleaned from that data may be incorrect.
For example, you may evaluate a new product launch and see that it isn’t selling in-store as well as you predicted. So, you go back to the drawing board, cancel reorders, or remove that SKU from the shelf altogether. In reality, your perpetual inventory was incorrect, and nobody was buying the SKU because it wasn’t even on the shelf.
You just wasted time and resources judging a product launch on incomplete information.
Phantom inventory is when perpetual inventory—the number of items in the front and back of the store—is greater than on-shelf availability.
How to Identify Phantom Inventory
The challenges associated with phantom inventory increase with scale. The more SKUs you have, and the harder it is to identify and prevent phantom inventory.
Therefore, the best solutions to this problem involve retail analytics and software solutions. You need eyes and ears inside stores checking on-shelf availability, and then you need more help to compare that data against perpetual inventory to pinpoint any phantom inventory.
One such solution is mobile crowdsourcing. Smartphone-enabled shoppers can be leveraged to audit retail locations on your behalf. These modern mystery shoppers can provide brick-and-mortar data from more store locations than otherwise possible and can be guided to check specific shelf conditions that could uncover phantom inventory.
Smartphone-enabled shoppers can provide images from the shelves along with data on inventory levels, so you can quickly and easily see shelf conditions. Images are crucial because it’s clear evidence of a problem at the shelf-level. Once you have that evidence, you can work backward to identify the cause of the phantom inventory and prevent a repeat incident in the future.
In summary, identify and prevent phantom inventory by:
Leveraging mystery shoppers to report on shelf-level conditions
Comparing on-shelf availability to perpetual inventory
Backtracking phantom inventory’s path to the shelf to identify the cause of the problem
Take Advantage of Shoppers Already In Stores
Fixing phantom inventory begins with resources. You need the right tools to analyze hundreds—or more—SKUs across thousands of store locations. Manual data collection and entry won’t get the job done.
Instead, take advantage of the shoppers that are already inside those stores to provide data via retail auditing. Smartphone-enabled shoppers are incentivized to share key datapoints via a mobile app back to your business. They’re shopping anyway—use that to your benefit by getting critical shelf-level insights that can uncover where phantom inventory is eating away at your sales.
In mid-March, Burger King rolled out its $5 coffee subscription service. The deal? BK app users who signed up would receive one cup of hot coffee per day, for only $5 per month. This isn’t the first in-app deal leveraged by the quick-service restaurant either.
Burger King has also had similar deals for app users like its Whopper Detour deal, and QSR Magazine reported that the Burger King app was the most-downloaded app in the Apple Store for a short time in December 2018.
The chain’s marketing and promotional tactics appear to be working, but there’s a key difference with the $5 coffee subscription compared to the deals that came before: It’s coffee, not food. In addition, it takes aim right at the highly competitive breakfast QSR segment, going up against leaders like Starbucks, Dunkin’, and McDonald’s.
Will consumers be swayed by this deal to get their coffee—and breakfast—from Burger King instead of their competitors? Will the subscription service work in the QSR space? What do consumers think?
To find out, we asked our network of smartphone-enabled shoppers and received more than 2,200 responses. Here is what they had to say:
Were Consumers Interested in BK’s New Subscription?
We turned to our smartphone-enabled shoppers in the weeks following the announcement of Burger King’s new $5 coffee subscription. The news was covered in many media outlets, from CNBC to USA Today, Forbes, and many more. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the QSR’s target audience was aware of—or interested in—the new service.
So, we asked. Of more than 2,200 respondents, 86 percent were aware of the Burger King $5 monthly coffee subscription at the time of the poll: late March to mid-April 2019. The issue at hand, however, is whether consumers want coffee from Burger King, instead of a leading competitor like Starbucks or Dunkin’.
86% of consumers polled were aware of the Burger King $5 coffee subscription.
Which QSR has Subscription Opportunities?
Per our poll, 36 percent said they were more likely to go to a different QSR for their coffee, compared to 31 percent who would use BK for their morning joe. Unfortunately for Burger King, though, 64 percent of respondents would be more likely to enroll in a coffee subscription service from a different QSR. Only 5 percent stated that they’d prefer the BK subscription option over its competitors.
Expanding on the finding that a majority of our smartphone-enabled shoppers would use a different QSR for a subscription service, we asked which restaurants were favored.
The leader was Starbucks, followed by McDonald’s, Dunkin’, and Chick-fil-a. Naturally, the preference for type of subscription was food-based over beverage-based, at 45 percent to 41 percent. Another 14 percent didn’t like the idea of a QSR subscription at all.
What Drives Consumers to QSRs?
Taking a step back from the Burger King $5 coffee subscription, let’s dig into what makes QSRs a desirable destination for consumers in general.
In our survey of more than 2,200 smartphone-enabled shoppers, we also wanted to learn more about what they liked about QSRs in the first place, if the subscription service couldn’t–or wouldn’t–move the needle for them.
For starters, we asked what our shoppers’ favorite QSR was. The winner was McDonald’s, followed by Chick-fil-a and then Starbucks. Burger King was in a distant fifth place behind those leaders and Dunkin’.
Consumers choose their preferred QSRs for the quality of the food there, according to 43 percent of the respondents. That was the runaway winner for the question of “Why QSRs?”, far ahead of just 20 percent in favor of inexpensive food. Popular QSR features cited by consumers were the drive-thru option, the quick service, and the accessibility afforded by many locations.
43% of consumers cited the quality of the food as the driving force behind a QSR visit.
Are Subscriptions the Future of QSR?
We set out to uncover the viability of Burger King’s subscription model and the level of enthusiasm from consumers for a subscription offering from a QSR.
The results showed that there is an opening for more subscription services in the QSR space, and not just from Burger King. Consumers are willing and able to use mobile apps to make QSR purchases and leverage promotions from their preferred chains.
It comes as no surprise that consumers enjoy the convenience, affordability, and speed of QSRs. Any QSR subscription that homes in on these elements—like BK’s $5 coffee subscription—can become a win for both customers and QSRs.
Control is incredibly important for retail brands. You need to control your brand image, your products, your resale channels, and much more. Loss of control at any point along the path from product inception to the customers’ hands can hurt your brand’s reputation, your sales, and your profits.
That’s why unauthorized sellers are a problem for online brands. These sellers aren’t part of any formal reseller agreement, which means they’re selling your products without your permission. As a result, they have little incentive to follow your rules and support your brand.
However, not all unauthorized sellers are against you. Sometimes, there could be more at work than what meets the eye. To explain, let’s look at three types of unauthorized sellers and how you can convert them into an authorized partner—or stop them from selling your brand in the future.
Unauthorized Seller No. 1: Counterfeiters or Crooks
First up is a type of unauthorized seller who you definitely do not want as an authorized partner: the counterfeiter or crook.
These unauthorized sellers are either selling a knock-off version of your brand or have acquired your legitimate merchandise through illegal means, including theft. They’re advertising these products online as the real deal, often at a discount compared to your actual resellers, and the problem is that consumers may not be able to spot the difference before buying.
It’s important to remember that not all these sellers are knowingly selling counterfeit or stolen goods. They may have trusted the wrong distributor or be new to retail and unable to spot the real thing from a fake.
Unauthorized Seller No. 2: Individual Resellers
Next is a smaller type of retailer who isn’t as harmful as a counterfeiter but can still give you some headaches if you’re not careful: the individual reseller.
Who are these sellers? They’re individual people or small businesses who make their money buying products from larger retailers and then reselling them online, typically on Amazon or eBay. They may hunt for brick-and-mortar deals, like clearance items, and then list those products at a mark-up online to make a profit. Or, they’ve received your product as a gift and decided to resell it.
In this case, these unauthorized sellers are selling the real deal, which is good for your consumers. However, they’re not following your pricing policies and they’re taking business away from your legitimate partners.
Unauthorized Seller No. 3: Liquidators
Third is the liquidator. Liquidation is a big business in retail, and some are even dedicated retailers whose entire business model is built around selling liquidated merchandise at a discount.
Even so, liquidators can be unauthorized sellers in relation to your brand and can bring some of the same aches and pains that the previous sellers have. In this case, they’ve typically acquired your products via an authorized seller that is going out of business. Then, they’re relisting your merchandise online at—most likely—prices well below those of your authorized sellers.
How to Convert Unauthorized Sellers
Understandably, you don’t want unauthorized sellers listing products below MAP, taking sales away from your legitimate retail partners, or tricking consumers into thinking a low-quality knock-off is the real deal.
Depending on which type of unauthorized seller they are, you can convert them into authorized sellers or stop them from selling your brand altogether.
Here is what you can do:
1. Identify the Seller
First comes identification. Review online marketplaces for your product listings and highlight any that seem out of place for further review. MAP pricing policies and MAP monitoring are great ways to do this, as counterfeiters will not be following your MAP policy. Any of your products priced below MAP warrant a closer look. Then search for contact information of the seller so you can connect. You may also leverage a third-party investigator to identify sellers if their information is hard to come by.
2. Address the Distribution Method
You can figure out where they get your merchandise once you know who they are. Sources could be a weak point in your existing supply chain, theft, counterfeiting, or some other method that requires legal action to prevent. Then, identify the distributor and stop products from reaching the unauthorized seller in question.
3. Contact the Unauthorized Seller
Then, you can use the seller information you acquired to reach out to the seller. If they’re a counterfeiter—or worse—you will likely want to consult with your legal team and send a cease and desist letter. If they’re unaware of the issue, you may want to send an email and take less drastic action. In some cases, the seller may be a legitimate retailer and open to becoming an authorized partner.
4. Review and Revise
Last, you will want to review your actions and revise any methods as needed. Depending on the legality and severity of any actions, you may not have received a response from the unauthorized seller. Then, you’ll want to go back to your legal team and consider further legal enforcement. You may also have received a response and could fold a seller into your authorized partner program. See what worked, what didn’t, and plan accordingly for future sellers.
No matter what, don’t let unauthorized sellers deter you from selling your brand online. Brand protection takes many forms, and identifying, preventing, or converting unauthorized sellers is one of the key parts of any strategy.
Remember to monitor your online brand presence for red flags and act as needed to take control of your brand. Sometimes, that unauthorized seller is simply unaware of your pricing policies and distribution channels. Cluing them into what’s going on can create an opportunity to convert an unauthorized seller into an authorized partner and better protect your brand online.
How can you protect your brand, your margins, and your sales? With minimum advertised pricing (MAP) monitoring. TYR Sport, a leading competitive swim and triathlon manufacturer, understands this well.
TYR and Wiser work together to ensure the manufacturer has the data it needs to monitor its assortment for MAP violations and knows when and where to take corrective action. Learn more in our own TYR case study, or get a quick glimpse of the challenges that faced TYR over at Chain Store Age.
Writing for Chain Store Age, Dan Berthiaume explored the value of Wiser’s MAP monitoring for TYR.
“TYR operates its own proprietary e-commerce site and also sells its products through a network of online and brick-and-mortar retailers and distributors, including Amazon and Google. To maintain brand reputation and profit margins, TYR sets minimum advertised prices (MAP) throughout its assortment.”
“When TYR receives MAP compliance data back from Wiser, the company combines the information with its CRM software to continually track partner performance over time.”
A premium brand reputation is well-earned. However, it can also be quickly eroded through third-party vendors, unauthorized sellers, and improper pricing.
For TYR Sport, a leading manufacturer of competitive swim and triathlon gear, protecting their premium reputation meant enacting and enforcing minimum advertised price policies. This task was made easier with Wiser Solutions. Wiser’s comprehensive MAP monitoring and case management solution is ideal for TYR, as detailed in this latest case study.
Knowledge is half the battle—but it isn’t the whole battle. This is the heart of the difference between price crawling and pricing intelligence.
In a retail world where little matters more than price, you must know how your prices compare to your competitors, how your margins fluctuate based on price changes, and so much more. Price crawling and pricing intelligence can both help you along that journey, but they’ll lead to very different conclusions.
Price Crawling and Pricing Intelligence
Most price crawling tools give you that initial pricing knowledge. Crawling relies on bots to crawl eCommerce sites in search of pricing and product description data. This tactic can provide you significant amounts of information on thousands of SKUs.
Pricing intelligence is that plus more. Intelligence platforms can also provide you pricing data on thousands of SKUs. But intelligence incorporates additional analytics, reporting, and repricing features for a more holistic solution.
Despite the similarities, price crawling and pricing intelligence are two different things.
Find Your Ideal Pricing Solution
Both crawling and intelligence have their merits, but the value can differ depending on your role and your company.
You may want that quick access to pricing data, or you may need those more comprehensive analysis and repricing tools. Which one is right for you? Download our whitepaper, How to Decide Between Price Crawling and Pricing Intelligence, to figure that out. Our free whitepaper dives deeper into the features of crawling and pricing intelligence before looking at who benefits from either option.
Get a sneak peek of the whitepaper with its executive summary below:
“At Wiser, we hear from pricing teams wondering whether we provide price crawling or pricing intelligence—and what exactly is the difference between those two.
The challenge for these pricing professionals is, once a relatable definition of each is established, figuring out which strategy is best for their businesses. Despite the similarities, price crawling and pricing intelligence are two different things. A journey down one path will lead to a very different place than a journey down the other.
So, we figured we’d help. This whitepaper will define price crawling and pricing intelligence. Then, we’ll explore the who, the what, and the why behind each strategy to answer the all-important question: ‘Is price crawling or pricing intelligence right for me?’”