How Grizzly Pet Products Ramped Up MAP Enforcement
Two years ago, Grizzly Pet Products faced a very real problem. The Woodinville, Wash.-based pet supplement and food company’s strict resale policies were being violated by online sellers, some of which were marketing under unauthorized identities and/or at price points that were upsetting established partners in its resale network—including brick-and-mortar stores that were ill-equipped to respond to a price war.
On sales calls, Grizzly’s retail partners would pull up pricing policy violations on screen and ask what was being done to enforce the company’s MAP policy and protect members of its authorized resale network. Something needed to change quickly.
Understanding that they couldn’t do it alone, executives at Grizzly turned to Las Vegas-based brand protection software platform TrackStreet to help automate MAP enforcement and identify and address unknown or unauthorized online sellers.
“TrackStreet’s platform automated much of our policy enforcement from sending emails to violators to automatically adding the worst offenders to a ‘Do Not Sell list’, which was a real game changer for us,” says Chad Tillman, national sales manager for Grizzly Pet Products. “When companies tell me that they’re struggling with enforcing MAP, I tell them what we learned. You can’t do it by yourself and you need experts on your side, like TrackStreet.”
Armed with a Solution
Grizzly Pet Products deployed TrackStreet’s Market Visibility, MAP Enforcement, Product Review Tracking and Amazon Analytics modules, all of which were delivered in an intuitive and easy-to-implement internet-based software offering, complete with all the services necessary to succeed.
This choice of platform provided three key elements:
• A breadth of market visibility data previously unknown to Grizzly Pet, which identifies products not just on major marketplaces like Amazon, but on other sites on the Internet.
• A clear and actionable dashboard with real-time access to data on MAP violations, product reviews, Amazon seller inventory level and sales data, and more.
• Automated communication with violators of MAP Policies, including differentiated communications for unknown/unauthorized sellers and established resale partners.
Within a month, TrackStreet identified and helped Grizzly Pet stop unauthorized sellers listing its products on a host of ecommerce sites. Then, TrackStreet began focusing on large marketplaces like Amazon. Using TrackStreet’s Amazon Analytics module, Grizzly Pet Products could prioritize enforcement efforts among hundreds of problematic 3P Sellers, based on hard data about them such as inventory levels and sales velocity.
TrackStreet also assisted with Grizzly Pet Product’s efforts to target specific sellers on listings who had reached a ‘Do Not Sell’ list. Targeting unauthorized or unknown sellers on specific product listings or ASINs, via a test program codenamed “Project Viking,” TrackStreet successfully reduced the number of violators by more than 95 percent—from over 200 sellers to under 10.
When MAP pricing was violated, TrackStreet’s automation contacted the seller and radically reduced violations with minimal manual effort.
“Just giving me a list of violators is useless to me,” said Tillman. “TrackStreet took what used to be at least 15 hours of work per week of ineffective and inefficient manual effort, and reduced it to one hour a week, just making sure everything is running. Plus, the number of violations is now very low. Which has given me time to focus on product reviews.”
With TrackStreet’s Product Review Tracking module, Tillman has been able to focus on growing the Grizzly Pet Products brand. While other companies maintain a standard rate of product reviews to purchases, Tillman has seen that engaging with reviewers in 24 hours and rapidly effecting change when needed, has caused Grizzly Pet Products number of reviews to increase far faster than before.
“More customers and prospects are being exposed to our brand in a positive way,” he says.
In addition, Grizzly Pet Products can use the data from Product Review Tracking to focus on removing bad product reviews that aren’t related to their products, engage dissatisfied customers and resolve product issues before they snowball and negatively impact sales or their customer service teams.
Working with TrackStreet has also given Grizzly Pet Products a degree of pricing control that Tillman says has been invaluable.
“Before we were enforcing MAP effectively, price increases would really hurt brick-and-mortar retailers as they increased their pricing, but online sellers would simply absorb the increase thus causing a gap in pricing between physical stores and online partners to become even worse,” he explains. “Now, with effective MAP enforcement, price increases impact the online sellers immediately, giving brick-and-mortar stores the time they need to make any necessary adjustments. The technology is giving us true control over our pricing.”
According to Tillman, the results have also been very beneficial to Grizzly Pet Product’s sales.
“Since all of this started, our brick-and-mortar sales have increased by over 60 percent,” he says. “Our online prices have adjusted remarkably, so they are now equal to the prices found in stores, while ensuring our authorized online vendor partners capture a worthwhile margin in the online marketplace. This has resulted in stronger margins, more interest from new potential customers, and SKU expansions across both of our brick-and-mortar and online channels.”
Scott Barnett is vice president of marketing for TrackStreet, a leading SaaS platform to protect and grow the world’s best brands. TrackStreet’s platform puts the power of artificial intelligence and automation in the hands of hundreds of brands to protect brand value, enforce resale pricing and MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) policies and increase channel sales.