When brands institute a MAP on a product, it is the lowest price at which a retailer can advertise or sell the product. A rep should be able to add some more color on how it works in practice.
MAP is a way to keep online websites from lowing the prices to a point where brick & mortar stores cannot compete fairly. I work with a few companies that maintain a MAP on their items and it helps. If an online store with a lower overhead refuses to maintain the MAP then you have the right to discontinue selling to them. Without MAP in place for all of your resellers, you have no ability to stop selling to a store, it gives you some control over your prices and for the most part, gives a level playing field to all of your resellers.
My experience on MAP has been an evolving perspective. Initially manufacturers I work with were adamant about it; until they realized how insanely difficult it is to police. Especially with ecommerce channels. Now those manufacturers are offering a suggested retail and allowing the (ecommerce) channels to sell product at a price that fits their business model.
**Note: In the industry that I work, the Cost of goods is drastically less expensive selling to brick and mortar retailers than ecommerce channels. This allows brick and mortar retailers to be competitive in their local markets.
I also work with a company that is very strict on MAP. The caveat is that MAP is advertised (i.e. printed, digitally listed, easily accessed by general public) price. There may be cases in which MAP can be broken within the walls of the store selling. Anniversary sale; pay with cash (no financing); special credential event; etc.
MAPs are tricky in nature and difficult to enforce as others have previously stated. If you dictate what your customers can sell a product for you are also restricted on the selling end as you cannot provide one customer with an unfair competitive advantage. We analyze pricing across multiple channels, the internet being one that is often targeted with MAPs. There are many ways of protecting pricing in each channel of distribution and not providing an unfair competitive advantage (which is what your customers are concerned with as well).
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