The impact of in-cart pricing tactics on MAP monitoring

Camilla Vaidyanathan, Solution Manager, Ugam,

MAP Monitoring,minimum advertised price,Online brand protectionMy first blog in this series spoke of The end of MAP monitoring as we know it. One of the factors driving this shift is in-cart pricing tactics that retailers seem to be adopting with greater frequency.

A commonly used practice that retailers use to lure consumers closer to checkout is advertising lower in-cart prices. They do this to ensure price competitiveness and improve conversion on their sites.

While the objective remains consistent, the representations of in-cart pricing differ slightly from one retailer to another. Here are some examples of in-cart pricing tactics used by a varied set of retailers.

MAP Monitoring,minimum advertised price,Online brand protection

In fact this has become so prevalent that ecommerce platform providers have created workarounds to prevent the display of actual price.

MAP Monitoring,minimum advertised price,Online brand protection

In a typical Minimum Advertised Price policy, ‘advertised’ refers to the price displayed on a listing page or a product page. ‘In-cart pricing’, ‘call for quote’, ‘email for price’ are generally exempt from a MAP policy.

In light of this, retailers that use the in-cart pricing tactics mentioned above are well within the guidelines of the MAP policy laid down by the brand. What complicates matters is the fact that amongst a brand’s authorized set of retailers this doesn’t go unnoticed. In fact, retailers tend to tell on each other, creating quite a bit of dissonance within the retail community.

In-cart pricing tactics result in shoppers having a “hunt for a deal” mindset, which can result in friction or delays in conversion. Many brands would prefer an easy and consistent brand experience as shoppers go through their purchase journey.

Through my interactions with brands across a variety of categories, it seems like more and more brands are moving towards understanding and monitoring a price closer to checkout. This helps them get a better sense of the magnitude of violations and they can also use this information while interacting with their retail partners. By monitoring in-cart pricing, they are also able to determine which of their retail partners lead price discounting.

The good news is that there are big data tools that allow brands to monitor this at scale. Using these tools brands are able to know what’s happening and take action as necessary.

The Author:
Camilla is a Solution manager at Ugam and is part of its retail analytics team. She oversees the Brand Intelligence solution and is responsible for helping brands use data to inform actionable decisions around pricing, assortment and content. On the personal front, Camilla enjoys singing and would love to be part of a band.


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