MAP is a common term used by wholesale suppliers. You might see it on their dealer price list, or it’s outlined in their dealer terms. We get questions like What is MAP? Why does this supplier require it?

Wholesalers have their own industry terms. As a retailer, it’s good for you to be able to talk with them in their own language. This avoids a lot of misunderstandings. Also, you won’t have to stop them to ask to explain what they mean. They will treat you more seriously if sense that you understand the business.

What is MAP?

advertising discounted products - this can't be MAP

MAP means Manufacturer’s Advertised Price. That is the required advertising price of a product. Meaning you can’t advertise that you sell it for LESS than the retail price the manufacturer has set for it.

Let’s do an example. Looking at a dealer price list, you may see that the cost of a honeysuckle scented soy jar candle is $3.50 wholesale. That is YOUR price that you will pay per candle. In another column, it says MAP is $9.99. So when you post that product for sale on your website, on eBay, Amazon or another third party website, you cannot advertise that you sell it for LESS than $9.99.

Why do some suppliers require it?

There are manufacturers that require you to use the MAP and will shut you down if you don’t. This is to regulate the price of the product online.

One of the biggest problems with online retail is that anyone can start an online business, but that doesn’t mean that everyone should. There are poor sellers out there that think that they have to undercut everyone’s prices to make sales, and that is not the truth.

In an effort to protect their products and brands from bad retailers, and to keep the competition equal they will enforce the MAP policy. It’s in the best interest of the brand, and their dealers.

Is there a way around MAP?

Ok ok.. someone always has to ask. Read again to what what MAP is.. Minimum ADVERTISED price. So the way around the same price everyone else is selling it for, is to not advertise it that it’s lower. Meaning you can’t post the lower price on your site or on third party sites, but if you own your own website, you can HIDE the price and show it in the shopping cart at a discount.

So you aren’t going against any policy but what’s the point right? If customers can’t see they can get it lower at your site than somewhere else, they are going to move on. So just follow policy and quit trying to do a “hack” for everything. Some things just have to be followed for the benefit of everyone involved.

You might also like:
Can You Calculate Your Profit Margin? Read that here
Interacting with a Wholesaler & Dropshipper. Read that here

By Tisha Hedges

Director of Operations for Worldwide Brands, Inc

5 thoughts on “MAP – What Is It and Why is it Sometimes Required?”
  1. Hello,
    I have a question about MAP – I have an online storefront selling baby products. In this economy I’m not selling squat of certain items and without loosing my investment in the inventory I want to liquidate certain merchandise. However the manufacturer has an MAP. Does this mean that I cannot put these items on sale just to recoup the wholesale costs? I’m not even advertising it on the site or anywhere else. It is by word of mouth and it’s a coupon for all products in this particular category, not just one brand.

  2. That’s a great question. MAP is specific to the supplier. Every wholesale supplier is going to have different guidelines. But all wholesale suppliers understand how the economy not only impacts there business but theire retailers. I suggest speaking with your supplier representative and explaining what you’re trying to do and work it out. Be up front and tell them exactly which SKUS and where you plan to “liquidate” them. Some suppliers are under restrictions from the manufacturer or certain laws within their industry so they’ll explain if there is a particular reason why they can’t give a “pass” for this one.

  3. It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of info. I’m glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  4. This is really a good bit of information. Thank you for posting it. I have been trying to set a fair and competitive price for my company’s products recently and while researching my competition and their prices, I had run across instances of sellers in violation of the supplier’s MAP. These violations really make it difficult for a new company, such as my own, to even compete in the same market and to be able to earn an acceptable or even meager profit, at best, while trying to adhere to ethical business practices and compliance with our supplier’s retail policies. I run an honest and ethical business and intend to continue doing so, but if I can’t compete with unethical retailers, I would just no longer carry the product I can’t compete with. I had actually interpreted MAP to mean “Minimum Asking Price” which, according to your explanation, amounts to pretty much the same thing as Manufacturers Advertised Price. Your explanation of how it works and why it is used gives me a greater understanding of the importance in adhering to my suppliers policies with regard to MAP. More sellers should read this.
    Kudos for the education ^^

    Shari L. Cronin

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